Back to basics: the most common questions about electrical testing, answered!

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The Electrical Testers engineers really do see some sights when out and about.

Check out this washing machine:

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Despite the inexplicably clean drum, no one would want an object as seemingly harmless as the humble washing machine to end up looking like that, would they?

And look at this plug (excuse the slightly blurred photo!):

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Visual inspection passed?! We’d love to know what state it would need to be in to fail!

If the two examples above aren’t enough to convince you that electrical testing is something every business and homeowner should invest in regularly, we’d like to let you in on some of the most common questions asked about this vital part of business or home ownership.

Do I need periodic electrical inspections?

Absolutely!

It’s recommended that periodic electrical inspections are carried out every five years, and should be focused on the entire electrical installation within the premises.

A lot can change in five years, therefore it really isn’t worth leaving anything to chance.

Can I carry out periodic inspections myself?

Unless you’re a qualified and electrically-competent engineer – no.

Leave this stuff to the professionals to avoid personal injury and ensure the testing is completely in-line with modern regulations.

Should I remove redundant wiring after a re-wire?

Although not entirely necessary, it’s always advisable to remove redundant wiring.

At the very least, it should be permanently disconnected from any electrical supply – that goes without saying.

As a landlord, what are my responsibilities when it comes to electrics?

There’s quite a few you’ll need to bear in mind if you intend to let out a property to a business or individual.

Under the Landlords and Tenants Act (1985), you’ll need to ensure the electrical installation within the property is:

  • fully checked and safe;
  • maintained correctly during the tenancy; and
  • accompanied by an EICR (Electrical Condition Report) that certifies whether or not the electrics are safe and what (if anything) needs upgrading.

What should I do if I buy an electrical appliance which appears to be unsafe?

Start by returning the appliance – never install it.

It’s also worth considering contacting Trading Standards or Citizens Advice to register your concerns.

Should only the cabling that is exposed be tested?

Hiding behind the walls of most buildings are countless electrical cables that feed power outlets and send electricity to lighting and other devices mounted on the surface. Left untested, it could pose a serious threat.

Despite the upheaval this may cause, the benefits of electrical testing hidden wiring behind walls, within cavities and contained in trunking are numerous.

Often, it’s what you can’t see that could result in the biggest and most catastrophic electrical problem.

Do I have to have my appliances PAT tested?

PAT testing isn’t required by law, but that doesn’t mean you should shortcut it.

The Health and Safety Executive offers the best explanation:

“The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently (ie they don’t make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually).”

Get that PAT testing booked!

Wrapping up

Electrical testing might be the last thing on your busy to-do list, but it can mean the difference between a safe workplace and one which is inherently risky for every member of staff.

Contact us if you think we can help with your electrical testing requirements!

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