There are several types of tests that you can perform on electronic devices such as computer monitors, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. This testing procedure is essential to ensure that they meet certain standards before being released into the public domain. Portable appliance tests (PAT) are used to check the functionality of household appliances prior to their installation or operation.
They are also useful as a management tool to identify problems with existing appliances before they cause injury or damage. Due to the fact that PAT testing is not essential, it can be tempting to skip the process when you get a new appliance. However, that is not a good idea. Keep reading to learn why you should get your new appliances PAT tested.
What is portable appliance testing?
Portable appliance testing (PAT), also known as electrical safety testing, is the term used to refer to the examination of electrical appliances to ensure they are in a safe condition for use. This includes internal and visual checks to ensure all components are functioning correctly and safely.
Portable appliance testers look for signs of wear and tear, such as loose connections, worn electrical cables, frayed cables, cracked circuit boards, damaged connectors, etc. PAT can also include checking that the appliance meets relevant standards and regulations. Most electrical safety defects can be discovered by visual examination but some defects cannot be detected by visual examination alone.
For example, if there is no visible evidence of corrosion, you might think that the appliance is working fine. But, if there is a problem, the corrosion could cause a short circuit or even start a fire. If there is damage to layers of insulation or metal parts, the problems could become much worse. In addition, some types of defect can be detected by testing but others require more detailed investigation.
Do you have to PAT test new appliances?
New appliances need to undergo a portable appliance inspection. This is done prior to installation to ensure it meets the relevant safety standards. As part of this process, you need to check that the equipment complies with the requirements set out in the relevant product standard.
If you think that your new electrical equipment does not require PAT testing, you could be putting yourself and your tenants or employees at a higher level of risk. For example, a faulty appliance could cause injury or even death. If you don’t know what type of electrical equipment you’re buying, you could end up with something dangerous.
If you are buying something from a reputable manufacturer, you might be able to get away with just a visual inspection, because all products sold by reputable manufacturers undergo testing before they reach the customer. However, if you are buying something from an unknown source, appliance identification and full checks of the appliance condition are essential for your safety.
Do you need to PAT test non-portable appliances?
Appliance testing is required for any piece of equipment that is portable, but also occasionally a type of equipment that is not portable and other types of specialist equipment also require testing. For example, it’s important to test fixed appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, etc. These tests often take place during installation and are performed by qualified electricians.
In fact, there are several reasons why you’d want to perform a PAT check on these items. After all, it helps ensure that the item is safe to use and working properly. It also helps prevent damage to the unit itself. It is therefore a good idea to get non-moveable equipment checked in additional to portable appliances.
When do you need to PAT test?
Although there are no specific guidelines or legal requirements for PAT testing frequency, it is recommended that equipment class 1 should be tested every 12 months, and classes 2 and 3 should be tested every 48 month.
To determine how often to test your appliances, you should consider a number of factors:
- Appliances that are used more should be tested sooner. These appliances are likely to suffer more damage if they receive regular use.
- You should also test your appliance as soon as someone notices any minor problem, as it might be an indicator of a more serious problem.
- The type of appliance in question is a major determinant of whether it needs to be inspected or tested. Smaller hand-held appliances are more likely to break down than larger ones. Also, class 1 appliances carry extra safety risks than class 2 appliances.
Can you carry out your own PAT test?
If you are thinking about carrying out your own portable equipment tests, it is important to know what you are doing. Even the most competent people could end up damaging their appliances when doing it themselves. If you do carry out a test without being qualified, you could damage your appliances, cause fires, or even harm yourself.
Realistically, the best way to test an appliance is to hire a professional. They will ensure that the work is done correctly and safely. A good tester knows exactly where to look for faults in different types of appliances. He/she will also make sure that the correct voltage is used, and that there is no risk of fire or electrocution.
How does PAT testing help protect new equipment?
A PAT tester carries out a thorough visual and internal inspection and electrical tests on your new appliance. They check everything, including the wiring, making sure that it complies with regulations. While it’s rare for new equipment to fail PAT testing, it can happen. It is therefore essential to know in order to ensure the safety of the device.
PAT testing services
Whilst user checks can be helpful and are good for visually checking signs of damage on your appliance, if you want to properly check your portable electrical items, you should hire a professional external company in order to accurately identify possible dangerous defects. Whether you are a landlord in charge of a rental property or a business owner in charge of creating safe working conditions, it is essential to continuously check the electrical health of all electrical equipment under your roof.
Legionella Risk and PAT has dedicated engineers on hand to extensively test all equipment types. Our team can come to your property or office to do full domestic or commercial PAT checks. Not only will we observe for obvious faults but we will additionally check the internal workings of all portable electrical appliances you have. Once the risk assessment has been completed, we will provide you with a full report and certificate so that you can prove that you have met all legal obligations.