Electrical, Electrical work

How much does it cost to rewire a house in 2021?

Outdated electrical wiring can be dangerous and is a common cause of domestic fire, so find out about the cost of rewiring a house safely here.

The average cost to rewire a two-bed house a home in the UK is £2,900. Rewiring can cost from £2,500 to £6,000 depending on the size of the property, the number of bedrooms, the time needed to complete the job, your location, and who you hire. The cost to rewrite one bedroom comes around £800 – £1,000.

Wiring installation or rewiring a home’s existing electrical system is a hazardous home project that should only assign to a licensed electrician.

To wire or rewire your property, you will need first to acquire the necessary permit, while the whole installation has to be inspected to ensure that it meets the required standards. 

Rewiring work requires permits and inspections to ensure that the installation meets the necessary standards. While this will likely delay the project more and increase the project’s price, it is necessary to ensure that your home is safe.

Why rewire a house?

Electrical safety is one of the most important things in your home, so it’s important to find out whether your electrics need rewiring. Properties built over 30 years ago have far fewer sockets to accommodate all of the electric gadgets and equipment we use in our homes today. This can lead to overloading sockets with extension leads, which can damage sensitive electrical devices and lead to a house fire.

Causes of faulty wiring and electrical malfunctions?

There are several reasons why you might be experiencing regular power outages, including the following:

System overload – a regular circuit overload is caused by excessive power usage in a limited amount of time. If you have a relatively new home (built in the last thirty years or so), you should be lucky enough to have a Circuit Breaker Panel, which forces the main switch open to halting the flow of electricity; who can easily repair this. If you have an older home, however, then it is more likely that your electricity is supplied by a traditional Fuse Board, which is basically a thin wire tube encased in glass; instead of switching off, fuses melt or disintegrate as a result of excess current supply, which can be significantly more costly and difficult to repair or replace.

Earth fault/lack of grounding – plugs provide electricity through a three-prong system, the upper-most of which relays any excess voltage into the earth beneath and outside of your home, which allows it to dissipate safely into the ground. If this particular prong and/or the connected wiring hasn’t been fitted properly, it can lead to electric shocks, system overloads, and further internal burning of the said wire.

Loose contacts – one of the most important safety issues regarding home electricity is the safe insertion of plugs and proper maintenance of plug sockets. Loose fittings are a result of repeated insertion and removal – widespread in busy households. Such looseness leads to poor conductivity and, as a result, overheating of wires and appliances, which can ultimately lead to burnt or damaged fittings.

Frayed wires/insulation – most homeowners are unaware that uPVC cables for copper wiring only have an average lifespan of twenty years. Over time they will gradually deteriorate, and internal wires may even suffer damage from hidden insects and bacteria lurking on the interiors of walls. Exposure to air causes the wires to suffer from poor insulation, leading to overheating and spark or fire risks.
Short circuit – frayed insulation can also lead to the failure of the earth wire, which can cause short circuits in the home – excess electricity fails to be diverted outside into the ground, causing the wires to burn and leaving connected appliances completely ruined.

When is Rewiring Necessary?

Old wiring: If the wiring has not been replaced for 30 years or if the cables look worn, electrical rewiring should be carried out as soon as possible by a qualified electrician.

Remodeling: When planning to do a major remodeling and you are using new materials, you will have to rewire either part or the whole property according to the Building Regulations. You will also need to upgrade the consumer unit (fuse box).

Extensions: When building an extension or converting your garage or attic, you need to make sure that you comply with Part P: Electrical regulations, which require improving all existing wiring to withstand the new electrical load safely.

* Extensions and remodels do not usually require a total rewiring of the property unless deemed necessary by the energy efficiency requirements of the Building Regulations.

 

Signs that your house needs rewiring

Burning smell: Continuous perceiving of a persistent burning smell and inability to identify the source, it could be possible that your house may have an electrical issue.

Discolored Outlets and Switches: Outlets or switches’ discoloration can signify a loose connection or faulty wiring.

Flickering lights: A flickering or dimming lights might result from a not being properly fixed bulb or simply needing changing.

Blown fuses and tripping circuit breaker: The circuit breaker’s major function is to block electrical flows when the circuit exceeds the number of amps it can handle. It is a designated safety measure to prevent electrical fires.

Outlet problems: With time, outlets can begin to wiggle and fall out of the wall. Once noticed, who must replace them.

Aluminum wiring: Aluminum wiring instead of copper wiring around the home may pose a high risk of serious injury.

Electrical shocks: If you experience electrocution when plugging an electrical appliance into an outlet, you have issues with your electricity.

An old-fashioned fuse box: This may have a wooden back, cast-iron switches, white ceramic fuses, or a mixture of fuses.

Surface-mounted cables: If surface-mounted cables are running along skirting boards and up walls, it looks unsightly and suggests minimal quick-fix rewire work has taken place.

Black rubber, lead, or fabric-covered cables: This signifies that your house needs rewiring as modern cabling is PVC coated.

