How Much Does A House Rewire Cost?
House Rewire Cost & Information Guide
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House rewire cost and information guide
How much does it cost to rewire a house?
This is the most common question we are asked. Most people assume, that the cost to rewire a house is based on the size of the house.
You would assume the cost to rewire a small 2 bedroom house, is going to cost less and be easier to rewire, than a large 3 bedroom house. This is generally true but there is far more to think about.
The most important thing to understand is this. A house rewire is not a jigsaw puzzle. Not a lesson taught in technical college. Not a standard wiring diagram everyone follows.
Every single electrician is going to design and install your house their way.
The next most common question we are asked, is are you qualified?
The short answer is, Yes we are.
But we have some older staff here who were qualified in the 1980’s I myself first qualified late 90’s.
When I started to train as an electrician we were working to 15th edition of the electrical regulations. We’re now on the 18th edition, and amendments are continually made to alter the current edition standards.
It’s not a qualified electrician you need. It’s a regulated and registered electrician.
NICEIC approved contractors are not just qualified, they need to hold current qualifications. We are strictly audited to maintain current qualifications and changes with technology and within the electrical industry.
Lets talk about, designing a house rewire.
Today, when we are rewiring homes, most homes are at a point where they have the old wooden back fuse boards, if not older. You might have looked at this board and question does this need a rewire? Or can I simply make things safer by changing the ‘fuseboard’ to a new consumer unit with those ‘trip switches’
We all know how this works. When a circuit has a fault, it burns out the fuse wire, you need to pull out the carrier and rewire it yourself with the correctly rated fuse wire. It is a primitive form of what we call ADS (automatic disconnection of supply). This one has had the rewirable fuse replaced by push in mcb,s so they can easily be reset. Be under no illusion that this has become any safer. Only more convenient.
It is not always a fault that causes them to blow.
You can see that there are six circuits. Two are red which means that they are 30 amp circuits. This would usually tell me, that one is for the house sockets. The other for a 30 amp cooker circuit.
One circuit is blue (15 amps), which was originally designed for a hot water tank. This may or may not still be the case. We sometimes find that circuit, has been converted to supply a few sockets, (I will explain why in a minute).
And the last 2 are white, the 5 amp lighting circuits. Depending on exactly when it was installed the wiring within those lighting circuit may or may not have an earth. (earth is designed to help protect you in the event of a fault).
Lets talk about those six circuits, this applies to all six individually. I am going to try and help you understand my point by talking about just one of them, the one and only socket circuit.
Every socket in the house is protected AND limited by that 30 amp fuse. The limit of that circuit is essentially 30 amps, throughout the house. Go over it and you need to reset the switch.
When this house wiring was installed, circa the 1970 s electrical demand, for appliances then, was not what it is today.
Lets consider now how much more demand we have with our appliances. When these fuses blow, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a fault, but more likely that you have overloaded the one and only socket circuit.
This is usually why you find that if the water tank is no longer required that is has been converted to do another job ie a few extra sockets. It now gives you that extra 15 amps. Squeezing more out of a very basic system
That is the design of the system, that is what it is limited to, and that is never going to change. So when you replace that consumer unit (if possible) you need to understand that all you have done is make things safer. Yes you can add more sockets to that circuit, but all you are doing is stretching that 30 amp limit, further and further.
The electrical regulations change nearly every year. BS7671 (the electricians bible) currently states that you can’t have just one circuit type any more. The minimum is two.
Their are three reasons for this.
Reason One: Overloading
To comply with the regulations, instead of one of each circuit the minimum is now two. This might be all you need. A small 2 up 2 down house. That’s usually not going to be a problem. It is the minimum standard. However you realistically need more, even if not right now. If your primary focus when considering a house rewire is cost. Guess what kind of installation is going to be installed. I promise you that unless you question these things, it will be the absolute bare minimum. Your house rewire will be calculated and designed for your specification, limited to that. If you make alterations or additions in the future it will be very difficult to do so. New circuits require new wires fed from the consumer unit. Consider the disruption to get those wires back to the consumer unit, from where they need to go. Lets hope there is space in the consumer unit for a new circuit. Lets hope it is the right kind of consumer unit, for whatever needs to be altered.
