top of page
  • Writer's picturecdaws35

The Ultimate Guide to House Rewiring:

Ensuring Safety and Enhancing Value in Newcastle upon Tyne

I once encountered a home in Gosforth, decades old, untouched by modern electrical safety standards. During a routine inspection, we discovered wiring so outdated it was a miracle a fire hadn't occurred. This job underscored the invisible dangers lurking behind walls, unseen but ever-present.

In the UK, electrical issues cause around 20,000 house fires annually, highlighting the critical need for timely rewiring. This statistic is a sobering reminder of the importance of maintaining electrical systems to protect homes and families. Ensuring your home's wiring is up to current standards isn't just regulatory—it's a vital safety measure.

Victorian houses


Why Rewire Your House?

When it comes to home maintenance, rewiring might not be at the top of your to-do list. After all, if it ain't broke, why fix it, right? However, the electrical system is the heartbeat of your home, powering everything from your fridge to your home office setup. Updating this critical system is about more than just keeping the lights on; it's about safety, efficiency, and preparing your home for the future. Here are some compelling reasons why rewiring your house is a smart move.

1. Safety First - First and foremost, rewiring your home is about keeping you and your family safe. Old, outdated wiring is not just inefficient; it's a fire hazard. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical failures or malfunctions are a leading cause of home fires. Rewiring can eliminate this risk, replacing worn, outdated systems with safer, modern solutions that meet current safety standards.

2. Meeting Today's Needs - The demands we place on our home electrical systems have grown exponentially. Thirty years ago, the average home didn't need to power laptops, smartphones, home entertainment systems, and all the other gadgets we consider essential today. If your home is older, it's likely not equipped to handle today's electrical load. This can lead to tripped breakers, flickering lights, and even damage to sensitive electronics. House rewiring can update your home's electrical capacity, ensuring it can handle modern demands safely and efficiently.

3. Future-Proofing Your Home - As we move towards a future that includes more smart home technology and electric vehicles, the need for a robust electrical system becomes even more critical. Whether you're installing smart thermostats, energy-efficient lighting, or an EV charger, modern wiring is the backbone that supports these technologies. Rewiring can ensure your home is ready for the next wave of innovations.

4. Increasing Your Home's Value - A home with updated wiring is more appealing to buyers for all the reasons mentioned above. It's a sign that the home has been well-maintained and is ready for the demands of modern living. This can increase your home's value, making it a smart investment if you're considering selling in the future.

5. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings - Old wiring isn't just unsafe; it's also inefficient. Modern electrical systems are designed with energy efficiency in mind, helping to reduce your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bills. From LED lighting to energy-efficient appliances, a modern electrical system is the first step towards a greener, more cost-effective home.


Signs You Need a Rewire

1. Old VIR Wiring with No Earth - Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) wiring was a common electrical installation method in homes built before the 1960s. Characterised by its rubber insulation, VIR wiring is now considered outdated and potentially dangerous. Over time, the rubber insulation can degrade due to heat, electrical load, and exposure to oxygen, becoming brittle and cracking. This deterioration exposes live wires, increasing the risk of electric shocks and fires. Modern electrical wiring uses PVC insulation, which is more durable and provides better protection. Additionally, old VIR wiring systems often lack an earth wire, which is crucial for safety as it directs any fault current away from the appliance and reduces the risk of electric shock.

VIR cables

2. Old Fuse Board with No Circuit Breakers - Fuse boards without circuit breakers are a relic of the past. These old systems use fuses that must physically melt to interrupt the circuit during an overload or short circuit, which can be slow to react and may not protect against all types of faults. Modern consumer units equipped with circuit breakers and Residual Current Devices (RCDs) offer a higher level of protection. Circuit breakers can quickly disconnect the circuit in case of an overload, while RCDs protect against electric shock by instantly cutting off the power if they detect a fault or imbalance in the electrical flow. Upgrading to a modern consumer unit is essential for improving the safety and efficiency of your home's electrical system.

