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Electrical Wiring Cost

Electrical Wiring Cost

National average
$8,000 - $9,000
(installing wiring in a new 2,000 sq.f. home)
Low: $2,000 - $$4,000

(new wiring, 500 sq.ft. home addition)

High: $10,000 - $11,000

(old home, panel upgrade, wire system replacement)

Cost to wire a house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from electricians in your city.

The average cost of installing electrical wiring is $8,000 - $9,000​.

In this guide

Basic wiring
Safety codes
Wiring systems
Wiring materials
Parts of the house wiring
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to wire a house?

Electrical wiring is the process of connecting various wires throughout a given space for the purpose of conducting electricity. This could be the rough wiring done in a new addition or building prior to connecting appliances and fixtures, or it could mean the finished wiring and addition of a new electrical circuit to a home.

Wiring projects differ in cost depending mostly on the scale of the project. Rewiring an entire home, for example, will cost far more than the new wiring involved in a home addition. Costs also vary by area, as some electricians will charge per hour while others charge by the job. On average, the cost to wire a home is around $4 per square foot. Therefore, to rewire a 2,000 square foot home, the total cost would be about $8,000.

Basic wiring

Take a look at any panel or wiring inside a home, and you’ll likely find wires in different, distinct colors depending on the area.

Black and red wires indicate a “hot” wire or the conduit for electricity. Black means a hot wire that goes to a switch or outlet. Red is a hot wire for switch legs or for connecting smoke detectors. White wires indicate a ground, or neutral, wire. Green wires and copper wires are used solely for grounding. Blue and yellow wires are hot wires pulled in a conduit. Blue is for 3- or 4-way switches and yellow is for switch legs.

In addition, the wires used may be different gauges, or thicknesses. The most common gauges used in home wiring are 14, 12, 10, and 8–the higher the number indicated, the thinner the wire. Lower-gauge wires are able to transmit higher amounts of electricity than thinner wires.

Each wire is marked with its material, size, type of insulation, and, in many cases, the brand that produced it. For example, a cable with three wires inside, one being a ground wire, made of copper, measuring 12 gauge, and rated for heat resistance and 600V will be marked 12-3 to indicate the gauge and number of wires, G for ground, AU for copper, 600V for the maximum volts it can carry, and NM-B for non-metallic, heat resistant insulation.

Other codes may include:

  • 12-2: a 12 gauge cable with 2 wires.
  • 14-2: a 14 gauge cable with 2 wires.
  • 14-3: a 14 gauge cable with 3 wires.
  • 14-3G: a 14 gauge cable with 3 wires, including one ground wire.
  • AL: an aluminum wire.
  • T: thermoplastic insulation used.
  • H: heat resistant.
  • HH: high heat resistant.
  • W: this wire can be used in wet areas.
  • X: synthetic polymers are used to insulate.
  • N: this wire is nylon coated.

It is common to see combinations of letters, such as THHN to indicate all the various properties a wire may have.

Safety codes

The National Electric Code exists to make sure that all wiring jobs conform to a national standard for safety reasons. Whether you are bringing an older home up to code or wiring a completely new house, there are codes that will dictate what wires, cables, outlets, and ground faults will be necessary in each room or area. Every wiring job must first have a permit filed and then be followed by an inspection after wiring is complete to ensure that these codes have been followed.

A full listing of safety codes can be found at the NFPA. The most common codes that impact residential buildings include:

Bathroom

  • Outlets must be served by a 20amp circuit–one circuit may supply the whole bathroom, provided that other circuits power the lights, fan, etc.
  • Vents with a built-in heater must have their own 20amp circuit.
  • All outlets must have GFCI protection.
  • There must be at least one 120 volt outlet within 3 feet of the sink.
  • All light fixtures, fans, vents, and other appliances must be rated for wet or damp conditions.

