Don’t forget the fixed appliances

Fixed electrical appliances – every business premises and home will have at least one, no doubt, but also as likely, it will never have had a safety check since it was installed.

Inspection and Testing is a process required to check electrical equipment is safe to use; it covers portable and fixed appliances.

Portable appliances have plugs; they are portable from the mains – the plugs could be normal 3-pin 13amp plugs, or they could be yellow 110v adaptors, blue 230v adaptors or red 400v adaptors. Sometimes they are something else entirely, but they are always capable of being unplugged by anyone, without the need for an electrician.

Portable appliances are usually checked by a PAT tester – that’s what we do. You can find out more about our PAT testing service here.

Fixed appliances are different and there is a never ending argument about who should be checking them – the PAT tester or the electrician who does the Electrical Installation Inspection (EICR) 

A fixed appliance, has been fixed to the mains via a fused spur unit, hard wired, so it can’t be removed without the intervention of an electrician or other competent person. Most of the time a PAT tester has not been trained to do such a task, and that is not a bad reflection on them, because they don’t need to be. It is the PAT tester’s job to PAT test portable appliances, and that is what he does, usually very well. Fixed appliances should only be fully tested by someone competent to work on hard wired electrical installations – an electrician ideally.

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Fixed Appliance Testing

An electrical appliance purchased by you (or the previous property owner/tenant), that is in use in your facility, must be safety checked. Usually every 5 years from installation. In most cases, this will never have been done.

If an appliance was made with a plug on, and that plug has been removed to be wired in via FSU (fused spur unit) then it needs checking. When we do the PAT test we will always visually inspect these appliances. We will also do an earth continuity test on the appliance, the first time we check it and we will then advise you of the need to get it tested properly.

To test a fixed appliance correctly, the power needs isolating (turning off); the wires for the appliance need removing and then the appliance can be tested as a portable appliance. Then it needs reconnecting, and the power putting back on. This will need to be done at a time when the power can be disconnected. It may be best to arrange this when the EICR is getting done, to reduce disruption.

It may be possible to run a test without turning the power off, but it is not recommended, for safety reasons.

It’s up to you whether you get fixed appliances tested fully, but we recommend doing a risk assessment if you decide against it.

Appliances that didn’t originally have a plug on, such as air conditioning units, showers, etc. also will require their own inspection and testing; You should get your electrician who does the EICR to test these at the same time as the fixed inspection.

To arrange fixed appliance testing, contact us by the usual methods.

email: info@draelectricals.co.uk

call: 01916661009

Further information on Fixed Appliance Testing

An electrical appliance needs electricity to work. The appliance gets connected to the electricity supply either by having a plug fitted, which is inserted into a wall socket, or by connecting the appliance direct to the mains via a ‘fused spur unit’.

When appliances are checked, historically, they appliances that are directly attached (or fixed) have not been checked because of 2 reasons:

  • The electrician who does the fixed wiring inspection checks up to the outlet (the fused spur), and
  • The PAT tester checks the appliances fitted with a plug

But nobody has been checking the appliance that has not got a plug because it is attached to the mains via a spur.

So, since 2012 the authorities have been trying to educate all of us (us and you) that they need checking, but to date they’ve not had much success. Most people assume because these appliances have always been ok they will continue to be ok so don’t think they really need checking. However, if there is a fault, even a minor one, over a long period of time it could become a big issue, and whilst it has not been a problem so far who is to say it will stay that way.

So action needs to be taken.

You need your fixed appliances testing

But who by? Well there is still no official guidance on who is meant to carry out fixed appliance testing, but the guidance we operate to is this:

If an appliance was manufactured with a plug then hard wired at your workplace then it falls under our remit; we will do initial visual inspection and earth continuity test, and talk to you about the best next course of action. We can do those tasks without having to unwire it; to do that needs the power turning off which is a lot of disruption to you.

It is recommended that fixed appliances (because they are fixed to the wall so likelihood of damage is low), should be tested every 5 years or inline with the EICR. We’ll work with you to make sure this happens, however that can be.

What’s involved in fixed appliance testing?

  • Firstly the power needs turning off; it is important to not work on live circuits, as that is dangerous. So the work needs to be done out of hours, or in working hours at a time when we will not be rushed to complete the task. 
  • The wires from the appliance need removing from the spur and connecting to a unit capable of assisting the test, such as a quick test connector safety block. 
  • The appliance would then be tested in the same way as a portable appliance, before everything has to be put back in the correct way, the fuse unit connected back to the wall, and the power put back on. 

What does Fixed Appliance Testing cost?

The process of fixed appliance testing takes a lot longer than a standard PAT test so you aren’t going to get this for a pound an item!

For fixed appliance testing we charge based on time, with an initial fee including the first hour, then per hour rates thereafter. See our PAT testing prices page for the hourly rate or contact us for a quotation. 

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