Tips on Rewiring a House

Updated February 21, 2017

The wiring in some old houses does not meet the standard code that has evolved over the years; therefore, rewiring an older home may be necessary. Depending on the electric service coming into the house, you may need to replace only the circuit breaker panel or fuse box. However, if 60 amps are coming into the house and the new board is for 100 amps, the entire wiring must be replaced.

Electrical Usage

Prior to rewiring the house or replacing the board or box, take an inventory of the electrical appliances in your home. The main electrical service coming into the house needs to support these appliances, and the fuse box or circuit breaker panel must be of the appropriate amperage. Check with local officials or professionals for the code standards that need to be met and to learn if any rewiring permits are necessary.

Check Cables

The colour of the wiring cables in your home may give you an indication of whether or not they need to be replaced. Older cables are black, whereas newer wiring cables tend to be either white or grey. Older cables use a rubber insulating coating. The newer classes of electrical cables use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coating as an insulator. The old black, rubber insulated wiring cables need to be replaced, which is generally a job for professionals.


When rewiring or changing outlets, know that you cannot replace a three-prong outlet with a two-prong one unless the outlet is protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Most GFCI outlets are designed for the kitchen and bathroom and are recognisable by their black and red reset buttons. If your intention is to wire in new outlets, review code standards. This job often requires licensed electricians.


Rewiring is often an integral part of remodelling a home. Whether you are tackling the remodelling yourself, knowledge of the proper procedures for rewiring or wiring a new addition is imperative. A wire that runs in a direct line from the circuit breaker to an outlet is referred to as a "home run," and is generally designed for larger appliances such as the clothes dryer. This type of outlet is intended for the specific use of one appliance and should not be used in any other manner.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.