Modern builds bless their inhabitants with the latest and greatest electrical wiring. But unfortunately, the entire country wasn’t built yesterday. With almost 20% of Americans living in homes built before 1950, and the vast majority of houses having been built before the 2000s, electronic issues can be common.
This means that a large portion of Americans struggle with electrical issues and/or simply want to bring their properties up to the more reliable modern standards. If you fit into either of these groups, this article is for you.
Here, we will break down the costs of rewiring your home. Equipping you with the information necessary to get going with your own rewiring project, while keeping costs within your budget.
Average Costs of Rewiring Your Home
The burning question when it comes to home improvements is always “how much?”, so let’s get that out of the way first.
The cost to rewire a moderately sized home range greatly. But, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,500 to $17,500. With around $44,000 being the limit for larger or more complex projects.
With the price range being incredibly large, it’s important to understand the key costs so that you can better estimate the cost of your build, which we will cover in a moment.
That said, the most surefire way to reach an estimate is to first get an inspection from a trained professional. The opinion of a professional in invaluable as it takes into account a wide variety of variables which can be hard to account for—from the specifications of your house to local prices. This will give you a strong ballpark figure to play with, laying the groundwork to help you get the best deal possible.
Cost per Square Foot ($2.50 - $6)
The average cost of a job can be broken down into a price per square foot. In this you can expect will be somewhere in the ballpark of $2.50 to $6. However, this ballpark figure may shift around depending on your home’s accessibility, cost of materials and other specifics.
For the average entire single-family home of 2,301 square feet, this places prices at around $5,750 - $14,000.
With such figures being all-inclusive of materials, labor, permits and new electrical panels and outlets. (Related: How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Electrical Panel?)
Component Costs of Rewiring
Understanding the main costs for rewiring will help you form the most accurate rough estimate possible. These costs include both costs for replacing wires and peripheral costs for inspections, labor and finishing repair work.
Where you live can vary the cost. This both applies to whether you live remotely and need to ship large amounts of materials long distance, or whether you live in a particular state. As prices vary across the country, it is always best to get the advice of a local professional to best predict the price of your project.
Inspections and Permits
Depending on where you live, permits requirements will vary greatly. Thus, it is essential to get an inspection from a local professional to kickstart your project. This inspection from a qualified electrician will usually weigh in between $150 to $325.
Licensed electricians will need to complete the work to ensure that wiring is completed to national safety standards, while also ensuring safety precautions are taken during the wiring itself.
National averages range between $60 - $150 per hour.
Number of Outlets, Appliances and Devices
The number of outlets usually goes hand in hand with the size of the house. But all houses are built differently, meaning that some smaller homes may have more outlets or needs than others. A factor which will, of course, increase the cost as more rewiring would be required.
If you want or need to add any outlets or switches, they will cost between $130 and $250 per item.
Accessibility of the Home
Outside of costs per square feet, accessibility can have a profound effect on the price. To be clear, when we mention accessibility here, we are not talking about how remote your house is. Instead, we are talking about how easy it is to access the wiring.
Certain homes without crawlspaces can be difficult to rewire, resulting in the need for some superficial damage to drywall to access wires. If your house has poor accessibility this can quickly add large costs to the project, given the need for repair and redecoration after the wiring is replaced.
That said, the goal is always to keep as many walls intact—as this makes the job far easier for the technicians as well as being lighter on your wallet.
Drywall Repair and Redecoration
After a wiring job there will likely be at least a few walls which will need repair and redecoration.
The national average for one room’s drywall to be repaired is around $500. Fortunately, the cost will slowly drop the more rooms which need repairing, with the cost of repairing an entire house after electricals running up to $1,400.
It is paramount to realize that this cost is not usually included in a rewiring quote, meaning that you will want to account for this cost early on.
Telling Signs You Need to Rewire Your Home
The key question at the heart of rewiring your house is “does my house actually need rewiring?” There are three key questions which can help to determine if the answer to this is a firm yes, or if you can afford to delay your rewiring another few years.
1. Does your home have dated wiring?
Here you should be aware of two common types of wiring that can be a hazard.
Firstly, there is knob and tube wiring, commonly used in houses built between the 1880s and 1930s. According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, this type of wiring can become a fire risk when surrounded by insulation or if it is modified incorrectly. What’s more is some insurance companies won’t cover homes with knob and tube wiring unless it has been considered safe by a contractor.