Electricity in wet areas

Bathrooms, kitchens, and other wet areas have the greatest electrocution risk. There are electrical restrictions in wet areas. For instance, shaver sockets must be located away from the shower splash area and no other sockets in the bathrooms except pull-cord switches.

Electrical appliances in damp areas, such as ventilation fans and light fittings, must possess moisture and mechanical protection known as Ingress Protection or IP.

Can I do the rewiring work myself?

For safety reasons, it is essential to employ a qualified electrician for a rewire job. There are greater risks associated with poorly installed electrics. Besides putting you and your family at risk, even insurance companies may not payout in the event of a fire.

DIY electrical work isn’t unlawful but regulated by law under “Part P” of Building Regulations. This categorizes building work into; “notifiable” and “non-notifiable.” Primarily, this differentiates between work in high-risk areas such as bathrooms and minor work such as adding switches or sockets to existing circuits.

A DIYer must belong to one of the Government’s approved “Competent Person” schemes before carrying out a major electrical work which includes rewiring. For a fee, local authority inspectors will inspect the work done by Building Regulations.

Electrical Installation Condition Report Cost

Whether you rent a flat or own a house, you will need to hire a qualified electrician to perform an Electrical Installation Report (EICR). Homeowners are advised to have the test every ten years and flat tenants every five years.

As electrical installations deteriorate with use and time, each one must be inspected and tested by a competent person to ensure the safety of users by avoiding putting them at risk. Furthermore, the results of the inspection and testing need to be presented clearly in a report.

Any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions, and non-compliance with the requirements of the current edition of BS 7671 needs to be recorded, as the main purpose of the inspection and testing is to detect and to report any factors impairing or likely to impair the safety of an electrical installation.

The cost of an electrical testing report depends greatly on the size and of home you live in. Bellow, you can see how much you should expect to pay for an electrical property inspection report. 

Electrical Testing Report Cost
Property Type Number of Bedrooms Cost
Flat 2 from £120 to £150
Flat 3 from £180 to £210
House 1 or 2 from £150 to £180
House 3 or 4 from £200 to £250
House 5 or more from £300 and upwards

How to estimate the cost of wiring a house

Whether you need extra sockets in your home, old wires and fittings in the workplace to be repaired or replaced, or more extensive re-wiring of large items of machinery, the type of electrical installation you will require will depend on several factors, including:

    • The power demand on the main circuit; what you will be using the electricity for, and how often.
    • The type of occupancy and size of the building that needs repairs or rewiring.
    • Whereabouts in the country your property is situated and how it is affected by local and national regulations regarding new electrical installation.
    • The use of the property in terms of domestic, commercial, or industrial production affects the immediate environment of where the wiring and electricity must operate.

You should, therefore, take the time to think carefully about each of these concerns before calculating a clear budget and figure out: an estimate for the number of wires and cables that might be required; whether or not you are seeking a complete or partial refit on the property; the average temperature and humidity of the local environment where who will fit the wires and if Government requirements or Local Authority rules will restrict or hinder any of the work or installation you need.

Cost of electrical rewiring – Average cost of rewiring

The average cost of rewiring a house will depend on the size of the property and the condition of its existing wiring. If the wiring is ancient and damaged, then much preparation is needed to have proper wiring installed.

Two-bed terraced house

The average cost for rewiring a two-bed terraced house usually comes to £2,500, accounting for 5-8 days of work required toaverage cost of rewiring a 2 bed terraced house complete the job. The price typically includes the following work:

    • The renewal of all the wiring in the house, including installing a new electricity meter and a new consumer unit.
    • Typical white finish electrical accessories such as socket outlets and switches.
    • Testing and installation of circuits.
    • Issue of final installation certification.

The rewiring costs do not include any plastering or remodeling work that needs to be done on the property. However, the contractors will be able to provide you with a quote for these services, too, to help you understand the total cost in advance. The electrical contractor or company will also make sure that the installation meets current standards.

Three-bed semi-detached house

Based on quotes from previous rewiring jobs for 3-bed semi-detached houses, the average cost of rewiring a 3-bed semi-detached house is between £3,000 – £4,000, but the price may increase depending on where you live in the UK.

The cost includes removing old wiring and fittings in an empty house and then running new cables, installing new fittings, and doing minor plastering work for any holes in the wall. Any painting and remodeling work that might be necessary after the job is completed is the homeowner’s responsibility.

Four-bed detached house

For a 4 bed detached house, an electrician will take around 10-15 days to complete the work, so the cost will be higher as expected. The average rewiring cost for a complete rewire of a 4-bed property in the UK is around £4,000 – £5,000. The contractor or electrical company will rewire up to 10 rooms, including replacing all the fixtures and installing new wiring. Once the job is completed, the electrical contractor(s) will also issue a test certificate.

Bellow, you can see more estimates for rewiring projects.

