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Frequently Asked Questions


Please let us know if you have a question which we have not answered.

If you would like any further information, please e-mail us at: or call 0203 581 5729.

What is PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing)?

Portable Appliance Testing is the routine checking of electrical appliances to determine whether they are electrically safe. Think of it as an MOT for your electrical appliances, if you like.  The full term of the whole process is In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

What is a Portable Appliance?

A portable appliance is any electrical item with a plug using more than 50 volts A.C.  Examples of portable appliances are: irons, hairdryers, toaster, kettles, laptop power supplies, computers, monitors, fridges, etc.  The IET Code of Practice definition of a portable appliance is as follows:


“An appliance of less than 18kg in mass that is intended to be moved while in operation or an appliance that can easily be moved from one place to another.”


This means that an industrial washing machine, for instance, which is connected via a standard 13A plug to a 230V mains circuit and weighing more than 18kg in mass, would come under the “stationary equipment” category.  (Still within the scope of Portable Appliance Testing).  In our extensive experience, we have identified in some encounters that such items, have NEVER received testing!  If the appliance has been badly installed or damaged, it would never be detected.


ACtest Limited has found many appliances, such as that aforementioned, that have required attention to rectify poor wiring, etc.  ACtest Limited does not just do enough to tick the boxes, we are meticulous and go the extra mile to put safety first and inspect aforesaid items to ensure the highest standard of electrical inspection for your environment.

What is a Fixed Appliance?

A fixed appliance is an item which may be fastened to a support or otherwise secured in a specific location and is usually connected to the electricity supply via a fused outlet to which the flex is permanently connected, e.g. cookers, storage heaters, extractors, hand dryers, etc.  All electrical systems need to be maintained so as to prevent danger, therefore even fixed appliances need to be inspected and tested on a regular basis.


It is generally accepted that where fixed appliances are used within commercial and industrial locations, they should be tested and inspected at a frequency of between one and four years, depending on equipment type and environment.


Our Fixed Appliance Testing service includes a full, visual and electrical safety test (from the electrical outlet to the appliance) including all cable and control units as well as labelling and a certificate of testing.

Why is PAT Testing essential?

The Health and Safety Executive states that there are 1,000 accidents in a workplace reported every year involving shocks and burns, 30 of which are fatal.  The Electricity at Work (EAW) Regulations 1989 therefore requires employers and self-employed persons to take reasonable, practical steps to minimise the risks involved with using electrical appliances.  The easiest and most comprehensive way to do this is by way of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing).  PAT testing allows you to be compliant with some of the electrical Health and Safety regulations. Therefore, it makes sense to provide a good inspection system of your electrical appliances.


ACtest Limited is happy to support you with Portable Appliance Testing inspections as necessary, along with a complete and easy-to-understand record of you results.

What does PAT Testing Involve?

Essential PAT Testing procedures:

  1. Preliminary Visual Inspection to check for visible defects
    • Damaged or incorrectly wired plugs
    • Non-British Standard or incorrect value of fuse
    • Damaged cables or switched/controls
    • Sub-standard connection of cable to appliance
    • Damage to appliance case
  2. Earth bond Test (Class I equipment only)  To test the integrity of the protective earthing circuit. (The appliance is connected to a portable appliance test machine to check the continuity resistance of the protective circuit is within IET tolerances).
  3. Insulation Resistance Test
    • To test the integrity of the insulation of the appliance between the live and protective earth parts of the appliance
    • The appliance is subjected to 500V DC between the phase and neutral conductors connected.
  4. Load/operation Test – To verify that the appliance is working safely and does not have excessive leakage

N.B.: Other tests may be carried out as necessary, as specified by the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) Code of Practice.

Once testing is completed, you will be provided with detailed results and certification in compliance with the IET and Electricity at Work Regulations.  ACtest Limited uses high-quality and calibrated test equipment which stores the test results electronically.  This helps to validate that the on-site testing was carried out correctly and also allows the accurate results to be sent to you electronically, if you wish, or hard copies can be printed off and sent via post.  We also offer an electronic cataloguing service for all your electrical assets which can save your company time and money.  In short, ACtest Limited is an honest and transparent company which believes in professional, accessible, effective recording and reporting methods.

How often do I need to PAT Test?

The frequency of PAT Testing inspection depends upon a number of factors, such as where and how the items are used, the method of construction and the equipment type.  ACtest Limited follows the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety (HSE) and the IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology) and draws on its own extensive experience.  In most environments, this will mean an annual test for many portable appliances but certain appliances, such as an electrical drill used on an outdoor building site, are more likely to become unsafe in use than a photocopier in an office environment and, therefore, will require testing more often than once a year.  We will be pleased to advise on any specific circumstances.

How will I remember when I next need testing?

Relax in the knowledge that ACtest Limited will contact you when retesting is due.  The same applies to our Fixed Appliance Testing and Building Wiring Inspections.

How much will the PAT Testing cost?

Our pricing is based primarily on price per test but the cost is dependent on many factors, such as type of premises, number and type of appliances, etc.  Please fill out our quotation form at the top or call us now on 0203 581 5729!

How long will the PAT Testing inspection take?

The length of your Portable Appliance Testing inspection depends primarily on the number of appliances that your site has, how accessible the equipment is, and the environment.  ACtest Limited engineers take the time that they need to inspect your site properly without disrupting your normal routine.  We work with you and understand that your business is our business.

Do new electrical appliances need testing?

It is generally accepted that brand new items (which are made to British Standards) are classed as safe for the first year of use in a normal working environment, provided of course they have been installed by reputable engineers and they have not been damaged or altered in any way.  User checks should be undertaken by a suitable competent person.

Will the PAT Testing interfere with my business?

Our PAT Testing engineers will work with you and your staff to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum.  Equipment will only be tested when it is convenient to you, and will be momentarily disconnected from the mains supply, if necessary, for only a few minutes.

What is Fixed Wiring Testing/ Electrical Installation Condition Report / Periodic Inspection Report (PIR)?

The old terms Fixed Wiring Testing/Periodic Inspection Reports are slowly being replaced by the new term ‘Electrical Installation Condition Reports’ but the aforementioned terms are still in use and are used interchangeably.


In short, with this type of electrical testing, the wiring within the fabric of the building is tested and inspected.  It differs greatly from PAT Testing because it is an in-depth inspection on the electrical condition of the buildings Fixed Wiring, not appliances; necessary intervals of disruption to power may be required as some circuits are switched off to take measurements and values.

What are the payment terms?

Please go to our terms and conditions page for more details.