DIY Electricity


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The electrical systems in your home supply electricity to power sockets and light fixtures throughout the residence. Sometimes your electrical systems need to be upgraded – for example, if the attic is being converted into a room, or a new kitchen is being installed.


Mains power in the Netherlands supplies 230 volts. When we use electrical appliances, we’ll have to take into account how many can be connected to the same group in the fusebox. Fuses are available in 6, 10 or 16 amperes. If a fuse is overloaded, it will switch off, as a security precaution. You can calculate the amperes you’ll need by dividing watts by volts.

Colour of the electrical wires

In household electrical systems, the following 4 colours are generally used for electrical wires:

  • Brown: phase wire
  • Blue: neutral
  • Yellow/green: earth wire
  • Black: switch wire

The colour coding may be different in older houses:

  • Green: phase wire
  • Red: neutral
  • Grey: earth wire 

Meter cupboard

Het onderste gedeelte van de meterkast bestaat uit een verzegelde kast, elektriciteitsmeter en een verdeelkast. Deze delen zijn alleen voor medewerkers van het energie bedrijf. Voor grote veranderingen kan je het beste contact opnemen met NOVO.


If you look in the meter cupboard, you’ll see a fusebox with a number of different fuses. A fuse is a safety precaution that shuts off the power if there’s a short or if the system overloads. Based on the number of fuses in the fusebox, you can see how many groups there are. You can turn off any group you want by flipping the switch beside the meter cupboard. You’ll also see an earth leakage circuit breaker, situated in a box provided with a test button. If you touch a device with an active power supply, this switch ensures that the electricity will be shut off in a split second.

Electric wires

Wires are installed inside a PVC tube which is 16 mm in diameter. If there are still iron conduits in the house, they should be replaced with PVC tubes as soon as possible.

You can link wires to each other by means of sockets. If the wire has to be attached to the wall, you’ll have to fasten these with locking clips, keeping distances of 40 to 50 cm between them. If the PVC tube has to be milled into the ground, you should do this in an undulating movement. This will help hold the tube in place in the milled groove/trench. Many different kinds of boxes are available for junctions, switches and power sockets.

Tips for working with electricity

Always switch off the power! Disconnect the power supply by turning off the main switch and taking out the safety fuse. Just to be sure, use a volt meter to check if the power supply is actually off. When working with electricity, always use properly insulated tools and wear shoes with rubber soles. Use a wooden ladder instead of an aluminium one to avoid conducting electricity. Be careful around water, and don’t work outside in the rain.


It’s important to be extra alert in bathrooms. Make sure that you follow the rules very carefully. Water and electricity are an extremely dangerous combination! Power companies have the following rules to increase safety: Wet rooms without (A) or with (B) a residual-current circuit breaker.
A: This is a group without a residual-current circuit breaker. No power sockets can be connected to this type of group. A light switch is fine, but it needs to be installed high up on the wall or ceiling and operated by a ceiling pull switch. Moreover, any lighting used here must be water-tight, grounded or double insulated. Halogen lights are only permitted here if the 24-volt transformer has been installed outside the wet room.
B: This is a group with a residual-current circuit breaker. The power company has provided a special zone classification for this category.

Fusebox expansion and safety fuses

Before you expand your fusebox, you need to make sure that the expansion won’t blow the fuse. The electricity that an appliance uses is expressed in amperes. Electricity (amperes=A) times voltage (volts=V) is output (watts=W). The power output is usually displayed on a lamp or appliance. By adding up the number of watts for each appliance connected to the group, and then dividing the outcome by 230 volts, you’ll get the current (amperage) in amperes. The markings on the fuses show the maximum amperage that each fuse can handle. If the fuse has a red marking on the end, it can handle 10 amperes; a fuse with a grey marking can handle 16 amperes. With a 10-ampere fuse, you can use a maximum of 10 x 230 = 2300 watts. With a 16-ampere fuse, the maximum electricity you can use for that fuse is 3680.


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