11 signs you should think about rewiring your home

Over half of home electrical fires are related to wiring problems. Is your home at risk?

Man cutting residential electrical wiring.

How important is it to confirm your house's wiring is in good shape? Consider this: U.S. fire departments respond each year to an estimated 24,200 home electrical fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. These fires cause an estimated 225 deaths, 1,050 injuries and $1.2 billion in property loss. When a home electrical fire starts, half of the fires involve the home's wiring or lighting.

While these numbers are staggering, steps can be taken to prevent your home from becoming a statistic. The electrical system in your home may need to be repaired or updated. A complete electrical rewiring with a new electrical panel can be a big expense, but that pales in comparison to the importance of keeping your home and family safe.

Warning signs

An electrical system will often display signs when there are potential problems. If you notice any of these electrical hazard warning signs, have an electrician inspect your electrical system:

  • Frequent blown fuses or tripped breakers;
  • An over-amped or over-fused electrical panel;
  • Dimming or flickering lights, indicating the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection;
  • Hot or discolored switch plates, cords or plugs;
  • Light bulbs that frequently burn out in a socket, signaling a fixture that can't handle the bulb wattage;
  • Buzzing or sizzling sounds;
  • A burning smell;
  • Arcs or sparks from an outlet when you plug or unplug a cord;
  • Loose outlets;
  • Cracked, cut or broken insulation; or
  • Electrical shock when you plug in or touch a cord.

Other reasons to check the home electrical wiring

Even if you don't notice any warning signs of faulty wiring, it's a good idea to have your home's electrical system inspected periodically. Electrical codes vary depending on where you live, but there are common situations that warrant an inspection from a qualified professional.

  • If your home is more than 40 years old.
  • If you're relying on extension cords for power.
  • If you've made major home improvements or added major new appliances that could strain your existing system.
  • If your home has ungrounded, two-prong outlets.
  • If your home has aluminum instead of copper wiring.

Even when you don't see any of these warning signs, you can't go wrong with an expert electrical system inspection.

Cost of rewiring a house

The cost to rewire a home can typically range between $1,500 for a small home to $10,000 for a larger home. The following cost factors can include:

  • Size and age of the home;
  • Addition of new electrical circuits, outlets and switches;
  • Electrical service panel upgrade;
  • If walls are opened to run wire or install new switches, outlets and panels; and
  • If a permit and/or inspection is required.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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