Fuse board diagram
graph diagram illustrating the differences in safety features between an old fuse board and a modern consumer unit:

3. Sockets Mounted on Skirting Boards - Finding sockets mounted on skirting boards is a sign of outdated electrical installations. This practice was common in older properties where it was easier to run cables along the skirting boards rather than through the walls. However, sockets at such a low level pose several risks: they are more susceptible to damage from furniture, vacuum cleaners, and other household activities; they are within easy reach of children, increasing the risk of electric shock; and they are more likely to encounter water spills, which can lead to short circuits. Modern electrical standards recommend installing sockets at a safer height, typically 450mm above floor level, to mitigate these risks.

Old fuse board

When considering rewiring your home, it's crucial to recognise these signs and understand the risks involved with outdated electrical systems. Upgrading to modern standards not only enhances safety but also improves the functionality and efficiency of your home's electrical infrastructure. If you encounter any of these signs, consulting with a professional electrician, like Great Park Electrical, can ensure that your home meets current electrical safety standards.


The Rewiring Process: What to Expect

Rewiring a home is a significant undertaking that ensures your electrical system meets current safety standards and efficiently serves your modern electrical needs. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what homeowners can expect during the rewiring process:

1. Initial Consultation and Inspection - The process kicks off with an electrician inspecting your home to assess the current electrical system's condition and understand your needs. This step is crucial for planning the extent of rewiring needed.

Expected Timeline: 1-2 hours

Tips: Prepare a list of your electrical needs and concerns to discuss during the consultation.

2. Detailed Planning and Quotation - Based on the initial inspection, the electrician will draft a detailed plan and quotation for the rewiring project. This plan will include the scope of work, materials needed, and an estimated timeline.

Expected Timeline: 1-3 days for the plan and quotation to be prepared

Tips: Ensure the plan includes all your electrical needs and ask for clarification on any technical aspects you might not understand.

3. Preparing Your Home - Before work begins, you'll need to prepare your home. This might involve moving furniture, lifting carpets, and ensuring clear access to work areas.

Expected Timeline: Varies by homeowner

Tips: Secure valuables and consider temporary storage solutions for large furniture items.

4. First Fix Stage - This phase involves installing new cabling, wiring, back boxes for sockets, and switches. It's done before plastering and, in some cases, before installing insulation.

Expected Timeline: 1-2 weeks, depending on the house size

Tips: Plan to stay elsewhere if extensive work is required, as power may be off for extended periods.

House rewire first fix

5. Plastering and Making Good - After the first fix stage, any chased walls and ceilings will need to be plastered or made good. This step prepares the walls for decoration after the rewiring is complete.

Expected Timeline: 2-4 days

Tips: Coordinate with your electrician to ensure timelines match up with any plastering work needed.

6. Second Fix Stage - This stage involves fitting faceplates to switches and sockets, installing light fixtures, and connecting the consumer unit. The electrical system is then tested to ensure it meets safety standards.

Expected Timeline: 1 week

Tips: Choose your fixtures and fittings well in advance to avoid any delays during this stage.

7. Final Inspection and Certification - A final inspection is carried out to ensure the rewiring meets local codes and regulations. Upon passing the inspection, you'll receive an Electrical Installation Certificate.

Expected Timeline: 1-2 days

Tips: Keep your certificate in a safe place, as you may need it for insurance purposes or when selling your home.

Bar chart
This pie chart provides a visual representation of how time is allocated to various stages in the house rewiring process, from the initial consultation to the final inspection.

FAQ Section

What should I do to prepare for rewiring?

- Clear rooms as much as possible to provide easy access to walls and ceilings.

- Plan for temporary accommodation if necessary, especially during the first fix stage.

How long does a full rewiring take?

- For an average-sized home, expect the process to take 2-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the job and the condition of your existing wiring.

Will rewiring cause a lot of mess?

- Yes, rewiring can be messy, especially during the first fix stage. Dust and debris from chasing walls can spread, but a professional team will minimise the mess and clean up after the project is completed.

Can I live in my house during the rewiring process?

- It's possible, but not recommended during the first fix stage due to power outages and construction mess. If you choose to stay, prepare for limited access to power and certain areas of your home.


Cost Considerations

When planning a house rewire, understanding the financial implications is crucial for homeowners. This section delves into the various cost components, including materials, labor, and potential unexpected expenses, while also exploring financing options and budgeting tips to manage this significant investment.

