What is PAT Testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the visual and electrical checking of electrical equipment and appliances to ensure they are safe to use. While some electrical defects can be found through a visual inspection, many electrical faults can only be detected by technical equipment, which is why both elements of the testing are vital.

Although PAT testing is not a legal requirement, it is a key fire and safety examination that can reduce the risk of electric shocks, burns, fires and failing equipment. This peace of mind is why many business owners opt for onsite annual PAT testing of electrical appliances and equipment.

For over 15 years Arundel, Fire, Security & Electrical’s team of professional technicians have provided businesses and public sector organisations throughout the South East with Portable Appliance Testing, including the provision of immediate replacements and repairs where required and official certification when safe to pass.

Which Electrical Items Should be PAT Tested?

The general rule of PAT testing is that any electrical equipment that is plugged into a power source (for example, a socket) will need PAT testing. And although PAT testing has the word ‘portable’ in its name, Portable Appliance Testing applies to large pieces of equipment that are hard to move like white goods and vending machines, as well as handheld items.

Items that require PAT testing include, but is not limited to: 

  • Extension leads and cables
  • PCs & Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Phone or laptop chargers
  • Printers and photocopiers
  • Kettles, toasters, and microwaves
  • White goods and vending machines
  • Lamps
  • TVs
  • Electric drills

PAT testing also applies to fixed appliances – integrated or hard-wired equipment that is wired into the wall like towel rails and storage heaters. This type of electrical equipment may not have a plug, but it still runs off the mains.

How often should PAT testing be carried out?

There is no set frequency on how often PAT testing should be carried out, but there are guidelines for different types of electrical equipment, subject to the environment and frequency of which they are used.

  • Class 1 equipment should be tested every 6 – 48 months
  • Class 2 equipment should be tested every 12 – 48 months
  • All 110V construction site equipment should be tested every 3 months.

An in-depth breakdown can be found in the Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment document published by the HSE.

What are the electrical classes in PAT testing?

Electrical appliance classes are there to indicate the dangers posed by an electrical appliance or product. Electrical classes are generally divided into three classes: Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3. The class category indicates the danger of the appliance, Class 1 being the most dangerous and Class 3 being the least dangerous. Electrical classing also helps to determine whether an item needs PAT Testing and how regularly.

Class 1 appliances

Class 1 appliances only have two levels – user protection and basic insulation – and relies on an earth connection for protection. Class 1 electrical equipment is usually made of metal and include items such as: Fridges, Freezers, Washing Machines, Microwaves and Toasters.

Class 2 appliances

Class 2 appliances have a minimum of two layers of user protection insulation and do not rely on an earth connection for protection. Class 2 electrical equipment is usually made of plastic and includes items such as: Computers, photocopiers, and most plastic power tools.

Class 2 appliances

Class 3 appliances are low voltage items that do not exceed 25V AC or 60V DC, meaning they cannot produce enough voltage to risk the user getting an electric shock. Class 3 appliances include items such as laptops, mobile phones, and low energy light bulbs.

If you require PAT testing in West Sussex, Arundel Fire, Security & Electrical’s team of Portable Appliance Testing experts are here to help. Our experienced engineers will ensure that each PAT Test job is completed to the highest standard to maximise electrical safety and mitigate risk to your premises, employees, and customers. 

To keep your electrical equipment safe from electrical faults and dangers, contact us today using our contact form, or alternatively, call 01903 716445.