I live in a new build 4 bedroom home. Twice as many sockets, switches and other accessories as the average 2 bedroom home. Can you guess how many socket circuits it has? It certainly meets the regulations, but I know with the changes my wife and myself want to make in the future, the design will not allow it to be simply expanded. The design is too restricted for what the increased load will become. It is going to need more circuits. The consumer unit does not have any spare capacity. This will require changing. The disruption is not something I am looking forward to. To quote the old Star Treck saying “I need more power captain”
Reason two: The back up
The other reason for more than one of each circuit is that, lets say there is a fault on one of the socket circuits. At least you will not be sat without power. The other circuit will at least allow you to manage.
Reason Three: Nuisance tripping
This is probably the hardest part for you to understand. We need to take a step back and talk further about fuseboards/ consumer units. But before we do that we need to understand a little bit about how wires and electricity works. I will keep this as simple as possible.
A length of cable contains 3 individual wires, Live, Neutral and Earth. Live is ‘send’.
Although we are talking about electricity, lets imagine live, as a hose pipe full of pressurised water. You switch on a switch, the electricity flows into the appliance. Like opening the nozzle on the hose, the water comes out.
Lets imagine a child is playing with the hose, and using it to spin their water toy round. This is the water appliance. They are using the toy in the sink once the water has spun the toy it disappears down the plug hole, the return path. Neutral is the return for electricity.
Once it has been used to power the appliance, the electricity returns through the neutral wire. If the plug hole was blocked, the sink would begin to fill up. Eventually the water would go into the overflow at the top of the sink. Other wise you or the room would get wet. This is how earth works. It is the overflow for electricity, the emergency back up should electricity want or need to leak. But whether water goes down the drain or through the emergency overflow they both shortly after end up in the same drain pipe and leave the house through the main drain, regardless of whether it went down the plug hole or the overflow. Wouldn’t it be great if somehow your water system knew that water was going through the overflow instead of down the plug hole. That it was potentially an emergency, and the water supply could automatically switch its self off. Modern consumer units do exactly this. Detect that emergency leak where ever that may be and switch the system off. However it has got even more advanced than this.
Back to consumer units
This is a newer consumer unit with trip switches, it has a red main switch, and six individual trip switches. These are called MCB’s (minature circuit breakers). Although it looks like it is exactly what you need, it isn’t. It doesn’t meet current regulations. MCBs replaced rewireable fuses. They trip when the circuit becomes overloaded. They offer no better protection for you than the rewireable fuses did. If you were getting an electric shock from a socket you or the earth path would need to absorb a shock of more than 32 amps before that would trip out. They are actually designed to be a basic form of protection these days, and within a modern design are there to protect the cable from burning out should it become overloaded. There to protect equipment, not life. They are simply more convenient, than a rewireable fuse. They do not care whether electricity is travelling back through neutral earth or you. They just cut out when they reach the limit they are designed to trip out at.
The next design of fuseboard & RCD protection.
If you look at the consumer unit above It is called a dual RCD consumer unit, or sometimes called a split load board. You will see we have the MCBs for each circuit, but we also have 2 x RCDs (residual current devices). RCDs detect earth leakage. They trip at 30mA (that’s 30 milli amps) So if there is something wrong, you do not absorb say 32 Amps before the MCB trips out. It is 1000 x times more effective, the regulations state that they must trip out within 40ms (milli seconds). A huge leap in life protection.
This is the minimum standard today that can be installed, and it pretty good.
But things have got better!
And that consideration begins with you.
Who are you? What do you need?
You are probably trying to budget, it’s usually the case that it’s not just a house rewire that needs to be considered. You don’t want to call an electrician yet. Maybe you can’t call an electrician yet. It may not even be your house yet. It may be the one you are moving into and you can’t get an electrician in there to give you a quote.
