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Discuss Is it OK to terminate switched fused spur with 13A socket? in the Electrical Forum area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I am planning a new layout for our utility room and would appreciate some advice. We have three appliances (washer, dryer and freezer) that will sit under a worktop directly below the window. My intention is to feed this equipment via a row of three 13A fused spur switchplates located inside a tall larder unit to the right of the appliances.

    Would there be any problem in terminating each of these switched fused spurs with an unswitched 13A socket instead of cutting off the moulded plugs currently fitted to the appliance power cords and hard wiring each cable to a flex outlet box?

    Another issue is the risk of trapping the mains cord when one of these big and heavy machines is pulled out from under the worktop for servicing and then pushed back. There will only be a 23mm gap between each machine, so it will be impossible to see what is happening behind the appliances. The only solution I can think of is to pull the loose mains cord up and across the top of the machine before it is pushed back under the worktop. The loose cable would then be pushed back out of sight once the machine is in place.

    Are there any better ways to minimise the risk of trapping the cable?
     
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  2. Phil Thompson
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    Phil Thompson Let us light up your life! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Newtownards
    Business Name:
    Brite Spark Electrical
    Flex and trailing socket from your FSU.
     
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  3. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    I very much doubt the cables will be long enough
     
  4. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    Welcome to the forum.
    Having a plug behind an appliance would mean that the appliance would have to be removed to change a blown fuse, not a terrible thing since if there is a fault you would probably have to remove the appliance to repair it first, however it can be an inconvenience.
    Also having two 13A fuses in series is redundant and you could just go for 20A DP switches instead of SFCUs, but this ensures that the fuse to blow will be the one in the plug top.
    The cable run of running three independent cables in safe zones behind the sockets will be a nightmare of space so at least 35mm back boxes to allow space for the through cables.
    With only 23mm behind the appliance you will have to hope they are slim plugs because that is close.
    I pull appliance cords in the way you describe, but you can tie a string to them to keep them up and allow you to pull it back again when drawing out or tape/clip them to the back once the appliance is almost to the worktop.
     
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  5. vjsmarwick
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    vjsmarwick Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Island dweller lol
    Personally I cut the plugs off and wire the appliances in to 20A flex connection plates especially for built in appliances but prefer it for all appliances. It’s much simpler to replace the fuse above the worktop and as said above an awful lot of appliances won’t go fully back with a plug behind them. And building standards are much happier with this here now too but building standards seem different everywhere lol
     
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  6. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    Thanks to everyone for their rapid responses to my first post on this forum.

    It's the gap between each of the three appliances that is 23mm. I will be using a standard 60cm deep worktop, so there should be adequate space behind the machines.

    My primary concern was to make sure that I had not missed some obscure new regulation that forbade the use of a 13A socket downstream of an SFCU. Replies so far suggest that this is not a problem. However, I have not given up on the alternative solution of cutting off the appliance plugs and hard wiring to flex outlet boxes behind each machine. Which method is most common in the trade?

    I guess it is a matter of the convenience of a plug connection versus the convenience of a readily-accessible fuse (with two fuses in series, sod's law determines that it would always be the more inaccessible fuse that will blow first).

    The idea of taping or clipping most of the surplus cable to the back of the machine just before it disappears under the worktop seems a good way to avoid it being trapped under the appliance. As long as the 60cm of free cable is fixed fairly high up at both ends, then it should only drop down by 30cm as the machine is pushed back, which is not enough to reach the floor.
     
  7. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I'm also beginning to think that this would be the best solution, using something like the MK 20A unfused flex outlet (MK code K1090).
     
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  8. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    most common way is a 20A D/P switch ( neon optional) above worktop for isolation, feeding a single 13A socket below
     
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  9. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    That does have the advantage that if anyone carelessly put some strain on the power cord when pulling the machine out from under the worktop then it would probably just disconnect the plug (unlike a hard-wired connection).

    From my own experience, appliance fuses very seldom fail, so perhaps having the fuse hidden behind the kit is not much of an issue.
     
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  10. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    If you are still 'planning' your new utility room, there is also the consideration of how these appliances are supplied; especially a separate washer & dryer, which potentially could have a load of 2.2kW each. This could put a disproportional load, if they are connected at the same point on a ring final circuit for example?

    Why not consider buying a combined washer/dryer, alleviating the issue above, and freeing up space below the work top for an additional cupboard where sockets for just two appliances could be placed.
     
