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How to Change an Electrical Socket

Sockets are either surface or flush-mounted. It is easier to surface-mount electrical fittings, but the flush-mounted versions do look better and don’t get damaged easily. Before you add a socket, you need to make sure that it is compliant with IEE electrical regulations and establish whether the circuit will need RCD protection, it must also be installed in accordance with local Building Regulations.

You should never take risks with electrical safety so before you start…

  • Switch off the main power at the consumer unit or fuse box, remove the circuit fuse and put it away or in your pocket so you don’t accidentally put that one in instead of the new one.

  • If you can, switch off the break and lock it.

  • Attach a note to the unit so people know you are working on it.

  • Check that the circuit is dead with a socket tester or a voltage tester.

If a cable doesn’t reach the terminals of the new socket without straining, don’t pull it. either use a specially designed crimp or terminal block to attach a new short length cable. You should only do this if there is room for it in the mounting box, all connections must be accessible, not behind or in the wall.

How to Replace a Socket

Remember, never take risks with electrical safety!

Step 1

Isolate the circuit, use a socket tester to make sure that it is dead. Unscrew the socket faceplate then pull it away from the wall, make sure you keep the screws just in case the new ones don’t fit.

Step 2

Loosen the terminal screws and free the cable cores. If the insulation is heat damaged, then cut back the cores and strip the ends. If the earth core is exposed, then run green/yellow sleeving over it. Metal back boxes must be earthed so run a short cable between the earth terminals of the back box and faceplate.

Step 3

Connect the live core to the live terminal (L) of the new faceplate, the neutral to the neutral terminal (N) and the earth to the earth terminal (E or the Earth symbol) Make sure the screws are fully tightened and fit the new faceplate. If the new screws done fit the lugs of the old box then just re-use the original ones. Once you are done then use the socket tester to check that you have wired everything correctly.

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