Due to the volume of appliances most kitchens feature today, there generally isn’t ever enough sockets and where they are, there simply isn’t enough space to fit everything in.
If this problem sounds familiar then one very good option is to install pop up sockets into your kitchen worktop that can be raised and lowered as needed. Read on to find out all about them.
Rules and Regulations for Pop up Worktop Sockets
When it comes to installing pop up worktop sockets, depending on the type you have will ultimately depend on who can install them.
There are 2 types of pop up socket available; one comes fitted with a plug that you can simply plug into a standard socket, effectively creating an extension and the other requires hard wiring into an existing socket circuit.
If you have the latter type then as this is a new install, it can only be done by a Part P registered electrician as the supply will need to be spliced into an existing circuit and then once complete it then needs testing and then a minor works certificate issuing.
On the other hand if you have the first type and it only needs to be plugged into an existing socket then you are fine to install this yourself.
However, when installing in a kitchen you will need to keep it as far away from any sources of water or moisture as possible. If you are in any doubt where it can be installed, it’s best to consult a professinal electrician for advice.
For full tips and advice on staying safe when working around electrics, see our electrical safety project here.
What is a Pull up or Pop up Worktop Socket?
Whether you do not have enough electrical sockets in your kitchen or you are installing a kitchen and do not want to tile around sockets in the wall, concealed worktop sockets are the answer for you.
Easily installed in the worktop, these sockets can be pulled up to give you access to 3 sockets which can be used for any portable electric appliance and then when they’re not needed, they are simply pushed back down into the worktop, hiding them away.
Although these types of socket have been around for a while now, they are commonly used on computer desks and the likes, but are also a great addition to any kitchen, especially where space is limited.
They also benefit from the fact that you do not need to go pulling off tiles, chasing cables in walls or paying electricians to install new sockets, you simply drill the hole in your worktop and insert the pop up socket unit and once plugged into an existing socket its all ready to go!
The only issues comes from the fact of having an accessible existing socket that the unit can be plugged into. If one isn’t to hand then you may need to get an electrician to install one for you.
Tools Needed for Installing Your Worktop Socket
As far as DIY jobs go, this is quite an easy one but as with most things don’t under estimate it, the measuring and positioning of the hole is the key here! Due to its relative ease only a few tools and materials are required:
- Desired pop up socket unit
- Drill or cordless drill/driver
- Holesaw set including the size stated for your chosen pop up socket (see manufacturers instructions) and arbor
- Tape measure
- Available existing socket
How to Install a Pop up Worktop Socket
In order to install a pop up worktop socket in your kitchen worktop, work through the following steps.
Step 1 – Things to Think About Before Installing
The finished article is fitted with an integral seal which, when the socket is closed, will not allow liquids spilled onto the work surface to run down into the socket itself.
Fold down handles on the top of the socket allow you to easily pull up the socket for use at any time and with most models, the handle will fold pretty flat minimising any raised areas on the worktop surface.
On that note it’s a good idea to carefully consider where on your worktop you are going to put your pull up socket as you want it to be easily accessible for use but at the same time not in a place where its going to be in the way when stored or near any sources of water or moisture.
As you will be drilling a hole in your worktop consider this carefully as if you want to move it you not only have to drill another hole but you will be left with the old hole which is nigh on imposible to fill and seal again!
Additionally, ensure that its near to an existing socket as you will need to plug it in. This should be under the worktop somewhere. If you have a washing machine, dishwasher or fridge, there should be a spare socket.
Step 2 – Work out Where Your Hole Needs to be
As we have stated above, the position of the hole is essential, you have to get it in the right place.
Once you have identified a likely location, check under the worktop to make sure there are no obstructions such as drawers or cupboard divders.
Also ensure that there is enough depth for the socket to slot all the way back down when it’s closed up by measuring the correct distance into the kitchen unit the worktop is sitting on.
Once you have ensured it will drop down correctly the next measurement to make is the exact postion of the hole in terms of distance away from any nearby walls or corners.
Most units sit about 60 or 70mm away from the wall they are fixed to with a "false" back to allow the passage of pipes, cables, washing machine and dishwasher hoses etc.
Using a hole saw of the correct size, an 80mm hole saw in this case, the centre of the hole needed to allow for a 60mm false back to the unit plus a 15mm thickness of unit back timber plus 10mm "tolerance" plus 40mm as the radius of an 80mm hole saw drill bit. This totaled 125mm and as the hole was to be placed in the corner of the worktop, the 125mm needed to be measured from both walls.
Step 3 – Drill the Pilot Hole
The centre of the hole saw drill bit contains a pilot drill fitted into the arbor. If you’ve never used a hole saw before, see our using a hole saw project here.
Place the pilot bit onto your mark for drilling and start to drill, slowly at first. Keep firm, even pressure on the drill until you feel the pilot bit go through the underside of the worktop.
Once the hole saw is engaged in the work surface, drill steadily down but don’t go all the way through as the saw could easily blow the edges of the hole out underneath.
Step 4 – Drill up From Underneath the Worktop
To prevent any blow out and damege to the edges of the hole, stop the drill and place it under the worktop with the pilot bit in the hole you have just made.
Drill upwards about 10mm and then return to your original position at the top of the unit. Now finish your hole by drilling on down through.
By doing this you will stop the worktop blowing and splitting when the holesaw gets all the way through the unit.
Step 5 – Dismantle Socket Unit and Insert
Once your hole has been drilled you can then start to install the pop up socket.
Dismantle the socket components as indicated in the manufacturers instructions and push the lead and socket section down through the hole.
Screw the underside washer up to the main body of the unit and, checking to make sure that the sockets are facing the right way, tighten it up fully.
Step 6 – Test all is Working
Once the unit has been secured into the worktop, pull it up and down a few times to make sure the movement is correct and then plug the power cord into an existing socket and turn it on.
Now pull up your new socket and plug in an appliance and test that all is working as it should.
Finally, have a good hoover and clean up on top of the worktop and also down in the units below, removing all traces of any saw dust as there will be loads and then you are done! How easy was that!
Installing a pop up socket into your kitchen worktop can add much needed electrical sockets to your work area without the need of paying for an electrician and all the hasle that goes with installing additional sockets.