Socket Testing – is it really needed?

Socket Testing – is it really necessary?

Socket Testing – is it really necessary? Your electrical wall sockets should be tested by an electrician when they do an electrical installation certificate report; you hope they were installed correctly and so it’s just a case of checking them every 3-5 years in a business premises. 

If the sockets are wired up wrong, it doesn’t really matter how safe the appliance plugged into it is, because the socket itself isn’t going to do its job correctly anyway. 

However not all electricians check every socket when they’re doing the tests; so some PAT companies will check them for you. 

Which is a nice service to offer – those sockets get installed then may never get checked again until years later when something goes wrong or they need changing; but if they’ve been wired up wrong this may go unnoticed until something goes badly wrong. So some PAT companies use this to get some more money from you. 

Some PAT companies will charge you to do it. 

Others don’t charge you; there is no official line on this. Personally I say if I am going to have to go around your premises and plug in a socket tester to every socket even though there isn’t much too it, it still takes time so there should be a charge, so if you insist we do this, we will charge you, in time, based on our standard hourly rate. 

However, some companies insist that you have to get this done, even though you don’t; because it is not part of the PAT testing remit. Having said that; if the sockets are wired incorrectly, it doesn’t really matter how safe the appliance is, there is still a risk of an accident occurring because the socket isn’t doing its job properly, so there is some argument for testing sockets. 

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. 

This is a socket tester, used in socket testing

A socket and see socket tester that can be used to check electrical sockets are wired correctly

Some PAT companies charge £10 per socket! 

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 free elsewhere

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