I understand, dealing with those pesky, uncooperative estate agents. Your poor house seller who has had you, the surveyor, the kitchen company, the builder, the carpet company round to quote for everything else. You feel like you can’t bother them, any more. Maybe you need to do the maths before you even decide if you are going to make an offer. You can sense your becoming a pain!
These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
What are my circumstances?
Can I plan everything is this something I am capable of managing?
If you are working to a tight budget, you will need to fit a house rewire and contractor to that budget. To keep things simple let’s say you have £2500 and want a house rewire with 30 sockets.
You remove business tax from that figure (that’s vat, business tax, income tax, national insurance), direct overheads such as fuel phone and advertising, insurances. Continual Tool investment and replacement. Van maintenance and occasionally purchases, those free quotes that are only free to you, annual registration fees, accountants fees, trips to the suppliers. The list goes on a lot further than that. Businesses also need to make a profit. We all know what happens to businesses that don’t.
So that £2500 figure that you have to rewire your house is really £1800 to the electrician.
The materials are £600 so
So with this in mind which kind of house rewire are you getting? The all singing and dancing future proofed carefully installed one? Or the rushed bare minimum kind?
Electricians know that most people will research the companies they want to get a quote from, when they are planning their house rewire.
Nearly every single person takes the same 2 step approach. How much does it cost to rewire a house? Then find a suitable, usually recommended electrician. There are thousands out there, which one do you choose?
For most people this is usually where the research ends. It ends there because. You do not understand how to rewire a house. You don’t understand electrical wiring, the maths, How it all works. You probably don’t understand the differences between house rewires. You probably thought their isn’t a difference.
Then the search begins to find qualified electricians. People usually ask for recommendations. Or perhaps search the internet, trawling through electricians websites and their reviews.
The next stage is to get some quotes.
Their all as good as each other right? So most people go with the lowest price. After all, the local electricians you have looked at, all come highly recommended. everything is going to be fine. You would rather use more of your budget for something you will see more benefit from, like a lovely new kitchen, carpets or decorating perhaps.
I think it is safe to say that when your house rewire journey begins. It’s because some kind of change is about to take place, sometimes people are moving home, others are making significant renovation changes in the home. Using the opportunity to update the electrical system.
At AGW electrical services north west we are inundated with daily calls and emails asking how much does it cost to rewire a house?
The most common question people make when enquiring ask usually goes something like how much does it cost to rewire a 3 bedroom house or how much does it cost to rewire a 2 bedroom house? Or how much does it cost to rewire a 4 bedroom house?
The reality of the cost of a house rewire is mainly dependant on how many sockets and switches and lights are required. Your specification
The largest proportion of the cost to rewire a house is, labour. So a larger house with a larger area is going to take more time to lift more floorboards, drill more joists, chase more area into walls, than a smaller house would take.
For an experienced house rewiring electrician, Cost is usually calculated by how many points are required. Electricians that are inexperienced tend to give a generic price. But when you think about this how is that possible? A job with 60 points is going to be nearly double the cost of a house rewire that requires 30 points. Nearly Twice as much time required and materials.
We receive more enquiries to ask if we can come and sort out a house rewire nightmare. Than we do for our house rewiring service
When our company first started out as house rewiring specialists we generated most of our work through marketing channels such as rated people, my builder, Checkatrade etc. We ve all heard of them. They sit at the top of google search. These companies work differently to each other, some have an annual membership fee, others are pay per lead. The one thing they all have in common is that they are extremely costly for tradesmen to use. They are also extremely overcrowded. Those marketing channels have become a race to the bottom on price. And the only way to compete on price is by by trimming quality. If you are perhaps a property developer, who’s focus is not quality other than straight sockets and switches and it works (for now) it may be the perfect solution.
The correct approach to begin planning a house rewire is to think about what kind of house rewire do I need. Not only the quality but what we refer to as the method.
