Does My House Need Rewiring?
If your property / wiring is more than 30 years old, it’s likely you’ll need to rewire, at least in part, to meet modern safety regulations.
House rewiring includes replacing your old fuse box with a modern consumer unit. A fuse box controls and distributes the electricity in your home, cutting the power if an overload in one of the circuits occurs, to prevent fire and electrical damage. Consumer units are safer, comply with building regulations, and are easier to use.
If you already have a consumer unit and are extending your home, upgrading to a larger capacity model allows you to use more power without overloading the system. You’ll also need to upgrade the installation’s earth bonding.
For an owner-occupied dwelling, it’s recommended that a registered electrician inspects the wiring in your property at least every 10 years. While for a rental property, inspections are recommended every 5 years, and whenever there is a change of tenancy.
Old wiring in your home can cause the electrical systems to trip frequently, or regularly blow fuses. In serious cases, damaged or deteriorated wiring can lead to electric shocks, sparks, house fires and lethal electrocution. A clear sign your home needs a rewire is if you still have dated rubber, fabric or lead-insulated cabling. Modern wiring is PVCu coated, coloured grey or white, and twin-earthed.
Other signs include circuit breakers that trip regularly, slight shocks from switches and outlets, frequently flickering or dimming lights, damaged or exposed wires and cables. If you spot any of these warning signs call out an electrician. Your lighting circuit, appliance fused spurs, and power socket wiring may be fine, but why take the risk? Get it checked!
Rewiring is an opportunity to not only improve safety but also modern convenience – to add more switches and plugs for kitchen appliances, home computers and televisions. If you’re selling up, a recent rewire can boost its appeal to buyers. If you’re extending your property, your existing wiring may also need to be upgraded (not just extended) to cater for the increased load required to distribute power to the new areas where electrical appliances are to be used.
Defined as ‘material alterations’, improvements to wiring in existing rooms may also be required to ensure it can safely carry additional loads, and meet energy efficiency requirements e.g. central heating controls, to comply with Building Regulation BS7671. This includes both small and major renovations, like new extensions, garage, basement and loft conversions.
Rewiring can cause major disruption, so it is best to vacate rooms while the work is being done. Floor coverings and floor boards may need to be temporarily lifted, and channels routed out in the walls to access existing cabling and / or install new cabling and power outlets and switches. Electrical appliances in damp areas, such as ventilation fans and light fittings, must have moisture and mechanical protection, known as Ingress Protection or IP.
Typical Rewiring Costs
You should budget between £600 to £1000 per bedroom for rewiring your home. The number and standard of fittings required can vary the cost greatly. For example, white plastic switches and sockets are much less expensive than chrome switches. The type of lighting required will also affect price. LED recessed downlights as opposed to simple pendant lights will increase the cost. You also need to factor in the number of power sockets, lighting, cooker points, smoke detectors, extractor fans, USB sockets and switches required.
How you plan to use the property in the future should also be considered when rewiring. By installing cabling in preparation for future needs, for example a power outlet for a future electric car charger, power to a home office or swimming pool, you’ll save money the long-run if you lay the cable early, during a rewire, even if you don’t plan to use it immediately.
Benefits of rewiring your house
1. Lower electricity bills
New wiring will maintain a good electricity flow without heating the circuit and avoid short circuits and caused by an overloaded system.
A new system will ensure you are not putting yourself at risk from electrical shocks that can cause burns and even be fatal
3. Lower Insurance Premiums
Insurance companies are very aware of the dangers of faulty wiring and could refuse you cover if your wiring is old.
4. A better impression
If you’re selling your house, blinking lights, burnt sockets and charred outlets are an embarrassment when you have visitors.
5. Increased value of your house
A new wiring system can add significantly to the value of your, while old electrical wiring systems could be a concern for potential buyers, and cost you the sale.
Other situations where new wiring is required
1. Increase in energy consumption from new energy consuming systems such as air conditioning, increased computer usage, family entertainment, electric car chargers, outdoor lighting and security systems etc.
2. House extensions not only need new power sockets and lighting systems but will place an increased load on the original electrical wiring system, which may also need to be upgraded for both practical, regulatory reasons.
While rewiring is not cheap, if properly installed, it is a long-standing investment that also adds to your house value and safety.