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Rewiring, what do I need to include?

(24 Posts)
AstonishingMouse Thu 08-Nov-12 15:18:16

We've just bought a tatty house which needs lots of stuff doing, including rewiring and a new kitchen.
I'm trying to make sure we don't miss anything which will be easy to do now while everything needs decorating but would be difficult to do later.
Thing like smoke alarms, burglar alarm, power to the loft for when we get round to a loft conversion.
How many sockets is sensible, I thought something like 5 for living room and 4 for bedrooms?
Any other things I should think about?

kensingtonkat Thu 08-Nov-12 15:24:45

5 amp lamp circuit so you can switch off all the lamps in one go.

Hotel style toggles on lightswitches so you can switch them all off from the bed.

More sockets than you could possibly imagine in the kitchen and the sitting room, ideally hidden inside cupboards.

Shaver/toothbrush sockets in the bathrooms, again ideally inside cupboards.

An easily accessible isolation switch for your kitchen appliances. Also means you can switch off oven and microwave when not using and therefore don't need to pay electricity for the clock!

Multiple sockets near a dressing table so you can use your hairdryer, curlers, GHDs or Babyliss all at the same time.

annalouiseh Thu 08-Nov-12 15:33:40

tv and sat points if you don't want to see any of the cables, get them chased in at the same time.
we put a wall one and a single socket in every room where we were having tvs

AstonishingMouse Thu 08-Nov-12 16:12:11

Would the 5 amp lamp circuit cost extra? If so do you reckon it's worth it?
Kensingtonkat, what do you use the sockets in cupboards in the living room and kitchen for?

Tv points good plan, though have only ever had tv in the living room before

PigletJohn Thu 08-Nov-12 17:58:18

sockets in kitchen not hidden in cupboards. When DC falls in the chip-fryer, or water squirts out of the dishwasher hose, or someone cleaning the oven gets a shock from a faulty element, or drops the toaster in the sink, you don't want the first person who arrives to be searching behind cornflake packets to switch it off so they can touch the body.

IMO appliances are best fed from a socket under the worktop, with a switch above the worktop, in plain view, immediately above the appliance. Put sockets and switches at every point where you want an appliance, and everywhere someobody else might want an appliance, and everywhere some wierd person might, one day, want an appliance, including high-level outlets for cooker hoods, extractors and wall lights.

Sockets in other rooms should be fitted 450mm or more above finished floor level, which is the standard in new builds and only looks odd if you are used to them tucked away by the skirting. You will find them much easier to operate if you ever become old, or fat, or pregnant, or get a bad back or knees. I recommend a double socket within a metre of every corner of every room, with another half way along every wall, except in larger rooms where there should be one every two metres. A high level sockets above working level for desks, dressing tables and workbenches.

Remember internet cabling for PCs and smart TVs, coming together in a cupboard where you will put your router, possibly under the stairs. Run cable in conduit which makes it much easier to change, replace, or add to tehinstallation in future. Cables runs must always be directly horizontal, or vertical, from visible switches and sockets to give you a clue before you drill or nail into them. Never in diagonal or curved runs.

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 08-Nov-12 17:59:44

PLan where you want to put the Xmas tree...

nocake Thu 08-Nov-12 18:38:55

When our kitchen was rewired the electrician fitted a single switch panel for all the appliance sockets that are hidden behind things. That means they're all in one place and look quite neat. There's even a switch for the washing machine socket and that's not even in the kitchen.

Fit a shaver point even if you don't think you'll use it. Also consider cabling for an electric shower.

Fit more sockets than you think you'll ever need. In corners where you'll have multiple appliances (tv, satellite box etc) fit at least 2 double sockets. Our small sitting room has 5 double sockets and a single. Even consider sockets in odd places if they'll make you life easier. We have one half way down our cellar stairs, one in a disused fireplace to plug in Christmas lights and one on the side of a fitted wardrobe for a hairdryer.

Think about which sockets and switches you want. You don't have to go for the default white plastic. We have polished chrome with toggle light switches. They only cost a bit more than plastic and look great.

