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Rewiring your home - what you need to know
Put simply, if your home is over 25 years old, its electrics are likely to need replacing or updating. These changes will ensure that your home meets modern safety standards.
Perhaps more importantly, faulty electrics can put your home at risk of fire and even electrocution. To keep these risks to a minimum, it is important that any new electrics fitted in your home comply with the latest building regulations.
If you are planning any large home improvements like an attic conversion or extension, you will need new electrics. There’s also a chance that the remainder of your home electrics will need to be replaced.
On the other hand, if you are planning a smaller home improvement project, such as a new kitchen with repositioned lights and sockets, you could benefit from having the whole room rewired. And any changes to your electrics could affect the power-load on your fuse box, so be sure to have this checked and updated as well.
Cost of rewiring
The cost of rewiring your home depends on the size of the property and the complexity of the work carried out. Any special preferences, like under-floor heating or air conditioning, will add more to your bill. To give you an idea of the potential cost of rewiring, a Which? Local survey found the total rewire of a two-bedroom terraced house could cost between £2,200 and £3,000. For a three-bed semi it could cost between £2,800 and £4,000, and for a four-bedroom detached property the price could be between £3,400 and £5,000. These prices are a guideline and may vary, depending on where you live in the country.
It is always advisable to hire a registered electrician to do any electrical installation work in your home. Finding a professional and reliable electrician is easier than ever now, with many ratings and reviews posted online. Search on the Registered Competent Person website for an electrician so you have the peace of mind they’re qualified and authorised to carry out the work.
It is a good idea to get three quotes for the work you have planned to find the most competitive price and reliable tradesperson.
Tip: If you are in the process of buying a property and it is over 25 years old, be sure to have the electrics professionally checked before you put in an offer. This is often included in a Condition or HomeBuyer Report survey. It is sensible to get an estimate of any work that needs to be done so you can balance this against the offer you put in.
A quick checklist - what affects the cost rewiring?
The size of your home will determine the overall cost, so the more rooms in need of electrical work, the greater the cost of the labour and materials.
If you will be staying in your home while the work takes place, keep in mind that it may take the electricians longer to finish the work – and it will be pretty disruptive. As a result, you may end up paying more as many electricians charge by the day – although you’ll have to weigh this up against the cost of alternative accommodation if that’s your only other option.
Be selective with the number of fittings you get. Simply put, more fittings means higher costs. Try to balance this out by selecting more affordable fittings, like plastic ones instead of stainless steel.
Labour costs for electricians vary from one part of the country to another, so search online to find out the going rates in your area and check these figures against any quotes you receive.
Don’t forget to calculate the added cost of any redecoration, such as painting and plasterwork, once your rewiring is complete. Removing old wires can mean taking up skirting boards and floorboards, and new electrics have to be buried in the walls and covered up with fresh plaster work - so it can be a quite big job to get things looking normal again.
If you are planning to install your own wiring, you will need to complete a building regulations application to ensure that the work is compliant. The application costs around £150 and the fee also includes a visit from a registered electrician who inspects the work at the start and end of the project. Once the inspector is satisfied with their checks, and that your work has met the necessary standards, they will issue you with a safety certificate. Without this certificate, you can’t be sure that your work – and your home – are safe.
However, we would advise that you hire an experienced and qualified electrician. Rewiring can be a complex and dangerous job and, if done poorly, can end up costing much more to put right than you saved doing it yourself. If you can’t afford the work right now, you may consider other ways to fund this type of project. Read our blog for lots of helpful advice on budgeting for home improvements.