Rewiring an Old House – What it Could Cost you if you Don’t

Old houses are full of history, character and charm, featuring unique selling points – but they can also contain outdated electrical wiring. Here are tips on how much it can cost to rewire a house – and what it could cost you if you avoid it. 

Is an Old House without a Rewire Sellable?

All houses require a safety inspection by a registered electrician – every decade for own-homes and every five years for tenancy dwellings (or whenever the property changes hands) – so the question really isn’t whether a house without a rewire is sellable: if faults are identified upon inspection, it may be essential.

What are the Risks of not Completing a House Rewire?

Old electrical wiring can be a nuisance to new buyers – not least the lack of available plug sockets  (earlier generations had far fewer gadgets to contend with). Old breakers can trip, causing electical devices to malfunction. More importantly, old or faulty wiring can be a fire or health hazard.

Could a Seller be Held Responsible for the Risk of Bad Wiring?

As of 2013, sellers are legally obligated to disclose certain information about the property they are selling to potential buyers through a TA6 form – meaning electrical wiring should be modernised and up-to-standard. If your system is over 25 years old, it’s probably time to bring it up to safety regulation. All new wiring must conform with Part P of Building Regulations), and none of it should have rubber, lead or fabric insulation – it should be PVCu only. Also: if your home is listed, it may require Listed Building Consent, so consult your conservation officer before making any decisions.

How do I Know it’s Time to Rewire?

While old houses have a certain appeal, flickering lights, blown fuses and buzzing or crackling noises can make them seem more like something out of a horror film. Other clear signs  it’s time to rewire include old-style fuse boxes (those with wooden backs and ceramic switches), old discoloured sockets or plugs and malfunctioning devices.

What are the Benefits?

Not only is rewriting an old house safer – reducing the risk of fire and injury through compliance with current regulations – it can also increase energy efficiency, and overall appeal to potential buyers. As a seller, you can choose where new plug outlets and switches go (as old locations may no longer be conveniently-placed) – and if you so wish, you can opt to have “smart” devices discreetly installed.

Can I do it Myself?

Regardless of how many YouTube videos you already watched, a house rewire is not a simple DIY task, and unless you are a fully-trained and registered electrician, it could result in fire or injury. It also saves unnecessary time and work – on closer inspection, a trained electrician may tell you that a total rewiring isn’t necessary.

What does it Cost to Rewire a House?

Pricing will depend on the property size, the materials used (brass and brushed steel fittings tend to be slightly more expensive), the number of socket outlets and additional extras, such as outside lighting.  Also factor in where you are located in the UK – as contracting costs vary depending on region.

Can I Stay in the Property?

Rewiring an old house is a somewhat invasive process – but it’s often necessary. To minimise disruption, schedule it early before any subsequent alterations or redecorating. You can choose to stay in the property while work is being carried out (to oversee work and ask any questions) – but bear in mind it will be a disruptive and noisy process and the power supply will be switched off. Potential disruption to workers may also increase the length of time required to do a job.

How Long will it Take?

Depending on the size of your property, rewiring usually takes 3-10 days, during which the electrician will first deal with the circuits, cabling, wiring and back boxes, fitting new backs and switches and adding or repositioning plug outlets, switches and/or light fixtures. They will then install the new cabling and rewire phone and TV sockets in addition to any modern or smart technology fixtures before “going live” by connecting everything to the consumer unit. Of course, at AGW we take care of both stages simultaneously to save time and will often complete a full rewire in just 3-4 days.

Will it Affect the Appearance of the House?

A good tip when rewiring old homes is to ensure that your electrician has experience of working with old buildings.  Another is to request that as much of the installation be done in discreet areas so as not to disrupt the original structure of the building – that way you can bring the electrical safety of the house up to modern standards – while retaining its nostalgic charm. 

Are you in need of a house rewire? AGW Electrical Services North West are a team of trusted, approved and friendly electricians who have been helping homeowners for years to keep their homes safe by upgrading their wiring. Why not find out the true cost to rewire a house?

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