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A step by step guide to change a socket

A step by step guide to change a socket

You can double the power of your socket on a weekend just by means of changing your single outlets to doubles. An electrician will charge around £30 to do this work for you. Think about how much you can save if you are going to replace all the single sockets of your house without taking any help from outsiders. If you are the one who has already got double sockets in the house then our this guide will assist you in changing the inevitable cracked, burnt or paint-splattered elements for the new ones. Also, in this blog we are covering how to add a new socket into the main ring, for this work also, an electrician may charge a good amount from you might be up to £80 or more. 

If you’re wondering whether you can change single socket to double socket, then the answer is yes, providing the present socket is the most effective one on that spur from the ring main. To test this out, you can try out a test given in step 6. 

Material needed – 

  • Insulated screwdriver
  • Mains voltage/continuity tester
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Bolster chisel
  • Pad saw or hacksaw blade
  • Wire strippers
  • 2.5mm twin and earth cable
  • Twin socket
  • Twin socket steel box for a flush fit
  • Mixed plaster

Step-by-step guide 

1. If any of your sockets are burnt, then they need to get replaced. You can check steps 3, 4, 11, and 12 for performing this task.

2. Placing excessive demand for a single outlet often results in the problem of burnt sockets. If you are familiar with all this then continue to read and learn how you can change single socket to double.

3. Before starting your work, isolate the ring main at the consumer unit or fuse board. You need to switch off some of the units that feature as a circuit breaker. If you have an older-style fuse board, you need to switch off the main power supply, take away the appropriate fuse (labeled ring or primary ring) before you switch the unit on again. Just separating the ring main simply means there’s still some electricity to the lighting – be careful if you are working in a dark corner of the home.

4. If you are living in an old house then there are chances that it contains more than one fuse board and because of this, it will be difficult to be sure that you have isolated the right part of the circuit. You can check it by plugging equipment into the socket you wish to work on. If you are using radio for this, must check that batteries are removed, else you will spend your whole day in attempting to find a non-existent power supply.

5. With the circuit which you have isolated, you can easily and safely undo the screws at the front of the socket. If there is only one wire per connector it could be earth, live, and neutral, it means that the socket has already been spurred off another; you can easily swap this to a double socket but it is not possible to spur off it to deliver a new outlet. Two wires going into every connector shows that the socket is either part of the ring main or that it may be one of the two sockets fed by the same spur. If you plan to change a single socket to a double or add a new spur, you must ensure that the outlet is the part of a ring main. Again to test and confirm this, run a continuity test in the upcoming step. 

6. Take a round of your house, check, and switch off and unplug (if possible) any electrical equipment fed from the ring main. At the socket, undo the screw that is holding the live (red or brown) wires and touch one of them with the help of a probe from a mains voltage tester set on continuity mode. You need to touch the other probe of the tester to the neutral terminal (labeled N with black or blue wires). Repeat this with the other wires of red and brown color. There should not be any type of unit’s buzzer or lighting when you are checking out the wires this way. Touch one probe on each of the brown and pink wires. If you are able to see a light in the tester or hear a sound of buzzer up this simply means that the socket is a part of the ring main. If you are changing a single socket to a double socket, take away all of the wirings from the old socket. If you plan to spur a brand new socket from this one, You need to change the wire back from the position of new sockets under the floorboards or with conduit alongside a wall.

7. If you are changing a single socket to double, you may use a floor-mounted plastic box or a steel box that is fitted into the wall giving a flush finish. In this instance, there is a steel container instead of the vintage single socket container. Flush-mounted containers can be fitted in traditional plaster over the walls of brick, like this and in modern plasterboard, this work is done over studwork partitions. In both cases, it makes sense to use the pre-existing hole as a part of the brand new opening. Place the container in the proper position and draw around it.

8. To break out the plaster or brick you can use a bolster chisel and hammer (be very careful, you are not supposed to cut the cable). There is a problem while working with old plaster, it comes out in large chunks, so be prepared to do some work of repairing afterward. While you can easily cut plasterboard walls with a pad saw or a hacksaw blade.

9. You need to closely examine the cable coming up through the wall. If you see any signs that show damage in the cable like burning, cuts, or crumbly insulation, they’ll need to be replaced back to where they are part of the ring main – a tough but essential job.

10. The metal containers used for flush-mount fixings have a series of pre-punched holes for the cable to feed by. Select the perfect one and press it with the help of your thumb or you can also use the end part of the screwdriver. Push the box into the wall, pull the wires via the hole, drill the mounting holes, and connect in place.

11. Fit the wires into the back part of the socket. You can easily identify the live and neutral, marked with an L and N respectively while the point of earthing is usually denoted by a metal tag signified via an E or three small horizontal lines topped by a single vertical line. We’ve used the brand new color-coded wires which are: live, brown; neutral, blue; and earth, yellow with a green tracer. There are chances that you’ll have the vintage color-coded wires which are: live, red; neutral, black; and earth, green with a yellow tracer. If all the wires are in good condition, you can use the two types together.

12. Now you need to press the socket at their original position and must ensure not to trap any of the wires inside the process. Tighten the screws, start the power supply, and check by plugging whether things are working properly. 

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