The thought may fill you with dread, as there’s always going to be inconvenience, upheaval, and cost involved. But house rewires aren’t as bad as you might imagine if you have done your research and are prepared in advance. It’s just not worth the risk of putting it off from a safety point of view of risking a fire or expensive appliances being ruined.
When is a House Rewire Needed?
If your property is over 25 years old, chances are your electrics are feeling the strain of all the modern technology in your home! Play stations, multiple TV’s (even in the bathroom), phone chargers, mood lighting, computers and more of us working from home are all adding to the existing pressure from the standard white goods and appliances. The original electrical supply simply won’t be able to cope! We already know that at least half of household fires are caused by faulty or old electrics, and at the very least electric shocks are more likely from using aged installations.
You might not need to go through a complete rewire, but if you are living in or are looking at buying an older property, it will almost certainly need at least a partial rewire to bring the electrics up to current Building Regulations and safety standards if one has not already been done.
|Renovations and Alterations|
If you’re thinking of major renovations or anything which would be classed as ‘material alterations’ under the Building Regulations (upgrading the fuse board, extensions, loft or garage extensions, etc) you will need either a full or partial rewire. Updating existing wiring, improving the existing installation to ensure it can meet the increasing demand, or new wiring installations which will need to meet Part P: Electrical Safety of the Building Regulations.
We’ve already mentioned the massive growth in household gadgets, so it’s no great surprise that sockets and extension cables get overloaded. We even see ‘daisy chains’ of extension cables, which can be a fire hazard because of the surge of electricity.
|Sockets and Switches|
Less than 2 plug sockets in each room; rounded entries instead of the 3-pin more updated ones; located behind a door; positioned on skirting boards; or faulty/damaged sockets or switches which heat up.
Old or damaged/exposed cabling with no protection; black cabling with no labels; no yellow or green cable attached.
An out of date consumer unit (or fuse box); if it’s backed by wooden timber, which causes another fire hazard; cast iron switches.
No Residual Current Device (RCD) protection to electrical circuits.
|Electrical Installation Condition Reports|
These will highlight any faulty or dangerous electrical installations, along with the findings and recommendations for any remedial work which needs completing before the inspection and testing is signed off. This may include full or partial rewiring.
How long does a house rewire take?
The average time for a rewire is between 4-10 working days. But is dependent upon a few factors and can be reduced if you follow a few simple tips.
- The age, size, and use of the property, and of course whether it is a full or partial rewire to be completed. Is it a new installation, renovation, or extension, for instance?
- For safety and practical reasons, preference is to rewire a house whilst it is empty. Could you arrange rewiring of the house you are moving in to before you move in? Could you move out of your house while it is being rewired? If this is not possible, at least the room being worked in should be empty or furniture moved to the middle of the room or storage.
- If you can lift carpets and flooring away from the work area, that will also save time when the electricians arrive on site and potentially save any accidental damage.
- Speak to your electrician, before work begins, to agree any work you can complete yourself in advance.
- It also helps if you don’t need power to be restored or for a full clean of the house/room each night.
Many of the above also impact the cost of the rewiring job (which is also likely to be affected by regional variances).
Can I rewire my house myself?
By law, you can only carry out minimal electrical work, repairs, replacements, and maintenance yourself without being registered as a competent person and having Building Regulations Part P approval. So, it is crucial that you find the right person to complete this work for you.
Electricians in England and Wales must comply with the Part P regulations and should also be recognised as a Competent Person under NICEIC, ELECSA or a similar government approved scheme. Do not be afraid to ask for their qualifications before hiring them, and their public liability insurance and warranty policy. This will also ensure you are covered in case of any mishaps and will also meet your home insurance requirements.
Once the work is completed, you will be given a certificate from Building Control which is your confirmation that the house rewire meets Part P of the Building Regulations.