How often is PAT testing required for landlords?

Legionella risk and pat blog's

It can be difficult to understand the regulations governing landlord portable appliance testing (PAT). In this article, we explain everything you need to know about PAT tests including what a PAT test is, which appliances it covers, your legal obligations, and how frequently you need to perform such tests.

What is professional PAT testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is a process through which electrical appliances are examined to ensure that they can be safely used.

Electrical equipment in-service testing and inspection is the technical term that is used for this procedure. Most electrical safety problems are visible, but some can only be found through testing. Because some electrical safety flaws cannot be found through testing alone, visual inspection is a crucial component of the inspection process. 

In a low-risk setting, such as an office, not all portable electrical gadgets need to undergo a PAT test. Legal requirements only make it mandatory for employers and landlords to ensure that safety standards for electrical work equipment are upheld. 

The type of electrical appliances used and the environment in which they are used define the PAT testing equipment and frequency. For instance, a lamp in a hotel room needs to be checked more frequently than a power tool used on a building site. Given the proliferation of technology around us, monitoring portable electrical equipment is frequently overlooked, even though this has increased potential risks.

What is a PAT test certificate?

What does a PAT test involve?

Conduction, polarity, and isolation tests are all components of a professional PAT test. Though not a legal requirement, these checks ensure the electrical safety of your home and appliances.

Domestic PAT Testing

Residential PAT testing services can help protect your family and tenants from defective electrical equipment that can be hazardous. These services are usually quite exhaustive and can test up to 10 items. 

Commercial PAT Testing

You may shield your company against risks, harm, and injuries related to electrical breakdowns thanks to commercial PAT testing services. Such tests can include up to 30 items and include a PAT testing certificate. 

How often should landlords schedule PAT tests?

Every time a new renter moves in, it is a legal requirement for landlords to do a PAT test on their rental property. PAT tested appliances which are smaller should be examined after the original PAT test every two years, whereas larger appliances like refrigerators and washing machines should be tested once every four years.

As it is often difficult to keep track of everything that has occurred during previous leases, a test should be carried out whenever there is a new occupant. This enables the landlord to keep track of the property’s electrical condition and, if necessary, blame any damage on the previous tenant.

What happens during a PAT test?

According to the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations, portable appliance testing (PAT) regulations are fairly straightforward. In order to conform to the requirements and parameters of these regulations, PAT testing uses a variety of tests to find anomalies in outlets or electrical appliances:

  • Earth continuity
  • Lead polarity
  • Insulation check

Earth continuity

To check if a circuit has damaged parts or broken wires, a continuity test is crucial. Additionally, it aids in figuring out whether the soldering is sufficient, whether the resistance is too high to allow current to pass, or whether the electrical wire is damaged at two different spots.

Lead polarity

The direction of current flow in an electrical circuit is determined by the electrical polarity (+ and -). The purpose of the polarity test is to ensure that the phase conductor alone is used to connect all single-pole electrical devices such as switches, circuit breakers, and fuses.

Insulation check

This test calculates the overall resistance between two sites that are electrically insulated from one another. How well the electrical appliance’s insulation performs is determined by the outcome. In other words, this test assesses whether an electric appliance can be touched without risk.

Why should landlords book a PAT test?

PAT testing for landlords can deliver significant benefits, not the least of which is the reduction of potential risks with regard to the electrical installations and equipment on your property. PAT testing demonstrates that you provide your renters with safe electrical equipment and adhere to health and safety regulations.

PAT testing decreases the likelihood of an electrical accident

Over time, the performance of larger appliances deteriorates, and any flaw in the plug or the device could result in a fire. Therefore, all electrical equipment should undergo an annual visual inspection and physical examination to help identify any issues or breaks. This is not something to take lightly as a broken portable electrical device could potentially cause an electrical shock, which could be lethal.

PAT testing assists you in complying with safety laws

All businesses are required to adhere to strict PAT testing guidelines established by the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Electricity at Work Regulations. A routine check of every electrical item in a building shows insurance companies how seriously you take safety precautions and that you care about your tenants or employees. It also demonstrates that you are willing to go to great lengths to avert disaster.

PAT testing increases the lifespan of your equipment

Electrical appliances cost a lot of money to buy and, if they break down regularly, you’ll have to buy new ones frequently, which will cost a lot of money. You can find, and even prevent, electrical problems by contacting professionals with the appropriate expertise and tools to perform a full PAT test on all your electrical appliances.

How much does PAT testing cost?

A number of factors can affect the cost of your PAT test. These include:

Appliance location

Your final bill will depend on whether your appliances are centralised or dispersed. If, for example, they have been placed across a wide space in an institution of higher learning, it will take longer for the electrician to test them all. This will result in a costlier process. Conversely, if they are placed within close range of each other, the test will take less time, resulting in a smaller bill.

Contractor location

In general, labour expenses are higher in London and the south of England than elsewhere. The contractor may charge more if additional travel is required outside of a predetermined radius. Some electricians don’t provide PAT testing services so you might have to pay a price that is associated with a location that’s further away if your property is in a more rural area.

Extra services provided

Beyond PAT tests, professional testing agencies sometimes offer additional services. The initial fee typically includes pass and fail labelling, the PAT testing certificate, and the results of each appliance test.

Common additions to these include replacing fuses (25–50p per item), rewiring existing sockets (£1–2 per item), and installing a replacement plug (£4–5 per item). These would only apply in the instance of an appliance failing.

On the whole, the typical flat rate for PAT testing services ranges from £ 50 to £ 100, covering the first 10 to 50 items, and then between £ 1.00 and £ 2.50 for each additional item. The price per appliance decreases as more items are tested.

PAT testing services

Legionella Risk Assessments and PAT Testing offers professional PAT testing services at affordable rates. Our electrical safety specialists utilise the most dependable and modern portable appliance testing tools. 

Our PAT tests include the following services: 

  • Examtion of plugs and wires;
  • Examination of cables and connection testing;
  • Locating continuity and putting it to the test;
  • Checking the lead polarity;
  • Insulation resistance testing, protection from electric shock.

As a bonus, our services come at a standard rate of only £ 50 with 50p per extra item. To learn more about how our experts can guarantee your peace of mind, reach out to us today.

Contact a PAT testing expert 

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