Cost of Redoing the Electrical in a House by David Weedmark In older homes, even changing an outlet can quickly require a major electrical overhaul. Updating the electrical wiring in a house is not the way most homeowners want to spend their remodeling budget. The cost depends more on the age and construction of the house, rather than the size of the home.
For example, dropping a new wire from the attic into drywall walls in a modern house is much easier and less expensive than trying to fish wire through old plaster walls from a muddy crawlspace. It's a good idea to keep in mind that these costs are an investment and can increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Certainly, being able to sleep each night without worrying about an electrical fire is priceless. However, the hourly rate alone is not as important as the electrician's experience and capabilities.
A good rule of thumb is to get quotes from three electricians. You can contact your municipality's building code office to ensure they are licensed to do the work and the Better Business Bureau to check their ratings. Bundling several small projects together may get you a discounted rate, especially if the electrician needs to account for travel costs for each job.
Dividing Up the Project Dividing a large electrical project into smaller pieces won't save you any money, but it will make it easier to budget. Some projects should be always be grouped together. For example, if you are upgrading an old fuse box to a circuit breaker, that's a good time to upgrade the service to your house to a amp service, simply because the service will often have to be disconnected and reconnected anyway.
Once this is done and the wiring already in place is up to code, you may be able to break the rest of the projects into two or three sections, like the kitchen, second floor or garage. Complete Overhaul Any small electrical job, like changing a light fixture or changing the cover on a wall outlet, has the potential of becoming a major project requiring a complete overhaul. This is more often the case with older homes, as wires and the insulation surrounding them have a tendency to become brittle over time.
Adjusting a wire could break the insulation or crack the wire, requiring the entire wire to be replaced. Once an electrician gets inside the walls, there's a possibility new dangers may be found.
Changes in electrical codes may necessitate rewiring, even if a danger doesn't seem to be imminent. Even a new home is not immune to an overhaul. How safe your wiring is depends on how well it was installed and what materials were used. You may have hired a competent electrician, but you have no guarantee that the last homeowner was as diligent. DIY Doing some electrical work yourself can save you money on hiring an electrician, but this task is not for everyone.
One mistake can easily burn down a house and kill your family. It's important to keep in mind that electricians study for years as apprentices and must pass rigorous testing before they are licensed.
Laws vary between municipalities on what you can and can't do yourself. You can call your local building code office to see what's allowed in your community. In some municipalities, even running a wire to a new electrical outlet requires an inspection and an electrical permit, plus the work must be done by a licensed electrician.
Many states require you, the homeowner, do the work if it is not conducted by a licensed electrician.