Collaborative Electrical Rewire – Part 6a : Follow up – Adding Sockets to Radial Circuit

28th August 2017

One of the reasons for having individual radial circuits for the sockets in each room was to enable easy alteration in future – for example – to add new sockets as needed.

When we did the initial whole house rewire in December 2016, we just put a single socket in each room apart from the kitchen, where we installed two sockets on it’s own ring circuit to allow for higher draw appliances.

I had an extension for my computer running from one side of my room (middle bedroom) to the other for a while & decided to finally do something about it!

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I switched off the circuit at the consumer unit to ensure I could work safely, removed the faceplate screws, then removed the screws that held the surface mounted back-box onto the wooden dochans.

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I rolled back the carpet & lifted the floorboards in this corner to gain better access to run the cable. Luckily the original hole I had gouged through the plaster behind the skirting board was large enough to fit an extra cable.

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I took a photo of the wiring just in case!

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In the end I would like every room to have a single 2-gang socket in each corner. Whilst for now I only really needed on in the diagonally opposite corner to the first socket in the radial, it made sense to place a socket in the corner ‘on-route’ whilst I was about it. This corner currently has the gas combi boiler in it so I decided to place it as far towards the window as I could, to ensure it would not be too close to any potential leaks.

I found the mortar line tracing it from the hallway (where the plaster has been removed) using a level, then drilled holes, cut wooden dochans and knocked them in using a lump hammer. I much prefer these wooden pegs now rather than the rawl plugs I have used throughout my twenties! The amount of times I used to find a lime mortar line with the rawl plugs and they would just spin and spin… this is not a problem in the slightest with dochans.

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An oscillating multi tool has been a worthwhile investment for trimming dochans flush to a wall.

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The live and neutral from the consumer unit cable & the cable that runs to the 2nd socket in the radial are screwed back down and share terminals (make sure you get them the right way around!) The plastic sheath must completely cover the cable and no exposed copper should be showing. The earth must have green/yellow sheathing placed over it before screwing it down to the correct terminals.

After having used Sam’s, I decided to invest in a pair of C.K RedLine VDE Combicutters – an incredibly useful and well made tool for cutting and stripping cables.

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This is what I should have used the on the first socket but I forgot! This incredibly useful tip saves a lot of vacuuming and damaging of carpets etc. Placing an envelope attached to the wall with a piece of tape under any holes you are drilling, catches the majority of dust, making clean-up a lot easier.

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The 3rd socket in the radial is positioned in the larger of the two alcoves, to the right of the chimney breast. I have decided to install a faceplate with USB sockets. The back of the faceplate looks a little different, but the wiring is the same principle and it is all marked to make things easy.

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I figured I’d label each socket because… why not? You never know how much time it might save someone (maybe yourself!) in future when trying to recall where cables run and what is the ‘order’ of the sockets.

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I am so grateful that I feel confident enough to install new sockets. Often we assume that we are not capable of something, especially if it is something where safety is paramount. Too often, we default to handing over all responsibility to the experts (who we are often not capable of recognising if they actually are or not!)

However, working with Sam and learning the principles, has made me realise that with some care and knowledge, there are certain things that are relatively easy to tackle yourself. Caution and care is always recommended, and of course – there will always be a place for talented specialists – but you will be amazed at what can be learned if you choose to believe you can!

Understanding how your own house works is incredibly empowering & I really hope more people can become inspired to expand their own skillset. I am incredibly grateful to Sam for supporting this personal growth, and to Simon for introducing us.

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