Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Additional Electrical Sockets

On the surface, it may appear that install new and additional electrical sockets is a reasonably easy job to complete. However, there are many considerations you need to make. For instance, electrical sockets can either be surface mounted or flush. The major difference is that flush mounted sockets are less prone to accidental damage and look more attractive; though surface mounted electrical fittings are easier to install.

Another consideration you need to make before adding sockets is that it will be IEE electrical regulations compliant and whether it needs RCD protection. In the following post we will talk you through what you need and how you go about adding a new socket or sockets step by step.

Safety First

In order to stay safe throughout the process, it is important you ensure new electrical sockets are installed in line with local building regulations. If you are unsure what the legal and local council requirements are for such work, or have limited experience; it is better to refer to and seek out the advice and expertise of approved electrical contractors or someone with official electrical certification and qualifications.

Whether you are carrying out the work yourself or hiring someone to do it – safety is paramount Observe and follow the safety precautions below before you begin.

  • Switch mains off at the fuse box. Isolate whichever circuit you are going to work with by removing the circuit fuse. To avoid accidental replacement, put this in your pocket or somewhere safe for now or
  • Switch off the circuit breaker and lock it if you are able to.
  • Just so everyone knows, stick a note onto the unit to show that is the circuit you are working on.
  • Use either a voltage meter/tester for lighting circuits or a socket tester to check the circuit is dead.
  • If you can't make the cable reach the new socket terminals without straining it, never pull it. Be sure to use a either a terminal block or a crimp to attach an additional short length of cable. It is important that you only do this if the mounting box has space inside to accommodate, as all wiring connections should not be buried in the wall behind and should be accessible.

Loose connections in the plug or overloading is often the cause if any of your sockets have been scorched. Never re-plug appliances in until you have dealt with the problem properly or the same thing will happen again and again.

Step 1

Begin by isolating the circuit you are working on. Always double check the circuit is dead before doing any work on it, by using a socket tester. Unscrew and pull the faceplate of the socket away from the wall, keeping the screws somewhere safe just in case the new ones do not fit properly.

Step 2

Next, loosen off the terminal screws and free the cable cores. If there is any heat damage to the insulation – cut back the cable cores and strip away at the ends to remove the damage parts. If its exposed, run the green/yellow cable sleeving over the earth core. Remembering that the metal black boxes must all be earthed, you need to run a short piece of earth cabling between the faceplate and the black box earth terminals.

Step 3

Connect the cores or live cores to the new faceplate's live terminal, the earth to the earth terminal and the neutral, of course, to the neutral terminal. Tighten up the terminal screws and fit in the brand new faceplate. If you discover that the brand new set of screws don't fit as they should into the old box's lugs, re-use the original screws you saved earlier. Complete the job by using a socket tester to ensure everything is wired successfully.

If everything above seems to complicated or you are worried about carrying out the work in line with electrical safety and legal regulations, please leave it to the professionals and hire an experienced and certified electrician.