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Damaged Socket Outlet - Rewiring and Replacing

Damaged socket outlet

Damaged electrical sockets can be dangerous and must be replaced. If you are reasonably competent with DIY this should be a relatively straightforward job. But, only ever tackle electrical work if you are certain you know what you are doing.

Depending upon where the damaged socket is in the circuit, and what type of circuit it is, you may have one, two or three sets of conductors. This article assumes that the socket outlet is connected as part of a standard ring main and there is no spur. You will, therefore have two cables (two sets of conductors) at the socket outlet. If you are not sure whether this is what you have, consult a professional electrician for advice.

Switch off the power at the consumer unit for the circuit concerned. If you have removable fuses at your consumer unit, switch off the power at the consumer unit and remove the fuse for this circuit. You must be certain that the socket has been isolated from the power supply before proceeding. If in any doubt, consult a professionally qualified electrician.

Unscrewing the damaged socket outlet

1. Slacken both the retaining screws holding the socket outlet in place, remove them and place them to one side.

Remove the socket outlet from the back box

2. Ease the socket outlet away from the wall so that you can access the terminal connections on the back.

Back of socket showing conductors

3. With the face plate away from the wall, you will see three pairs of conductors: a pair of brown conductors (old cable colour = red), which are the live ones; a pair of blue conductors (old cable colour = black), which are the neutral ones; a pair of green and yellow conductors, which are the earth ones.

4. Where the socket outlet is mounted in a metal pattress box, as in this example, you may also see an earth tail connecting from the earth terminal on the socket to the earth terminal on the back of the metal box.

Releasing the conductors from the connection terminals

5. Using a small flat bladed screwdriver slacken and undo each of the connection terminals in turn so that you can release the conductors.

Connecting the cables to the socket outlet

6. Prepare the new socket outlet by slackening the terminal connections for the live, neutral and earth.

7. Do not twist conductors together before inserting them into the connection as this may damage them and can also cause problems when testing circuits.

Insert Live conductors

8. Insert the brown (old cable colour = red), live conductors into the hole in the terminal marked ā€˜Lā€™.

Secure Live conductors

9. Ensure that the conductor is fully housed and that there is no exposed wire showing. Fasten the screw and make sure the wires are firmly secured.

Secure Neutral conductors

10. Repeat the process for the blue (old cable colour = black), neutral conductors, fixing them in the terminal marked ā€˜Nā€™.

Secure Earth conductors

11. Repeat the process for the green/yellow, earth conductors fixing them to the terminal marked with the earth symbol.

12. The earth tail mentioned earlier is fitted between a socket outlet and metal back box where both socket fixing lugs are adjustable. If you have one of these, include it when connecting the pair of earth conductors to the terminal marked with the earth symbol on the back of the socket outlet. The other end should already be connected to the earth terminal on the back of the metal pattress box.

Fixing the socket outlet

Double check that all your connections are to the correct terminals, and securely fastened.

Replacing the socket outlet against the pattress

13. Carefully push the face plate back, gently folding the cables as you go, so that they sit neatly into the box.

Fastening and levelling the socket outlet

14. Insert and fasten the face plate with its retaining screws. Tighten the screws alternately to draw the plate back evenly. As you tighten these, ensure that the face is level. One or both of the screw mountings will have allowance for a small amount of vertical adjustment which assists with this.

Electics Safety warning

box alertThis material is for information purposes only. Strict rules govern what electrical work can be done without notification and inspection.
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