To plug or not to plug?

Hello! I’m a newbie. We’re moving to the Perigord Vert, Dordogne. We have about 100 household appliances, electronic devices and power tools, all with English plugs. Some, such as chargers, will need adaptors but most will need changing. Then I thought, maybe it’s better to use adaptors in all the sockets. At about a £1 each on Amazon it seems a quick and easy solution. For my 13amp multi-sockets I could just change the plug to EU.

When we moved to Italy I changed all the plugs to the Italian three-pin and ended up with a bucket load of 13amp plugs, and a worn-out screwdriver! Would anyone moving back to the UK be interested in a bucket load of 13amp plugs, or should I scrap them? Decisions!

I would change all of the plugs. In the meantime you could have a few uk trailing sockets with a French plug on the end as a temporary solution.

Why do you say that?

I am dubious about converters, there have been stories about them melting (true or not?).

I also thing the converters look ugly!

Welcome to France!

Adapters are OK, up to a point, for low power items and those, like chargers, where the electronics and plug are all one integrated unit.

If you are bringing any larger or high powered appliances - dishwashers, washing machines, kettles, toasters etc these really should be switched over to French plugs, either by replacing the plug or, preferably for this type of appliance, the whole power cord - but you need to be confidant and competent to do the latter if it is a captive cord (or get an electrician). As Mat says the adapters are a fire risk for high power stuff.

After that - anything with a plug in cord - i.e IEC(kettle), clover-leaf or two-pin “Phillips” style can just have the cord changed.

Ours is just a “maison secondaire” so we make use of adapters quite a bit for lower power items which were bought in the UK and which conceivably could go back and stuff which travels with us but all the high power stuff has been converted except power tools as they might well go back home at some point and only get used in short bursts. As Mat suggested I have a trailing socket with a 4-way UK strip and a French plug on a decent cord for those.

Mat also makes the point that they are ugly - which they are but not as ugly as converters which go from a UK wall socket to a French socket. Nor are they as ugly (to my mind) as any of the re-wireable French plugs that I have found (I mostly used cords with a moulded French plug on one end and bare wires on the other and replaced the whole appliance cord).

I’d add, however, that they are inconvenient - you are bound to quickly acquire items with French plugs so you can’t just put a UK adapter in each socket and have done - you’ll be swapping the ****** things in and out and, despite having dozens, you’ll never be able to find one when you need.

As for the pile of UK plugs - bin them, everything comes with a moulded plug anyway.

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Agree, bin the UK plugs, if you fit good quality French plugs (Not supermarket cheapies) then you’ll be fine. Likewise, a few UK trailing leads with a French plug is a good idea - I made some up donkeys years ago and they still occasionally get used, far more reliable than adaptors

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It was I that had used a converter on a dishwasher that melted. The converter, that is, not the dishwasher.
We were lucky, it melted both the converter and thr wall socket, then tripped the circuit breaker on an earth fault. Had it not done that it could have caught fire.
Plugs are easy enough to change, look on eBay, Amazon or just Google for them. You can also get moulded plugs on leads with the appropriate plug at the other end if you have removable leads.
At our dechetterie I have cut leads off electrical items that have been thrown away. The leads had moulded on plugs and I replaced the entire lead on a few appliances. The dechetterie is meant to cut the plugs off of equipment so they were happy for me to do that for them.
Plugs are expensive here but not as much as a fire :wink:

I imagine that, should the unthinkable happen, a French insurance company could get very interested in extensive use of UK adapters :frowning:

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The relevant plug-top low voltage mains units can easily be replaced with a new one via Amazon, eBay, etc. If you are really desperate and cannot be bothered to change the plug-top above, you can buy French built, and accepted 13A sockets to replace the occasional French 16A versions, dependant on if you have a decent marque in place. This way one can have UK & French sockets in the same back box. Such an example is here;

I agree-change the plugs. Certainly on big things or things in constant use. I still (after 6 years) have a couple of thing with UK plugs but it’s stuff not used all the time. Food mixer and a hair dryer for example. Everything else has French plugs.

Because of the UK ring circuit system plugs there must carry a fuse. That alone makes French plugs preferable.

The fuse in a UK plug is there to protect the flex given that up to 32A is available. However you can still get 20A from a French socket which is considerably more than the 6A rating of 0.75mm2 flex cord - and that’s good quality cord, there are plenty of cheap knock-offs which use copper clad steel or aluminium which would be questionable even at 6A.

The lack of a fuse in the French plug is not “preferable” to my mind.

That said, of course, the UK system is only safe if the appropriate sized fuse is fitted and too many people just stick a 13A fuse in regardless.

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The answers simple, Graham.
If you ever need to have any insurance claim here, resulting from anything electrical - worst of all, a fire - they will just simply not pay out.
UK plugs do not comply with French lx regs - why would they? Just one of the bizarre Brexit differences between us. But here you are in France - so comply, don’t chance it!

Why on earth would BS1363 vs CEE 7/7 / Type E have anything to do with Brexit?

Other than that I agree - BS1363 has no European equivalent as it is purely a national standard and so British plugs can, by definition, not meet French/European normes.

I am very intrigued by Geoff’s link though.

*I bought French plugs in bulk from a Chinese website and had a "changeover " day ! That was years ago and I have had no problems at all .

Hello Roy and welcome to the forum… :grinning::grinning::grinning:

We, as a company, have fitted the above mentioned ‘UK style’ sockets in more than three score properties, B&B’s, Chambre d’hôtes, Gîtes, Hôtels and private homes. In all, but seven, of the installations we have obtained d’Attestations de Conformité from the Consuel or at the very minimum a Mise en sécurité, again from the Consuel. So quite obviously ‘UK style’ sockets are permitted under the correct circumstances and indeed a great many Airport Hôtels carry these sockets along with German (a Schuko or Schutzkontakt plug/socket, type E, is not the same as a French type F) and the particularly nasty American ones, which can also both be purchased in France . The d’Attestation Mise en sécurité requires that the installation is safe and is almost fully backwards compatible with the rules pertinent at the time of the original installation. The other seven?, they did not require an Attestation.

As an aside it may come as a surprise (or even shock) to the propriétaires of rental properties that under there is a mandatory requirement to either have a regular ‘diagnostic Électricité’ or, a possibly cheaper, d’Attestation Mise en sécurité for any properties, or parts of, that are let or rented out.