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Replacing a damaged wall socket

Replacing a damaged socket is permitted under the government's new IEE Wiring regulations, and this is a job that is relatively straightforward, providing you follow the correct safety procedures.

In fact, you should always replace a damaged socket, as it could potentially cause a fire or give an electric shock.

The first step is to turn off the main switch on the consumer unit, then remove the fuse or circuit breaker for the circuit that you are working on - this ensures that the broken socket is no longer live.

Even so, it is still a good idea to test the socket with an appliance such as a lamp, to be sure it is not live.

Next, undo the two retaining screws that hold the socket to the back box and pull it forwards slightly. Look carefully to see how many wires are attached to the socket:

  • One wire: It is a spur
  • Two wires: It is a ring main
  • Three wires: It is a ring main feeding a spur

Undo the screws and completely remove the damaged socket, then fit the new socket.

Check that no wires are damaged, then rewire as follows:

  • Red - Live or L
  • Black - Neutral or N
  • The Earth wire - there are three things to look for:
    • It goes from the supply and is supplementary bonded to the metal casing of the back box.
    • It is covered in a green and yellow sheath
    • The socket should be bonded to the metal back box.

Push the new socket flush with the back box, making sure no wires are trapped, then insert and tighten the two retaining screws.

Put the fuse or circuit breaker back in the consumer unit and switch on the main switch, then test the socket with an appliance that you know is working.



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