Socket Testing – is it really necessary?
Well yes, and no… A socket is installed by a competent electrician, who we all hope has wired it correctly. It shouldn’t need a PAT tester, who generally has less qualifications and electrical understanding than the electrician, to check the work.
However, if you have had say a maintenance person doing odd jobs who may have made mistakes then maybe it is. But there is more likelihood of your sockets becoming damaged from contact with heavy objects or misuse, then from a wiring fault.
So in most cases a visual check is usually sufficient.
When we PAT test, we have to unplug an appliance, and so in doing so we are looking at the socket and will notice any damage. If there is damage we’ll report it; if we can fix it, we will.
If you have lots of sockets, we may charge you to check the ones we’re not unplugging from – but only if you ask us to do that service, we don’t do it as standard.
When an electrician does your EICR – the periodic inspection he will likely check a selection of sockets, and in doing so will be checking the wiring in the circuit; there shouldn’t be a need for us to check the wiring of every socket – especially as it wasn’t necessary for the sparky to do that!
Now you need to watch out, as some PAT companies out there include small print and then test every socket, charging you a fee; how much of a need is there for them to do that? Except to get some money from you.
What we tend to do is only test sockets if you ask us to, and the rest of the time if we spot a broken socket we tell you; we may even be able to replace it for you.
You can actually do this yourself; just buy a plug in a ‘socket tester’, plug it into the socket and it will light up and beep to tell you if the socket is wired up correctly, or not. Our video above shows you what is involved in socket testing.
Some PAT companies will charge you as much as nine or 10 pounds to do this!
Think about what that means; if you have 10 sockets in your office that’s an extra £100.00 onto your bill – you can buy your own socket tester for about a tenner and do it yourself!
I’m not suggesting what they’re doing is pointless; far from it – checking your sockets is important, after all the wiring may have been done incorrectly, but one check once, report it and get it fixed, it shouldn’t need doing again. Not every year that’s for sure!
But you also don’t need to pay a fortune for it to be done.
Check the small print before booking your PAT Testing; make sure you’re not paying for anything that you can get for less elsewhere, or isn’t necessary.