I have two power outlets in this room, one is a normal 3-pin (UK) plate cover and the other is a fused (switched) plate cover (much like the one below).

UK fused socket cover plate

I've know removed them and wish to put them back, but unfortunately I do not remember which one goes where. The outlets both have the same wires coming out (one live, one neutral and one earth).

Is there a way to tell them apart? Are they actually the same thing and I can swap them over?

  • Oh, I live in the UK if it helps! – donkey kong Aug 3 '11 at 16:37
  • That looks/sounds like a GFI outlet but since I don't live in the UK, I'm not going to make guesses. If it is, then it needs to be on whichever circuit needed GFI protection; if both outlets are on the same circuit it should be on the first electrical outlet (which you probably can't tell, either). Probably the one physically closest to the electrical panel in the house. And there are an insane number of assumptions here, so don't trust me. ^_^ – Scivitri Aug 3 '11 at 21:56
  • 1
    @Scivitri: It's not a GFI, it's a "fused connection unit" (FCU) for hardwired appliances (electric stove, water heater, etc). If it is a 13A rated one like the one pictured, then I believe it should be interchangeable. But I am not an electrician, so don't trust me on that (this is why I made this a comment, not an answer). – Lev Bishop Aug 4 '11 at 3:36
  • 2
    It's a switched outlet - in the UK the gfi is at the fuse box – mgb Aug 4 '11 at 3:36
  • Thanks for the info. It's really strange as the wires coming out of the wall are identical for both sockets. Im certain one of them was a power socket and the other a fuse. What makes it even stranger is that it's the living room I'm talking about, which already has another fuse along a different wall. – donkey kong Aug 4 '11 at 9:47

It's a switched outlet to connect to something else (a washer, dryer, ceiling fan etc) so there should be another set of wires going from this switch to whatever it's supplying.

The incoming 'hot' cable can be the same one that goes to the socket, it's a 13A switch so can be on a regular ring main


Fused connection units are used for a variety of purposes. In some cases the input and output wiring may both be fixed wiring in the wall, but other times the output wiring may be a flexible cable leading to a fixed appliance.

If you see a fused connection unit with only one set of wires* (or with multiple sets of wires that are all connected to the input terminals), then that almost certainly means it was used to feed an appliance which has since been removed. Being in the lounge I think a wall-mounted heater is most likely.

It is most likely safe to replace the fused connection unit with a socket, but to be absoloutely sure you need to know where it is fed from.

* Or with two sets of wires that are both connected to the input terminals.


"The outlets both have the same wires coming out (one live, one neutral and one earth).

Is there a way to tell them apart? Are they actually the same thing and I can swap them over?"

You are considering connecting a live wire to safety earth. LETHAL. LETHAL. LETHAL.

Sorry, but you should not be doing this work yourself. It is illegal to, is one thing, because you are not qualified. I could live with that if it didn't matter, but it is clear that you don't understand what the wires are doing in the installation. Electricity can kill people and there is far more to even a minimum standard of electrical safety than you aware of. Please, get an electrician in.

  • The OP is probably talking about taking one LNE set and exchanging it with the other... – ThreePhaseEel Mar 27 '20 at 23:59
  • "probably"?!?? If anyone doesn't know what is connecting to what and also doesn't know how to set about checking that, that person do not know enough and needs to employ someone who does. Literally a matter of life and death. I am not an electrician by trade, have no financial interest in recommending anything. – Geoff Kendall Mar 29 '20 at 11:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.