Rewiring your house is a critical safety measure to prevent electrical fires and other hazards. On average, the cost to rewire a house ranges from about $2,500 to $9,000. However, the actual price tag will vary based on the size of the house and the scope of the project, among other factors. This article explores these costs, the variables that affect the overall expense, and possible financing options for house rewiring projects.
Unlike other residential renovations and repairs, rewiring your home isn’t a visually obvious upgrade. But that doesn’t make the need to update the house’s electrical systems and wiring any less critical. In fact, failing to upgrade your home wiring when necessary can have serious — and even fatal — consequences.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit industry association, roughly 51,000 home electrical fires occur each year, causing about 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. So while the cost to rewire a house is expensive, investing in a high-quality professional for this essential task is vital for your home’s safety and your family’s well-being.
Before we get into specific rewiring costs, let’s take a quick look at some issues that may indicate your home is in need of rewiring.
Does your house need to be rewired?
If you have an older home that has not been updated, there’s a good chance that you may need to have the entire house rewired. In some cases, the wiring may have been updated in some areas, but not others. Factors to look out for include the following:
- Circuit breakers or fuses that keep tripping
- Flickering lights
- Discolored or burnt-looking outlets or light switches
- Shocks when touching switches
- Sparks when plugging or unplugging appliances, lamps, etc.
- Buzzing noises or a burning smell
How much does it cost to rewire a house?
The fact is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much it costs to rewire a house. Average costs vary depending on factors such as where you live and the size of your home. In general, however, expect to pay between $2,500 and $9,000 to rewire your home, including labor and materials.
“But this can be higher for larger or more complex homes,” explains Jesel Silva, senior marketing manager at PlanHub. “Low-end rewiring projects may start at around $1,500, while high-end projects in extensive or older homes can surpass $15,000.”
Factors that affect the cost of rewiring a house
The cost to rewire your home depends on its size and age, the number and nature of the rooms being rewired, and the amount of wire that needs to be replaced. Each of these factors impacts the labor cost, which accounts for the majority of the project’s overall price tag.
If you’re wondering how much it will cost to rewire a house, consider the following factors:
Size of the home
Rewiring projects are typically charged per square foot, so a larger home means more wiring, more outlets, and, consequently, higher costs. When accounting for both labor and materials, a rewiring project can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot. For a 2,000-square-foot home, that would run you between $4,000 and $8,000.
System type and materials
The project costs will also vary based on the types of wiring and cables being used. For instance, nonmetallic (or NM) cables, which are the most common for residences, cost about $0.60 to $0.80 per linear foot.
Electrical panel upgrades
If your home is particularly old and has an outdated electrical service panel, you may need to replace this equipment as well, which can cost $900 to $2,500. This range depends largely on how many amps your house needs.
You’ll need to pay a licensed electrician to do rewiring work. Typically, they charge by the hour, with the usual estimate being one hour of work for every 100 square feet of wiring. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour for an electrician, and possibly more depending on where you live. As Silva points out, both labor and materials may be priced differently from place to place.
Factors that affect the cost of rewiring a house […] also include the region or location where the house is situated. Labor and material costs can vary significantly from one area to another.” — Jesel Silva, PlanHub
Since rewiring a home requires removing the old before installing the new, the labor cost will vary greatly depending on how easy it is for an electrician to access the vintage cables. For example, if workers have to take down walls to get to the wiring (rather than access the wires from attics or basements), it will add to the overall cost of the project.
Permits and inspections
Permit and inspection criteria can also have an impact on the project costs, based on your current system and where you live. Usually, these are required to ensure your wiring is up to modern standards, abides by any local codes, and will be safe for you and your family for decades to come.
How to finance the cost of rewiring a house
Rewiring a home is not cheap. Many homeowners choose to finance the project instead of paying for the work with a check or credit card. Luckily, there are a few options for funding a rewiring project.
A personal loan can usually get you the cash you need in a short time frame, perhaps even within a few business days. You often don’t need any collateral to qualify, but you will need a steady income and a good credit score to get the best interest rate.
Home equity loans
A home equity loan allows you to borrow against the equity you have built up in your property. As with a personal loan, a home equity loan is a one-time loan that you receive in a lump sum. Home equity loans usually come with a fixed interest rate and equal monthly payments, making them easier to budget for, but the loan process can be lengthy compared to other loan options. You’ll also need a good credit score to qualify.
Home equity lines of credit
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be the best solution if you anticipate having multiple phases of your rewiring project or you aren’t sure of the full cost upfront. This is because a HELOC works kind of like a credit card, allowing you to withdraw money only as you need it (up to your approved credit limit). However, like home equity loans, getting approved for a HELOC may take some time, and you’ll need to have a solid credit history.
Home equity investments
A further option to consider if you want to finance the cost of rewiring your house is a home equity investment, also known as a shared equity agreement. This alternative involves selling off some of your home’s future equity in exchange for a lump sum of cash now. Income and credit requirements tend to be less strict for shared equity agreements, making them a better choice for some consumers.
Tips to save on home rewiring costs
While homeowners need to be cost-conscious, it’s generally not a good idea to take a DIY approach or skimp on rewiring projects. There’s a reason electricians require professional certifications: one wrong move can result in electrocution or a fire. It’s also easy to cause additional damage when doing electrical work.
“We always recommend the expertise of a professional. While YouTube and other online resources can provide information and guidance, rewiring a house is a complex and potentially hazardous task. It requires a deep understanding of electrical systems, safety protocols, and compliance with local building codes,” says Silva.
“Attempting to rewire a house without the proper knowledge and experience can lead to safety hazards, electrical issues, and costly mistakes.”
That said, there are ways to minimize ancillary or unexpected costs when you have your home rewired.
Get an inspection first
Have a licensed electrician perform a full inspection of your home’s wiring before moving forward with a rewiring project. It is possible that you could make do with minor repairs instead.
Get multiple quotes
“It’s essential to obtain multiple quotes from reputable electricians to ensure you’re getting a competitive price,” says Silva.
Even if you know an electrician or have recommendations from friends, rewiring is a big and expensive project. Getting multiple quotes is the only way to know you’re getting the best price. In addition, ask potential contractors for a bid in writing rather than a general estimate. A written bid should be more accurate, whereas an estimate is more of a ballpark figure.
Avoid rewiring work that involves opening walls
If possible, opt for simpler approaches. In many cases, wiring can be accessed from attics or cellars, eliminating the need to break into walls (and increase the project costs in the process).
Consider the materials needed
You may not always need the most high-end materials to do the job right, says Silva. “Being open to different wiring materials, where appropriate, can offer cost-saving opportunities.”
While being proactive and practicing preventive maintenance may not save you money on this particular project, you can save yourself money and headaches down the road.
“By properly maintaining your electrical system and addressing issues promptly, you can prevent the need for a complete rewiring job in the first place,” Silva advises. “Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify problems early, potentially saving on the overall cost of electrical repairs and upgrades.”
- Replacing faulty or outdated wiring in your home can be pricey, but it may save your life.
- On average, the cost to rewire a house starts at around $2,500, but the exact expense will depend on the scope of the project and the size of your home, among other factors.
- If cost is a concern, you may be able to finance your rewiring project with a personal loan, home equity loan, HELOC, or home equity investment.
- You can save money on the cost of rewiring your home by getting multiple quotes, using less expensive materials (where appropriate), and getting an electrical inspection first.