DIY How To

Changing a Single Socket to a Double Socket

Many houses have too few sockets for our everyday needs, there are many occasions where additional sockets are required.

To change a flush fitting single socket to a double socket can involve quite a bit of work and mess, the hole has to be made bigger, a new backbox is needed and possibly some patching work to the plaster around the new backbox.

A lot of the additional work can be eliminated by using a 1 to 2 gang converter socket as it simply converts a single flush socket to a double socket.

Converting a single socket to a double socket

Working with electricity can be dangerous, please read the safety pages before you begin any work. If you are in any doubt always consult a qualified electrician.

Consumer unit Before undertaking any Electrical work, ensure the Electrical supply has been isolated.
Always switch off at the Mains. Remove the appropriate fuse or switch off the appropriate circuit breaker (MCB)
Single socket old style How many times have you wished that you had additional sockets for all your household appliances. This is the old style socket with the securing screws located at the top and bottom of the socket.
Back box with screw lugs marked This picture shows the metal back box with the socket securing lugs marked. The red arrows are showing the lugs at the top and bottom, these are used for old style sockets. The blue arrows are showing the lugs on the sides which are used for today's style of sockets. The 1 to 2 gang socket converter uses the side lugs marked in blue, a more modern back box will only have the side lugs.
Single socket no earth sleeving

Remove and disconnect the existing single socket.

Many old sockets were wired without the use of earth sleeving to cover the bare metal earth wires as can be seen in the picture. This is not permitted within the current electrical regulations.

Remove screw cap covers Remove the two screw cap covers by pushing a small screwdriver through the holes in the rear of the socket.
1 gang to 2 gang converter Connect the cables into the correct terminals. Ensure the earth cable is covered in earth sleeving and all bare conductors are inserted fully into their respective terminals, tighten the terminal screws and check the cables are secure.

If a metal back box is used make sure an earth wire is fitted between the socket and the back box, if a bare earth conductor is used cover it with earth sleeving.
Double converter socket Refit the socket making sure none of the cables get trapped or damaged.
Converter socket screw holes showing Securely fasten the socket to the existing back box using the correct screws.
Converter socket with screw hole blanks fitted Refit the two screw cap covers and switch the supply back on at the mains.
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