Kitchen

  • There must be at least two 120 volt outlets installed along the countertop for plug in appliances.
  • Dishwashers and garbage disposals require their own, dedicated 120 volt circuits. These may be 15 or 20 amps. The dishwasher requires GFCI protection.
  • The microwave and refrigerator require their own, dedicated 120 volt circuits. These must be 20 amps.
  • All countertop outlets within 6-feet of the sink must be GFCI protected.
  • All lighting must be on its own, minimum 15 amp circuit.

Living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms

  • All rooms require a switch located within reach of the entrance. This may control ceiling or wall lights, as well as outlets for a lamp. The ceiling light must be controlled by a switch, not just a pull chain.
  • Any wall wider than 2-feet must have an outlet. Outlets are placed 12 feet apart on each wall.
  • A separate, 20 amp circuit is needed for window air conditioners, microwaves, or entertainment centers.

Stairways

  • 3-way switches are required at the top and bottom of the stairway.
  • Any stairway with a landing requires a separate light source for the landing.

Hallways

  • 3-way switches are required at either end of the hallway.
  • Hallways over 10 feet long require an outlet for general use.

Closets

  • Incandescent fixtures must be encased in a globe and may not be installed within 12-inches of storage space.
  • LED fixtures must not be installed within 12-inches of storage space.
  • CFL fixtures must not be installed within 6-inches of storage space.
  • Surface-mounted fixtures must be installed on the wall or ceiling above the door.

Laundry room

  • All outlets must be GFCI protected.
  • Electric clothes dryers need their own, dedicated 30-amp 240 volt circuit with 4 conductors.
  • All other appliances need their own, 20 amp circuit.

Garage

  • All garages need at least one dedicated 20 amp circuit that powers only the garage.
  • At least one light switch is needed to control lighting.
  • At least one outlet per car space is required.
  • The garage must be GFCI protected.

Wiring systems

There are essentially five different types of wiring systems used in residential buildings, although only four are used regularly.

Cleat wiring

Cleat wiring is essentially a temporary wiring system that uses PVC or braided and compounded wires that are held in place on walls using plastic cleats. Because the wires are exposed and installed in a temporary fashion, this system is rarely used in residential buildings.

Casing and capping wiring

This is an older system of wiring that isn’t as popular as more modern systems. It can be found in older homes, however, and can still be used to meet codes. It utilizes insulated cables that are run through wooden casings that are created by putting grooves into strips of wood.

Batten wiring

Batten wiring runs a cable or cables over wooden battens. The wires held in place with a brass clip every 10 cm for horizontal runs and 15 cm for vertical runs.

Lead sheathed wiring

This type of wiring is meant to protect the cables from moisture, such as cables being used in kitchens and bathrooms. It utilizes conductors that are covered with a lead/aluminum alloy sheath that contains 95% lead.

Conduit wiring

This is the most common type of wiring done in residential buildings. It comes in two forms - concealed and surface.

In surface conduit wiring, PVC or GI conduits are placed on walls or the roof, and the cables are run through the conduits.

In concealed conduit wiring, the conduits are hidden inside of slots made in the walls, and the cables are run through them. This method is considered stronger and more aesthetically pleasing because you cannot see the wires.

This method may increase costs of the project, particularly if using concealed conduits. Because the conduits are hidden inside the walls, there are frequently finishing costs associated with the job. A good electrician may be able to further conceal things so they do not require finish work, but this may increase the length of time necessary to install, increasing costs this way as well.

