DIY Electrical Socket Installation

A well planned home has electric sockets at every pre-determined spot in the house, allowing for ease of use anytime of the day. Unfortunately, only 1 or 2 homes out of a hundred have been designed this way. This is the reason why many of us make use of long extension cords that snake around the house – bringing electricity to un-serviced regions of the house. Sometimes it's convenient, oftentimes it's not.

To make the picture more complicated, extension cords are not recommended for heavy or power-intensive appliances, such as washing machines and automatic dryers. In these instances, you really have to install new electric sockets. But how does one do it?

DIY socket installation

Who says it can not be done? "Can not" should be removed from the vocabulary of a competent DIY-er or do-it-yourselfer. If you can follow simple instructions and you know the basic skills of do it yourself home repair, home improvement and renovation, then there is no way that you're going to fail.

Note of warning

If you think that the power cables in your house have already been battered too much by overuse, misuse or by it general age, then leave the task to a qualified electrician who can do it professionally. Losing a finger or a whole hand to electricity is never a pretty sight. Do not bite off what you can not chew, especially if you're dealing with electricity.

The steps

1. Safety first: turn of the main switch, and make sure that all the lines that you would be touching have absolutely no power. If you think some lines are not controlled by an automatic main power switch, use a small volt tester to make sure. If you can, remove the wounded wires inside the automatic switch to completely render the lines inside the house power-less.

2. Install the sockets one by one. Make sure that you know what kinds of circuits you are dealing with. For example, radial circuits have more than one wire in them. There are earth wires, positive and negative wires, etc. Make sure that you attach these properly to the new sockets before anything else.

3. Remember that sockets should be well above possible flood levels. Flood levels vary from region to region, as well as country to country. As a general rule of thumb, electric sockets and electrical appliances should be placed at least 170 mm above the base ground level. Adjust accordingly, based on your own calculations. But do not place the electric sockets too high up that they become unusable.

4. If you plan to install surface-mounted electrical sockets, then you are in luck. These are reliably easy to install and far easier to observe for defects than other types. Although a bit bulkier, surface-mounted electrical sockets can be easily installed and just as easily removed.

5. Surface-mounted electrical sockets should have "safe boxes" that have been screwed in place before the actual socket is placed inside. Never install "naked" surface-mounted electrical sockets as these can cause immediate shock or even death, especially to small children and pets.

6. Flush-mounted electrical sockets are more difficult to install; you actually have to install it behind the wall. But if you do choose flush-mounted over surface-mounted, you would have the benefit of having a neater installation, minus the bulk.