What are your circumstances?
Is the house a renovation? Back to brick floorboards up easy to get to and exposed?
Is the house beautiful and needs care to minimise the disruption to the fabric, features and maybe even some décor?
Maybe it’s somewhere in between.
Let me explain. People assume that a house rewire in a renovation project is going to be easier to install, therefore cost less. Your quite right it is. Or at least it should be. The wiring and switch and socket boxes can be attached to the wall easily, they are exposed. The ceilings are down, the joists are easily accessible to run cables through. And the electrician can pretty much make as much mess as he likes. It’s not lived in the power can be disconnected and he can just get on with the job without hinderance.
The perfect house rewire right? however you have now created a 2 stage project.
Come and remove the old system, install the wires and boxes.
return when the plasterer has finished his job, connect and screw up the switches lights and sockets. connect the consumer unit. Commission and test. As simple as that. And it absolutely should be.
Most of the time here is the blunt reality. The plasterer hasn’t finished in the bathroom yet. He is waiting for the joiner to finish. The joiner can not finish because he is waiting to see how big the gas fitter is going to need the cupboard to be.
The electrician is booked in for tomorrow to come and finish and you know he can’t because the ceiling isn’t even in place for him to install the spotlights, but you think to yourself it’s ok he can just come back and do that when the ceilings finished the week after. Except he turns up with his team to get it done in a day. The electrician is about to use the rest of his labour budget up then you want him to come back and finish that. So you have then create step 3 (not accounted for) Then the boiler won’t fit where it was supposed to go, the wiring is in the wrong place for it now. Step 4 step5 step6 and before you know it you are falling out with everyone because now the price agreed is going up. And quite rightly so. Not to mention that your tradesmen are now disappearing because you’ve lost your slot. Tradesmen have other work booked in. Is it fair that they should disappoint their other clients. It’s it fair that they should lose that money to come and and do little bits and bobs again, rework? It takes real planning. It sends businesses bust and they are not going to do this. We are members of rated people and a few other recommendation websites. I would say approximately 10% of the jobs listed for tradesmen go something along the lines of electrician needed urgently to finish a rewire because the electrician is no longer available. Or the electrician is ill or fell off a ladder and can’t finish the rewire. It s also concerning how many electricians we have been told Have died half way through!
As an experienced tradesman you know exactly what has gone on. You can also see through these websites how many tradesmen have expressed interest. Usually none have. A significant amount of our enquiries are for this, the answer from us is always the same. thank you, but no thank you.
Let’s compare this this to another method
The 1 step method
A customer lives in an occupied home. No other tradesmen are involved. In our case the rewire team arrives. We rewire the house. It’s physically more demanding having to keep the client with power and continually cleaning. We are going to put the base coat plaster into slim minimal chases where we have had to cut the walls and plaster out to install the new cables. And accessories. The job is able to be completed from start to finish. It is a 1 step method.
Which job does your electrician want to do?
The renovation that is supposed to be easier with a multi step method that you are managing?
The 1 step method occupied house rewire that the electrician is managing?
The answer for me is still the multi step renovation house rewire. But I would precisely help you to understand the plan and make it simple to understand. On the understanding that the house rewire is priced on those staged terms.
It is up to to you to become project manager and execute those stages of the entire project on time and correctly. If not I guarantee that it will all fall apart. If I can give you a hint here it is to not try to organise these things to run consecutively. What I mean by this is if your wiring the house first do not arrange for the plasterer to be there the next day. What if your electrician runs over? What if your electrician has been held up? It s usually not the electricians fault. Nine times out of ten he has been previously working for someone who has not planned correctly. Causing him to run over. It’s not his fault. But now the plasterer is due the next day. The kitchen is due 3 days later. The kitchen fitters the day after. Can you see how things are going to spiral? Give breathing space and room for manoeuvre. Life is not like changing rooms or the 30 minute makeover. If you plan like this it is planning for disaster. Tradesmen have continuous work booked in. Why should other customers suffer because your project fell of track. If you do not execute the stages in a timely manner. Your electrician is not going to sit at home waiting for it to be ready. He s going to start his next job. If that’s a 2 week job? You can’t complain but most will.
