Read more about How can I add additional electrical outlets to my home?
How to install more electrical sockets?
Electrical work requires extreme caution. Electrical devices must be installed in accordance with local building codes. Shut off the consumer unit or fuse box to avoid damage. Turn off the circuit breaker and secure it if feasible. Mark the device to show that you are working on it. If there are no hidden pipes or cables, secure the mounting box in place.
To flush mount a box in a solid wall, a clean recess through the plaster and into the brickwork is needed. Cover the earth core with green or yellow sleeving to preserve it. Then tap on the wall with your hammer handle, listening for a hollow sound. Hold the box in place as you mark, drill, and fill the holes. Before beginning the job, check for obstructions.
Remove the knockout to insert a pad saw or plasterboard saw. A corroded socket may be destroyed by a blow that destroys the faceplate or by overheating. Avoid re-plugging it until the problem is addressed. There may be times when you require an extra socket when none exists. The fastest and most convenient way to join a ring circuit is using a spur cable, but it cannot be attached to any other socket.
A spur cannot be routed from a socket that already connects to or powers a spur. The extra plug must not result in a 100 square metre increase in the circuit's floor space. The IEE Wiring Regulations allow for an unlimited number of socket outlets per main circuit. However, each circuit's floor area is limited. A 30/32 amp ring circuit may span up to 100 square metres and supply up to 30/32 amps.
If you have a large house and want to extend a spur through a wall to a different room, you'll need a separate circuit. First, isolate the circuit, then use a voltage tester to check the current socket. If you have metal faceplates, connect a 1.5 mm2 earth core cable between the faceplate and the mounting box. Use rubber grommets with metal mounting boxes because the sharp edges surrounding the metal cut-outs may harm incoming wire if trapped between them. Removing the cable's outer covering reveals the core, which should extend a few millimeters into the junction box. Connect the spur cable's cores to the terminals in this order: live to live, neutral to neutral, and earth to earth. Before turning on the power, add green or yellow sleeving to the naked ground cores.
Replacing a socket or converting a single socket to a double socket are both straightforward tasks. Sockets may be placed on the surface or flush with the wall. Even while surface-mounted wiring is more straightforward (a mounting box is simply fastened to the wall, the wire is put in, and then the faceplate is applied), flush-mounted wiring looks nicer and is less prone to unintentional damage than surface-mounted wiring.
First and first, safety is paramount.
Electrical items must be fitted in line with local Building Regulations in order to ensure your personal safety. If you are in any doubt, or if it is required by law, seek the advice of a qualified professional who is a member of an electrical self-certification program. Additional information is accessible on the internet or through your local government. Never take any chances when it comes to electrical safety. Following are the safety measures you should take before doing any electrical work:
- Turn off the main power at the consumer unit / fuse box to prevent damage. Remove the circuit fuse from the circuit you want to work on in order to isolate it. Keep this in your pocket so that you don't lose it.
- Alternatively, turn off the circuit breaker and lock it if possible - place a notice on the unit to indicate that you are working on the circuit.
- With a socket tester or a voltage tester / meter for lighting circuits, make sure the circuit is completely dead.
From a single flush socket to a double flush socket
If the socket is flush installed, it is extremely simple to replace it with a double socket that is placed on the surface. There are specific socket conversion boxes available for this purpose, or you may just use a normal double socket and drill and connect it into the wall, as shown in this illustration. In order to have the socket flush installed, you will need to remove the old box and create a bigger recess for the new one, which we will cover in more detail later. Tools and supplies required for the task include:
- Socket tester
- Pipe and cable detector
- Hammer action drill with masonry bits
- Wire strippers
- New double socket
- Wall plugs and screws
- Green / yellow sleeving if required
First and first, safety is paramount.
If the cable isn't long enough to reach the terminals of the new socket without straining, resist the temptation to yank it out of the socket. Attach a fresh short piece of cable using a crimp or terminal block that has been specifically developed for the job. However, only do this if there is adequate space within the mounting box for it; all electrical connections must be visible and not buried in the wall behind the mounting box.
- Circuit isolation must be performed. Be a second check with a socket tester to make sure it's not still alive. Remove the faceplate and the wires from the terminals of the single socket mounting box by unscrewing the screws on the faceplate. If you discover the earth core to be naked, cover it with green or yellow sleeving to protect it.