Pannacotta Thu 08-Nov-12 22:02:53

I agree with nocake esp on the sockets advice.
I put at least one double in every corner and putting them in disused fireplaces in living rooms is great for eg fairy lights.
Dont forget to put socketswhere you will need to plug in a vacuum cleaner.
I also put the controls for bathrooms outside so you can have the lighting on dimmers.
And also do try and have master bedroom lighting controlled from swtiches/dimmers either side of the bed.

kensingtonkat Fri 09-Nov-12 16:59:57

PigletJohn You have really scared me. I hate the clutter of appliances on worktops which is why I've always put them in cupboards. Now I realise I'm dicing with death. shock

<Buys Lakeland toaster tongs immediately>

PolterGoose Fri 09-Nov-12 17:56:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AstonishingMouse Fri 09-Nov-12 21:18:45

Ok, no switches in kitchen cupboards. Single switch panel for kitchen sounds good though, presumably reasonably safe if not hidden away. How do you know what each switch is for though, is it labelled in some way?

Lots and lots of sockets everywhere, everyone seems to agree on that!

Piglet john, 450mm would look odd to me I think. Have to think about that one.
Will try and politely ask the electrician to make sure the cable runs are all straight!

I've never had dimmers, do they only work with particular lights? Are they much more expensive?

nocake Fri 09-Nov-12 22:11:38

All the switches are labelled, on the switch rather than with sticky tape grin

A good electrician will do straight cable runs without you having to ask.

Dimmers need dimmable bulbs. Standard bulbs are all dimmable but not all halogen and low energy bulbs are. Having said that, they're available all over the place. You just have to make sure you pick the right ones.

PigletJohn Fri 09-Nov-12 22:29:33


450mm only looks odd to you because you aren't used to it. You soon will be.

40 years ago it was 300mm

60 years ago it was 150mm

FishfingersAreOK Sat 10-Nov-12 11:09:30

Seriously think about adding in a couple of data points whilst you are re-wiring. DH works in IT and whilst we were rewiring he has had Cat6 cable (apparently Cat5 would have been good enough and cheaper but DH likes his gadger expenditure!) and data points put in throughout the house.

Wireless is all very well but it is getting increasingly "busy" - and more and more devices on one router just kind of clogs things up. In addition walls, stairs etc can really mess up the signal (in our last house laptop in the bedroom was a no-no - the signal was irritatingly patchy)

So now we walls full of purple cable can have a wireless router upstairs and in the loft (when we get round to converting it). He of course went overboard and has one each in the children's bedrooms too - but as he said he is trying to future proof somewhat. To be fair to him, gadgetry use is only going to increase so I do see his point.

And alternative to data points/full data wiring/expensive purple cable is what we ended up having to use in the last house (even just downstairs) to get a decent datastream which is to use a "Homeplug" system - basically blue plug thingies that allowed your network to travel through the electric wiring in your house (this has to be fairly recent/decent wiring - would not work on an old house/wiring). So rather than the data having to travel across the waves/air from room to room it is travelling through the existing circuitry. You can then either plug in the PC directly or another wireless hub thing.

He used these plugs (and installed them in his DF's loft study).

I hope this makes some kind of sense...I am not IT so the language/terminology may be a bit wrong but just wanted to help ...just really to think about future-proofing your internet use whilst doing everything else - either a couple of data points, or adding even a couple more sockets in for data/homeplug thingies. The luxury of being able to MN from your bedroom grin.

Oh and in our sitting room we have 4 double sockets plus TV plus data point in one corner. We worked out that with virgin box, TV, stereo, Wii, Playstation all on one table we would need that many....and that in old house we had an 8 way socket just in the TV corner. And in the rest of the room - a double socket in each corner. So 7 double sockets. For one room.

I am hoping to get rid of all extension cables in our house when we move in grin.

If you want any advice I can ask DH and see if I can understand him.

