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PaulC78

Advice on extra power sockets

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PaulC78

I currently have a twin power socket in the corner of the room which is being used to power up to eight devices via several extensions: two block splitters and a 4 gang extension to power three hi-fi units, laptop, scanner, alarm clock and lamp, leaving a socket free for occasional use. The wall socket is located behind a hi-fi cabinet so isn't easy to access.

 

I'm thinking it would be of benefit to add some extra sockets - my electrical knowledge is limited but I gather I can add another twin socket either as a spur from the current socket or via a junction box, is that right? My dad's helping with this but he doesn't see much point in making any changes, and ultimately it's his house so I may have to compromise.

 

So, a few questions (hopefully not too daft):

 

1. What's the benefit of having extra wall sockets over using extensions, besides making things a bit neater?

2. Am I limited to adding one more twin socket, or is there any way of having more?

3. Are those "1 or 2 Gang to 4 Gang" socket converters worth considering? Are they basically just an extension that screws into the wall?

4. Is there any reason why wall sockets can't be placed mid-way up the wall, for better access?

5. I was also thinking it might be useful to have a USB socket elsewhere in the room, they seem to be popular at the moment but are they any good?

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

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Fleeting

First and foremost you need to know if the existing socket is part of the ring final circuit and this can only generally be done by testing.

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SPECIAL LOCATION
11 hours ago, PaulC78 said:

I currently have a twin power socket in the corner of the room which is being used to power up to eight devices via several extensions: two block splitters and a 4 gang extension to power three hi-fi units, laptop, scanner, alarm clock and lamp, leaving a socket free for occasional use. The wall socket is located behind a hi-fi cabinet so isn't easy to access.

 

I'm thinking it would be of benefit to add some extra sockets - my electrical knowledge is limited but I gather I can add another twin socket either as a spur from the current socket or via a junction box, is that right? My dad's helping with this but he doesn't see much point in making any changes, and ultimately it's his house so I may have to compromise.

 

So, a few questions (hopefully not too daft):

 

1. What's the benefit of having extra wall sockets over using extensions, besides making things a bit neater?

2. Am I limited to adding one more twin socket, or is there any way of having more?

3. Are those "1 or 2 Gang to 4 Gang" socket converters worth considering? Are they basically just an extension that screws into the wall?

4. Is there any reason why wall sockets can't be placed mid-way up the wall, for better access?

5. I was also thinking it might be useful to have a USB socket elsewhere in the room, they seem to be popular at the moment but are they any good?

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

 

1. A correctly designed installation should have no need for extension leads or double-socket adaptors etc.. As BS7671 wiring regulations recommends sufficient sockets to be installed for all appliances likely to be used, taking into account the standard length of flex fitted to appliances.   (extension leads can be both a tripping hazard and a source of increased heat due to overloading of a single socket outlet).

 

2. There is no limit to the number of socket outlets connected to a single ring, preferably they should be directly connected as part of the ring not spurs off the ring.  Any one single spur can only supply 1x Double socket max unless additional overload protection is added to the spur branch.

 

3. Avoid like the plague in my opinion!

 

4. There is no reason why sockets cannot be fitted at any height up a wall..  but they should always be high enough to allow a typical moulded plug to be inserted without being restricted by floors or worktops etc..

 

5. USB socket are a useful accessory..   BUT double check the charge current..  Some of the cheaper one's only have a low current, that could mean excessively long charge times for a phone or tablet that has a very low battery.         

 

As fleeting suggests..   you do need a suitable meter to verify the circuit you are extending is an intact ring on all three conductors before doing any alterations.

 

Guinness

 

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BorisJ
14 hours ago, SPECIAL LOCATION said:

 

1. (extension leads can be both a tripping hazard and a source of increased heat due to overloading of a single socket outlet).

 

 

3. Avoid like the plague in my opinion!

 

 

 

5. USB socket are a useful accessory..   BUT double check the charge current..  Some of the cheaper one's only have a low current, that could mean excessively long charge times for a phone or tablet that has a very low battery.         

 

 

Guinness

 

1. They are indeed a trip hazard and untidy. But they can't overload a single socket as the plug in that socket has a 13 amp fuse.

 

3. Don't know why. They are a tidy alternative and work well.

 

5. Also check the position of the USB outlets. Below the 13A outlet they are obstructed by the cable, above and some wall wort type plugs restrict access. Also note that USB is being replaced with a new standard USB C. Your new outlet could be obsolete soon.

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SPECIAL LOCATION
44 minutes ago, BorisJ said:

1. They are indeed a trip hazard and untidy. But they can't overload a single socket as the plug in that socket has a 13 amp fuse.

 

 

You are incorrect...

 

Whilst the majority of single appliances connected via a 13A plug do not ever reach a 13A load for any length of time..

  

When a 13A socket, (or a 13A Fused Spur for that matter), is regularly running at or near to 13A, they can frequently get very warm..

often damaging either the Socket, Plug, Fused spur.. or any combination..

 

I have change more than enough over the years to know when increased heat has caused problems to an accessory.

(similar reasons as to why a 13A (3KiloWatt) immersion heater often fails when connected via a 13A FCU.)

 

If you do the maths a 4, 5 or 6 way multiblock extension lead with a handful of lower rated appliances could easily leave a single 13A plug running on or over its 13A rating..

(13A cartridge fuses do not tend to blow at bang on 13A)..

 

So a cluster of appliances taking between 2A to 5A,  can cause issues with overheating between Socket & Plug.. 

especially if the socket is old with worn contacts and/or switch..

 

Further reading may help the OP...

 

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/how-to-avoid-overloading-your-plug-sockets-at-home/

 

https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/safety-around-the-home/extensions-and-leads/

 

Guinness    

 

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PaulC78

Do the USB sockets need a deeper back box than standard sockets? I think I read that somewhere but may have got it wrong.

 

Thanks all for the comments, appreciated!

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SPECIAL LOCATION
10 minutes ago, PaulC78 said:

Do the USB sockets need a deeper back box than standard sockets? I think I read that somewhere but may have got it wrong.

 

Thanks all for the comments, appreciated!

 

some require a 35mm back box..  e.g. Crabtree states they do.

https://www.screwfix.com/p/crabtree-capital-13a-2-gang-dp-switched-socket-2-1a-2-outlet-type-a-usb-charger-white/5506v

 

others don't..   e.g.  MK states will fit standard 25mm box..

https://www.screwfix.com/p/mk-logic-plus-13a-2-gang-dp-switched-socket-2a-2-outlet-type-a-usb-charger-white/5541x

 

Depends on the make..

and if they are some of the slim / flat-plate / decorative types..

compared to standard white plastic sitting a bit more proud on the wall.

 

 

Guinness

 

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