The cost to rewire a house is often priced by square foot.
Simple rewiring projects run about $1,500 while a whole-house project could exceed $10,000.
You might consider rewiring your home if its older than 1960 or your breakers trip repeatedly.
In addition to materials and labor, obtaining the proper permits often account for a big chunk of the budget.
Whether you fell in love and bought an older home or you’re embarking on a new renovation, rewiring projects are likely in your future. Outdated and worn wires pose an electrical fire risk capable of producing significant damage, so it’s best to replace them. Expect to spend about $1,500 for simple rewiring projects or over $10,000 to rewire an entire house.
The Cost to Rewire a House per Square Foot
Rewiring a house is commonly priced per square foot. Including materials and labor, rewiring a house costs about $2 to $4 per square foot. So, for a 2,000-square-foot home, you’d spend around $4,000 to $8,000 total.
The Cost to Rewire a House by Wire Type
Various types of wiring and cables (the jacket that encloses multiple wires and protects them) can impact the cost of your rewiring project. The jacket serves different functions based on the type of devices or appliances connected to your home’s electrical system.
For homes, NM (nonmetallic) cables are the most common. This type of cable consists of a current-carrying wire, known as “hot” wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire inside a protective plastic jacket or sheathing. The cost for rewiring NM cables is about $0.40 to $0.80 per linear foot.
A UF (underground feeder) cable is the same as an NM cable, except it is meant to go in underground or moist areas. To protect the wires, each wire is sheathed in plastic, then all of the wires are wrapped in a gray protective covering. Rewiring with UF cables costs $0.50 to $0.75 per linear foot.
THHN and THWN are two common wires that are protected by color-coded plastic covers. They are typically used in unfinished spaces, like garages or basements, or for short exposed runs, like for hot water heaters or garbage disposals. These wires cost about $0.80 to $1.60 per linear foot for rewiring.
Coaxial cables have long been used for televisions and video equipment, although they are becoming slightly less common as technology evolves. Coaxial cables cost about $0.25 to $0.35 per linear foot to rewire.
Pros will use low-voltage wires for circuits using less than 50 volts, like doorbell wires or thermostat wires. This rewiring costs about $0.25 to $0.35 per linear foot.
Rewiring a House Cost Breakdown
Rewiring costs depend on the materials needed and the labor. More complicated rewiring projects, like rewiring an entire house or an older home, will cost more because handling many electrical wires or older wiring systems is risky and requires expertise.
Budget roughly $0.25 to $1.60 per linear foot for the cost of materials. Rewiring low-voltage wires or coaxial cables will cost less than bigger projects, like rewiring NM cables, underground feeder cables, or THHN/THWN wires.
You’ll need a local professional electrician for a rewiring project, which will run about $50 to $100 per hour, not including materials. Including both labor and materials, the overall project will cost $2 to $4 per square foot.
Factors that Influence Cost
Rewiring a house can mean many things, from a bathroom update to recessed lighting. Either way, it’s wise to allocate enough funds to cover all factors that can affect your total price.
Permits, Inspections, and Safety Codes
Rewiring requires proper permits and inspections. If you are rewiring an old home, it needs to meet modern-day safety codes to protect your family from risks of electrocution or fire.
Permits: The cost of permits will depend on your local regulations, but this typically costs $75 to $150 per permit.
Inspections: A preliminary inspection will uncover the work needed and a post inspection will ensure a job well done. You’ll also want regular inspections every five to 10 years to ensure your electrical systems are working properly. Inspections are about $100 to $125 each.
Safety codes: Permits to ensure adherence to safety and building codes can be more expensive than standard permits. Expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $900 on permits for these special circumstances.
Prep and Cleanup
Your contractor will likely include the cost of clean in their quote. This can account for up to $500 of the budget.
Contractors will prep the worksite, but you’ll need to put in some elbow grease as well. This work includes moving furniture, moving valuable items to protect them from damage, and generally clearing out the work area. The prep work could take a few hours or even several days, depending on if you are rewiring the kitchen during a remodel or the entire house for a major rewiring project.
Simple vs. Complex Rewiring Projects
Some rewiring jobs are more extensive and require an electrician to open walls to complete the work. This step can add 25% more to the project’s total, as the contractor will need to patch and repair the walls afterward.
Additional Outlets and Switches
Rewiring is a perfect time to address your annoying lack of outlets. Ask your electrician to add outlets and switches for all of your lamps and electronics, then budget about $100 to $185 per outlet or switch.
New Electrical Service Panel
Older homes built in the 1940s and 1950s typically have 60-amp electrical service panels, which is hardly enough to handle the electrical loads from modern technology and devices. An electrician will need to install a new electrical service panel, typically 100 or 200 amps.
100 amps: A 100-amp electrical service panel can work for small homes and will cost $900 to $2,000.
200 amps: A 200-amp electrical service panel will work for most modern homes, and it will cost about $1,500 to $2,500 to install.
Knob and Tube Wiring Replacements
Houses built before 1950 likely have knob and tube wiring, which does not include a ground wire that helps release built-up electricity for safety. This means outlets for knob-and-tube-wired systems don’t work with three-prong appliances and devices, like many modern kitchen appliances or even laptop chargers. In this instance, you’ll need to replace to avoid knob and tube fire risk.
Permit: Permits to remove knob and tube wiring will cost $200 to $500.
Removal: Removing the knob and tube wiring will cost about $5,000.
Rewiring: After you’ve secured the permits and the knob and tube wiring has been removed, you’ll spend the standard $2 to $4 per square foot for rewiring.
How Much Does It Cost to Rewire a House Yourself?
Rewiring a house, even just a small project, is incredibly dangerous to do yourself. But let’s say you have extensive electrical experience and knowledge; you’ll save on labor and spend only the cost of materials, about $0.25 to $1.60 per linear foot. Again, if you aren’t an experienced electrician, you should call one for rewiring projects rather than risking injury or even death to do it yourself.
It will take up to 10 days to complete the work for experienced electricians. You can make the electrician’s job go quicker by cleaning up the room, area, or house to give the electrician easy access to the electrical panel and wires within the walls. This often requires moving furniture and other large objects.
During the service, you should stay clear of the work. If your home is being rewired, you may need to stay elsewhere during the project.
You can also save money on cleanup. Talk with the local electrician you hire, as some may quote you for cleanup costs for $60 to $90 an hour. You can save this money by sweeping up any dust or debris and moving furniture and other personal items back into each room.
FAQs About Rewiring a House
How do I know when my home needs to be rewired?
There are several reasons you may need rewiring, the most common being faulty wiring. Some signs you ring an electrician to address faulty wiring include:
Recurring tripped circuit breakers
Buzzing and crackling sounds
Major remodels, like kitchen or bathrooms, also often require rewiring. But even if you simply want more outlets or an extra light switch in a room, you can hire an electrician for a rewiring project.
Homes built before 1960 have plenty of charm, but you’ll also want to call a local electrician for an inspection. Older homes may need rewiring to bring them up to modern safety codes.
How often should I rewire my home?
The average home needs rewired about every 25 years, although some wiring can last up to 40 years. Ultimately, insulation around the wire can wear down over time, leaving the wires vulnerable to degradation. This creates fire hazards.
Plan for periodic electrical inspections every five to 10 years to ensure your wiring is safe.
How long does it take to rewire a home?
Rewiring projects typically take three to 10 days. This process can be messy and dangerous, so plan to stay somewhere else during the project.