Rewiring a house can be a daunting task for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. That’s why only a competent and qualified electrician should do electrical work like this. A customer will always imagine major upheaval. For example, an electrician might have to lift carpets and floorboards, make holes in plasterboard and dig grooves in brick walls. They imagine there’s no way they can continue to live at home while the work goes on. So, they postpone major electrical work until circumstances force them into doing something.
Some of this is true, but it doesn’t have to happen like that. You see, only a qualified person can do electrical work at this level. And, only they know the best and quickest way to complete the job without making too much mess. There’s an old saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg”. And, indeed, you can’t carry out electrical work in your home without some disruption. But, it will be worth it in the long term.
So, let’s look at how much this work costs, shall we?
The average cost to rewire a house will be around £2,500 to £3,500. Assuming you’ve got a typical 2 bedroom terraced house in the UK, it should take between 5 to 8 days.
Electrical Wiring Installation Costs
Electrical rewiring costs vary depending on various factors.
- Size? If you have a large house, the overall cost will be more than if you have a small home.
- Occupied or not? It’s far easier to rewire a house if the occupants aren’t living in it at the time. Electricians work faster in an empty property and won’t have to worry about making it livable again at the end of each working day.
- Fixtures & fittings? Cheap, standard white PVC fittings are easier to install than brass or stainless steel.
- Sockets and fittings. The cost will also depend on the number of sockets and light fittings. Also, you might choose security lighting, mains powered smoke alarms, and outside power points.
- Location. The labour costs vary depending on where you are in the UK. London and the Southeast will always be more expensive.
- Age. Rewiring an old house will usually be more expensive than a newer house.
Rewiring Cost Calculation
Doing your own cost calculation is generally the best way to start. The table below shows average estimates for various types of property. Compare these with your home and decide which listed property is similar to yours. You’ll find, the cost of electrical work should be similar.
|Property||Price range||Duration of work|
|Two bedrooms terraced house||£2,500 to £3,500||5 to 8 days|
|Three bedrooms semi–detached house||£3,000 to £4,500||6 to 10 days|
|Four bedrooms detached house||£3,800 to £5,700||10 to 15 days|
These prices assume the house is empty and cleared of furniture.
So you know what’s included, a total rewire job will typically include the following as standard.
- Remove old wiring and fittings.
- Install new cables.
- Install a new consumer unit with circuit breakers.
- Renew all wiring from the consumer unit to the electricity meter.
- Install standard white PVC electrical socket outlets and switches.
- Final installation certification.
- Minor plastering work to fill chases around the conduit. However, this does not include painting and decorating.
Why Rewire a house?
Many people wonder why their property needs rewiring. It’s simple really, electricity is dangerous. And, the fixtures and fittings may degrade and no longer operate correctly. When this happens, the house might burn down, causing not only property damage but a loss of life too. Everyone wants peace of mind when it comes to household electrics and they want to be sure that their circuits are safe. The UK Building Regulations state that a domestic electrical wiring circuit must be regularly inspected. This means, every ten years if you live in your own home or every five years if the house is a rental. It’s very easy for a qualified professional to inspect the circuits. It causes almost no disruption and afterwards, they issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This certifies the condition of the electrical system. An EICR involves:
- Inspection of all fuse boards or consumer units.
- Inspect a representative sample of switches, sockets and light fittings.
- Check the polarity of the installation.
- Test all protective devices such as circuit breakers and earthing wire. These protect occupiers from electrical shock.
Your system will only need rewiring if the appropriate test indicates the following:
- The wiring is out of date and has poor insulation.
- Or the fixtures and fittings no longer operate properly.
The electrician will check everything, and give you an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) if all is OK. This shows that the domestic circuits complied with the regulations when they were installed. Only a qualified NICEIC or an ELECSA registered electrical contractor can issue the certificate.
Costs depend on the size of the property, the extent of the installation, and whereabouts in the country you live. You can see some typical average and indicative estimates below.
|Property size||Cost of EICR|
|One bedroom flat||£150 minimum|
|Two bedroom flat||£150 to £170|
|Three bedroom flat||£180 to £220|
|One and two–bedroom house||£160 to £190|
|Three and four–bedroom house||£200 to £250|
|Five bedroom house||£300 minimum|
|Larger houses||Depending on the size of the house and number of rooms.|
Don’t forget, an EIC Report will only highlight unsafe areas. i.e faulty connections, outdated and deteriorated wiring, and inadequate short circuit protection.
How can you tell if a house needs rewiring?
Everyone approves of having up-to-date electrical circuits that are safe and operate reliably. So, don’t wait for your 10-year inspection. Instead, watch out for tell-tale signs that show you need an electrical inspection and possibly a re-wire.
- Is the consumer unit plastic and does it have a wooden backing, cast iron switches, black cable, no labelling or do you have a fuse box only? If so it’s out of date and you need a replacement.
- Do you have a fuse box rather than a consumer unit? Fuse boxes protect a circuit by allowing a special piece of wire inside the fuse to melt if the electric current is too large. Unfortunately, the time it takes for the wire to melt is long enough to electrocute someone. Get circuit breakers instead.
- Are your wall sockets out of date? Are the sockets or switches cracked or discoloured? Do you have the round pin plugs and sockets rather than modern three–pin sockets? Do the plugs feel hot? All are signs that you need an inspection.
- Do your breakers trip often? Could there be faults with current surges or with earthing?
- Do the wires have old insulation colours? Do you have aluminium wiring? Check that the cables have an earth wire and connection. These are all signs of old wiring.
