If you need an electrical rewire then you have a lot to plan for! Floors need to be lifted in places, access to loft space is necessary along with everywhere you want light switches, fittings and socket outlets too. You need to make working space available in a similar way if you were having new carpet or laminate flooring fitted. Walls and coving will be chased away in places to bury the new cables which will need plastering and decorating afterwards. If you or your neighbours work from home then you may need to make alternative arrangements to get away from all the noise and disruption. Depending on how much furniture, paintings, books and hi-fi equipment there is, you may even need to place some items in a detached garage or storage. Do you want to risk possessions getting damaged or pay the electrical contractors to move them when they could be getting on with the rewire?
When bungalows, apartments and houses are built the cables go in before the walls, ceilings and floors are dressed up. Now you need a rewire, twenty five, thirty years later; some of that will need to be undone! If you’ve already moved in you will need to prepare yourself for disruption. Some people choose to stay with relatives, friends or plan a holiday to let the electricians get on with it – at least for the first part, referred to as first fix where are the cables are routed to where they need to be. The less obstacles they have, the quicker you can get your home back to normal!
What to think about before having your home rewired
Rewiring your home is something you only want to do once so think wisely!
- Are you going to live in the house whilst the work is being carried out? Some do, but its a lot easier if you don’t! Occupied rewires means less daily working time. Do you really want to be getting ready for work with someone hanging off a pair of ladders outside on your landing? The last hour can often be spent making things safe for your return (like putting floorboards back down) only to be undone again the following morning! The longer it takes, the more money its going to cost.
- How much stuff have you got? Book cases, sofa’s, tables, beds, laminated flooring and integrated wardrobes all add time to the job because they are in the way of sockets, switches, fuses boards and all the cables inside the walls and under the floor. If you contact electricians who rewire properties in Cardiff they will tell you unoccupied, empty houses are a dream to wire up compared to an occupied one full of items, which aren’t so popular! Bear this in mind if you are thinking of buying a home, or know someone who is!
- Are the light switches on the correct side of the door opening? If they aren’t, now is the time to correct them. What about the location of lights: do you have a long hall with just one fitting in the middle with two dark spots either end? Now is the time to resolve that. Always think LED for lighting: they use less power, come in a range of outputs and don’t generate any heat making them much safer, especially for the increasingly popular downlights which sit inside the ceiling void. Do you want to dim any locations – like above your dinning table for example? Dimmers need to have deeper back boxes and not the popular plaster depth ones which are the preferred choice (because taking too much away and you are in to the next room!) for a single brick wall found upstairs.
- Socket locations: Are they where you really want them and are there enough for today’s electronic equipment now and for the foreseeable future? Most customers want at least three double sockets in each room, apart from the kitchen where people need much more for all the gadgets and usual washing machine, tumble dryer, dish washer, microwave, kettle, toaster and coffee maker.
- What about electrical items you haven’t got at the moment, but might want in the future? If you are thinking about an electric shower, induction hob, outside lighting, hot tub or summer house; now is the time to mention it!
- Is the location of your existing fuse board OK? Very rarely in a perfect place; but if you need to use ladders or take furniture apart to operate it; that’t something that can be sorted as part rewiring your home.
Buying your own parts
This is something some customers suggest but it’s just not worth it in my opinion. You might have seen a deal of the century in your favourite DIY store, but the electricians know what works, what doesn’t, what is a good, reliable brand and can probably get it for less than you anyway. If you are going to the expense and disruption of having your house rewired then its a good idea to have the same brand of accessories fitted throughout, so let them know what you want and let them source it all for you.
Time for a sort out
If you are living in the property that needs rewiring, have you spoken with someone who has been part of an occupied rewire? They will tell you about the disruption, making space, floors being lifted, lack of power and being asked to completely remove things before/during work being carried out. You don’t want furniture, curtains or paintings near to walls that are going to be chased for the new cabling. What condition is your kitchen in? Cabinets may need to be removed and tiles smashed off. Cables need to run from wherever your accessories are (lights, switches, sockets, showers, boilers) back to the consumer unit.
What about the old wiring?
One question that often comes up on a rewire survey is what will happen with the existing wiring? The answer to that is very little! Sure, cables can be cut off and removed wherever the electrician comes across old ones, but cables are buried inside walls, floors and ceilings and the only way to get rid of every single piece is to take your home to bits! Old socket outlets and light switches can be removed and plastered over if relocating.
How long is it going to take and would we be better off moving out whilst it is being worked on?
This really depends on the size of the property, how much chasing there is to do, what the flooring is made of and what the access is like in the loft to name a few. Ask any electrician in Cardiff and they will tell you an occupied rewire will always take much longer than an empty one. That’s because even when there is little furniture in the way, the property still needs to be made safe for the occupants to return to every evening. The last hour of the working day can be getting the floor suitable for walking on, or all the dust sheets out of the area – an hour which could be spent getting on with the rewiring the property if empty. Some electrical contractors will work longer days to get the job done quicker, but you might not want tradesman working in your house at 7pm when you want to relax after working yourself. The fewer obstacles in an electricians way, the quicker (and more cost effective) it will be for you. So, if you are considering purchasing a property, get the electrics checked before moving in.
Do I need a skip?
Most waste from rewiring can be categorized to make removing it as simple as possible. Plastic bags and cardboard boxes from electrical accessories can be recycled. Dust and rubble from wall chasing will need to be disposed of and does not come under the usual domestic waste we place outside for regular collection. Most customers arrange for someone to collect this and it can be bagged up separately to the other things.
What are the total costs for a rewire?
Your total cost for an electrical rewire will be the amount you pay the electricians to carry out the work, plus plastering and redecoration costs. If you need to put items in to storage and stay elsewhere whilst work is taking place then you may wish to bear associated costs and any inconvenience.