What is Fixed Appliance Testing?
Fixed appliance testing has been around for a long time but most people have only really heard about it in the past year or two. This is because the PAT testing industry had raised concerns that these appliances were being forgotten about.
If you buy an electrical appliance fitted with a plug, but need to ‘hard wire’ it to the mains, you have to get an electrician to install it. For example, an integrated oven in your new kitchen, or a convection heater you want on the office wall. The electrician adds a ‘fused spur unit’ to the socket circuit and fits the appliance. The flexible cable wires are secured into the terminals of the spur.
The electrician ‘signs off’ his work, and provides you with a ‘minor works’ certificate to confirm the appliance has been fitted correctly.
You’d then expect that electrician to inspect the appliance again in the future; but he doesn’t.
As it’s secured to the mains perhaps we’d expect the electrician who does the periodic inspection of the wiring to check it – he doesn’t.
The appliance is hard wired, so the PAT tester, generally, can’t test it. He may visually inspect it.
Whichever of the above you consider, that appliance has been in use in your home or workplace, potentially for many years and never been formally checked by a competent person since it was installed. We are assuming it was installed correctly and at no point since has it incurred any damage or tampering. Can we assume forever or should we be checking it? The latter.
So what can you do?
You can ask your electrician to inspect it when he does the EICR, but it’s unlikely he will as it is out of scope, so your PAT tester needs to. However not many PAT testers are trained to do this. You’re in luck – we can.
How can we test your fixed appliances?
There are two ways to inspect and test a fixed electrical appliance, and we can do both.
The first we do during the PAT test, the second we can do during it or as a stand alone service.
We do this alongside the PAT test – we visually check the appliance, flex and spur externally, then if class 1 we test for earth continuity using the ‘point to point’ system. This is done whilst it is ‘live’. We do this at the same price as the quoted per item PAT test price.
In addition to this you must get a full test done at least once every 5 years from installation. Chances are the appliance has been installed a while and never tested so you need to get it done asap. We will advise on this.
This includes a full visual inspection inside the spur, and tests for continuity and insulation. To do this however, means we need to disconnect the power to test; in other words turn it off. Fixed appliances are connected to the mains via a fused spur unit, and most spurs are on the ring or radial circuits of the sockets, so we need to turn off the full socket circuit which will cause disruption, so you may prefer this option done out of hours.
We will turn off the power, lock it off, then commence our work on the now dead circuit. We will carry out our tests on the appliance. This doesn’t need doing every year; once every 5 years is usually sufficient, assuming nobody else is doing things with it.
There are additional charges for this, speak to us about your options.