- Have you got lights that flicker or dim repeatedly? Do your light bulbs blow more often than they should? These are signs that you may have faulty connections.
What is the difference between a consumer unit and a fuse box?
Both these electrical circuit components do exactly the same job. They stop the electrical current from flowing in the circuit. This is called ‘tripping’ the circuit.
- Consumer Unit. When a circuit ‘trips’, a consumer unit will automatically turn off the power. You’ll know which circuit has tripped because the circuit breaker switch will read ‘OFF’. This allows the electrician to easily identify the faulty circuit and fix the problem before switching the circuit breaker to ‘ON’. Thus restoring the power.
- Fuse Box. A fuse box uses fuses rather than circuit breakers. Each fuse contains a length of special wire that will melt if you have an overloaded circuit. The melted wire, therefore, breaks the circuit and stops the current from flowing. It’s not very easy to identify which fuse has ‘BLOWN’. And, you must replace a blown fuse before restoring the electrical circuit.
A consumer unit isn’t just the modern version of a fuse box. One of its best features is the speed of operation. The switch will trip and stop the current from flowing before there’s any danger of electrocution. On the other hand, fuse wire takes a comparatively long time to melt. So, if you still have a fuse box in your property it probably won’t comply with the latest electrical regulations. You’ll need to replace it with a consumer unit and circuit breakers on the next inspection.
Other jobs that an electrician can do
While the electrician is in your home, it’s a good idea to get those other little electrical jobs done. If you need new lights and more sockets, install them while the place is in upheaval. By the way, don’t assume that your estimate includes these extras in the rewire cost. It will cost more.
Typical jobs could be:
- Replacing a light fitting.
- Install security light and motion sensor
- Replace kitchen fluorescent lighting to LED downlights.
- Adding extra power sockets
|Replace fusebox with consumer unit.||£350 to £550||Take 1–day maximum.
Issue an NICEIC Electrical Installation Certificate and Part P Notification.
|Replacing light fitting.||£30 to £60||Less than 1 hour.|
|Install security light and sensor.||£100 to £150||3 hours.|
|Replace fluorescent lights with LED.||£300 to £500||5 to 8 hours.|
Other useful electrical fittings include external lights on the patio. You can have a pump installed for the new fish pond. How about garden lights? You probably need mains operated smoke alarms in the kitchen and elsewhere. Why not install an outside power socket? And, add lighting and power sockets into the garden shed and garage.
Hiring an electrician or DIY?
A qualified electrician should carry out domestic wiring installations and additions. Only then, will you receive an Electrical Installation Certificate. However, if you’re good at DIY and understand domestic electrical systems, you can do the work yourself. But, a qualified electrician must inspect and check your work before issuing the certificate.
Rewiring a house is not a job for an amateur. The slightest mistake could cause serious problems like fire and electrocution. Furthermore, you’ll also find that your house insurers won’t cover your property in the event of a claim. They always ask for all electrical installation certificates.
If you decide to rewire your property yourself, contact the local Building Control office first. The inspector will then check your work at different points in the installation. He will ensure it complies with ‘Part P’ of the Building Regulations before you receive an EIC. Remember, Building Control charge for this service and if the inspector finds anything wrong, you will have to pay for it to be done properly. Usually, it’s always easier to ask a qualified electrician to do the work.
Domestic electrical regulations
First, you must know that the legal requirements for England and Wales are ‘Part P’ of the Building Regulations.
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) list all the electrical standards and codes of practice that ensure a safe electrical installation. This is, however, a complete list of all requirements. Some of which do not apply to domestic installations. In practice, ‘Part P’ of the Building Regulations covers everything you need to know.
The UK government has a competent person scheme that specifies who can approve electrical installations.
House Rewiring FAQ
How often should you rewire a house?
Normally, domestic wiring should last for about 25 years. However, you must have your electrical system inspected every 10 years. And, receive an Electrical Installation Condition Report. This will specify the condition of your system and highlight any remedial work.
How long does it take to rewire a house?
This depends on the size of the house, and how many electrical fittings you have. A two-bedroom terraced house will take from 5 to 8 days while a four–bedroom detached house will take between 10 and 15 days. Remember, the time spent also depends on the number of electrical sockets in the room. For example, a kitchen rewire will probably take longer than a dining room rewire. You also have to take into account adjoining systems. For example, rewiring a flat with its party walls, floors and ceilings may take longer than a small house.
How disruptive is the job?
Rewiring any property will be disruptive. Most electricians hide wiring inside walls, ceilings and under floors. A domestic rewire will need furniture moved out of the way, carpets and floorboards lifting and channels cut in the walls. The job will speed up incredibly if the electrician doesn’t have to make the property habitable at the end of each working day. So, if your home needs a rewire, perhaps you can go away for a few days.
Can you rewire a house without removing drywall?
This answer depends on various factors. It’s an easier job if you know where the wiring runs. Some wiring runs in the attic space and down cavities whereas others attach to stud work using staples. A good electrician will know how to rewire a house making the least possible mess so don’t worry too much. Or, the electrician might disconnect the old wiring and leave it in place. Then, run new surface wiring down the walls, in protective trunking.
Get Quotes From Local Electricians
Electrical rewiring isn’t something to take on lightly. It’s a skill that only a competent and experienced electrician can do properly. You must follow many national regulations to make it a safe installation and an electrician knows the best way to do this.
You might want help finding an electrician and getting some estimates for rewiring your property. If so, complete the form on this page and you’ll receive 3 or 4 estimates from qualified electricians local to you.