6 Things to Know When Buying Switches and Sockets
What is a ‘Gang’?
When you look at a plug socket or a light switch, how many control points does it have? If it’s a double socket, it’s 2 gang, single socket is 1 gang. Same with a light switch, if it has one switch, it’s 1 gang, two switches, 2 gang etc.
What is 2 way?
This is a term for how the switch works. A 1 way switch simply breaks the circuit when thrown, it only has one live terminal. A 2 way switches the live connection from one terminal to another, allowing it to be connected to another 2 way switch, controlling one light from two positions.
What is Double Pole?
Double pole is a safety feature on mains electrical control points that breaks the connection of both the live and neutral terminals giving complete isolation, allowing for maintenance on high powered appliances.
What is an intermediate switch?
An intermediate switch is for when you need to control a light from three positions. Imagine you have a landing light that needs to be controlled from two ends of the landing and the bottom of the stairs, the switch in the middle of this circuit would be an intermediate.
What finishes are available?
There is much more choice than the bog standard white plastic plates that adorn many thousands of walls across the land. Many metal finishes are available, some of the more common ones are;
Brushed Stainless Steel
Painted White Metal (in gloss or matt)
All metal finishes are available in slim plate depths, from 5mm to super slim 1.5mm and with or without visible screws. It is worth noting that these slim plates won’t fit in anything shallower than a 35mm deep backbox.
Regulations on fitting.
There are new UK regulations applying to new build properties regarding the position of switches and sockets. All power sockets must be fitted at least 450mm from the floor, while light switches must be no higher than 1200mm from the floor. All points must also be a minimum of 350mm from any corner of a room. This is to allow for ease of use by those with a disability or wheelchair users. It is also advised the sockets must be placed around 100m from a working surface to allow sufficient room without causing damage to hanging flex.