PAT Testing Cost And Prices In UK: Installation And Replacement 2022

Installation And Replacement

Portable Appliance Testing, referred to as PAT testing, is an examination procedure to determine electrical equipment safety. Although not mandatory, it is imperative to carry out the test to satisfy the Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989. This regulation requires electrical safety for home and office electrical appliances. PAT testers, who are qualified electricians, conduct these tests, and you can find one on platforms such as Bark.

The electricians will issue you a PAT testing certificate upon successful completion, showing that your electrical equipment is safe to use. Like other services, the cost of PAT tests varies among electricians. So, what are the PAT testing prices, and how are they determined? We have researched various agencies and electrician PAT testers for quotes which form the basis of this PAT testing cost 2022 guide.

They must be able to understand electricity,  know how to use the testing equipment and how to interpret the results.The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) quotes the Electricity at Work regulations 1989 when talking about electrical safety. The City and Guilds Electrical Equipment Maintenance and Testing (2377) course offers a recognised qualification for qualified electricians to learn about  PAT testing and inspection. City and Guilds also offer a three–day course for non–electricians that includes a foundation in the subject.  

In addition, we included a list of factors that affect the cost of this test and have given detailed findings in this guide. Further, we have covered the history of PAT testing, what it entails, how to pass it, and a safety checklist. Guidance notes produced by the HSE help determine the inspection frequency.

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How Much Does PAT Testing Cost?

As we mentioned, the PAT testing service is charged depending on the agency and the PAT tester. However, as per our research, we found that most of the testers charge a flat fee for a certain number of items in the first batch. From there, the PAT testing attracts a small fee for each piece of electrical equipment. However, various factors affect how much PAT testing costs.

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What Factors Affect The Cost Of PAT Testing?

Location of the PAT tester

The cost of labour varies depending on location. For instance, the south of England and London are generally expensive. So, you will pay more if you hire an experienced PAT tester from such a location. In addition, you will incur the transport cost if the tester has to travel to your site. It will be best to note that not all electricians offer PAT testing services. So, you will have to hire further afield if you live in remote areas.

Location of the electrical appliances

The cost of PAT testing for residential properties differs from the commercial ones. Thus, it will be best to consider this factor when budgeting for the services. To that end, you must specify where you use the portable electrical appliances for the correct quote.

The electrical equipment and the number tested

We use different electrical appliances daily, and they vary in size and complexity. This determines the cost of the test. Likewise, the expertise that goes into the service and the time it takes to examine it thoroughly will also determine the cost. For instance, the cost of testing a printer differs from that of PCs. In addition, the number of appliances tested will also affect the total cost of the services.

Additional PAT testing services

Trusted PAT testers on Bark may offer extra services after the initial inspection. These include, but are not limited to, fuse inspection, suitable replacements, and rewiring if need be. Such services attract extra fees not unless they pose significant problems. However, you cannot ignore them since there are high chances that your appliance will fail the test with those defects.

So, considering all these factors when you want to determine how much PAT testing costs? A fee between £50 to £100 caters for 10 to 50 appliances. Each test attracts £1.00 to £2.50 per item from that number. Note that you will pay about £400 to £450, which includes VAT if the services require an entire day. It will help to schedule tests for many appliances at once to lower the cost since you can get a 75p discount on each item if they are over 250.

What Does An Appliance Inspection Entail?

PAT testing is an essential electrical maintenance requirement and calls for high qualification. The tester will check for hazards such as electrocution, potential ignition, and fire using various methods such as using instruments like an ammeter, ohmmeter, or both. All in all, the process entails the following:

Visual Checks

The PAT tester will first conduct a visual check to find signs of broken seals, external wiring, or wear and tear. 

Operator Checks

This check is informal; the contractor will not issue a record if the equipment is okay. The professional will use a checklist containing the appliance’s condition and abrasions on cables. They will also check for environmental suitability, signs of overheating, and security of cable sheath. If the results are satisfactory, the tester will check if the item functions appropriately. 

Formal Visual Checks

This check dives deep into the process, and while at it, the PAT tester will check if the cable runs to prevent damages from heavy equipment and ensure that the sockets, flex outlets, or plugs are accessible. The tester will further check if the wires are tightly bent. In addition, the tester will assess the equipment that requires precise ventilation and ensure that all the electrical appliances are disconnected during the inspection. After that, this contractor will record the findings in detail as it helps in subsequent checks. 

