Whether you work in an industry that requires the use of big machines and computers, or you have an office job that just requires a laptop, chances are you are going to need to use electrical appliances.
With modern appliances come certain dangers and hazards. Electrical appliances, whether it be the computer you use every day or the kettle that’s plugged into the office, both can cause issues and be a danger to people if not regularly inspected.
These regular inspections are known as PAT testing, which stands for portable appliance testing. The testing of a portable appliance varies depending on the class of appliance. Whilst some appliances can be checked with a visual inspection, others require a more thorough check. Testing failures can be daunting, but they are fairly common since modern appliances are not designed to last forever.
What should I do if an appliance fails a PAT test?
If an appliance fails a PAT test, it should be put out of service. A failed PAT test means the appliance is dangerous, so you should dispose of it to ensure the safety of everyone. If it is a big appliance that cannot easily be moved, place a sign on it to ensure no one uses it.
If the appliance is essential and you want it up and working again, you can possibly get the appliance fixed. However, in some cases, the appliance cannot be repaired, and it is more beneficial to buy a new one than attempt to fix the old one.
Common reasons for PAT test fails
Different things can go wrong with electrical appliances, from damaged hardware to faulty wiring, anything that is out of place can be dangerous. Here are some of the most common reasons for PAT test fails:
- Incorrect fuse
- Damaged plugs
- Leakage current
It is essential to have the correct fuse fitted to ensure the right level of current can run through the appliance. The general rule of thumb is that anything that uses less than 700w of power should have a 3A fuse fitted inside, whereas anything above 700w needs a 13A fuse to be fitted. Although most manufacturers abide by this rule, some don’t, which is why incorrect fuses are the biggest cause of failed PAT tests.
Damaged plugs are the second most common cause for PAT test fails. Plugs are exposed and are taken in and out of sockets every day. Think about the continuous use and wear and tear that laptop chargers go through.
Whilst it can be tempting to ignore small cracks and breaks in plugs, these can be very dangerous as there is an increased risk of the wires inside becoming exposed. This could result in employees or individuals getting an electric shock when plugging their appliances in and out.
A leakage test is one of the tests performed during a PAT test. Whilst most PAT testers initially do an insulation resistance test, which is also often used when testing a surge protection circuit, if this first test comes back inconclusive, a leakage test is carried out. Both tests are checking to see if the insulation element of the appliance is failing as that can turn into a dangerous situation.
The PAT testing equipment works by carefully measuring the difference, if any, between the current flowing through the line and the neutral conductors. When a difference is detected, the electrician is informed that something is wrong, which will result in a PAT test fail.
Items that most commonly fail PAT tests
When people think about the appliances most likely to fail during PAT tests, they usually think about large appliances that are sophisticated and use higher AC voltage, but in reality, it is the smaller appliances that are used regularly that are subject to more wear and tear and that fail PAT tests. For instance, one of the most common appliances to fail PAT testing are chargers. This is due to their daily use and frequent transport.
PAT testing services in Scotland
It is a legal requirement for employers and landlords to keep tenants and employees safe when living or working under their roof and PAT testing is a key precaution. It is recommended that you seek out a professional PAT testing provider to identify any dangerous appliances as soon as possible.
We offer both residential and commercial PAT testing services, so we have the expertise to carry out testing in buildings of any size with any number of appliances. Since domestic properties are smaller than commercial ones, our domestic packages cover up to 10 individual items. Our commercial testing package covers up to 30 individual appliances. If you have more than 30 appliances that need testing, you can simply contact us so that we can provide you with a customised quote.
Our professional electricians will provide you with a PAT test document that will lay out all the evidence of the tests we have carried out which will be issued on the very same day as the test. This ensures that you have full proof of all the testing that has been done if you need to prove your due diligence.