House Rewiring Guide
27 Oct, 2020, 4:46 AM

When people want to renovate, a kitchen or bathroom tend to be the go-to renovations. Living in a beautiful space makes you feel better about your home. House rewiring on the other hand isn’t one of those immediately-obvious home upgrades but it’s one that you definitely need to consider, especially if you’re in an older home. House rewiring is about home safety as well as functionality, and even though it seems like a big investment it really does pay off.

Faulty house wiring is one of the major causes of residential home fires, so it’s something you really do need to take seriously. You also risk things like electrocution, or causing expensive damage to your electrical appliances. The costs associated with fixing your house wiring are nothing when compared to consequences of faulty wiring.

The good thing is that there are little indicators that help identify the need for house rewiring, and they can be pretty easy to spot. If you’re experiencing any of the following issues in your home, you may need to call an electrician to come and inspect your wiring before it becomes a real problem!

  • You can hear a buzzing noise coming from electrical outlets or lights
  • Your lights flicker or dim frequently
  • You find your fuses blow more often than they should, or you’re constantly tripping your circuit breakers
  • When you plug something into an outlet, you see a spark or smell a faint burning smell
  • Touching a wall outlet sends a slight shock or tingle to your fingers
  • Your plugs, powerboards and cords are overheating and discoloured (not including power bricks charging things like laptops or phones; some of these naturally run quite hot)
  • You don’t have enough power points in your home, so you resort to piling double adaptors and powerboards all on to the same outlet
  • Some of your wall outlets don’t work
  • Your home is over 30 years old (remembering that it’s now 2020, so a home built in 1990 is already 30 years old!) – in particular if the house is pre 1980’s, you need to make sure an inspection is carried out to ensure your wiring is still up to today’s stringent standards

Some of these indicators seem pretty innocent, but they can point to concerning issues behind the scenes that you can’t actually see until they cause a fire. Over time the insulation on your wiring can degrade or crack, the wires can fray, or vermin can damage them. Combined with the dust and dirt, or even old degraded insulation that no longer meets the required fire safety ratings, this is a recipe for disaster given the right conditions.

So what can you do to fix the problem?

Well, unfortunately you can’t fix it yourself, even if you’re a handy kind of person. That is, of course, unless you’re a properly licensed electrical contractor in your state or territory. The only electrical work you can carry out yourself legally is to change a lightbulb, because you’re not handling wiring of any sort. Even if you were to rewire your house yourself and get a licensed electrician to sign off on the work, it would not be legal. Any electrical work needs to be carried out by a properly licensed electrician, who’ll also be able to supply you with the certificate of compliance upon completion. It’s dangerous work, even if you know what you’re doing and saving a few bucks on the job is not worth the risk.

So, what is the cost of a house rewiring job?

This is a pretty open ended question. There’s a lot of factors that come into play when determining the cost of house rewiring.

How big is the house and what is the extent of the new wiring?

Do you need to add additional outlets?

Where are you located, and how old is your home?

How difficult is it to access the wiring in your home? In some instances it is necessary to cut access points into your walls or cladding and reinstate this after, and such costs can add up.

It can be as low as a couple of thousand dollars, or as high as $10,000. The more you need to get done, and the more complicated the work, the higher the price.
Of course, it could end up being a lot less than this if all you need to do is add an outlet or repair a single socket, but without seeing the job it’s not possible to ballpark a figure. Different electricians will charge different rates depending on their experience and quality of work, and also the products and materials that they end up using on your job. There are many variables that are considered in the price.

There are also things like a new switchboard and cabling, which could set you back a few thousand dollars alone.

It’s always worth getting a couple of quotes for big jobs like this, but remember that you may not always be comparing apples with apples. The cheapest price isn’t always the best choice, especially when it comes to electrical work.

So how exactly do you compare your quotes and make sure you’re getting the best deal?

First of all, check to make sure your quote is coming from a licensed electrician. You’d probably be surprised how many people are running around doing work without a license. It might not seem like a big deal if they look like they know what they’re doing, but it can have ongoing, expensive consequences. Firstly, if there’s an accident, a fire, or a problem that was caused by the electrical work, your insurance won’t cover it. Secondly, if you’re a landlord and you use unlicensed electrical work, your tenants can request that the works be carried out correctly by a legal, licensed electrician. Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s simply not safe. If someone is doing electrical work without a license, they likely don’t have the knowledge and experience to do the job properly, or they’re just interested in cost-cutting methods which could have dire consequences for you.

Next, make sure the quotes are for the same things. Different contractors will present their quotes differently, so sometimes this can be hard to do. Some will itemise their pricing, and this may actually end up costing you more than someone who prices the job up as one bulk rate. If in doubt, if there’s someone you like but you’re not sure if they’ve priced up everything the same way, you can always ask them to clarify their inclusions.

Lastly, it really pays to check people’s reviews online. There might be a reason why one company is cheaper than the next, and if they provide a bad service it’s probably going to be reflected in their ratings online.

Now, if you’re already going to be forking out a large sum of money for house rewiring, you might also want to consider some value-adding extras while you’re at it. It’s cheaper to get all your various works done at once, rather than doing bits and pieces here and there, so if it’s within your budget, you might want to consider some of these things.

  • Additional power points. This is always a really great one, especially if you’re in an older styled home that was built when things like laptops and phones weren’t around. Being able to charge your various devices wherever you might be lounging in your home is really a matter of convenience and it affects the appeal and functionality of your home.
  • Running data cabling through to your entertainment area or home office. Wifi is great, but cabled data is always going to be more reliable. Running these cables through your walls instead of along the ground is a no-brainer.

These are all extras that will add value to your home if you ever plan on selling it, plus they’ll make your life better in the meantime.

It’s a pretty lengthy process to get a full house rewired, in general taking about a week or so to get done, and the more you need and harder the job, the longer it’ll take. It’s pretty invasive, and it can be a messy, noisy process especially with older homes where walls and panelling need to be ripped open in order to access the wiring.

On the plus side, you can still stay in your home during most wiring jobs though you’ll probably want to avoid work areas where possible. Your electrician will ensure it’s safe for you to occupy as needed. Just make sure you have the discussion with your tradesperson so everyone knows what’s going on, and whether there are any rules specific to your property.

So there you have it! Our guide to house rewiring. If you have any questions about this or would like to discuss house rewiring options further, feel free to contact us.

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