Planning Sockets for Different Rooms
When planning socket locations, aim for either side of the bed in a bedroom, the corners of rooms and where you tend to put furniture or a TV. Different rooms such as kitchens, studies, utilities and lounges require their own design.
You can have as many sockets as you like on a circuit, but be realistic: they’ll be backed up by a 32-amp MCB. In simple terms, as few as three kettles or three electric heaters switched on together would be enough to overload that particular circuit.
When designing a kitchen, you need to look closely at the loadings. Dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, water heaters, kettles — anything containing a heater is a big load. Usually a kitchen has its own ring socket circuit to cover the loadings.
Kitchen sockets that feed appliances also require some means of isolation. You need to be able to reach an isolation point quickly and easily. The back of a cupboard is not acceptable under the regulations — people tend to put all sorts of objects in front of the isolation switch/socket. I tend to put any sockets that are in cupboards on the side walls towards the door hinge — that way the socket is in full view. If the socket does have to go behind the washing machine, it might be worth installing a bank of isolation switches in one convenient location.
It’s also worth considering smart home technology at the design stage to allow you to get the most out of your home’s potential and benefit from the latest energy-efficient technology. This will ultimately save you both money and time.
Switch and Socket Heights
This diagram shows the typical switch and socket heights that Part M of the Building Regulations and BS7671 Electrical Regulations stipulate. As you can see, the socket and switch heights are between 450mm and 1,200mm. This is to allow people with limited reach to be able to easily access them.
In kitchens and garages the rule changes because it states these rooms are uninhabited. Therefore the BS7671 rule of heights does not apply, unless the house was specifically designed for people with limited reach.
It’s worth noting and being aware of socket heights in relation to worktops. I’ve seen many cases where the sockets have been placed so low to the worktop, it is a struggle to plug an appliance in due to the flex at the bottom of the plug. This also does not do the flex any good, as it may become damaged due to the kink and acute angle. As a rule of thumb, give at least 100mm between the worktop and bottom of the socket, or even better (and if you are fitting tiles), you will work out the height of the tiles and put the socket in the middle of the second row.