WHY THE NEED TO RE-WIRE?
We all know that nothing lasts forever and, in building terms, that definitely applies to a home’s electrical wiring systems. As our lifestyles change and technology becomes more sophisticated, so does our reliance on power. Older wiring can struggle to cope with bigger TVs, multiple electrical appliances and bulkier heating and cooling systems. The bad news is that there is a high risk of fire as the insulation on older wires starts to deteriorate and heat from the extra pressure causes wires to heat, flare and potentially catch alight.
WATCH FOR THE SIGNS?
The good news is there are several telltale signs that your home may need a wiring makeover. Firstly, if your lights dim or flicker when multiple appliances or heating and cooling systems are switched on, it’s likely your wiring is struggling with the required load. If your circuit breakers or fuse box is continually tripping it may mean you have a faulty appliance that’s tipping the box over the edge – or it could mean you have faulty wiring in the home.
Another sign could be switches that are discoloured or charred in appearance. This could indicate a loose connection or faulty wiring behind the switch which may have caused a small fire.
Speaking of fire, if you notice a persistent burning smell but you can’t see where it is coming from, it may be the wiring in your walls having a “smoko”.
The only way to know for sure if your home needs a wiring makeover is to get a qualified electrician to check it out.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
As a ballpark figure, the cost to re-wire a medium-sized home is between $3000 and $8000. But this is dependent on many things, most importantly access to your home’s wiring.
The easier it is to reach and replace the wiring, the faster and cheaper the job will be. Weatherboard homes often have the best access to existing wiring in the sub- floor areas and ceiling space. If you want to keep all your powerpoints in the same position, the job will be cheaper as well. If you want to move them it will take more time and labour costs, especially if it is a brick home which requires more effort to cut through walls than plasterboard walls would.
Copper wiring is the best but the most expensive wiring used in re-wiring homes, so it’s a good idea to get on to the job when you can before the costs increase.
You can drop the price a little by doing some DIY and patching around the electrical points yourself.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Re-wiring a home can take anywhere from three days to two weeks depending on the complexity of the job. Some electricians suggest you take a holiday during that time to stay out of the house.
If your re-wiring isn’t urgent, another suggestion is to roll the job into a remodeling or renovation project to minimise the disruption to your life and have all your work done at the same time.
The most important thing to remember about rewiring your house is that safety comes first. And while it can be a large and fairly expensive exercise, your new and modern wiring will last for many years and also be an excellent selling point if you decide to put your home on the market.