Can I have a new plug socket fitted without having to replace my old fuse box?
16th March 2011
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In this article, our bestof electrician Allan Lathan provides us with more helpful guidance on what you can and can’t do when installing electrical equipment in your home or workplace. This time he examines fitting new electrical plug sockets within an existing electrical system. Read on for details …

Allan Lathan – electrical services provides electrical installation, repair, maintenance and inspection work in the local area for both domestic and commercial properties. Allan is Part P registered and has over 22 years experience in electrical work.

A frequent question that Allan is asked is ....  Is it true that I would need a new fuse board if I wanted to add some extra electrical plug sockets?”

Allan says …

If your electrical circuit already has a Residual Current Device (RCD) protection on the electrical consumer unit (CLICK here to see my previous article that explains the need for RCDs and consumer units) then fitting new plug sockets should not be a problem at all. However, if your existing board does not have Residual Current Device (RCD) protection then a new socket could still be fitted but with RCD protection in place to safeguard the new socket(s).

Let me explain, in my previous article I suggested that the best and safest method would always be to have a new RCD protected consumer Unit fitted because it would protect every circuit in the house and provide additional personal safety with respect to electrical shock and fire. But this would of course generally add to your expense because it would be at least a day of labour costs plus the parts.

That said, a less expensive approach could be to use an individually protected electrical plug socket outlet (these are approx £20 - £30 each).

These electrical plug sockets have their own built in RCD protection (see example double socket below) and so are suitable as long as the cable feeding the socket is correctly installed.  If you need only one or two socket outlets then this could be a cost effective solution without the expense of a new consumer unit. If more sockets are required though, there is a point at which a new consumer unit would then become a less expensive option.

Another alternative, if several sockets outlets are needed could be an RCD protected Fused spur (also approx £20 - £30 each).  Provided that the circuit is correctly installed and is fused to 13Amps it is possible to have as many sockets as you want from this spur (within reason).

However, thought must be given to the use of the sockets from this RCD protected Fused spur. For example, if you were to operate appliances designed to get hot (e.g. cooker, kettle, heater, Iron) at the same time it would almost certainly keep blowing the 13 Amp fuse.  If however you wanted to operate a TV, Digibox, game console, and a couple of reading lamps it would not be a problem.

If you are still unsure, your safety must be paramount and so do give Allan Lathan a call on 01455 265 063 for more information, advice or guidance on electrical installations or electrical safety.

Alternatively, you can CLICK here to visit Allan Lathan’s feature on the bestofhinckley to find out more about him and the domestic and commercial electrical services work that he undertakes.


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