Rewiring your home
Maintaining the condition of a property’s electrics is one of the most important responsibilities that comes with being a homeowner or landlord. Faulty or unsafe electrics can cause life-threatening injury and pose a serious fire hazard, making it essential that you keep an eye on the age and condition of your electrics to ensure that you spot any potential problems before they become a danger.
Whilst paying for a full electrical rewire may not seem like the most exciting investment, it is one that has substantial benefits. A full rewire will not only keep you, your family and your property safe, it can also future proof your home and increase your property’s value.
What does rewiring a house involve?
Your home’s electrical cables run under the flooring and through the walls, so rewiring will require flooring to be lifted and walls drilled into, making it a considerably messy and disruptive job.
If you’re renovating a house, a rewire should be completed at the same stage as any plumbing or work to the heating system, and certainly before any plastering or cosmetic work is undertaken.
During a full rewire your electrician will:
- Install new cabling.
- Fit new back boxes on sockets and switches.
- Rewire telephone and TV aerial sockets.
- Rewire power and lighting circuits.
- Add or move sockets, light fixtures, and switches if required.
- Add modern electrical technology if required, e.g. automated lighting, speaker cabling, network cabling and smart home technology.
Rewires are generally completed in two stages, although both stages can be completed at the same time if surface cables and accessories are being used:
First stage – cabling, wiring, circuits and back boxes are all replaced.
Second stage – lighting fittings and face-plates on sockets and switches and are installed. All wiring is connected to the consumer unit to make everything live.
Benefits of rewiring
Although safety is the primary reason to rewire your home, there are also several functional benefits of updating your home’s electrical cables too.
Here are the top benefits of rewiring your home:
Peace of mind that you have invested in a safer electrical system.
Reduces the risk of an electrical fire.
Ensures that your electrics are compliant with current regulations.
Increases your home’s value.
You can choose all new fixtures and fittings.
You can choose where new sockets and switches are located.
Make your home more energy-efficient.
Install new ‘smart’ technology.
How often should a house be rewired?
There is no definitive time frame for rewiring a house, but if your home’s wiring is over 25 years old it may need either updating, or a full rewire, to bring it up to current safety standards.
Electrical inspections should be carried out at least every 10 years if you own your house, and every 5 years if you’re a landlord to make sure that everything is still safe and in full working order.
When does a house need rewiring?
Aside from when the electrical system becomes outdated, there are a couple of other instances that may require you to get your home rewired:
When electrics become unsafe – if at any point your electrics become unsafe or stop meeting current regulations, it is very important that you get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid fire or injury.
If you make significant alterations or additions to your wiring – all new domestic wiring will need to conform to Part P of the Building Regulations and existing wiring will need to be improved to make sure it can cope with the additional load of the new wiring being added.
Signs your home may need rewiring
If your electrics are displaying any of the following problems or signs of being outdated, then you should urgently seek help and advice from an electrician.
- Discolouration around sockets or plugs.
- Fuses keep blowing.
- Buzzing or crackling noises.
- Burning smell.
- Constantly flickering lights.
- Wiring has rubber, fabric or lead cabling insulation (modern wiring should be PVCu coated).
- Old fashioned fuse box (consumer unit) with a wooden back and white ceramic fuses.
Wiring regulations (18th edition)
Wiring regulations are in place to protect you, your family, and your home from electrical hazards. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that they have proof that all electrical work carried out on their property has been completed according to current regulations and is safe. The best way for a landlord to provide you with proof your rented accommodation is electrically safe, is to provide you with an electrical installation certificate, or a condition report. For more information please see here
All domestic electrical work must be compliant with Approved Document Part P of the Building Regulations. Part P states that: ‘all electrical work, no matter how minor, should follow the rules in BS 7671 for (the) design, installation, inspection, testing and certification.’
BS 7671, which is often simply referred to as the ‘IET wiring regulations’ lays out the UK’s national standard for safe electrical installation.