Time for an Upgrade? When, Why and How to Rewire Your Kitchen

If your house is more than 40 years old, there’s a good chance your electrical wiring isn’t up to code—and you’re probably feeling the effects of that obsolescence most profoundly in your kitchen. If lights are flickering when you use appliances, the number of outlets isn’t adequate or your breaker is tripping a tad too frequently, it’s likely time to rewire your kitchen.

The National Electrical Code has been revamped 15 times since 1974, so it’s safe to say that wiring in most older homes doesn’t meet current standards for guarding against electrical hazards and in-home fire risks. Given the number of appliances and presence of water, kitchens are a literal hotspot that could benefit greatly from a modern rewiring plan. One in five electrical fires between 2012 and 2106 originated in the kitchen or cooking area, according to recent research by the National Fire Protection Association

That said, there are some ideal times to consider a project of this magnitude—and expense (the cost can run several thousand dollars). As you might guess, the kitchen is typically the most expensive room in your home to rewire, averaging about $2,100, according to Thumbtack. So let’s dig into when it makes the most sense to up your kitchen’s electrical game.

When is the best time to rewire my kitchen?

Unless your kitchen has been deemed unsafe by a licensed electrician, then you have some flexibility when it comes to tackling that much-needed rewiring project.

If the electrical work is limited to the kitchen, contact a well-regarded electrician like Complete Electrical Solutions to evaluate your existing wiring and discuss a kitchen rewiring plan. Then line up the work at a time that aligns with your budget and schedule. 

For many homeowners, though, a full-on kitchen remodel is in the cards. And if that’s the case, there’s no better time to rewire your kitchen. Either way, an electrician is going to have to open the walls to access the wiring and reposition outlets, so why not rewire your kitchen when you remodel? 

A rewiring plan should be central to your kitchen remodel. In addition to current code requirements, the type and placement of new lighting, appliances and outlets will guide your redesign. Here are a couple great resources from Better Homes & Gardens and The Spruce to help you map out your new wiring plan. 

Why would I want to go through the trouble and expense of rewiring my kitchen?

Why wouldn’t you? Beyond the peace of mind that your wiring is up to code, there are other benefits to rewiring your kitchen. 

For one, our electrical demands—especially in the kitchen—have steadily risen over time. The kitchen of yesteryear just won’t get the job done anymore. Not with those massive French door fridges, miraculous heat-dry dishwashers and myriad countertop appliances we use for mixing, slicing, brewing and toasting. Modern appliances mean more power, and most American homes today need 200 amps and 240 volts to deliver enough juice to these energy-thirsty contraptions. 

Working with an experienced electrician is key to determining how many circuits your updated kitchen needs. A standard-size kitchen can easily have six circuits or more. Here’s a quick rundown of kitchen circuitry, and it’s a doozy.

Rewiring your kitchen will make the space immediately more convenient and capable, but don’t overlook the long-term benefits of this investment. In some cases, new wiring can lead to lower home insurance rates. In fact, some carriers won’t even cover homes with older wiring, or they’ll charge higher premiums based on the risk. 

Most homes built in the 1960s and 70s have aluminum wiring and are 55 times more likely to “reach fire hazard conditions” than homes with copper wiring, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Be sure to check with your insurance agent about potential discounts for replacing aluminum wiring. National Real Estate Insurance Group has some helpful insights to determine if you have aluminum wiring and whether it’s covered by your policy. 

How do I find the right electrical contractor for my kitchen rewiring job?

That’s easy. If you’re in the Springfield area, contact Complete Electrical Solutions to set up an appointment to have your kitchen wiring inspected. If upgrades are needed, a rewiring project can usually be completed in a day or two, depending on the size and configuration of your kitchen.

If not, there are plenty of qualified electricians who can help you realize your dream of a kitchen that safely carries electric currents to all the appliances you rely on to store and prepare food. Check out Angie’s List or Home Advisor to find top-rated contractors in your area.

Be sure to do your homework before hiring a contractor. Find one with plenty of experience related to kitchen remodels and quiz them about trends and best practices. Some contractors are brimming with ideas for how to get the most out of your kitchen’s electrical upgrade. Bring an open mind and willingness to discuss creative solutions. Remember, older homes can be tricky!

Rewiring is a big job that’s best left to seasoned professionals. Start the process today and find out what’s lurking behind your kitchen walls—it may be high time to bring your electrical wiring into the 21st century.