Rewiring. How bad is it?(24 Posts)
Just that, really. I think the wiring is reasonably sound but it's old. I've got a new fusebox so I'm not too worried about safety.
However, I'm thinking of doing some bits and wondered whether I would regret getting the electrics done at the same time.
When we bought our house the surveyor recommend a rewire but said it wasn’t a total must. However we decided better to start with that rather than re decorate, new bathrooms and kitchen etc and then wish we had. And I’m so glad we did. All our walls needed re plastering anyway and we added outside lights and a socket and wired smoke and heat detectors.
Are there enough sockets etc, and are the lights in the right place? It was three very messy weeks but once it’s done, it’s done.
A competent qualified electrician will usually be able to tell within two minutes of walking into your house (sometimes within two seconds) if it needs a rewire.
Try to get a personal recommendation from someone you know (
advertising websites are not personal recommendations) and verify their qualification by asking which Competent Person they are a member of, and checking their name on the scheme website BEFORE YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
For example find a contractor
You don't want a newly qualified person, or one who is just a Domestic Installer (this is the lowest grade)
I wish we hadn't done a rewire and instead bridged it with a new fuse box and changed our switches to plastic (they weren't earthed). It pretty much has completely destroyed the house and everything needs redecorating (it was done 2.5 years ago and we still live in a building site). Plus the people we got were a shambles so I needed another couple of sparks to come in and finish the job. If you have time to do lots of DIY then fine, otherwise do the minimum you can get away with.
All the cables need to go into walls so it's a big job and best done when you're doing other big jobs, e.g. redecorating the whole house.
I don't know how yours is but I think it's meant to get replaced every 25 years.
I had my house retired completely. some things make it very tricky for them (engineered wood floors for example). The electricians recommended that I took myself off out every day because they said most people didn't like seeing what they did to a house! they did put it all back every day, but the one day I came home early it was a bit hairy! they were known to me so no problems about leaving them in the house btw.
I've had my flat rewired recently. If you can, it's better to move out while the work is happening, so it progresses much faster (since the electrician won't have to keep putting down and lifting up floorboards, reconnecting electric showers/cookers/fridges etc).
Don't forget to factor in the cost of redecorating and potentially replastering. I live in a victorian property with original plaster and lath walls which just completely crumbled away around where the new sockets went in - beyond what the electrician could patch up.
However it was worth every penny. I no longer have to suffer with having to use extension cables everywhere and can finally have an electric oven. Like an above poster said, once it's done, it's done.
You can add lots of sockets and a new consumer unit without having to fully rewire. It's much cheaper and keeps the damage to a minimum. Surveys pretty much always mention rewiring just to be on the safe side. One house I bought had just been completely renovated including complete rewire and the survey still said that it needed to be done!
The last house I bought was built around 1970 and has never been rewired. The electrician I got in to add sockets said that it didn't need it - basically, pre 1970 wires were insulated with rubber which perishes and needs to be replaced. This was changed sometime in the 70's to PVC insulation which does not perish. Early 70's you could have either rubber or PVC.
Ours needed rewiring so we made it the first job, so glad we did as although some rooms escaped fairly unscathed (our bedroom for example isn't too bad), some have ended up a real mess.
Our electricians offered us a cheaper deal if we didn't live here while they worked-we had a holiday booked anyway so they came that week and did a 4-bed semi in 7 days. Meant they could just crack on wth it and not worry about what sort of state they were leaving it in every night.
It's one of those jobs where it's not cheap and leaves the house looking worse than before, but as our wiring was really shoddy it was completely worth getting done for the peace of mind and now we can get on with making it look nice.
It’s bloody awful and I don’t understand why on earth we haven’t come up with a better solution if it apparently needs doing every 25 years. It involves channelling into plaster, lifting carpets, floorboards but worst of all channeling plaster. Which makes the most horrendous dust.
WTF don’t we have conduits in walls though which new cables can be run? We had them in Eastern Europe 30+ years ago.