PigletJohn Sat 10-Nov-12 18:38:17

unlike electrical mains cable, which has to be laid in specific routes and is subject to regulations, data cable can be run behind skirting, dado or picture rail, or in other "unsafe" zones since you won't be electrocuted when you put a drill or nail through it.

AstonishingMouse Mon 12-Nov-12 22:38:54

Piglet john, I've only lived in places with the 60 year old style 150mm skirting board level plugs so it does seem very high, I'm sure you're right and we would get used to it soon enough though

Fish fingers, I had thought stuff would be mostly wireless so data cable type things were probably not worth doing. I am somewhat ignorant of this stuff though! We're not very gadgety people (just looked and we only have 3 things plugged in at the tv corner) either so perhaps not quite so important for us.

No cake, glad you don't have a load of sticky labels on your nice new switch panel!

Piglet john or anyone one who knows about this stuff, presumably we should also get a decent bathroom extractor as part of the rewiring? This seems to be house of condensation.

PigletJohn Tue 13-Nov-12 00:02:54

oh yes.

the more powerful ones tend to be mounted in the loft above the bathroom ceiling, with a short duct to a grille in the ceiling, and a longer one going out through a gable wall or possibly the eaves (it is also possible to vent through the roof using a special tile, but IME interfering with roofs gives them an excuse to leak)

the ducted ones can be larger and can run quieter because they are not in the bathroom. The duct in the loft can have loft insulation flopped over it to prevent steam condensing inside the cold duct.

I recommend having the bathroom extractor come on automatically with the light switch, and run on for 20 minutes afterwards if you are in the habit of having long baths or steamy showers. I use an automatic extractor and I don't even get the bathroom mirror steaming up. fresh air will be sucked into the bathroom through the gap under the door.

You can get single switches off the shelf engraved with common appliance names, and there are companies that engrave Grid Switch plates to your requirements

I use a label-maker.

OneLittleToddlingTerror Tue 13-Nov-12 09:43:29

I wouldn't waste money for ethernet cabling. My whole house is wifi, including the smart tv and ps3. And the obviously all the PCs and tablets and phones, and even the printer. Wireless n is plenty fast enough for streaming movies from the NAS to the smart TV. The only 'internet' cable we have is to the cable modem/wireless router.

AstonishingMouse Wed 14-Nov-12 23:35:31

Ok, thanks everyone

Is there any way of knowing if an electrician is good? Have had quite a range of quotes in terms of both cost and how long they are going to take.

PigletJohn Wed 14-Nov-12 23:44:31

well for a start make sure they are a member of a Competent Persons scheme (ask which one and you can check on the scheme's website); how long have they been a member (you don't want a beginner) and are they a Domestic Installer (this is the lowest qualification and not very high)

Personal recommendation is best. Look at a recent sample of their work, form an opinion of its neatness, ask the householder what they think, decide if the householder is the electrician's buddy or family.

Websites that say how good tradesmen are, are worthless. Most of the reviews are written by the tradesmen, there is no sanction for poor work, bad reviews get removed. Many ads are not really for local people (look for a local address, and a local telephone number, not a mobile).

bureni Wed 14-Nov-12 23:50:07

Insist on a inspection and testing cert if new circuits are installed.

AstonishingMouse Wed 14-Nov-12 23:54:28

I would try and use personal recommendation but I don't know anyone who's had much electrical work done recently, and the last electrician I used was a bit dodgy!
Yes, have only had quotes from electricians on a competent persons scheme who would produce the right certificate thanks.

FishfingersAreOK Thu 15-Nov-12 07:52:17

Is there a local cafe/shop that has been refurbed recently - they may well be able to recommend someone.

PigletJohn Thu 15-Nov-12 11:23:00

If you have a bit of time, keep an eye out for tradesmen's vans outside local houses. Ask for a card, make a note of the date, and the address they are working at, on the back. At some convenient time, especially if you happen to see the householder pottering about the garden, ask how satisfied they were, what did they think. The van and card will normally have the logo of any trade association he is in (Gas Safe, NICEIC or whatever) and the trading name. You want to see a local address and telephone code.

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