Rewiring and replacing socket outlet

Damaged electrical sockets can be dangerous and must be replaced.

Step 1: Switch off the power 

Switch off the power at the consumer unit for the circuit concerned.

Step 2 : Access the terminal connections and release the conductors

Slacken both the retaining screws holding the socket outlet in place, remove them and place them to one side. Ease the socket outlet away from the wall so that you can access the terminal connections on the back. 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. Using a small flat bladed screwdriver slacken and undo each of the connection terminals in turn so that you can release the conductors.

Step 3: Connect the cables to the socket outlet

  • Prepare the new socket outlet by slackening the terminal connections for the live, neutral and earth.
  • Insert the brown (old cable colour = red), live conductors into the hole in the terminal marked ‘L’. Fasten the screw and make sure the wires are firmly secured.
  • Repeat the process for the blue (old cable colour = black), neutral conductors, fixing them in the terminal marked ‘N’.
  • Repeat the process for the green/yellow, earth conductors fixing them to the terminal marked with the earth symbol.
  • The earth tail 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.

Step 4: Fix the socket outlet

Carefully push the face plate back, gently folding the cables as you go. Insert and fasten the face plate with its retaining screws. Tighten the screws alternately to draw the plate back evenly.

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