Insulation Resistance Test

This test determines the condition of your electrical appliances’ insulation. And it’s an essential one due to the risk of electrocution. The electrician uses this insulation test to measure the leakage current of bare metal at a certain-rated voltage to determine the condition. The result must be below 5mA for Class 1 equipment or 1mA for Class 2. The classes refer to the number of earth connections.

Earth Bond/Continuity Test

The earth bond/continuity test determines the existence of a safe return path and only applies to Class 1 appliances. This test checks that the ground terminal has a lower resistance connection to the conductive metallic cover of your electric equipment. An ohmmeter is used to conduct this test.

Differential Leakage Test

This test is used to test protective conductor current, also known as differential leakage current, which measures the current difference between neutral conductors and live ones. The results determine if electric currents flow to earth and a properly functioning equipment has minimal or no protective conductor currents.

Load Test

A load test, also known as the VA test, measures the electronic power consumption when operating. The load helps in determining if the equipment is functioning correctly. A qualified electrician will use a Megger portable appliance tester to carry out this test. The results can be used to predict potential future problems and determine the right action to take.

Flash Test

A flash test checks the integrity of electrical insulation by measuring the leakage current when your equipment is on high voltage. Note that the flash test is destructive and only suitable for testing repaired or restored equipment. Thus, it is only ideal for in-house testing due to potential damages.

Labelling & Documentation

All the appliances that undergo PAT tests are clearly labelled with a unique identifier. The label also includes the date of the test, a retest date, and the condition. Note that this labelling only applies to equipment that has passed the test. Equipment that fails the test will not have the dates but just a label indicating failure. Professional testers use bar-coded tags for easy reading to save time. 

After labelling, the tester documents the report, including the register of all the appliances, test results, register of faulty equipment, and repair register. It is vital to store these reports safely as they will come in handy during the next inspection.

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How To Pass A PAT Test?

Although not mandatory, PAT testing is still essential for UK businesses to prove the safety of their electrical appliances. It is because companies are responsible for the protection of their employers. In conducting the PAT test and getting certified, the businesses ensure the employers are safe from electric hazards. It will be best to do the following to pass the test:

Keep the equipment well maintained

For starters, you must maintain your equipment to ensure there is no damage before the inspection. The maintenance includes regular cleaning and dusting in the case of computers. In addition, you should keep food or liquids far from the electric appliances. Exposure to liquids can cause a malfunction or accidents.

Hire qualified professionals for repairs

Many people are computer literate and can do minor repairs on electric appliances. However, hiring qualified professionals to handle your repair work will be best to pass the PAT test. This is because the professionals will do their work without bias and leave a report that another PAT tester can refer to in future inspections.

Routinely check your cables and plug

Electric cables are prone to wear and tear due to movements and pressure from heavy equipment. Thus, it will help if you routinely check them and replace them. Further, plugs can also be damaged by overheating, posing the risk of hazardous sparks. You should hire someone to check these before the inspection to stand a higher chance of passing and getting a certificate.

Put your equipment in a well-ventilated area

Lack of air circulation is one of the major causes of faulty electric equipment. Unfortunately, many of these appliances are placed in corners with inadequate ventilation. It will help if you put yours in well-ventilated areas to avoid overheating and pass the PAT test during the inspection.

Testing methods

There are two methods a qualified PAT tester can use. Each of these tests suits different businesses, but that should not be a problem if you get a suitable professional from Bark. The first method is manual but only possible with a small company with few electronic equipment. The certificates of this test are paper-based, so you have to put them in an envelope or frame to keep them from getting torn.

The second method uses an electronic bar code reader to label individual electronic equipment and provide electronic certificates. This method is most suitable for large organisations with several electronic equipment. However, that does not limit the use in smaller businesses since the e-certificate is easy to store and share during the next test. 

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What Should All Landlords Know Regarding the PAT Test?

Contrary to common misconceptions, landlords are not exempted from safety regulations. The landlords are responsible for the safety of their tenants and need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which a qualified electrician issues after a thorough inspection. Likewise, the landlords also need to ascertain the safety of any portable electric appliance that comes with the property.

