How To Rewire Mobile Home or House
How to rewire electrical DIY sites may explain rewiring your mobile home or house. However they fail to ask an important question. Why? A question I often get is " how much does it cost to rewire my mobile home ?" Well, I'll tell you that a do yourself home rewire project is a daunting task that can cost thousands. As an electrician I can tell you that lots of times I have found that just upgrading the homes old switches, receptacle outlets and light fixtures makes all the difference without having to rewire anything. During any home remodeling or demolition is the best time to do any house rewire because you are going to have to tear up some sheet rock and paneling to do it.
Inspect and Evaluate Before Rewiring
If your home was wired after 1976 then the wire itself is probably in good condition and does not need to be rewired. If wired in the early 60's or before and used varnished cambric (silver outer insulation) wire or if the home was wired with aluminum wire then you will probably want to rewire. If the home has only two wire receptacle outlet, no ground, then a rewiring is recommended. The first thing you will want to do is to look at the wire to see if there is any breakdown of the outer insulating sheath. Look under the home and if it isn't a mobile home or manufactured home and you have access to the attic inspect the wire in there too. Pull some of the receptacle outlets and switches (After you make sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker panel) to see if there is outer insulation breakdown. Be sure to check any switches or outlets that you have either had problems with or carry heavy loads such as toasters and electric heaters. The inspection of the homes appliance wiring is basically the same except, aluminum wire was used a lot for stoves. Most all other appliances like the dryer, water heater and a/c-heater is usually copper wire. I wouldn't bother with the appliances if the rest of the lighting and outlet circuits looks OK. As a suggestion you might want to get some free estimates and inspections from as many different sources as you can. You will be amazed at how much they vary and who missed what! After all that is done now you have an informed idea on which way to go. Also be advised that if, God forbid, there was ever any problems such as a fire your homeowners insurance may not cover your home if not done by a licensed electrician and inspected. If you are having problems such as flickering lights, intermittent or total loss of power to all or part of circuit look at some of the other pages on this site that deal with those problems without a rewire.
Planning for House or Mobile Home Rewire
It is best to sit down and draw a wiring plan for homes before you rewire. Remember that all the wiring must meet local and national codes. It will also probably require an inspection. If you live in the home and you don't want to live without power for however long it takes to rewire and get the inspection you may want to consider just doing one circuit at a time. When and if you do decide to rewire whether it is one circuit or the entire home remember to plan for future demands. When I was born there were no microwaves among other things, who knows what is coming next. Dedicated circuits for computers and entertainment centers is also a good idea.
Required Mobile Home and House Circuits
As of the time of writing this webpage there are certain minimum requirements that you must observe. Bathrooms, kitchens and all outside wiring must have ground fault protection. Bedrooms must be arc fault protected. Your kitchen must have a minimum of two circuits. My kitchen is 12'x14' and I have four circuits not to mention a separate lighting circuit. Smoke detectors and more are also required to pass inspection. There are many other requirements that are outlined in the National Electric Code and probably some by your local ordinances that you need to be aware of before you can draw a circuit rewire blueprint. You will also need to determine what size wire for each of the homes circuits you intend to rewire. See the chart below for Romex copper wire. I used a #12 for all my lighting and outlet circuits on a 20 amp circuit breaker to keep from having to use #14 15 amp for the lighting. I also did it this way because I have ceiling fans in every room and did not want to start overloading from the get go.
Tools required are going to be wide and varied as you begin to rewire. Just for the electrical portion of the job you will need a good drill with some different sizes of wood bits. You will need screw drivers and electrical pliers/cutters also known as side cutters and a few other hand tools.You will also need a fish tape to pull the wire through the homes tight places. Next you're going to need the necessary tools to repair the sheet rock and wood and trim damage that is going to occur. In some cases you can place your drill through the homes existing outlet hole in the wall and with an extended bit drill through the floor to underneath the home to pull the wire for the receptacles, this however can't be done for the switch circuits as you begin rewiring.
Final Rewiring Advice
Doesn't the upgrade of devices sound a lot better than rewiring the home after all that? If you are unsure of what your doing DON'T do it. Always exercise all safety precautions and take your time to do the mobile home or house rewire. Also be advised that if, God forbid, there was ever any problems such as a fire your homeowners insurance may not cover your home if not done by a licensed electrician.