How To Know If Electrics Need Rewiring?

Electrical tools and equipment on a wooden background

Faulty electrics in a family home or rented property are potentially dangerous. Over time, electrical components erode and present a fire hazard. Exposed wires could lead to electric shock, serious injury, or in more serious cases even death.

Qualified electricians recommend homeowners should assess the electrical wiring in their home at least every ten years. Landlords are obligated by law to inspect the electrical wiring every five years

When a home has undergone electric testing, you will be awarded an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

It’s not always easy to identify when old or poor electrical wiring is a potential hazard. However, there are warning signs you should be aware of – especially in older homes. 

In this article, we reveal how to know when electrics need rewiring, what to do and how much electrical testing costs.

Electrical tools and equipment on a wooden background

Can I Rewire Electrics in my Home Myself? 

You can if you’re a qualified electrician. Otherwise, it’s best to leave electrical rewiring to a professional.

Whilst DIY electrical work is not illegal, it’s not recommended. Rewiring the electrics in any property involves a series of safety precautions.

Major work is regulated under Part P of Building Regulations which requires you to notify the local authority for approval. You will only be permitted to rewire your home if you are considered competent. Proof of electrical qualifications should be presented.

For the safety of yourself and others, it is advisable that you know how to properly wire electrics if you plan to rewire your home. Faulty wiring is a fire hazard that can put you and your family at risk.

Moreover, if you do not have an EICR proving your electrical wiring was performed by a qualified electrician, your home insurance company may deny your claim for compensation.

To determine if your home does need rewiring, it’s worth asking a qualified electrician to perform an EICR. They will be able to tell you whether their are any faults in your home or if your home needs fully rewiring or partially rewiring.

Electrical Rewiring in Old Houses

Old houses are more likely to need electrical rewiring. Buildings that are over 25 years old probably need newly updated cable along with new switches, sockets, and consumer units (fuse boards).

That doesn’t mean that all old houses will need to undergo a complete electrical rewire. Just because electrical wires are old, it doesn’t always mean they are unsafe. 

The need for electrical rewiring will depend on the wear and tear of the cables. Older houses also tend to have fewer sockets which prompt the use of extension leads. Overloaded sockets are more likely to have deteriorated. 

There are six telltale signs that the electrics need rewiring in your home.

1. Flickering Lights

If your house suddenly appears like a scene in a horror film, the chances are the electrics need rewiring. You will probably only need to concern yourself if the bulbs in multiple rooms are flickering or dimming though. When a single light bulb flickers, it’s probably just the bulb that needs changing.

2. Persistent Burning Smell

Faulty wires can leave a nasty burnt smell in the air. If you notice an unfamiliar smell, turn off your electrics at the mains and get in touch with a qualified electrician that has experience in rewiring homes.

3. Discoloured Sockets and Switches

Burnt markings around sockets and light switches are typically caused by electric sparks or tiny fires from loose connections behind the socket. Faulty connections create a small arc of electricity and fire which left unattended come pose a threat.

4. Partial Rewiring 

If you’re contemplating purchasing an old house and notice some rooms have new switches and sockets compared with other rooms, it suggests that partial wiring has taken place.

This can mean a couple of things. The homeowners built an extension or renovated part of the house. Electrical wires would have been replaced at the time the building work was undertaken.

Another reason may be that an earlier electrical inspection determined that the electrics needed rewiring in part of the house but not all of the house. If this is the case, you may want to hire a qualified electrician to test the older wiring. 

The final reason could be simple. The sellers may have started decorating some of their rooms and upgraded the light switches and electrical sockets to modernise their homes.

Whatever, the reason is, if you notice mismatching sockets around the home, try to find out why.

5. Fuses Board Keeps Tripping 

If your fuse box repeatedly trips, you may need to rewire your home. Or you may need to replace your fuse box. Either way, contact a qualified electrician that has experience in rewiring homes.

6. Sparks and Electric Shocks 

Sparks around a socket when you plug in an electrical appliance could indicate your electrics need rewiring. If you receive a slight electric shock from the plug, it is definitely time to call an electrician.

7. Buzzing and Crackling 

Electrical circuits that are on their way out typically buzz or crackle. If you hear any suspicious noises coming from a plug socket, contact an electrician to check it out.

What is the cost to rewire electrics in the UK? 

The cost of electrical rewiring depends on the size of the job. Large homes can cost upwards of £3000. It also depends on whether you need a total rewiring, a partial rewiring, or just a change of the fuse box.

The best option is to conduct an EICR first. A qualified electrician will be able to determine the extent of the damage. Electricians that also perform electrical rewires will be able to give you a ballpark quote.  

Once you decide your electrics need rewiring, reputable electricians will provide you with a fixed price. The estimate will take into account how long they expect the job will take and whether you will need additional fixtures such as power points, switches, sockets, and light fittings. 

Do you think your electrics need rewiring? Have you noticed any of the warning signs above? If you do own an old house and don’t know when the electrical wiring was last examined, don’t take any risks and contact LRG today.