Wiring materials

There are more than 20 different types of cables in use in residential buildings, but not all of them are very common or necessarily something that will be used in every home. Wires may be made of copper or aluminum, and may be insulated or sheathed in a variety of other materials, such as PVC. Each of these wires may be hot, grounded, or neutral, depending on their purpose. In most cases, the cost of the wiring is included in the cost of the labor. Common wiring materials include:

  • Non-metallic sheathed cables: flexible, plastic-jacketed cables that contain 2 - 4 wires and a ground wire.
  • Underground feeder cables: waterproof cables that are made of many wires grouped together and embedded in plastic. Used for outdoor lighting.
  • Metallic sheathed cables: sometimes known as BX cables, these are used in high stress areas and use three plain stranded copper wires with a PVC bedding and sheathing.
  • Multi-conductor cable: very common in homes, this cable features more than one conductor, but each is insulated separately.
  • Coaxial cable: a double insulated cable with an inner tube and outer insulator. These are used for TVs and video equipment.
  • Shielded twisted pair: also used for video equipment, this is made of a pair of twisted wires that are not shielded. Very inexpensive and can be used for telephones, security cameras, and gaming equipment.
  • Ribbon cable: flat cables made up of wires that run parallel to one another. Low voltage, used for computer equipment.
  • Direct buried cable: this is a special, uninsulated coaxial cable that is meant to be buried underground. It’s good for high speed transmissions.
  • Twin-lead cable: used for transmissions such as TV or radio, this is a flat, two-wire cable.

Parts of the house wiring

The wires themselves are only one part of the whole system that provides electricity and powers your lights and appliances. You also have other components to consider.

Fuse box: homes built before 1960 have a fuse box installed either on an outside wall or just inside. The box is made of metal and houses the fuses, or small glass bulbs with a filament inside. The filament is designed to burn up in the event of a power overload.

Circuit panel: homes built after 1960 have a circuit panel installed. This is made up of switches that can connect or break the current to various rooms. The switches are designed to disconnect in the event of a power overload.

Tail: the electrical tail is what connects your meter to the main grid. This may or may not be supplied by your power company.

Main earth: the main earth is the point in an electrical circuit where the power can be measured. It makes a direct, physical connection with the ground.

Conduits: the conduit is a tube that contains the cables or wires. It can be rigid or flexible and made of metal or PVC.

Outlets: an outlet is the connection point where you plug your appliances in to receive the electricity. Installing an outlet costs between $200 and $750.

Telephone jack: this is the connection point for a main line or landline telephone to make a connection for communication. Installing a telephone jack costs around $90 on average.

Ethernet jack: this is a connection point for communication via computer and other electronics.

Cable jack: this is the connection point for communication with a TV for a cable provider. It may also provide internet.

Switches: switches supply or terminate power to a specific junction such as an outlet or light fixture.

Lights: lights are a very important part of the wiring system, whether they are overhead, wall, sconce, or recessed. Installing recessed lighting costs around $780 for six lights.

Labor

Labor is the biggest part of a home wiring project. This is true whether you are having a circuit panel upgraded or you are having your entire home rewired. In any case, wiring for a project usually begins with mapping it out, or determining what is needed and where. This can include light placement, switch placement, outlet placement, how many amps or volts a specific area needs, and what the panel will need to support this.

After the designing stage, the wiring may be temporarily roughed in, or they may simply begin running the various wires. This will also vary depending on the type of wiring system being used; because concealed conduit is the most common, it will also include drilling into walls and joists and inserting the various conduits that the wires will run through. This can be inside soffits, under stairs, inside walls and ceilings, or hidden inside of hollow ceiling beams.

After conduits are installed, the wires will be run through them and terminated at their various destinations. It’s here that the electrical boxes, switches, and rough in for the light fixtures will be placed, waiting for the finish work.

Finally, the lights, appliances, and fixtures themselves are hardwired in, and the finish materials and face plates installed.

This work is carried out by an electrician. A permit is required ahead of time, which will include the plans and diagram for the job. This will be followed by an inspection to ensure that all electrical safety codes have been met.

The scope of the work as well as the materials being used have a major impact on the final cost. Electricians charge between $65 and $85 per hour, and the rewiring of an entire home may take up to a week. Smaller jobs, like wiring a single room, may take one to two days. Including the cost of all materials needed, it’s common for electricians to price jobs by the square foot for the area being wired, between $3 and $5 per foot, with most homeowners paying around $4.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Appliances

In many home remodels, wiring is not the only job an electrician will undertake. He may also set up appliances and alarm or security systems. Expect to pay between $100 and $500 for these services, depending on how many you have done.

