Until Holly Cottage all the interior design projects I had done were in properties that had all the necessary infrastructure and sources of power, heating or water you could access if you wanted a new socket or a new tap or appliance. Sometimes I changed layouts and moved walls but my focus was always the design. Holly Cottage is a different kettle of fish… In the last few months I feel like I’ve been serving as an apprentice builder, electrician, plumber and joiner, and I don’t just mean making cups of tea, although I’ve made plenty of them. I literally learn something new with every job that gets done in the house. If required I can now bore you senseless about tanking systems. I am becoming an expert in selecting the right wood for a job and how to achieve the right finish. I have expanded my knowledge of technology (smart appliances, bluetooth speakers and wireless heating control anyone?) I have even taught my plumber how to fit cast iron radiators correctly (brackets end inside the radiator not exposed at the front Darren 🙂 ). But I am still getting to grips with the electrical side of things. Today my lack of knowledge was exposed and nearly cost me dearly.
I knew appliances used different amounts of electricity, and I was aware that using adapters to run multiple appliances from a single socket could overload the socket, but I had no idea how much power individual appliances actually use. I’ve been kitchen-less since November 6th so have a makeshift kitchen in my utility room. I have the microwave, toaster and kettle plugged into a 4 way bar adapter that plugs into a 2 way adapter in the wall that my washer/dryer also plugs into. Barry the electrician wandered into the utility room when I was making him (another) cuppa and immediately gave me a lesson in electrical safety. I now know that the maximum load for a plug socket is 3000 watts (13 Amps). You would think that the biggest appliance would use the most power, but apparently not. A washing machine uses 2250 watts (10 Amps), but a kettle uses 3000 watts (13 Amps). So after my lesson I now know that I can only use one appliance at a time in my makeshift kitchen or I may need a new house if this one burns to the ground.
But this was two weeks ago. Until today I had assumed that all appliances could just run from any socket. Turns out not. I learnt today that some appliances need more than 3000 watts. My new SMEG cooker for example…..and when this is the case you often need a dedicated circuit, which is a feed directly from the mains. I only found this out because Barry happened to ask me (over a cuppa) if I was getting a new cooker. The good news is that we can install a new dedicated circuit. The bad news is that we need to run a cable about 25 metres across the house, cut through the new ceiling boards we installed last month and drill through 2 stone walls each roughly 50cm thick. So thats Barry’s job for Friday. I think he’s bringing 2 of his lads. I might need to go and buy more mugs as there’s only 4 in my makeshift kitchen and the plasterers are also here on Friday…..
If you’re concerned about overloading your sockets at home there is a handy calculator on the website below. You don’t need to know how much power each of your appliance uses you just select the type of appliances you have plugged in and it works it out for you.
If I’d known I wanted to be an interior designer when I grew up I might have done some basic training in electrics and plumbing first…..