How do I replace plug sockets safely?

First published in Confessions of a handy guy

I’ve just redecorated my daughter’s bedroom from a pink and fluffy Princess parlour to a chic and grown-up teenage space. The final touch to make the look complete is replacing the pink, glitter-stickered plug sockets with brass ones. I’m not entirely sure how to do this safely, could you shed some light?

When your adorable cherub becomes Kevin the Teenager, a need for bedroom redecoration is inevitable! Rest assured, unlike installing a socket in a new location – which requires the services of a qualified electrician – replacing an existing faceplate is a task that can be safely undertaken by competent DIYers.

The first step is to turn off the power at the fuse box and then check that the socket is no longer live by plugging in an appliance, such as a working lamp. The faceplate can then be safely unscrewed and pulled away from the wall.

Make sure you take note of which wires are connected to each terminal as the new faceplate will need to be connected in the same way. Unscrew the terminals to release the wires and remove the old faceplate. Line up the wires to the correct terminals on the new faceplate – these may be in a different location to the old one. Secure the wires to each terminal with the terminal screws and ensure that they’re secure by giving them a little pull. Once this is done, push the wires back into the mounting box and screw the faceplate back to the box.

The power can now be turned back on at the fuse box. Your new faceplate should now be working, but if not, simply switch off the fuse box again and just check that all your connections are in the right place and secured tightly.

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