Can You Live In A House While It Is Being Rewired? (And Should You Even Try)

Everyone loves a little getaway. A few nights of peace and quiet, somewhere sunny, in a hotel sipping cocktails by the pool is most people’s idea of bliss. The experience I’ve just had as an electrician working away from home had unfortunately none of these perks.

Sure, the hotel was nice enough, but there’s something about being forced to stay away from home that anyone who travels for work can relate to. The same is true if you have to leave your home due to construction work being carried out.

With the majority of people preferring to stay put in their own homes, it’s no surprise that the first question on homeowners’ minds, when faced with the need for a rewire, is usually, can you live in your house while it is being rewired?

Can You Live in a House While it is Being Rewired?

It is possible to live in a house during a rewire but the deciding factor is generally the homeowner’s adaptability to adapt to disruption and change. Full rewires require access to the whole house and having no place of solitude can get difficult very quickly for homeowners.

The vast majority of rewires I have carried out in my time as an electrician have been carried out on vacant properties. The homeowners have either gone away to stay with friends and family for a few weeks or the house is a rental property in between tenants.

Those rewires I have carried out with the tenants present have definitely been more challenging. Additional times is allocated from the get-go to allow for restoring the power back each evening. This additional time invariably means the cost of the rewire increases.

It’s worth remembering that there are certain rooms that are going to cause less inconvenience than others. For example, when a bedroom is being rewired, the homeowners can sleep in a different bedroom without too much disruption.

The problems begin when the rewire moves on to the hubs of the home, such as the kitchen or bathroom. A kitchen rewire is especially disruptive as the cabinets typically need removing to chase the cables into the walls. Living in a house while the kitchen looks like a building site can be patience-testing to say the least.

Advantages of Living in a House During a Rewire

Despite the disruption, there are some advantages to living in a house during a rewire, the main advantage is that you do not have to shell out the additional expense for a hotel or rely on the generosity of family and friends.

Being able to keep an eye on the progress of the work is another advantage. Moving out of home for a few weeks and returning to the finished rewire requires a level of trust on the homeowner’s part. Knowing the electrician in advance would be a huge help here. Having spent 14 nights away from home, returning to a half-finished rewire would not be a pleasant experience.

Being able to quickly begin re-decorating may also be a factor in why you want to stay. Once a room has been completed, perhaps the spare bedroom, keen DIYers may be able to get in there are start smoothing down plaster and base coat painting straight away (the dust would make me personally wait until it is all finished but each to their own)

Disadvantages of Living in a House During a Rewire

A chase in a wall for a rewire
A chase in a wall for a rewire

There are many disadvantages to living in a house during a rewire, but in my experience the main difficulty homeowners find is the daily disruption to the power supply. Going to flick the kettle on and discovering that the circuit has now been disconnected can be patience trying for even the most patient of people.

As a homeowner, if you are out at work all day this could be both a benefit and a curse. Being away from the disruption would be great, but coming home after a hard day at work to find your comfy sofa pushed to the middle of the room and the walls bearing the scars of chasing may be a bit much to take.

Rewiring a house is a messy business. Whilst it is possible to rewire a house one room at a time trying to contain dust, noise and disruption to that one room is not always so easy. From my experience on the tools, it is the little things, such as dust getting trodden into other areas of the house that homeowners get very frustrated about.

Tips for Surviving Living in a House During a Rewire

As an electrician, my number one tip for living in a house during a rewire would be to pick an electrician who you know, trust, and has carried out other jobs for you in the past. Living in your house during the rewire is going to be a patience-testing process for all involved. Working as a team is the only way to ensure a smooth outcome.

The number two tip I would give is choosing the timing of the rewire carefully. Planning a house rewire during a busy presentation week at work, or when the kids are home from school, could be a recipe for disaster. Running out the door in the morning having had to relocate the toaster to the living room to get power wouldn’t be the best start to an important day at work.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to live in a house during a rewire, but it requires a collaborative approach between the homeowner and the electricians involved.

Electricians working on the rewire need to understand that the homeowner is trying to get on with ordinary life and be willing to do what they can to make their life easier, even if it means tasks taking a little longer. Equally, homeowners need to be flexible and understand that their home may look more like a construction site than they would like for a few weeks.

Personally, I would attempt to live in my house during a rewire, but I may have my family’s spare room lined up for a bit of R and R on the weekends. I might also get myself on Amazon before the work begins and order one of those little stress-relieving balls.

Dave Nicholas

I have worked as a professional electrician for many years and like to use my experience to help others in any little way I can.

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