Can I change a socket myself safely?

It’s always best to leave socket changing to the professionals unless you have sufficient experience in this area. If you get it wrong, you could cause damage and may even be putting yourself and others at risk. If you do want to know what steps you need to take to change a socket safely, read on.

Surface and flush-mounted sockets

You can either surface-mount or flush-mount a socket. Many people opt for flush-mounted sockets as they tend to look smarter and are less likely to be damaged accidentally. You must make sure your socket is compliant with IEE electrical regulations and find out whether the circuit needs RCD protection before you go ahead and carry out this task.

Comply with Building Regulations

The products that you’re installing need to be installed in line with your local Building Regulations. This is another reason why it’s best to ask a professional to do the installation for you. If you’re not sure about whether the installation is compliant with these regulations or not, ask a compliant professional who’s registered with the electrical certification scheme to carry out checks and install your socket for you.

Switch off the power

Before any electrical work begins, you’ll need to turn off the mains power at your fuse box. You can isolate the circuit that you’re working on by removing the circuit fuse, or switch off the breaker and lock it if possible. You can also use a socket or voltage tester to make sure the circuit is dead.

Avoid pulling cables

Don’t pull a cable to make it reach your new socket’s terminals. This is very dangerous. You can instead attach an extra short length of cable with a terminal block or a special crimp to make the cable reach. There needs to be sufficient room for the cable inside the mounting box. You can’t simply place it in the wall behind the socket.

Attaching cables to sockets

Your cable connections must hook up to your new product just like your old one did. Brown wires are indicated by the L on the socket. However, old L socket wiring may be red. Blue wiring is indicated by ‘N’, although this may be black if your wiring is particularly old. Yellow and green-striped wiring is either indicated by the letter ‘E’ or three vertical lines.

Why replace your sockets?

Many people decide to replace their old sockets because they need sockets with USB ports for charging devices like phones and tablets. Not all sockets have the same fitting requirements, so it’s essential to read the instructions. Again, it’s wise to get help from a professional if you have any doubts about what is required whatsoever. Once your new socket is installed, avoid overloading it. Overloading can result in overheating and damage. You should also wipe the socket with a dry cloth every so often.

Contact Ability today

At Ability, we can assist you if you need help with changing a socket. Why not get in touch with us via the website, by calling us on 01892 514495 or by sending an email to

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