- Pass the wires through the cutout in the new surface mounting box that has been installed. Then, using a pencil, indicate the locations of the fastening holes on the wall. Remove the box, inspect it for any concealed pipes or wires, and then drill and seal the hole in the wall behind it.
- Install the new box by screwing it into position, and then connect the wires to the terminals by following the steps outlined in Step 3 above. Replace the old faceplate with the new one. Check the socket using the socket tester to ensure that it is properly wired.
Fixing flush to solid walls is a good idea.
A clean recess through the plaster and into the brickwork behind the box is required when flush mounting a box in a solid wall. Because it is dusty labor, gloves and safety eyewear should be used.
For the task, you'll need the following tools and materials:
- Protective gloves for pencils
- Goggles for safety
- Detector for pipes and cables
- Drilling with masonry bits using a hammer action drill
- Club hammer for bolstering
- Strippers for wires
- Tester for sockets
- Box for mounting
- Tape that sticks
- Wall plugs made of plastic
- Screws with a roundhead
Fixings flush with the stud wall
When flush installing a socket in a stud wall, it is best to utilize a cavity fixing box to make the installation as easy as possible. This fitting features a flange that rests on the face of a wall and spring-loaded or rotating lugs that push against the back of the plasterboard, allowing for more flexibility in terms of placement while installing the fitting.
Fixtures that are flush with the stud wall
- Check for any concealed pipes or wires, and if everything is in order, secure the mounting box in place. Check the horizontality of the object using a spirit level before drawing its outline on the wall. Make a number of holes inside the shape of the mounting box using a masonry bit and a hammer action drill to a depth that is slightly larger than the depth of the mounting box. Alternatively, if you have a socket template, you may utilize it. Set the depth stop on the drill or wrap a piece of masking tape around the bit to serve as a depth guide.
- Remove the plaster and masonry using a bolster and club hammer, being sure to cut all the way down to the bottom of the holes that were bored. Clean out all of the dirt and make sure the box fits properly.
- Hold the box in place while you mark the locations of the fastening points and drill and fill the holes. Before connecting the box, make a channel for the cable to go through. After that, separate the circuit and complete the final connections as described in the section titled "Replacing a broken socket." Install the faceplate and use a socket tester to ensure that the wiring is in proper working order.
For the task, you'll need the following tools and materials:
- Finder of studs
- degree of spirit
- Detector for pipes and cables
- A pad saw or a plasterboard saw are two different types of saws.
- Strippers for wires
- Tester for sockets
- Fixing box for cavities
Check for framing by gently tapping on the wall with your hammer handle and listening for the hollow sound to change. Before beginning the job, check for obstructions. Before continuing, make sure the box fits snugly in the hole. Re-insert the box, ensuring the cable is routed through the hole.
- Identify the location where you wish to install the new switch or socket. Using a stud finder, make sure there isn't any structure in the way before starting the project. Even if you don't have the proper tools, you can check for framing by tapping lightly on the wall with your hammer handle and listening for the hollow sound to change as you touch over the framework. Continue to hold the box in place while checking it with a spirit level to verify it is horizontal, and then draw a circle around it in pencil.
- Examine the area to ensure that there are no concealed pipes or wires, then press and twist a screwdriver through the outline at diagonally opposite corners so that the blade of a pad saw or plasterboard saw may be inserted. Remove the waste piece of plasterboard by cutting outwards from the perforations, following the shape of the box you've created.
- Check to ensure that the box fits tightly in the hole before proceeding. Take the knockout out of the box and set it aside. Push the box back into the hole, ensuring that the cable is routed through the hole.
- Pushing in or turning the fastening lugs will ensure that they are securely gripping the back face of the plasterboard. Connect the wires and then attach the faceplate to the circuit board. A socket tester may be used to ensure that the socket is properly wired.
Changing out a corroded socket
It is possible for a socket to get damaged for a variety of reasons, including a blow that breaks the faceplate or overheating that causes burning. If the issue is burning, it is most likely due to an overloading of the socket or a loose connection in a plug, which are both common causes. Avoid re-plugging it in until the issue has been resolved, or else the same thing will happen once again. Despite the fact that you may increase the number of sockets in a room by changing single sockets to doubles, there may be occasions when you need an additional socket at a location where none currently exists. The addition of a spur from a ring circuit will be required in this situation. Either an existing socket or a junction box that is linked into the cable run of an appropriate ring circuit may be used to power this device. The circuit must be protected by an RCD device.
