This article is no longer actively maintained. While it remains accessible for reference, exercise caution as the information within may be outdated. Use it judiciously and consider verifying its content in light of the latest developments.
Electrical sockets always deserve careful thought. All too often, there are too few sockets in a room and you become annoyed because you need to plug in an extension cord with a power block. In other cases, there are too many wall plugs and you do not use them. In the case of a floor lamp, you may have to bend over to operate a dimmer on the floor.
Most movable lighting fixtures are equipped with an individual switch, with the result that you need to go through the entire room to turn every fixture on and off manually. However, there are other possibilities that considerably increase your comfort.
Switchable and Dimmable Sockets
When planning the placement of electrical outlets, it is wise to position switchable or dimmable sockets at several locations throughout a room. By plugging lighting fixtures into these, you can operate them with a wall-mounted switch.
It is not advisable to connect two dimmers in series to operate a single light source, so avoid lamps with a built-in dimmer, or one in the power cord, when using a dimmable wall plug. If an integrated dimmer is present, it should be removed. Using an in-the-wall box dimmer to operate sockets for floor lamps is preferable. Note, however, that switchable and dimmable sockets always remain the same and this may be a disadvantage if you want to relocate your lamps.
A Better and More Comfortable Solution
Residences with an Integrated Home System (IHS), remote switches (teleruptors), or remote dimmers integrated into the switchboard open up more possibilities for wall plugs and lighting fixtures. Through programming, you can integrate these mobile lighting points in specific areas via push buttons. An entire room becomes a single unit.
Even More Flexible
You can go even further with maximising the flexibility of electrical sockets. Instead of using standard 2 x 2.5 + 2.5 cable for a circuit, you can install a multi-cable system of 3 x 2.5 + 2.5, or even 4 x 2.5 + 2.5. Such installation methods are only advisable when using remote switches and dimmers and IHS systems with the exit modules integrated into the switchboard. The additional wiring in the circuit can then be used to switch or dim certain sockets.
Wall plug circuit with 4×2.5+2.5 wiring. Using a remote switch or dimmer in the switchboard enables changing every wall plug into a switchable or dimmable wall plug.
The advantage of this method is that you can decide at any time to change a traditional socket (which is live all the time) into a switchable or dimmable one. If you redecorate the room and relocate the lighting fixtures, they can still be switched or dimmed. It only requires some new connections in the switchboard.
Avoid These Pitfalls
Dimmable sockets must be labelled. It is not advisable to connect a vacuum cleaner to a dimmable socket. This can harm the vacuum cleaner, as well as the dimmer. This can be avoided by giving dimmable sockets a different-coloured cover plate.
When using multi-cable systems, use deep in-the-wall boxes (60 mm). This ensures there is sufficient room to connect the three wires to the socket as well as the additional wires to the next socket.