  11. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I am still very much in the planning stage, as I like to work things out on paper before picking up any tools, but one decision has already been made. We tend to avoid dual-purpose kit in favour of dedicated devices, so when our 17-year-old washing machine died a few weeks ago, we replaced it with a new washer and dryer (we never had a dryer before).

    I was already planning to check out whether or not I need a new ring main to handle the additional electrical load, but thanks for the reminder.
     
  12. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Just a thought, washer dyers are more reliable these days, although I do encourage her indoors to use the washing line to dry the washing :)

    It may be more appropriate or easier to have a new radial circuit installed for your new appliances rather than a new ring final.
     
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  13. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I've now checked more carefully behind each of the three appliances and found that the position of a 13A wall socket would have to be completely different for each machine to allow them all to be pushed back against the wall. You need a minimum of 30mm clearance to accommodate a plug and socket. Large areas behind each machine are much closer than that to the wall.

    In the case of the freezer, the wall socket would have to be quite close to the floor, making it a little trickier to avoid trapping the cable when moving the machine.

    I guess there must be ways to install a 13A socket that is set back 30mm into the wall, but it would probably take quite a bit of effort.
     
  14. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Can you not install the socket in a position that doesn't impede the FF or is the flex not long enough?
     
  15. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I do a lot of kitchen refurbishments, hardly ever locate the socket behind the appliance for problems you've encountered. Similarly, locating 3 appliance adjacent to each other will also present the problem of flex length of each appliance.

    Can you not redesign your layout?
     
  16. Risteard
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    Risteard Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Derry, Ireland
    Business Name:
    Walsh Electrical Services
    Preferably unswitched if you don't want calls about it not working because someone hit the switch before pushing the appliance back!
     
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  17. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    Our utility room is only long enough to take the row of 3 appliances with one storage cupboard on either side, so I don't really have any alternative layout options. There would be no cord length issues if the sockets are directly behind each machine.

    I might give myself more flexibility on the location of the 13A sockets if I use the following recessed box I have just discovered:

    Sync-box solves slim TV wall-mounting blues - Inside CI - http://www.insideci.co.uk/news/sync-box-solves-slim-tv-wall-mounting-blues.aspx
     
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  18. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    You could try contacting the service department for your new appliances. They will often supply replacement leads for damaged ones, and in some cases provide additional longer leads, that negates the problem of hidden plug top fuses behind kickboards etc.
     
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  19. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    That's an interesting thought. The two new machines both have quite short mains cables, especially the washing machine.

    With longer leads, I could consider installing all three sockets inside an adjacent tall larder unit. In that case, I guess I would just use switched sockets and forget about having DP isolation switches.
     
  20. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I've seen the Sync-box before, but not used it myself. The only issue with them is the back box required, which I believe is about 47mm? Just bear that in mind in your install. It still has the issue of fuse behind appliance. I would check with the manufacturer to see if they will supply a longer lead.
     
  21. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

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    Location:
    Northampton
    You could always get DP switched Sockets?
     
  22. ipf
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    ipf Trusted Advisor

    Well done.......I see the old grey matter has just kicked in.
     
  23. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    That's what I would use. I haven't checked other catalogues, but I think all the MK switched socket outlets use DP switches.
     
  24. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    That doesn't normally happen until well after lunch on a Sunday :)
     
  25. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    There are other manufacturers of DP socket outlets :)
     
  26. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I would ensure you use a longer lead supplied via the manufacturer, if one is available. Cutting off a moulded plug is unlikely to invalidate a warranty, replacing their lead with your own might. They might also stipulate that it would need replacing by one of their engineers or a qualified electrician.
     
  27. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I have already emailed the manufacturer to ask if longer mains cables are available, though until I read your post I had been thinking that there was probably nothing to stop me from replacing the cables myself.

    Another answer could be to cut off the plugs and use an inline cable connector to extend the cable. That way, I would not be interfering with the internals of the appliance.
     
  28. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    An inline connector is an option, but would try for a replacement lead if possible. Unnecessary connections, can always prove problematic, especially once its installed below a floor unit. :(

    Edit, some of those in-line connectors are rated at 10amp or less.
     
  29. HandySparks
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    HandySparks Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Hampshire
    Business Name:
    Neish Electrical Services
    If you can reach the socket to switch off, you can just pull the plug.
     
  30. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    Thanks to everyone for what has been a very useful conversation. I will now wait a day or two to see if the manufacturer can supply longer mains cables at a sensible price.
     
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  31. DPG
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    DPG Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    S Yorkshire
    Fit socket in adjacent cupboard. No depth problems then - even when you change an appliance in a few years and realise that the plug/socket arrangement now doesn't give enough clearance for the new appliance.
     