The best way to determine is through qualified PAT testers you can find on Bark. The appliance inspector will give a detailed report containing a list of each piece of electric equipment, their test results, and the fail or pass label on each item. The label will also contain the inspection date, the date for the scheduled testing, and the official signature of the PAT tester.  

Appliances to test in furnished and unfurnished lets

In most cases, an unfinished let will have a washing machine, dryer, and fridge that will need an inspection. On the other hand, the furnished ones, which include holiday accommodation, have items such as an entertainment system, heaters, and microwave ovens. Note that all items must be tested and labelled for safety purposes.

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Does My Electrician Require Any Certification?

You can PAT test your appliances if you know how to do it. However, you will not have the third-party report that a qualified electrician issues after the test. On the other hand, you can use an in-house employee to carry out the test. But the employee must have a certificate showing they completed the electrical health and safety PAT testing course.

Also, the in-house tester must efficiently use the testing equipment and correctly interpret the results. Likewise, the tester should be able to write the test report, which your business can use in the future.

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History Of PAT Testing

PAT testing has a long history which started as a regulation in government properties and tool hire. It then morphed into other sectors after introducing the Electricity at Work Regulation in 1989. But it took time before coming into force, which happened on 1st April 1990 in an attempt to raise the safety of workers in the industry.

Like other changes that disrupt industries, the PAT test faced some resistance, but people later embraced it. Thanks to technology, the industry has grown into a widely accepted measure for a safer working environment. However, there are still challenges when it comes to the test.

The test has legal grey areas that make some employers and landlords ignore it at the expense of employees and tenants. Also, there is no legal obligation to apply PAT testing stickers to indicated tested equipment, which puts the people working with them at risk.

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PAT Safety Checklist – Top Tips

You must ensure that your work environment or home is safe for you and your employees. Here are some tips on what you should do to stay safe.

Put all the safety measures

It will help if you have safety measures such as installing circuit breakers, fuses, and surge protectors. In addition, you should fasten the electric cables with cable stables to avoid damage from entangling. Also, you can use a command strip or painter’s tape; you only need to avoid leaving the cables and power strips unchecked.

Carry out the test yourself

You can test the appliances yourself if you are on a shoestring budget. However, it would be best if you got some training to know how to do it. In addition, you should exercise caution while doing the test, and it is best to use insulated tools and protective gear to avoid work-related injuries.

Keep a record of all your electric equipment

This goes for the tests you do or as a professional. You should safely keep a record of all your electric equipment as it helps determine the faulty ones. The information will help you choose the ones that need repair and the ones you should dispose of. Moreover, it will help you avoid the electric problems that come with faulty equipment.

Label all the appliances you test

Testing appliances on your own is quite daunting, and the worst you can do is repeat a test on one. For that reason, it will help if you clearly label each piece of tested equipment so that you know if you have tested it, when to conduct another test and its condition. Doing so will save you money when you hire a professional to do an extensive test on your appliances.

Regularly clean your electric appliances

Many people ignore this despite being the first line in keeping your appliance in top shape. Simple maintenance routine like dusting helps prevent dust accumulation which leads to malfunction. Regular cleaning will also enable you to detect a problem earlier.

Counter check after a PAT test

Making errors makes us human, and even a professional can get some things wrong. Thus, it would be best to counter-check the tests and check if the electrician fixed the plugs well before using your appliances. In addition, you should also counter-check the labelling with the report to avoid confusion should you hire a different professional for the next routine test.

Keep electronics away from children and pets

Pets and children are playful, and having your electronics in the open can be dangerous. Neither knows the dangers of power cables and might touch or chew them, exposing the wires which might endanger them and short circuit the electronics. If restricting them is a challenge, hiding the cables in skirting boards or pipings is best. 

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FAQs Regarding PAT Testing Cost For Repairing 

Q1. Does PAT testing include only portable items?

No, PAT testing is not restricted to proving compliance with portable items. The test covers fixed electrical appliances too. Some examples of different items that professionals PAT test include blenders, mobile phone chargers, printers, desktops, and other portable electrical appliances that you can move and plug in anywhere.

Q2. What should be the frequency of getting electrical equipment PAT tested?