House rewire costs

Material Costs - The cost of materials can vary widely depending on the quality and specifications required for the project. Key materials include cable, socket outlets, switches, consumer units and circuit breakers. For a standard three-bedroom home, material costs can range between £1,000 to £3,000. Opting for higher-quality materials or additional features like smart home devices can increase these costs.

Labour Costs - Labour is often the most significant expense in a rewire project. The complexity of the job, the size of the house, and regional labor rates influence the final cost. Electricians may charge either a flat rate for the entire project or an hourly rate, typically between £20 to £50 per hour. For a complete rewire of a standard home, labor costs can run from £2,000 to £5,000, depending on the project's scope and any complications that arise during the work.

Unexpected Expenses - Unexpected expenses are not uncommon in rewiring projects. These can arise from the need to replace outdated fixtures, additional repairs discovered during the rewire, or upgrades to meet current electrical codes. Allocating 10-15% of your total budget for unforeseen costs can help mitigate the impact of these surprises.


Why Hire a Professional for House Rewiring?

When it comes to house rewiring, the debate between taking the DIY route and hiring a professional is one that homeowners often contemplate. While DIY projects can be tempting due to the perceived cost savings, the complexity and risks associated with rewiring make it a task best left to professionals. Let's break down the risks and benefits of DIY versus professional rewiring and underscore why certifications, insurance, and guarantees play a pivotal role in this decision.

Professional electrician

The Risks of DIY Rewiring

Safety Concerns: The most glaring risk of DIY rewiring is the potential for electrical hazards. Without the proper knowledge and experience, you risk causing electrical fires, shocks, or serious injuries. Electrical work is intricate and dangerous, requiring a deep understanding of wiring systems, electrical codes, and safety protocols.

Costly Mistakes: What might initially seem like a cost-saving venture can quickly turn into an expensive ordeal. Mistakes in rewiring can lead to circuit overloads, frequent tripping, and damage to electrical appliances, necessitating costly repairs or replacements.

Compliance Issues: Electrical installations must comply with local building and electrical codes. DIY rewiring projects often fall short of these standards, leading to issues when it's time for inspections or when selling your property.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional

Advantages of hiring a professional electrician
This diagram highlights the key advantages of hiring a professional electrician

Expertise and Experience: Professionals bring years of training and experience, ensuring that the rewiring is done correctly, safely, and in compliance with all regulations. They can foresee potential problems and mitigate them before they escalate.

Certifications and Insurance: Hiring a certified and insured professional provides peace of mind. Certifications from reputable organizations, such as the NICEIC or NAPIT, signify that the electrician meets the high standards required for electrical work. Insurance, meanwhile, protects you against any damages or accidents that might occur during the rewiring process.

Guarantees and Peace of Mind: Professionals often offer guarantees on their work, providing you with assurance and protection long after the job is done. This not only secures your investment but also ensures any future issues are addressed without additional cost to you.

The Importance of NICEIC or NAPIT Approved Electricians

Choosing an electrician who is approved by NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers) is crucial. These accreditations are not just badges of honor; they are a testament to an electrician's ability to perform work to the highest standards, ensuring safety, compliance, and efficiency. Approved contractors are regularly assessed to ensure their workmanship remains at the peak of professionalism, offering you an extra layer of assurance and trust in their services.



In wrapping up, it's clear that rewiring your home isn't just another item on your to-do list; it's a vital step towards enhancing the safety, functionality, and overall value of your living space. At Great Park Electrical, we understand the weight of this decision and the importance of getting it right. That's why we're committed to walking you through every stage of the process, ensuring that it's as smooth and efficient as possible.

Our dedication to honesty, transparency, and quality service means that you can trust us to deliver top-notch electrical solutions tailored to your home's specific needs. Whether it's updating outdated wiring, improving your home's energy efficiency, or simply making your space safer for you and your loved ones, we're here to help.

Our expertise in EV charger installations, EICR reports, lighting, and more, combined with our local knowledge of the Great Park and Gosforth areas, makes us the ideal partner for your home rewiring project.

Remember, a home rewiring project with Great Park Electrical is not just an investment in your property; it's a commitment to the safety and comfort of those who matter most.


bottom of page