Planning Electrical Sockets

Ever thought about the number of power sockets you want to have installed during the construction of your new home or your next renovation? This is no minor concern. Irritation with your electrical installation will rise every time you need a socket and there isn't one. To make matters worse, this situation is going to last for a long time.

Necessity of power sockets

We can’t do without them. Today’s homes now have so many devices requiring a power socket that it is essential to make a conscious determination of the number and location of these sockets if we are to take full advantage of our home.

If we are short on sockets, or if they are in the wrong spot, we can always resort to extension leads connected to power strips. Yet this too has its disadvantages, the first being that it detracts from the aesthetic appeal of our home’s interior. The floor gets cluttered with a jumble of wires and connections. Sometimes, extension leads are concealed under a carpet, increasing the risk that someone will trip over the rise in the carpet, a situation definitely not recommended for the elderly. In addition, covering up an extension lead prevents it from cooling off sufficiently, which in turn leads to an overheating risk in the case of heavier loads (or an excessive number of devices connected).

Make a diagram

  • On your home’s floor plan, indicate the places where you will need power sockets for devices such as kitchen appliances, televisions, audio equipment, digital recorders, media players, computers, printers, network hard drives, hair dryers, washing machines, tumble dryers, portable lighting fixtures, vacuum cleaners and so on.

  • For each of these locations, decide how many devices will be used and then add one or two sockets to this number.

  • Install at least one double socket in the corners of each room.

  • You should also provide double sockets between the windows of longer walls having two or more windows.

  • Install a power socket for the vacuum cleaner at the same height as the switch next to the doors (opposite the hinge side). If the hinge side of a door is located adjacent to a longer section of wall, you should also install a double socket on this side.

  • Additional power sockets can be provided every two to three metres on longer wall sections.

  • When deciding where to install power sockets, don’t forget about the furniture since a socket stuck behind a cabinet won’t do you any good.

  • Besides the standard 230V power sockets, install a few USB sockets in certain easy-to-reach places. You can use these to charge your cordless devices (mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players, etc.) without a charger—all you need is a USB cable.

And the height?

Obviously, not every power socket needs to be placed at the same height. Here are a few tips:

  • In the kitchen, install power sockets along the worktop roughly 10 to 15 cm above the work surface, and away from the portion of the worktop that is exposed to moisture (sink and tap).

  • Install a power socket underneath the switches next to the doors (opposite the hinge side).

  • For a desk with a computer, printer, etc. it is a good idea to install a cable raceway slightly higher than the desk surface. This will put power sockets within easy reach and allow you to expand the number of sockets in the raceway.

  • In other locations, power sockets are usually placed at a height of 15 to 20 cm above the finished floor surface. However, if you would like your home to be adaptable to changing needs then you should place them 40 to 50 cm above the floor. Elderly people will especially appreciate not having to bend too far down.

  • For kitchen appliances, height and placement will obviously depend on the kitchen layout. Your kitchen fitter can advise you regarding the height and placement of power sockets.

Use a checklist

Most switch manufacturers provide a checklist on their website. Go through this list so that you don’t forget anything. You can consult this checklist and/or download an independent checklist.

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