5 Tips for Rewiring an Old House

Bring a classic house up to modern electrical standards with this checklist.

To eliminate electrical hazards, owners of older homes may have to rewire the entire house. Modern appliances such as air conditioning, microwaves and hair dryers weren't household necessities years ago, and to meet such demands, changes are often in order to increase a home's electrical capacity. Here's how to ensure safe operation:

Note: Upgrading and rewiring the main service panel is a job for a licensed electrician -- let him do it.

  1. Upgrade the main service panel to at least 100 amps.
  2. Install dedicated circuits in the service panel for each of the home's major appliances.
  3. Space electrical outlets six to eight feet apart throughout the house. That will eliminate the need to run extension cords that could be a fire hazard.
  4. When installing new outlets, install only the three-prong type to avert electrical shocks.
  5. Install outlets with ground-fault circuit interpreters in the kitchen, bathrooms and outdoors. These outlets will shut themselves down to prevent an electrical shock if they get wet.

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