Wiring a plug is possibly the most simple of tasks for anyone whether they are a DIY enthusiast or an experienced electrician. Many people are surprised to hear that the majority of plugs wired up by non-skilled homeowners have been done so incorrectly. There are many things that people often get wrong and as a result the majority of appliances these days come with a moulded plug attachment to prevent a range of common mistakes.
However, in the event that you need to replace a whole plug you may want to look out for the top ten mistakes below:
1. Wrong size fuse – One of the most common mistakes is the wrong size fuse fitted to a plug. Often people will use the plug from one appliance to replace a broken plug on another. In many cases, the fuse rating will be too high meaning there is a good chance that in the event of a fault the user could be placed in danger.
2. White instruction card left on – Every new plug now comes with a white instruction card to help prevent mistakes. This is great, however, the card itself must be removed before the plug is used. Otherwise, it could present not only a fire risk if the plug was to overheat, if the card became damp it produces a conductive link between the pins.
3. Cable grip not tightened – Most replacement plugs have a cable grip used to ensure that the cable stays in place. This prevents the wire from slipping or being pulled out of the plug, however many people simply forget to tighten this.
4. Cable grip over tightened – In contrast to the last point some people over tighten the cable grip. This can cause damage to the cores within the cable sheath.
5. Too much cable sheath removed – One of the worst mistakes is that too much sheath is removed from the flex leaving the three exposed wires hanging out of the bottom of the plug. This makes it more likely for the cable not to be secured and for the connections in the plug tom come loose.
6. Wires not inserted correctly – Quite often the wires that need to be connected will not be inserted into the terminals correctly. The copper ends of the earth, neutral, and the line can be too short, frayed or even too long. This can cause varying array of issues.
7. Cable lengths incorrect – Most people will simply cut the line, neutral and earth wires to the same length and then attach them to each terminal. However, it is important that the wires are cut with the earth longest, neutral second longest and live shortest. This ensures that if the connections do come loose due to strain on the cable that the earth is likely to be the last connection to come out.
8. More than one appliance wired into one plug – This is a common issue around Christmas and very often you may find your Christmas tree lights all running off the one plug. The danger here is made worse by the number of flammable materials on the tree.
9. Wrong type of plug fitted – For items that are subjected to harsh treatment you should fit a resilient plug. This would be for appliances such as extension leads, vacuum cleaners, or lawnmowers. A resilient plug will be marked with BS1363A.
10. Wires in wrong terminals – It’s the least common mistake but it still can happen, some people put the wires in the wrong terminals. If in doubt simply check on the internet for the correct way to wire up a plug or take a picture of the old plug before you connect the new one. If I doubt do not guess as electricity is dangerous and mistakes like this can be costly!
If you don’t feel comfortable wiring up a plug, don’t! Get someone else to do it for you. We would not recommend calling in an electrician to do a job like this but make sure the plug is fitted by someone that is competent in what they are doing.