Electrical testing (pat testing)
Electrical inspection and testing
Electrical inspection and testing is something that landlords of rented properties should consider having carried out every five years, or on the change of tenancy to ensure that the electrical installation is safe. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places a requirement on landlords to keep in repair, and proper working order, the installations in the dwelling for:
- The supply of water
- Sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences)
- Installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.
It is also highly recommended that householders have an electrical inspection in the home carried out every ten years or change of occupancy. This may change depending on the condition of the installation, and this would be based on the previous periodic inspection recommendation. In some cases, an installation may not have been inspected and tested for some time, therefore there is no record of the next recommended date of inspection. In this case, the new or existing owner of the property should consider having an inspection carried out.
An electrical fault on an installation can cause electrical fires and potentially fatal electric shocks. Regular checks will reduce the risks of this happening. Competent and registered installers will be able to undertake these inspections and help to reduce the likelihood of electrical fires.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is normally undertaken in industrial and commercial premises and is the duty on the landlord for rented properties under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. As stated above, electrical equipment provided by the landlord for use by the tenant(s) e.g. kettles, toasters, electric cookers etc. should be tested at the recommended intervals in accordance with the IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.
Fixed Appliance Testing (FAT) on items such as storage heaters, cookers and hand driers should also be carried out at recommended intervals.
Why have an inspection?
Regular electrical inspections could be the difference between life and death, with electricity being amongst the main causes of fires in the UK. Between 1st April 2010 and 31st March 2015 there were over 36,000 accidental dwelling fires in England where the source of ignition was “Electrical Distribution” or “Other Electrical appliances”.
Some common issues found during inspections are:
- The sheaths of the cables of individual electrical circuits may have deteriorated to such an extent that they need replacing.
- An electrical circuit may have suffered mechanical damage that reduces its capacity to safely carry the load current to which it is subjected.
- The electrical systems may have protective devices that are no longer functioning correctly and which could fail when a fault occurs e.g. the RCD has seized and does not trip when a fault occurs.
- Metal light fittings or accessories may not have a protective earth connection within the lighting circuit leaving the householder at risk of an electric shock should the fitting or accessory develop a fault.
- Lack of or undersized earthing conductor within the installation which could leave you vulnerable to the risk of electric shock.
- Lack of or undersized main protective bonding conductors to your gas and water installation pipes within the installation which could leave you vulnerable to the risk of electric shock.
The best way to ensure your electrics are safe is to have a Periodic Inspection by having an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out. An EICR should be carried out by a competent, registered electrician with experience of carrying out inspecting and testing within the last five years or within the time frame determined by the electrical installer. This then confirms, as far as possible, whether or not the electrical installation is in a safe condition for continued service, and the nature of any work that may be required to bring it back to a safe condition.
Electrical testing, PAT and inspection quotes
Having your electrics inspected will reduce the chances of a fault occurring and help to keep you and your family safe. PAT testing of any household appliances supplied by a landlord will check their safety.
These types of work should be carried out by Full Scope Part P Registered Competent Electrical Installers, registered with a Competent Persons Scheme such as NAPIT.
If you’re interested in the testing and inspection for electrics within for your home or property, why not compare prices by completing our quick form and receiving FREE quotes from up to four reputable local electricians in your area.