Should I pre-wire my home?

Pros and cons of doing electrical work upfront instead of on the fly

pros and cons of of pre-wiring

When you electrify your first appliance, you have an important choice to make: should you hire an electrician to do all the wiring you need to electrify at once, or do only what’s necessary as projects come up?

We typically recommend that you pre-wire your home for electrification, or do the wiring all at once before you start any electrification projects. This will save you time and money. But the pre-wiring approach may not be right for everyone, so we made this guide to help you decide what’s right for you.

What to pre-wire, and what not to

You can easily add circuits for your EV charger, heat pump water heater, clothes dryer, and stove/range. We don’t recommend pre-wiring for your heat pump, because you won’t know the exact type of circuit you need until you pick a heat pump with the help of your HVAC contractor. 

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of pre-wiring for electrification.

Benefits of pre-wiring

Save money. It’s usually less expensive to hire an electrician to do a lot of work at once than it is to hire an electrician to come back multiple times for smaller projects. Combining pre-wiring with a panel upgrade (see our article on Pros and cons of a panel upgrade for more details) can save you even more money. 

Prepare for emergency replacement. If your water heater dies, you probably won’t be thrilled to go without hot water for a week or more while waiting for an electrician! Pre-wiring for your water heater can enable a seamless replacement of a fossil fuel water heater with a heat pump water heater.

Minimize disruption and damage to your home. Sometimes, installing new circuits requires sending wires through the attic or the crawl space of your home and cutting into walls. Doing the wiring all at once can minimize this disruption.

Benefits of wiring project-by-project

Spread expenses out over multiple years. A pre-wiring project can be a big expense all at once! And while this will save you money in the long run, many households would prefer to budget for smaller projects each year rather than a big project upfront.

Decide on exact appliance types before wiring your home. If you know exactly what type of appliance you want, you can install a circuit that’s perfectly sized for that appliance, which may save you money.

For example, if you follow our How to electrify on a 100 Amp panel guide and decide you want to electrify with a 240 Volt, 15 Amp heat pump dryer, you can install a 240 Volt, 15 Amp circuit. If you had pre-wired with the future-proof recommendations in our How to wire your home for electrification guide, you would have installed a larger (and likely pricier) 30 Amp circuit. 

To learn more about the circuits you need to pre-wire, and to prepare to ask an electrician for a quote, read How to wire your home for electrification.

Learn how to prep your home for electrification with Rewiring America's free electrical panel guide. Check it out.

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