There are many doubts that people have about conducting a PAT test. Most people are worried if the test damages their electrical equipment, yet others worry if the test is at all necessary for appliances that are not used for industrial use.
Many people are also confused about the time duration of a regular
PAT testing session. After all, if you are the manager of an industrial unit with multiple electronic appliances, then the regular working must be shut while the testing is underway. So it makes sense to bother about the time a regular test for the safety of electrical appliances will take.
How To Prepare For A PAT Test?
The following points will give you all the details that you need about the time that you would have to invest in conducting an electrical safety check.
More The Number Of Appliances, The More Amount Of Time Required
If you are conducting the safety check for a single device, then it will hardly take three to four minutes. It might take even less time if you have hired a professional PAT tester instead of doing the checks yourself.
However, it is expected that the greater the number of devices, the greater will be the time required to conduct the PAT test. So if your office has around forty electrical appliances, it could take around two to three hours to complete the PAT test.
A regular office has multiple laptops, coffee vending machines, multiple plug points, mobile phone chargers, Xerox machines etc. So spending around four hours a year is worthwhile to ensure the safety of the premises.
A PAT certificate does not have a fixed expiry date. However, most devices should be checked once every two or four years.
Electrical appliances are broadly divided into two parts based on how frequently they require a safety check. So for kettles, irons and refrigerators, a check once in four years is fine.
And for appliances like Xerox machines and laptops, a check once every two years is fine. Thus for regular household appliances, you can rest assured of your safety if you spend two hours every four years on a PAT test.
Whereas for appliances that are regularly found in an office environment, you can be sure of the safety of electrical appliances if you spend four hours on a PAT test every two years.
Electrical accidents like shocks or fires caused by short circuits can be fatal. Moreover, a malfunctioning device like a laptop can lead to sudden data loss worth millions of dollars. So it is absolutely worth spending a few hours of your life to ensure your personal safety and also the safety of the appliances that you regularly use.
The Preparation Time Before An Actual Test Takes Quite A Bit Of Time
The actual check for electrical safety may take only a few minutes for a single device, but the preparation can take a lot of time.
For instance, if you are planning to run a PAT check for your computers, you must take a backup of all the data that your computers hold. Taking data backup from computers is mandatory to ensure that in case of any data loss due to a faulty test, you do not have trouble retrieving the data.
Again it is essential to disable all the antivirus software that is active on your computer. This is done to make sure that the software does not interfere with the performance of the test.
Sometimes some PAT testers may want you to disable the privacy setting of your laptop before you begin with the checks.
So depending upon the number of programs that you have to uninstall and the number of devices that you want to get checked, the preparation time will increase proportionately.
Below is a list of things that you can do to make the entire process of a PAT test more efficient.
How To Make A PAT Test More Efficient
- Make sure that the appliances are ready to be checked. So before the professional tester arrives, it is your job to remove the plugged instruments from the electrical sockets. If the devices are switched off and are removed from the sockets, the professional can directly start with the test.
- Hire a professional PAT tester every two years or so. If you delay the inspection, the damage can be magnified. So if you get the test done frequently, problems will be nipped in the bud. Most professionals can repair minute damages in the appliance. So if you plan regular checks, the repair work will be fast, and the device can be quickly put to regular use.
- Conduct the test in batches. This means that your entire workstation need not be shut down while conducting a PAT check. You can organize the testing session such that all the departments in your office undergo checks sequentially. This will lower the overall time that your workspace remains non-operational due to the PAT test.
- Learn to spot the early signs of electrical damage. The earliest signs of a problematic circuit are the appearance of electric sparks while plugging in the device or visible breaks or cracks in the wiring. So if you have an eye for small changes in your appliance, you can repair the damage before even actually conducting a PAT test. Thus try to keep your devices healthy so that when a PAT check actually happens, everything goes as smoothly as possible.
A regular portable appliance test or PAT test has several advantages. The most obvious advantage is its ability to save the lives of people. PAT tests are useful, and hence they are mandatory in many regions of the world like the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. However, the test is not mandatory for households, but it is advisable to conduct the check for even household appliances as the test only takes a few minutes per device and ensures people’s well-being and safety.