Sockets, plugs and fuses

For plugs and sockets, look out for the following:

  • Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights - they are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems

  • Badly wired plugs - any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug

  • Overloaded sockets - plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating

Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:

  • make sure you can't see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead - change the plug properly

  • make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug

  • use sockets safely - it's better to use a bar adaptor (multi board) on a lead than a block adaptor

  • only use one adaptor per socket - don't plug one adaptor into another and try to keep to one plug per socket

Calculate whether your sockets are overloaded via the Electrical Safety First website (opens in new window)


The fuse in a plug is a safety device designed to protect the lead rather than the appliance. It is a deliberate weak link in a circuit, which will blow if an electrical appliance or extension lead draws too much current due to either an overload or a fault.

The blown fuse cuts off the electricity to stop the lead and appliance from overheating and causing a fire.

Appliances meeting the relevant product safety standards will always be fitted with a plug, which has a correctly-rated fuse.

If you have to replace a fuse because it has blown, you must check why the fuse has blown correct the fault in the appliance and then replace the fuse with a new fuse of the same rating.

As a rule of thumb, fuses are rated according to the power rating of the appliance.

Plugs for appliances rated up to about 700 watts should have a 3 amp fuse, which is coloured red.

Plugs for appliances rated between about 700 watts and 3000 watts - the maximum rating of a wall socket- should be fitted with a 13 amp fuse, which is coloured brown.

Occasionally older appliances were fitted with 5 amp fuses which are coloured black. These fuses are still available to buy.