Secondly, we have aluminum wiring which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s due to copper shortages. While these wires can be safe, they have a tendency of getting too hot. This type of wiring can be solved by a partial fix, but many consider it more worthwhile to completely rewire the home.
2. Have you experienced clear electrical problems?
At the sight of electrical problems, one should immediately think of what the cause might be. In many cases the cause will be the wiring. Common wiring problems result in issues like:
If such issues are commonplace, it may be time to get a professional inspector in to help diagnose your electrical issues and provide advice on whether your home needs rewiring.
3. Are you planning to sell your house?
New buyers will expect the electrics of a house to work properly, unless otherwise stated. Thus, if you have any outlying electrical issues you will need to get them fixed in order to secure your sale.
It’s worth noting that working electrical systems are unlikely to add large amounts of value to your home, apart from in exceptional cases.
With all this in mind you may be considering rewiring only part of your home. While this may initially sound like it will save you money, in the long run it will likely cost you more. This is because smaller jobs are often proportionally more expensive. Thus, we recommend rewiring your entire house when needed. If you are considering otherwise, ensure to consult an expert first.
Why Hire a Professional Electrician?
While you may feel like you can take on the task of doing your house electronics yourself, unless you are a trained professional, we strongly recommend hiring a professional for the job. There are a few key reasons for this:
Choosing the Right Service Dealer
So, you’ve decided to hire a professional. You’ve made the right choice. But now comes the dreaded step of having to wade through all the available service providers to find the best deal you feel comfortable with.
To fast-track this process, we recommend checking each provider for a few things:
With these boxes ticked, chances are you’re onto finding some of the best electricians in your area. But you may still have a selection to choose from. Now comes the part where you can get in touch with the companies to get both a quote and a personal feel.
While you may be inclined to accept the cheaper offer, remember that feel can mean a lot. As, after all, you want to ensure that you are comfortable with your chosen electricians.
So, at this stage, be sure to shop around until you find someone that gives you both a suitable quote and a great gut feeling.
Tips to Keep Costs Down
Throughout the project if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to ensure you aren’t incurring any unnecessary cost. So here are 7 ways to keep costs down:
- 1Get an inspection first. Getting advice from a licensed professional will help you identify exactly what wiring is necessary. While these inspections do cost money, they are likely to save you far more than they cost. And, better yet, you may be able to get away with simple, cheap repairs.
- 2Obtain the correct permits. Different states require different permits, but without the correct permits you can be fined. To avoid that unnecessary expense be sure to ask your inspector which permits are necessary. These costs can also often be covered by electricians but be sure to check first. Never assume.
- 3Do your research. Researching the best electricians in your area can help save you money while also giving you peace of mind. So, this is an essential part of the process.
- 4Don’t DIY. DIY can often cost you more money than hiring a professional, in terms of time taken and additional expenses. Thus, we strongly recommend hiring a professional and, to be honest, in many cases you won’t have a choice.
- 5Avoid rewiring work that involves opening walls. If possible, avoid damaging walls, as these additional costs can end up accounting for around 25% of the total budget.
- 6Combine projects when possible. If your technician advises you only need to replace the electronics in one room but that you will need to replace others in a few years, be sure to combine these projects. Larger projects are always proportionally cheaper than many small projects.
- 7Shop around. Obtain an array of quotes from electricians in your local area in order to find the best quote for you, weighing up cost and gut feeling.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does wiring last?
The average life expectancy is 50 to 70 years.
What type of wiring do I need?
There are lots of technical choices, so it is worth contacting an electrical specialist and not choosing home wiring yourself.
Can I replace wiring on my own?
It is not advisable to replace your wiring unless you are a trained professional. This is both due to the personal risk as well as the long-lasting fire risk that can come with incorrect wiring.
How long does it take to replace wiring?
Average jobs take between 2 and 10 days. Rewiring will take longer if the house is occupied during the process.
How much will it cost?
Average rewiring jobs will cost around $4,500 to $17,500, at an average of $2.50 - $6 per square foot.
Wiring is a complex part of houses, but it is essential for modern living. Thus, ensuring that you have functioning, safe wiring is key to contemporary housing.
The bottom line for rewiring your home is to get the right professionals. First you should get a professional inspector to inform you about what rewiring needs to be completed, then you will need to search for the best electricians for the job.
You don’t want to cut corners with wiring your house as a poorly wired house is a huge hazard for anyone who lives inside. Thus, it’s well worth investing in high-quality as it will not only keep you and your family safe, but it will likely save you money in the long run.