A full rewire can be avoided, providing the existing cabling is sound and able to carry any additional loads. It also may be possible to upgrade it by adding a modern consumer unit and upgrading the earthing and bonding.
- Never use switches or any electrical equipment when your hands are wet
- Don’t wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm
- Check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles and toasters are in good condition
- Don’t try to repair an appliance when it is still plugged in
- Never try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife as there are often live parts inside
- Make sure you thoroughly clean your oven and grill – a build-up of fat and grease is a major cause of fires
- Check your sockets are not overloaded with too many electrical appliances as this can lead to overheating
- Avoid storing objects on top of appliances like the microwave, which can block ventilation
- Defrost your fridge and freezer at least once a year to ensure these appliances continue to work properly
Carrying out a rewire will require a large amount of disruption to the main fabric of a property. It is likely that all switches, fittings, sockets and the consumer unit will be replaced and require new wiring. A total rewire will involve two stages of working; first fix and second fix. All first fix work will take place before plastering work and, usually, at the same time as any central heating and plumbing work. This is to ensure all cabling is hidden so the installation will involve lifting the floor coverings and floorboards and possibly the skirting boards too, chasing out channels in the walls and possibly in some ceilings that are inaccessible from above.
As well as installing new cabling, first fix stage may involve fitting new back boxes for all sockets and switches. In addition to rewiring for all power and lighting circuits, it is a good opportunity to rewire for modern central heating controls, alarms, CCTV, smoke detectors and doorbells, to add outdoor lighting and sockets, and to rewire the telephones and television aerial sockets. It is also worth redesigning the wiring plan for sockets and switches to make sure it meets your needs and those of modern house buyers.
Think about specifying two-way or even three-way switching for hallways and landings and other rooms with more than one main access. For a high-value property, consider adding a separate circuit with separate switching for table and standard lamps in the main living rooms and principal bedrooms. It may also be worth considering adding automated lighting, home network cablings, speaker cabling and other modern technology.
Having a full rewire will bring the electrical installation in your property up-to-date with the latest wiring regulations. It will also give you the opportunity to modernise your home with a new consumer unit containing residual current devices (RCDs) and circuit breakers, additional sockets to suit your needs (including USB sockets should you so wish) and the most up-to-date, modern wiring available.