Rewiring cost guide

House/Flat Rewiring cost
Num. of Bedrooms Cost Tine to complete
1 Bedroom £1,900-£3,000 4-7 days
2 Bedrooms £2,500-£3,500 5-8 days
3 Bedrooms (semi-detached) £3,000-£4,200 6-10 days
4 Bedrooms (detached) £3,900-£5,000 1-2 weeks
5 Bedrooms £4,400-£6,000 10-15 days

As the rewiring prices charged by the electrician may differ, it is a good idea to get at least three different quotes before you decide to assign the job, but bear in mind that the cheapest offer will not always be the best one. Electrical rewiring is an extensive project; therefore, you should make sure that you hire an experienced electrician to carry out the work.

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What is involved in rewiring a house?

Rewiring your property will include running new cables throughout the house, installing new (possibly additional) sockets, and replacing the old fuse boxes. Electrical rewiring is a fairly extensive project that will require an electrician to work in every single room of the house, which isn’t cheap. Still, rewiring your electrics is well worth the cost in terms of safety.

When required, rewiring work should be done at the first fix stage (before plastering), even central heating and plumbing work. It’s impossible to surface mount new cables, so the installation process will involve lifting floor coverings and floorboards, routing out channels in the walls and ceilings that are inaccessible from the top.

The first fix stage will involve fitting new back boxes for all sockets and switches when installing new cables. In addition to rewiring for all power and lighting circuits, it is a good opportunity to rewire for modern central heating controls, alarms, smoke detectors, and doorbells, to include outdoor lighting and sockets, and to do the rewiring of the telephones and television aerial sockets. It is also worth redesigning the wiring plan for sockets and switches to ensure it meets your needs and those of modern homebuyers.

What repairs are required during rewiring?

The type of repairs you will require to your electrical system will depend on several factors, including the severity of damage to the circuit board or fuse box and the nature of the underlying cause of the power outages. It may be a simple case of replacing and refitting wall sockets, but for more serious problems, you’re likely to need a full, or at least partial, refit of your home’s electrical wiring system. This involves replacing or re-covering old copper wires with effective insulation material to prevent exposure to air and make sure excess electricity is properly diverted. However, aluminum or steel-based coverings are solid and durable; uPVC or thermoplastics are a safer option. They don’t conduct electricity and are unlikely to affect the flow of current.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology regulates rewiring in alignment with the British Standards 7671: Requirements for Electrical Installations, 2008 to ensure the safety and competence of such a comprehensive job – so make sure your employer can supply proof of meeting these guidelines.

Methods of rewiring a house

There are few different types of house wiring; the most common one uses copper wire to connect wall outlets and fixtures to junction boxes, which are connected to the main electrical panel and circuit breaker box by copper wire. Who can change the type of wire to aluminum or silver, and an alteration to the previous method means the outlet/fixture can be connected straight to the circuit breaker.

Wiring materials

rewiring-materialsThe type of electrical wiring you use and the method used will affect the overall performance of the new electrical system. Aluminum wire is lightweight and therefore is better to run over a long length than copper wire, a far heavier type of wire. Copper is a better conductor of electricity than aluminum; however, it is also more expensive. A silver wire can also be chosen but is even more expensive than copper, so it should only be used when extremely high conductivity levels are needed.

    • Using junction boxes allows you to connect multiple fixtures into a single circuit which will save money as it reduces the number of circuit breakers and the amount of wire needed; however, it will compromise the performance.
    • If fixtures and wall outlets are wired into their own circuit, it means that there is less risk of overloading and tripping the circuit – this will cost more, though, as it requires more wire.
    • If you plan to wire outlets and fixtures directly into a circuit, the length and quantity of wire may need to be carefully considered.
    • If it is over a long distance, you might prefer to use aluminum as it is less susceptible to corona(discharge of electricity). With this comes compromised conductivity – just 60% compared to copper electric wiring.

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Advantages of rewiring a house

There are different methods of rewiring a house that each have different benefits. It would help if you decided which method to use based on what your house specifically requires. Wall outlets that are very important to the house and have things such as the boiler plugged into should be wired into its own circuit. This means that’s there is little risk of overloading and tripping the circuit.

Less important wall outlets can be wired through junction boxes and then connected to the breaker box. This method would have the most advantages as it keeps the essential appliances of your house free of potential tripping but remains cost-effective.

How do you get started/hire a contractor?

Before you think about hiring a contractor, you should undertake an informal inspection of your home to figure out a clear plan for where you would like your chosen outlets to be fitted. Think about the style of lighting you want and how it will complement the overall décor of your home too.

Once you have a general idea, get in touch with at least three electricians; look over references, compare quotes and get personal recommendations if you can – in big cities such as London or Liverpool, you should be able to come across more than enough potential contractors. Also, be sure to check the terms and conditions of the guarantee and make sure your contractor has an electrical NICEIC certification (or something similar); this is a professional stamp of quality and competence.

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