  32. David M
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    David M I'm often blinded by simplicity Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Its always tricky to make a decision regarding this lay out when considering all factors. Personally I prefer to site the sockets/connection points in positions which are accessible without removal of the appliance. In your case this might not be a practical option so would probably go with one of the methods already suggested on this thread thus far.
    Just a quick thought only partly related to the electrical consideration. Are you intending to install worktop support panels between each appliance? 1846mm is quite a length of work top to be unsupported, though I'm sure you have considered this?
     
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  33. DPG
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    DPG Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    S Yorkshire
    Presumably will be battened to the wall though, so not entirely unsupported.
     
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  34. David M
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    David M I'm often blinded by simplicity Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Yes, I presume so, but if it is the typical laminated off the shelf type, in my experience they still have a tendency to bow unless supported periodically @ no more than 600mm - 800mm
     
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  35. DPG
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    DPG Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    S Yorkshire
    Maybe a chrome post in the middle?
     
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  36. David M
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    David M I'm often blinded by simplicity Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Yeah its an option, but the OP mentions he has 23mm between each appliance suggesting room maybe a bit on the tight side. Without seeing the plans an 18mm décor end panel each side of the centre appliance would be my choice. This would, in my opinion, be aesthetically better and may also help to determine the choice of electrical connection for the appliances.
     
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  37. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I was aware that some support would be required for the worktop, but was trying to avoid the option of using decor panels that would totally fill the gap between the machines. My preference is for a solution that allows a greater degree of airflow.

    I've not yet discussed this with my chosen installer, but the idea of using chromed metal posts came up in a discussion this morning with a potential supplier of the kitchen units that will sit on each side of the appliances. One post in each gap might be enough, assuming the presence of wall battens, but I think it would have to be fairly near the front rather than the middle. Installing two posts in each gap is another option.

    On the electrical front, the supplier of our new washer and dryer has told me that they only supply replacement mains cords at the original lengths. I will now take a closer look at how much disassembly is needed to replace these cables.
     
  38. Colin33
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    Colin33 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Cornwall
    Is there not a way to fit one (or both) of your cupboards between the appliances? My preference is always to fit socket outlets in adjacent cupboards. This also avoids the need for extra unsightly FCU's to tile around above the worktop. And less danger of being inadvertently switched off...
     
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  39. driverman
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    driverman DIY

    Location:
    England
    Re worktop span. Yes you would need additional support. Job I've just been on similar situation. They used 2 x large 90 degree wall brackets fixed directly underneath worktop. If no support, worktop will bow within a short time.
     
  40. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    That's not a very practical option in our situation, as it would severely limit the storage capacity in the utility room. My plan is to have the 3 appliances sit in a row under the window, which is almost as wide as the machines. The rest of that wall is taken up by a tall larder unit on the right and a corner unit on the left. There will also be a pair of wall cabinets above the corner unit (one of which will act as a cover for the CH boiler). If I put a base unit in the middle then I would have to lose the tall larder unit.
     
  41. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I doubt if I could find a heavy duty wall bracket slim enough to fit in the 23mm gap between the appliances, which is why I was thinking of using 18mm steel poles.
     
  42. DPG
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    DPG Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    S Yorkshire
    Chrome poles should be fine I would have thought.
     
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  43. shaun1
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    shaun1 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Remember that your dryer will generate a lot of heat, as will your freezer, so make sure that these go at the end positions with the washing machine in the middle.
     
  44. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    I have decided to reduce the width of the tall larder unit to the right of my row of appliances from 600 to 500mm. This gives me much more space between the machines and will allow the use of decor panels as intermediate worktop supports.

    I have also reached the conclusion that a perfect solution for the power feed to each appliance simply does not exist! I had been tempted to go for replacement longer mains leads that let me connect the plugs to switched sockets conveniently located in the larder unit, but I have now realised that I would probably have to pull all three machines out from under the worktop if I wanted to fully withdraw any given cable, as otherwise the passage of the 13A plug would be blocked in several places.

    Every solution has issues, but cutting off the plugs and hard wiring to a flex outlet behind each machine (fed from DP switches in the larder unit) is once again in the frame, as perhaps the least troublesome.
     
  45. haggis999
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    haggis999 Active EF Member

    Location:
    Southampton
    The washer and dryer look very similar, so I currently have the freezer in the middle for cosmetic reasons. You are the first person to tell me that this could be an issue. Where would I find figures on the heat output of my appliances in order to make a judgement of how important the placement might be?
     
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