- Circuit isolation must be performed. Be a second check with a socket tester to make sure it's not still alive. Remove the socket faceplate from the wall by unscrewing it and pulling it away from the wall. Keep the screws in case the replacements don't fit well.
- Disengage the termination screws and the cable cores will be freed. If the insulation has been damaged by heat, cut back the cores and remove the ends of the insulation. If you discover the earth core to be naked, cover it with green or yellow sleeving to protect it.
- Using the new faceplate as a guide, connect each core to its respective terminal: the live terminal of the red core or cores, the neutral terminal of the black core, and the earth terminal of the earth core. Tighten the terminal screws all the way down. Replace the faceplate with the new one. If the new screws do not fit into the old box, the original screws should be used. Check the socket using the socket tester to ensure that it is properly wired.
How to add a spur to a ring circuit (with pictures)
Using a spur cable to link into an existing socket is the quickest and most convenient method of joining into a ring circuit - but it cannot be connected to any other socket. There are extremely precise requirements for this in the IEE Wiring Regulations. It is not permitted to run a spur from a socket that is already connected to a spur or that is currently supplying power to a spur. And the additional socket shall not result in an increase in the floor area serviced by the circuit that exceeds 100 square metres. A trained electrician will be required to determine if the socket from which you want to run is a part of a ring circuit in the event that you are in any question about it. As an alternative to extending a spur from an existing socket, a 3-terminal, 30-amp junction box connected into the main circuit line may be used to run the spur instead. However, due to the fact that the same rules apply, if you are in any doubt, consult with a trained electrician.
Choosing the appropriate socket
Use a socket tester to double-check that the power has been turned off at the consumer unit after isolating the circuit. After that, remove the faceplate from the socket from which you wish to run a spur. Count the number of cables that enter the mounting box: one wire indicates that it is already on a spur; three cables indicate that it is already supplying a spur You will not be able to add a spur in either case - try another socket instead. What you need to look for is a socket that has two wires coming into it. However, before you proceed with the addition of a spur, you must first ensure that this is a ring circuit. Disconnect the black cores and, while the power is still off, use a continuity tester to check their functionality. It is a ring circuit if the continuity tester indicates that there is no break in the circuit, and you may add a spur if the floor area of the circuit does not exceed 100 square metres. As an alternative to extending a spur from an existing socket, a 3-terminal, 30-amp junction box connected into the main circuit line may be used to run the spur instead. The same rules, however, apply, therefore trace the cable to the closest socket and perform the procedures listed above to ensure compliance.
Take into consideration your available floor space.
However, despite the fact that the IEE Wiring Regulations allow you to have an infinite number of socket outlets on each main circuit flowing from your consumer unit, there are limitations on the amount of floor space that each circuit may provide. A 30 / 32 amp ring circuit has a maximum coverage area of 100 square metres and can provide a maximum of 30 / 32 amps. However, because to the fact that ring circuits servicing kitchens and utility rooms are often the most highly loaded, it is preferable to avoid extending them into other rooms as much as is feasible. Your consumer unit's fuse cover should have the names of the rooms in your home that are covered by each circuit listed on it; however, you may double-check this by isolating the circuit and testing each of its individual sockets to verify if they are operational. As soon as you have determined the size of the circuit, you can measure the number of rooms it serves and compute the total floor space. If you have a big home and were intending to put a spur through a wall to feed a socket in a different room, you may discover that you will surpass the maximum allowable amount of power. If this is the case, you will need to run the spur from a separate circuit.
Energy conservation — no more idle time
In an intelligent multi-socket adapter, there is one primary socket and a number of supporting sockets. When the adapter recognizes that the device connected into the main socket has been turned off, it automatically turns off the supporting sockets as well - saving you money on energy costs. As soon as you turn on the main appliance, the auxiliary sockets are automatically turned back on.
An example of how to run a spur from a socket
Install your new socket first, then connect a length of 2.5 mm two-core-and-earth wire from the new outlet to the old socket to complete the installation.
Tools & materials for the job:
- Continuous testing (Continuity tester)
- Side cutters are a kind of tool that is used to cut on the side of a building.
