Electrical Switches And Sockets

It is a layman’s guide to the things you need to consider before embarking on a brand new build or renovation project.


Wireless Black 2 gang 1 way Touch On Off Light Switch WifiThe first problem many individuals encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here is a brief explanation of the essential terms you will come across.

Gang: the number of switches or sockets on one plate. A light switch with 3 switches known as a 3 gang switch. A standard double socket is called a 2 gang socket.

Way: the variety of switches able to switching a light. For flexibility, most switches are 2-way. A light controlled from 1 switch only requires a 1-way switch (although a 2-way switch can be utilized with none problems). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, will require two 2-way switches.

Intermediate: if a light could be activated from 3 different switches, two of them will should be 2-way switches, and the third an intermediate switch.

Single Pole: a single pole switch has one contact. When switched it’s going to break only the live current and leave the neutral current intact.

Double Pole: a double pole switch has two separate contacts and can break both live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are recommended in most situations, especially if there are children within the house.


Remember, you’ll be able to put as many switches and sockets onto an electrical circuit as you require. However, it is still worth planning where you have to them before you purchase. It’s best to think about the different needs of the room and your lifestyle: where do you require most power sockets? With the proliferation of electrical gadgets it’s best to install more sockets than you think you’ll need, and make them double sockets rather than single sockets, as the value difference is minimal.

Always buy switched sockets for extra protection. This doesn’t apply to sockets for kitchen appliances similar to freezers, which shouldn’t be switched in case the switches are accidentally turned off.

Most people only put 1 TV point in a room; don’t make that mistake! Install TV points on at the least 2 different walls in a room, it’s possible you’ll well wish to re-arrange the furniture and move the TV sooner or later.

Also consider the lighting needs of a room. Dimmer switches provide a relatively cheap and easy approach to vary the sunshine levels in a room, particularly useful for creating different moods in dining, living or bedrooms. Keep in mind that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of the switches for use is a dimmer, the other should be a typical 2-way light switch, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences listed here are greater than simply aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look sleek, modern and sophisticated, but in addition they offer a practical, space-saving solution to fitting sockets behind furniture. However, the drawback for renovations is that they often require deeper back boxes than were originally installed, 35mm rather than 25mm. Changing back boxes can be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give an even more modern look than screwed flat plate, but screwless switches and sockets have an added advantage: they save you time and money too, as they can be fitted without the front plate before you decorate, then painted around quickly and simply without the use of masking tape or worrying about marking the plate. When dry, simply clip the front plate on.


Polished chrome, brushed steel and black nickel are the most well-liked modern finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome particularly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. A method to help to avoid this is to decide on a range where the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, but the switches themselves are product of black or white plastic. Of the three finishes mentioned above, brushed steel (often known as brushed chrome) is the easiest to keep clean.

Now you are able to take the following step of your project. Good luck!


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