Few renovation jobs are quite as messy, time-consuming or disruptive than a full rewire.

The electrical system within your home is complex, operating on several different circuits around the home. That is why sometimes when a light bulb goes, you will still find rooms of the house with power. Your installation has many different circuits feeding into the fuse box and many different points at which something can go wrong. Homebuilding and Renovating explains that means a messy, disruptive job that affects every room in your house.

Often, when buying an older house, your survey will recommend a full rewire. Also, if you have experienced flooding, you may have to rewire the house because of the damage caused. In some instances, you may look to a full rewire as part of an ongoing renovation project.

So, at which point do you need to undergo a full rewire of your property? Which signs should you be on the lookout for? Here are some handy tips to help you decide if you need to address the electrics in your home.


As a matter of course, you should have a qualified electrician check your home once every 10 years. If you rent a house out, then Electrical Safety First claims you must carry out an inspection once every five years, a legal requirement since 2020 in England, and since 2015 in Scotland. Often, an inspection might highlight a problem on a specific circuit which does not demand a full home rewire but can prevent further problems down the line.

House Age

If your home is 30 years old, or older, and work has not been carried out to modify the electrics, then you will most likely need a rewire to bring your home up to modern standards. That may include a new consumer unit and fuse box, even if the current one does not appear faulty. Another sign of age which means you may need a rewire is dated rubber, fabric or lead-coated wiring. Modern wiring is PVC coated, grey or white in colour.

Warning Signs

Whilst we have covered the specific steps you need to take, there will be warning signs your installation needs attention which you should heed. Electricity can be dangerous and if you experience odd ‘fishy’ smells in the home, that could be an electrical fault requiring a rewire. If you have breakers which trip regularly or get a mild shock from some switches, it is imperative you get your system checked immediately. Event frequent flickering of the lights can be an early warning sign of problems.

Post Installation

You can opt to purchase cover for your electrical installation post rewire, but do be aware of what may, or may not be covered. The electrical insurance and breakdown cover on HomeServe shows how typical policies will protect the installation but appliances are not covered – they would fall under contents insurance. It is certainly worth considering insuring your electric system though, even without a rewire, as you will be covered against unforeseen breakdowns and expensive repairs. This may also be useful if you have a part rewire done, within an extension or garage for example, and have introduced new elements to an existing system.

It’s always important to remember that all electrical work around the home MUST be carried out by an experienced and qualified engineer. Do not attempt to fix these problems yourself, as it carries great risk.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy our article Top Tips for Student Landlords.

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Daniel Peacock.

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