The Cost of Rewiring Your Home

FT Contributor
An electrician peeling the wires of a house with a tool.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you are looking to rewire a home, you could be looking at a notable cost range for the project. Typically, the cost of rewiring a home is about $4 per square foot. If you have a 2,000 square foot home, you are looking at spending around $8,000. This price estimate includes labor, materials, the rooms being rewired, the amount of wire that must be replaced, and the size and age of your home.

Why Should You Rewire a House?

Homes can include a variety of hidden costs and maintenance, which may pose safety concerns to homeowners and their loved ones. One example of these maintenance projects includes rewiring. There are approximately 45,000 home electrical fires each year, half of which involve lighting equipment or home electrical wiring. There are many warning signs to look for when deciding to rewire a house or not. These signs include:

  • Frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers;
  • Over-amped or over-fused electrical panels;
  • Dimming or flickering lights;
  • Hot or discolored switch plates;
  • Burnt-out light bulbs;
  • Buzzing or sizzling sounds;
  • Burning smells;
  • Arcs or sparks from an outlet;
  • Loose outlets;
  • Cracked, cut, or broken insulation;
  • Electrical shock when plugging something in.

Additionally, you may want to inspect your electrical system if your home is older or if you’ve added new appliances.

How Is a House Rewired?

To rewire a house, an electrician removes as much of the old wiring as possible. Then, they install non-metallic wire. This type of wire is considered safer and doesn’t get as hot around insulation as outdated wiring does. Removing the wire can happen a couple of different ways:

  • The electrician can tear out walls to run new wire and seal them back up when they are finished;
  • The electrician can cut holes throughout the wall to remove old wiring and thread a new wire in.

The wire removal method depends on the wire accessibility and the amount of work that needs to be done. Furthermore, depending on where you live, you may need additional wires, cables, outlets, and ground faults to adhere to the National Electrical Code safety standards. For instance:

  • Kitchens must have at least two 120-volt outlets along with the countertop;
  • Dishwashers and garbage disposals must have their dedicated 120-volt circuits;
  • The microwave and fridge must have their dedicated 120-volt circuits;
  • The countertop outlets within 6 feet of the sink must be ground-fault-circuit-interrupter protected;
  • All lighting must be on its amp circuit.

How to Calculate a Home Rewiring Project

While the cost of rewiring a house may seem straightforward, many factors come into play. For instance, you will most likely need to hire a professional electrician to help. Each electrician will have a different estimate for your project, so it’s important to shop around and get multiple bids. Electricians may also charge more for different projects, like updating an electrical panel or adding outlets and switches.

Additionally, other factors play a major role in the cost of rewiring a house:

  • Size of the home: Typically, the bigger the home, the more you will pay for this project because the contractor will need more time and materials.
  • Age of home: Electrical wiring in older homes may be outdated and harder to reach, which can increase labor costs. Contractors might cut holes in the walls to access the wires and thread new ones through.
  • Upgrading the electrical service panel: An electrical service panel, or a breaker box, helps distribute power throughout your home. If you are looking to increase your home’s power, you may need to replace the service panel, which is an additional cost.
  • Opening walls: Contractors may need to cut new holes for outlets, switches, and panels and repair them after the project is complete. This task can take up a huge chunk of your budget.
  • Adding new outlets and switches: New outlets and switches can cost extra money since contractors must run more wiring through the wall.
  • Permits and inspections: You should expect to have an inspector come to look at your house after a rewiring job to ensure your home is up to code. Additionally, if you are having outdated or old wiring replaced, like tube wiring, you may need a special permit to do so.
  • Type of room: Some rooms may cost more to rewire than others. Kitchens, for instance, require more wiring because they hold large appliances and outlets near sinks. Bedrooms are generally cheaper to rewire.

Finance Options for Rewiring a Home

Many homeowners may not have the cash on hand to pay for a rewiring job. Luckily, many financing options can help:

  • Personal loan: Homeowners can receive the loan amount within a short amount of time and do not need any collateral to qualify. However, the loan does require a good credit score and a reliable income to show that you can be trusted to pay it back. It may be possible to get a personal loan with bad credit, although your interest rate could be higher.
  • Home equity loan: This loan lets homeowners borrow against their property’s equity. It is a one-time loan that uses your house as collateral, which can help you obtain the loan a bit easier.
  • Home equity line of credit: A line of credit works similar to a credit card. Homeowners receive access to a line of credit with a limit, which they can borrow from multiple times. Paying off the line of credit as you go will help free up more credit, and the interest rate is typically lower than a credit card or personal loan.
  • Credit card: If your credit card is interest-free for the first few months, it may be a good idea to use it to help pay for your rewiring job. However, using a credit card to pay for large projects may subject you to high interest rates if you can’t pay off the amount within the introductory period.
  • Mortgage refinance: Refinancing your mortgage could give you a new interest rate, which may let you save money. This amount could help pay for home improvement projects like rewiring a house.
  • Government loan: Some government loans may be available to help with home upgrades, and could save you money on interest. It’s important to understand which home upgrades qualify for these loans.

How to Save Money When Rewiring a House

While there are many ways to go about DIY home improvement projects, electrical work should be left to the professionals. However, there are ways to save money on these projects, including:

  • Creating a budget and sticking to it;
  • Paying cash so you don’t have to pay interest;
  • Ensuring your electrician is licensed so that they perform work that is up to code and likely won’t need updating or reworking in the near future;
  • Obtaining the necessary permits beforehand so you don’t get fined;
  • Combining projects whenever necessary;
  • Shopping around to get the best estimates from contractors.

Rewiring a home can be overwhelming. However, by understanding how to rewire a home and knowing the estimated cost, you can budget for the project and obtain the necessary funds to help make your home safer.

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