- Wire strippers are used to remove wires from a wire loom.
- Socket testers are used to test sockets.
- 2 pieces of rubber grommets
- Sleeves with a green and yellow color scheme
How to connect a spur to a junction box using a connector
Install the spur socket first, and then run a length of 2.5 mm2 two-core-and-earth wire back to the place where it will be linked to the main circuit cable, as shown in the diagram. The junction box should have the same amperage as the circuit it is connected to, if possible.
- Circuit isolation should be performed first, followed by a voltage tester test to ensure that the present socket is not faulty.
- Remove the faceplate from the new socket, feed the cable into the mounting box via a rubber grommet, and connect the cores of the cable to the terminals on the faceplate of the new socket. Don't forget to wrap the exposed earth core of the new wire with green or yellow sleeving, then tighten the terminal screws to ensure a secure connection.
- Remove the cable and repeat the procedure at the existing socket.
- If you have metal faceplates, cut a short piece of earth core from 1.5 mm2 cable and run it between the earth terminals of the faceplate and the mounting box. If you don't have metal faceplates, you may use 1.5 mm2 cable instead.
- Put the faceplates back on and re-connect the power cord. Finally, with the help of a socket tester, ensure that your new socket is properly wired.
The most important recommendation
Check that you're connecting to the proper socket terminals - the location of these terminals varies from brand to brand. In addition, take the time to go over any operating instructions that may come with your new socket. You'll need to use rubber grommets if you're using metal mounting boxes since the sharp edges surrounding the metal cut-outs will cause the incoming wire to be damaged if it gets caught between them.
- Make a physical isolation of the circuit and verify it with a socket tester to ensure it is not damaged.
- If the faceplate is made of metal, cut a short length of earth core from 1.5 mm2 cable and run it between the earth terminals of the faceplate and the mounting box. If the faceplate is not made of metal, cut a short length of earth core from 1.5 mm2 cable and run it between the earth terminals of the faceplate and the mounting box. Replace the faceplate with a new one.
- After that, screw the junction box's base to the side of a neighboring joist or to a batten nailed between joists to secure it in place. The cut ends of the main cable will then be able to reach it after it has been extended.
- Remove the cable by cutting it and peeling away the outer coating (but making sure it extends a few mm into the junction box). Make that the ends of the cores are exposed and that they are connected to the terminals of the junction box. Then connect the cores of the spur cable to the corresponding terminals - live to live, neutral to neutral, and earth to earth – in this order: live, neutral, and earth. It is important to remember to apply green or yellow sleeving to the bare ground cores.
- Check that the terminal screws are securely fastened before replacing the lid of the box and turning on the power. In the last step, use a socket tester to ensure that the socket is properly wired.
Finally, why not put more electrical sockets?
- Electrical work requires extreme caution.
- Electrical devices must be installed in accordance with local building codes.
- Shut off the consumer unit or fuse box to avoid damage.
- Turn off the circuit breaker and secure it if feasible. Mark the device to show that you are working on it.
- If there are no hidden pipes or cables, secure the mounting box in place.
- To flush mount a box in a solid wall, a clean recess through the plaster and into the brickwork is needed.
- Hold the box in place as you mark, drill, and fill the holes.
- There may be times when you require an extra socket when none exists.
- The fastest and most convenient way to join a ring circuit is using a spur cable, but it cannot be attached to any other socket.
- A spur cannot be routed from a socket that already connects to or powers a spur.
- The extra plug must not result in a 100 square metre increase in the circuit's floor space.
- The IEE Wiring Regulations allow for an unlimited number of socket outlets per main circuit.
- However, each circuit's floor area is limited.
- A 30/32 amp ring circuit may span up to 100 square metres and supply up to 30/32 amps.
- If you have a large house and want to extend a spur through a wall to a different room, you'll need a separate circuit.
- First, isolate the circuit, then use a voltage tester to check the current socket.
- If you have metal faceplates, connect a 1.5 mm2 earth core cable between the faceplate and the mounting box.
- Removing the cable's outer covering reveals the core, which should extend a few millimeters into the junction box.
- Connect the spur cable's cores to the terminals in this order: live to live, neutral to neutral, and earth to earth.
- Before turning on the power, add green or yellow sleeving to the naked ground cores.