What is the difference in quality?
If you were installing a central heating system you would understand that a Worcester boiler is going to be better quality than a Chinese imported boiler.
You may also understand that if you connect the first radiator to the boiler, then continue to add the next radiator directly fed from the previous radiator, then the next and so on, the first radiator would be the hottest, the next one slightly cooler, the next one even cooler until you got to the last one that was the coolest. You would pay your money then perhaps over time realise that something wasn’t quite right. It s a bad design. A better design would be to have more than 1 ‘circuit’ so that each circuit wasn’t providing for so many radiators. So the water was still hot when it reached the last radiator. A house rewire is no different. More electrical circuits provides for better distribution of load. What’s important to see here is the difference between systems and designs. You can also appreciate that would would cost more than the other. What’s really important to understand is either design would meet the required standards.
Let’s talk about electrical systems, how they were designed and how they are changing.
The electrical regulations (BS7671) is the electricians bible. We are currently working to the 18th edition amendment 1. The editions are amended every few years, and amendments are made around every 2 years.
Most people are looking for a fully qualified electrician. Yes you do need a qualified electrician. But qualified in what?
Let me dispel the myth. There is no such thing as a qualified electrician.
On my first day at college our lecturer said to the class. Why are you all here? He went round the class asking each individual. Eventually everyone started to come out with the same answer. To become a fully qualified electrician. The reply was ‘there is no such thing’.
Electricians attend college to learn the basic theory. And pass generic exams. Like every other career in life. It s their experience that defines the type of electrician they become. Maybe their on the job training is with an electrical contractor that installs solar panels.
Maybe they trained with a company maintaining industrial electrical systems. Maybe a company that installs industrial electrical systems. Maybe an electrical company that did small domestic electrical jobs. Or maybe a company that specialises in full house rewires. Which contractor do you choose?
An electrician that is qualified registered and experienced in a specific task?
I personally think that people firstly don’t understand niches and why they exist. The word expert or specialist I think creates an assumption of higher cost in most peoples minds. It is infact quite the opposite. If you were looking for an accountant to specifically deal with your VAT which accountant would you choose? A general accountant or an accountant that specialises in VAT. The VAT accountant sounds more expensive right? That is not true. The VAT accountant does this specific task every day. He s quicker at it than someone who is a general accountant and He s probably more likely to save you more money with his current in depth understanding of his niche even if that saving is not direct but overall. For the same reasons why would you not choose a house rewire specialist to rewire your home?
But what you really need is an electrician that is registered with a recognised industry body such as the NICEIC. Why? Let’s say Dave is a qualified electrician. Dave is 60 years old. He s worked for himself for 40 years. He s got to be the most experienced person for the job right? Dave was qualified in 1980. Has Dave kept up to date with his qualifications? Is Dave a registered with one of the electrical industry regulation bodies?
What you need is an electrical contractor that is a member of one of the regulated industry bodies. By an annual audit. This ensures that electrical contractors qualifications are adequate for the nature of work they are undertaking or the scope of work and current. That they are adequately insured. That their current technical knowledge is what it should be. Ensure s that their test equipment is calibrated annually. That their office procedures are correct. They request to see 3 randomly selected jobs of their choice. That is if you are a NICEIC approved contractor.
There is a difference in the schemes. For example the NICEIC offer several. The main 2 being the domestic installer scheme and the Approved contractor scheme. Approved contractors are approved for pretty much everything from domestic to industrial work. Highly scrutinised. The domestic installer scheme is what I refer to as a competency scheme. Deemed competent to carry out domestic work. There are many five week courses out there providing a crash course to become a competent electrician. I will leave thought with you and you can search for that information yourself!
Our house rewire cost calculator can be found at https://houserewire.uk/cost-calculator/