Conversations with top electricians have provided us with a a list of steps to take in order to make rewiring proceed more smoothly, with fewer holes punched in the walls, floors, and ceilings—or, heaven forbid, a structural beam.1.Do an "electrical inventory," creating a list of all the devices you’ll be using in the house, and where.The vast majority of that is the labor involved to get to the wires, run new ones, connect them to every switch and outlet, close up the holes, and clean up the mess.
Plus, materials such as wire insulation can deteriorate over time.
If you don’t know when your wiring was last inspected, it’s worth paying a licensed electrician to give it a once-over, especially if you have any of these warning signs: Instead of the standard copper wire, many houses built in the 1960s and early 1970s have aluminum wiring, which is considered a safety hazard.
“Aluminum wiring connections often loosen up over time,” says Greg Fletcher, a master electrician, educator, and author of several books on wiring.
“That can cause overheating and possibly fires at receptacles when appliances are plugged in to them.” An inspection can determine whether it’s safe to leave the wiring in place.
According to a 2009 study by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, almost 50% of homes built in 2008 included structured wiring, a sure sign of its growing value to home owners.
Old houses often need updates to electrical systems; the author’s 1903 home was no exception.
And the older your house is, the greater the chances that the wiring might be outdated or unsafe.
Old wiring—even knob and tube wiring that dates back to the early 20th century—isn’t inherently dangerous, but unless you were around when the house was built, you can’t be sure the electrical system is up to code.
Follow these tips to get it done without causing undue—or irreparable—damage to your building.
(Photo: Jon Crispin) Computers, blenders, TVs, even refrigerators—none of these existed when many historic homes were built and first wired.
The lights come on when you flip the switch, the TV works, and the refrigerator keeps food cold.