No rule dictates the test frequency. However, the frequency depends on two factors. First is the kind of appliances you will test and the duration. Second is the need to maintain electrical safety in the environment where you use the equipment. For instance, PAT tests in an industrial setting and restaurants should be every six months or on a yearly basis. IT equipment, homes, and shops require annual electrical tests. 

Q3. Does new equipment need testing, too?

Even though vendors sell new electrical devices after thorough inspection, you must consider the environment where you will use them. In low-risk places, PAT testing of new devices is not mandatory. However, you should conduct the PAT testing since you move portable appliances and plug them in different locations. In any case, having a formal visual inspection is advisable to look for any damages.

Q4. How much does a PAT test cost?

PAT testing ranges between $75 to $200 depending on the equipment and the company’s experience. However, the final amount depends on any additional service you might need if the appliance needs maintenance. Some extra services, not to be excluded, are installing charge points and rewiring plugs if necessary.

Q5. Where do I find a reliable PAT test agency?

You can find reliable services and verified companies on the Bark platform, a website that lists PAT testing services. PAT testing prices vary from agency to agency. However, this company ensures that they onboard only reputed agencies with a dependable track record. Their additional services are services from qualified electricians, installation of charge points, and rewiring of existing plugs.

Q6. Can a non-professional conduct PAT testing?

Yes, a non-profession can perform the PAT test but requires sound knowledge of the procedure and interpreting results. However, it is recommended to take coaching for it since it will help you understand the outcome better.

Q7. How many tests can a PAT tester perform in a day?

The tester is capable of performing numerous tasks a day. However, it is more about how many tests the operator can perform. On average, a qualified tester can do 290 to 320 office machinery and 140 equipment in an industry set up daily.

Q8. What are the different classes in electrical appliances for PAT testing?

Electrical appliances are divided into three classes. 

Class 1: These appliances are safeguarded by essential insulation. In addition, they have an earth wire that prevents damage to the machine. Class 1 appliances include laptops, computers, photocopiers, blenders, welding machines, etc.

Class 2: This category comprises electronics with supplementary insulation. They differ from the first class since there is no provision for exposed metalwork to act as earthing. You can identify such equipment by the symbol of a square within a square representing double insulation. Most of these items have plastic casings.

Class 3: The manufacturers of the appliances in this category supply them at a low voltage. They are also referred to as Separated Extra Low Voltage (SELV) and come with an inbuilt transformer. This voltage has to be less than 50V for the appliance to qualify for this category. 

Q9. Are PAT tests insured?

Yes, these tests are insured due to the risks involved for you and the equipment. If you hire a professional, they must have public liability insurance. However, your company will need to issue insurance cover to the tester. This insurance is crucial for the legality and compliance of your business.

Q10. Do second-hand electronics need PAT testing?

As we mentioned in previous sections, it is not mandatory. However, the law requires this test. Thus, it will be best to conduct it on second-hand appliances. Doing so will assure you that the equipment is in its optimal working condition and free from the dangers of imminent malfunction.

Q11. What are the penalties for failed PAT Tests?

There is no clear-cut penalty for failing to maintain your electric equipment. However, it is important to note that the test is for your benefit. The benefit includes, but is not limited to, safety and saving on power bills that may arise due to faulty equipment.

Q12. Do outdoor events require PAT testing?

Some outdoor events, such as weddings, concerts, or birthdays, require electronics for public addresses. And for that reason, it is equally important to conduct the test on the equipment before the event to ensure the attendants’ safety. Likewise, the test will go a long way in ensuring that the event will not fail due to malfunctioning equipment.

Conclusion : Finding A Qualified Electrician 

PAT testing is important, and it will be best to hire a qualified electrician for it. Such electricians are available on Bark, a platform that connects service providers to clients. However, identifying the right one in a pool of many can be daunting. For that reason, it will be best if you do a background check before engaging with an electrician.

For starters, you should visit the electrician’s official website to check their certification and years of experience. In addition, you will also check the reviews of previous clients to determine suitability. Also, you can contact the clients and ask in person. It helps if you pick a couple of electricians and then ask for a quotation after your background check. You can then choose your prefered qualified electrician and hire them to do the PAT test. 

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