Electrical, Electrical work

How much does it cost to rewire a house in 2020?

Outdated electrical wiring can be dangerous and is a common cause of domestic fire, so find out about the cost of rewiring a house safely here.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 are both hazardous home projects that should only be assigned only to a licensed electrician.

In order 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 price of the project, 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 could lead to a house fire.

Causes of faulty wiring and electrical malfunctions?

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

System overload – a regular circuit overload is caused by excessive usage of power 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 simply forces the main switch open to halting the flow of electricity; this can be easily repaired. 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 simply 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 in regards to home electricity is the safe insertion of plugs and proper maintenance of plug sockets. Loose fittings are a result of repeated insertion and removal – particularly common 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, which can ultimately lead 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.

Remodelling: When planning to do a major remodelling and you are using new materials, then according to the Building Regulations, you will have to rewire either part or the whole property. 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 the Part P: Electrical regulations, which requires to improve all existing wiring to be able to withstand the new electrical load safely.

* Extensions and remodels do not usually require a total rewiring of the property unless it is 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 unable to identify the source, then it could be possible that your house may have an electrical issue.

Discoloured Outlets and Switches: Outlets or switches discolouration can be a sign of a loose connection or faulty wiring.

Flickering lights: A flickering or dimming lights might be the result of a not being properly fixed bulb or just 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 that 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, they must be replaced.

Aluminium 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 to an outlet, then you have issues with your electric.

An old-fashioned fuse box: This may have 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 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 of. There are electrical restrictions in wet areas. For instance, shaver sockets must be located away from the shower splash area and allowing no other in a socket 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 very important 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 pay out 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 in accordance with Building Regulations.

Electrical Installation Condition Report Cost

Whether you rent a flat or you 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, it is important that each one is inspected and tested by a competent person, to ensure the safety of users by avoid 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-compliances 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 TypeNumber of BedroomsCost
Flat2from £120 to £150
Flat3from £180 to £210
House1 or 2from £150 to £180
House3 or 4from £200 to £250
House5 or morefrom £300 and upwards

How to estimate the cost of wiring a house

Whether you simply 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 a number of 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 and how that 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 the wires will be fitted 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 on the condition of its existing wiring. If the wiring is very old and damaged then a lot of preparation work 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, which accounts 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 the installation of 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 remodelling work that needs to be done in 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 we have received 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 minor plastering work for any holes in the wall. Any painting and remodelling work that might be necessary after the job is completed, is a responsibility of the homeowner.

Four-bed detached house

For 4 bed detached house it takes around 10-15 days for an electrician 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 BedroomsCostTine to complete
1 Bedroom£1,900-£3,0004-7 days
2 Bedrooms£2,500-£3,5005-8 days
3 Bedrooms (semi-detached)£3,000-£4,2006-10 days
4 Bedrooms (detached)£3,900-£5,0001-2 weeks
5 Bedrooms£4,400-£6,00010-15 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 you electrics is well worth the cost in terms of safety.

When required, a rewiring work should be done at first fix stage (before plastering), even central heating and plumbing work too. 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.

When installing new cables, first fix stage will involve fitting new back boxes for all sockets and switches. 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 make sure 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 a number of 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 the exposure to air and make sure excess electricity is properly diverted. Aluminium or steel-based coverings are extremely strong and durable; uPVC or thermoplastics, however, are a safer option, as they don’t conduct electricity and are unlikely to affect the flow of current.

Rewiring is regulated by the Institution of Engineering and Technology 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 in turn connected to the main electrical panel and circuit breaker box by copper wire. The type of wire can be changed to aluminium 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 along with the method used will affect the overall performance of the new electrical system. Aluminium wire is lightweight and therefore is better to run over a long length than copper wire, which is a far heavier type of wire. Copper is a better conductor of electricity than aluminium; 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 levels of conductivity 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, the performance will be compromised.
    • 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 aluminium as it is less susceptible to corona(discharge of electricity) but with this comes compromised conductivity – just 60% when 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. You should decide 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 very important appliances of your house free of potential tripping, but still 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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