How long does a PAT test take?
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the term used to describe testing the electrical appliances and equipment in your home or business.
More often than not, electrical defects can be seen with the naked eye and therefore your PAT shouldn’t take too long to complete. However, some require some more extensive testing to spot the defects and their dangers.
A PAT can take from one hour to a full day to complete, depending on the size of your business. This is usually enough time to complete the 30 tests that need to be carried out.
Today we’ll be looking at whether your PAT is going to disrupt your business and how long you can expect for this to impact you.
Is having a PAT test done disruptive?
If you’re using a trusted engineer who knows what they’re doing, you should experience minimal disruption. For just one hour’s worth of work, you can give your employees and insurers peace of mind that your business is being conducted in a safe environment.
Most of the tests can be done by visually inspecting the electronics or testing them with expert knowledge. This allows the test to be carried out quickly rather than the electrician having to waste lots of time opening up each electronic appliance and getting deep into their inner workings.
Overall, the benefits of a PAT outweigh the disadvantages, such as being slightly disruptive. Plus, once you have it done, a PAT certificate lasts for 24 months, so you won’t need to worry about it being done again anytime soon.
How long should businesses expect to be interrupted by a PAT test?
The time you can expect to be disrupted by a PAT test will depend on how many appliances you need testing, or at least visually inspected. A small business might only have a few appliances and therefore won’t have to be disrupted for longer than half an hour, while a large business’ PAT could take all day.
There is no set definition of what a portable appliance is, although most electricians take it to mean ‘any appliance that has a plug attached to it and can be powered by mains electricity. With this definition, the word portable is slightly incorrect and confusing.
There are seven categories of appliances that need to be considered for PAT testing:
- Fixed appliances
- Stationary appliances
- IT appliances
- Moveable appliances
- Cables and chargers
- Portable appliances
- Hand-held appliances
So, an IT business might be much more disrupted by a PAT test than a business that relies very little on electronics.
The only way to determine how long your PAT will take will be to contact your electrician to see how quickly they can get it all done. If you have a larger business and rely heavily on electronic appliances to get your work done, you might want to consider hiring more than one electrician to cut the workload in half.
What will be done during one?
There are two main factors to determine whether an item needs to be tested during a PAT, which is its electrical class and category.
Electrical classes are classified as:
- Class 1: Basic insulation, relies on earth for protection. Requires a full PAT test.
Examples are photocopiers, vending machines, washing machines, desktop computers, fridges, electrical heaters, laptop cables.
- Class 2: Extra insulation, making it safer. Needs a PAT insulation test.
Examples include desktop printers, drills, food mixers, televisions, hairdryers, lamps, lawnmowers.
- Class 3: Has low voltage and is considered the safest appliance. Either won’t need a PAT test or will need their charging leads tested.
Examples are laptops, torches, cameras, mobile phones.
We’ve already mentioned the seven categories of electrical appliances that need to be tested to some degree. Here they are again, as well as what type of testing they’ll need:
- Fixed appliances: Infrequent visual inspections, no PAT tests.
- Stationary appliances: Visual inspection in high-risk businesses, PAT test needed unless it’s class 2 in low-risk environments.
- IT appliances: Visual inspection in high-risk businesses, PAT test needed unless it’s class 2 in low-risk environments.
- Moveable appliances: Visual inspection needed, PAT test needed unless it’s class 2 in low-risk environments.
- Cables and chargers: Visual inspection needed, PAT test needed unless it’s class 2 in low-risk environments.
- Portable appliances: Visual inspection needed, PAT test needed unless it’s class 2 in low-risk environments.
- Hand-held appliances: Frequent visual inspection needed, PAT test needed unless its class 2 in low-risk environments.
A full PAT test includes both a visual inspection of your appliances and an in-depth check using PAT testing equipment. They test for earth continuity, insulation resistance, and lead polarity. Your electrician will know which appliances need full PAT testing and those that only need visual inspections.
AMS Solutions offers PAT Testing services in the Manchester area. So if you are based in Manchester, and have any questions or concerns about your portable appliances, why not get in touch with us, and we will see what we can do to help.
How long does a PAT test take?