I had mine done in March
Then when the rewire was complete I had a total repaint.
It was great
Just a bit of dust and a few things to put back where they belonged.
( cos I was sneaky and we went off on holiday while the work was done)
That sounds a much better solution snowballs
My wiring was 40 years old and was dangerous
I dreaded it which is why I chose the option to go away.
Luckily I knew and trusted the guys.
you can have conduit, there is an oval one that will (just) fit under plaster.
However, if you house had been rewired with conduit fifty years ago, even though the copper and PVC are in fine condition, you would now want four times as many sockets, new circuits for the cooker, a dedicated circuit for the kitchen and/or utility room, separated circuits for each floor of the house, lights and switches in different places, so a lot of the conduit would not go where you needed it.
old metal conduit (from the 1920 and 30's, say) was available in two grades, and the cheaper one is not now considered satisfactory because it does not have good joints that will enable it to be dependably earthed.
I have worked on buildings that were wired in about 1970, and the cable has been in good condition except that some batches were made using a chemical in the PVC that reacts with copper, and needs to be removed.
PVC cable has a life longer than you do, except when it is exposed to sunlight outdoors, or stupidly installed in hot conditions, such as touching hot pipes, or touching polystyrene. So it doesn't "need" to be renewed every 25 years.
I still recommend conduit in kitchens, where you can run it all round the room 150mm above worktop level, with hundreds of sockets and switches, and it can be cut into to add more in the same row.
How do you know if it needs to be rewired?
Mine is from the 80s and never had any problems with it, run a 8kw electric shower fine. It's had a few new sockets put in by the previous owner. Sparky said I probably should replace the fuse board for 300 quid, but it's got trip switches and nothing has tripped in the five years I've been here
Awful. Ceilings down and floors up, took forever. Walls needed replastering and was expensive as well, however it had to be done. If it needs doing you just have to bite the bullet.
"All the cables need to go into walls so it's a big job and best done when you're doing other big jobs, e.g. redecorating the whole house.
I don't know how yours is but I think it's meant to get replaced every 25 years."
The cables don't need to go into walls, they can be surface mounted if you can stand the look.
Also there's no need at a to replace every 25 years, anything since early 70s should still be fine, assuming you don't want more sockets.
We’ve just bought a fixer upper and had it done as the first job. Even with none of our stuff there/not living there it took 3 weeks (large 4 bed end of terrace). We didn’t see the worst of it but now it’s done the house definitely looks worse than before - loads of patches of plaster on walls etc. We’re pleased it’s done now and have added loads of extra sockets. Also peace of mind knowing it’s all safe and up to modern standards.
Another one who had it done as the first thing in a complete renovation. Didn’t live there or have any stuff there while being done. So glad! As PPs have said - it’s VERY. DUSTY.
About to do it all again on the next one where people have surface mounted every single thing. More sockets are required so it’s all getting chased in, moving out again...
The council have just rewired my house and I am shocked at just how bad it is, a full rewire, every room floors have been lifted and walls channeled which makes such a mess, every ceiling. I had to be out the house for 2 days. The whole house needs decorated. If you can avoid it I would
If you have LOTS of things to change like moving/additional sockets/lights and have had any issues raise with current cabling it may be worth it in the long run but will ideally need you moving out whilst it is done.
It will cost, be very disruptive and there will be more dust than you realise, plus you will be left with lots of decorating.
We put ours off for two years until one of the circuits went completely, but inadnt decorated anything and I t was a great opportunity to replace ageing, dodgy circuitry (peace of mind at last), get all external cables internalised and add new features.
We had a company that specialised in rewires. They had a team in and did it in 2 days, plastered on 3rd day. DH and DS moved out for the period. I was at work during the day. They would only do it that fast if we agreed to be out of the house. All other quotes were 7 days minimum. We were glad to get it done as quickly as possible to minimise disruption.
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