Replacing a Plug SocketNever tackle an electrical job in your home unless you are absolutely certain you know what you are doing. If you are not sure about anything consult a qualified electrician. If you decide to replace a plug socket yourself you must buy a British Standard (BSI) product and follow the instructions which come with it to the letter. Advanced knowledge about the principles of household electricity is advisable for your own safety. Read below for some basic advice on fitting a socket.

Fitting a Socket

To fit a new socket you will need to break into the existing ring main or run a spur from an existing socket or from a junction box.

Every socket on the power circuit has three connections with a circuit cable:

  • The live core is linked to the socket’s live terminal – marked – Live – L.
  • The Neutral core is linked to the neutral terminal – marked – Neutral – N.
  • The bare earth is linked to the earth terminal – marked Earth – E – or the Earth Symbol ( ).

On a ring main there will be two separate three core cables to be connected to the socket. Two cores should be connected to each terminal. On a spur there will be only one cable. Whether a spur or a ring circuit the connections must be made within a fireproof casing. This is normally provided by the metal or plastic box on which the socket is mounted.



  • Always turn off the mains switch before any electrical mains work.
  • Double check the circuit is dead by plugging in an appliance or a mains tester.
  • Use good quality materials which conform to British Standards. 20px break sock
  • Use cables flexes, sockets and other equipment which conform to the correct rating of the circuits and appliances they serve.
  • Follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer of the equipment you are using.
  • If in doubt – contact a qualified electrician.

20px break

Step By Step


  • Check core cables are the correct length and strip them with cable clippers.
  • Ensure earth cable is insulated and marked.
  • Connect the cables to the terminals on the back of the socket.
  • Screw the socket to the mounting box. 20px break



  • Insulated screwdriver
  • Insulated wire strippers
  • Insulated torch
  • Insulated pliers

20px break

Key Terms

Earth – The pathway along which an electrical current can flow safely to the ground if a fault develops.

Live – The core of the cable or flex carrying the current or any terminal to which the live core is connected.

Neutral – The core of a cable or flex carrying current back to its source or any terminal where the neutral core is connected.

BS1363 Warning – In the UK Specified plugs, adaptors and fuse links or cartridge fuse links for specified plugs, sockets and adaptors must comply with the specified standard – British Standard BS1363. Always buy electrical components from an approved stockist. Never buy electrical goods or components if you fear they may be counterfeit. If you require up-to-date information about relevant standards and their application to a particular product you should contact BSI (Standards) for further details or a suitably qualified person.

Ask The Experts

Always get expert help and advice for all major electrical repairs and house rewiring. Contact your electrical supplier or a qualified electrical worker if you have any concerns. Unless you are professionally qualified if you discover a fault in any electrical appliance do not attempt to repair it yourself. Again, call in the experts. Remember, electricity can kill.