Rewiring Your Old Home? 4 Ways to Make Sure It’s Updated Correctly

Rewiring your home may be necessary because of electrical hazards, failing circuits or the need for greater capacity because of new or more powerful appliances, but it’s a complex project that isn’t for do-it-yourselfers. When you make good decisions about who will do the work and what you want them to do, you can save hassle and get the best results.

Consider Capacity

Homes have more appliances than ever, so you’ll probably want more capacity than you had before. Regardless of your home’s previous level of electrical service, you’ll want at least 100 amps, the minimum allowed by the National Electrical Code. The standard in most areas is now 200 amps for new and updated service. That should be enough for most families, although large homes or those with all-electric HVAC systems may need 250 amps of service or more. Considering the capacity that your home has is incredibly important when rewiring it. You do not want to overload your electrical system, so be sure to take accurate readings with outlet meters and plan accordingly. The wattage may be different in different areas of the home, like the kitchen, for example. This is something to keep in mind when taking on a project like this.

Think About GFCI Outlets

Outlets that are near water should include ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to prevent electrical shock. If your home was wired before 1971, you may not have GFCI outlets. Newer homes may not have them everywhere you need them. National code requires them in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, crawl spaces, basements and anywhere that an outlet is within six feet of a water source. All outdoor outlets should include GFCI technology too. GFCI outlets are super helpful, because they help protect the entire electrical system from overloading if water is splashed into a socket. They shut off one outlet at a time if water enters into it, thereby saving your electrical system from being completely fried.

Rely on Your Contractor

A competent electrical contractor can help you make smart choices about what should be improved or changed when your house is rewired. Look for an electrical contractor with the certifications and licenses required in your area plus a track record of quality work. If you don’t know an electrical contractor already, ask any company that you’re considering for references to help make sure past customers are pleased with their work. Relying on your contractor is smart, as they will know how exactly to go about rewiring your home correctly. Remember to listen to and write down all the suggestions the contractor tells you. That way, you will have a healthy electrical system in your home for years to come.

Add Outlets

Older homes usually don’t have as many outlets as newer ones. Aim for outlets every six to eight feet in every room. Convenient outlets reduce the need for extension cords, which can be a fire hazard when used incorrectly. Make sure you have outlets installed for every television, desktop computer and small appliance. Large appliances may need outlets on their own circuits. You won’t regret adding outlets while you’re having work done anyway. Having a few extra outlets is always a good idea, and a better idea than having too few. Adding outlets is a great way to increase the capacity of your home’s electrical system.

Choosing the right contractor and considering the details of your rewiring job carefully can help you and your family benefit from a safe home that meets your needs for many years. When you flip a switch or turn on an appliance, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether there’s enough safe power available.