Upgrading the panel to a higher amperage

You may need to upgrade your panel to a higher amperage if you are rewiring your home. This will cost around $1,300 to $3,000 depending on the existing panel.

Site cleaning

In some instances, you may need to have the site cleaned after installation, before finishing work can continue. Some workmen will clean up after themselves, others will insist you hire a crew, at an additional cost of up to $500 depending on how much cleaning will take place.

Additional considerations and costs

  • There are many aspects of home wiring that can be done DIY, but this is not generally recommended. You need to be able to pull the permit, which means submitting a detailed and thorough diagram, complete the work safely, and then pass inspection. Unless you have some electrical knowledge already, it’s best to leave this job to the pros.
  • If your home was built before 1960, you likely have older style knob and tube wiring, which will need to be removed before a new panel and wiring installation can be finished.
  • If the electrician finds any safety hazards or faulty wiring in your home during the course of the work, he will need to fix these at an additional cost before he can continue with the rest of the job.
  • Always get a written estimate before hiring an electrician. It should include a breakdown of the various costs involved in project, including labor and materials. Your electrician can also offer you additional information on finishing costs and what type of work is recommended.
  • When installing wiring, many pros will have to cut into wall surfaces to conceal wires. This may lead to the need to repair or restore certain finishes and areas, or replace materials that needed to be cut away. This can therefore increase costs.

FAQ

  • What type of electrical wiring is used in homes?

There are many types of electrical wiring used in homes, depending on the area and the use. The most common type, however, is multi-conductor cable.

  • Which wire is live, red or black?

Both red and black wires should be considered hot. Black leads to the switch, while red indicates the legs.

  • What is a homerun in electrical wiring?

A home run is the cable that brings the charge from the circuit breaker to the first outlet in the run.

  • How long does wiring in a house last?

Copper wiring, properly installed, can last 100 years or more.

  • What is the average cost to rewire a house?

The average cost to rewire a home is $4 per square foot, making a 2,000 square foot home around $8,000.

  • How much does it cost to install a new electrical outlet?

The cost of a new electrical outlet is around $200 to $750 depending on the type and location.

  • How much does it cost for an electrician to come out?

Electricians charge between $65 and $85 per hour, but most will have a minimum of $200 per call.

  • How much does an electrical inspection cost?

Electrical inspections can vary in cost depending on the system and the size of the home, and range from $200 to $500 on average.

  • What type of wiring is used in homes?

There are many types of wiring used in homes, but the most common is the multi-conductor cable.

  • How much would it cost to rewire a 1,500 square foot house?

The average cost to rewire a home is $4 per square foot, making this project around $6,000.

  • What is the average cost of rewiring a three bedroom house?

The average cost to rewire a home is $4 per square foot. For a three bedroom, 1,500 square foot home, this would be around $6,000.

  • How often should I rewire my house?

Your home should be rewired if it was built prior to 1960, if it has faulty wiring, or if you are adding to the electrical load.

  • How long does it take an electrician to wire a house?

On average, it takes around a week for an electrician to wire a 2,000 square foot home.

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Cost to wire a house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Electrician passing electric cables to the sockets

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Akron, OH
-6%
Albany, OR
-13%
Anniston, AL
-36%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Boston, MA
+40%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Burlington, IA
+1%
Canton, CT
+23%
Charleston, SC
-1%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, GA
-20%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Conroe, TX
+21%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Des Moines, IA
+1%
East Haven, CT
+21%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Goleta, CA
+5%
Houston, TX
+24%
Humble, TX
+16%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Keller, TX
+20%
Kissimmee, FL
-20%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Mckinney, TX
+23%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
New York, NY
+77%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Overland Park, KS
+15%
Pensacola, FL
-19%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Labor cost in your zip code
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