Last Updated on March 19, 2014 by Mark Lavington
As a holiday homeowner it’s vital you keep your property as safe as possible for your visitors and that this extends to all areas including maintaining electrical appliances in your holiday home.
Over the years more and more electrical items have been added to the average home and this is no different in holiday properties.
A wide range of gadgets are now commonplace in the kitchen, hairdryers and other health and beauty items have made their way into the bedroom and bathroom, with games and television devices now taking centre place in the living room.
There is an abundance of electrical appliances spread across the average property.
So how do you ensure they are all safe for your visitors to use? Particularly if you live a good distance from your holiday home?
What is PAT testing?
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an examination of electrical appliances that checks for potential defaults that are not obviously visible. It’s important to highlight that whilst an appliance may appear fine to the eye and be in working order, it doesn’t mean that it is safe from defects and potential risk.
PAT testing should be carried out in coordination with visual checks; if your visitor reports a potential default with an electrical appliance it’s important it is checked as soon as possible and in the mean time not used.
Is there a legal requirement to PAT test your electrical appliances?
You have a legal obligation to ensure that any electrical appliance with the potential to cause injury is kept in a safe condition for visitors to use.
Whilst there is no stated legal requirement on the frequency of checks it is advised that you take a proactive approach to ensuring the appliances in your holiday home are in full and safe working order.
The nature of the appliance, along with the amount that it is used, should be considered when addressing how often you should be inspecting the item.
For example, it may be prudent for holiday home owners to check items before the busy summer period to ensure items are up to date and checked before they are used regularly over a prolonged period. It is also good practice at each changeover for your housekeeper or maintenance team to carry out a visual check on each appliance to check for damage such as fraying power leads or broken plugs and replace or repair as appropriate. It is also best practice to keep a record of such checks.
Do I need to label items once they’ve been tested?
On some electrical appliances you may have seen PAT test labels stating the last date on which they were inspected. This again is not a legal requirement but is a good method of ensuring there is a clear record of when testing has been carried out, along with demonstrating that you have a maintenance plan in place for your holiday home.
Do I need a professional electrician to carry out my PAT test?
Whilst you’ll be able to carry out visual and basic inspection on your appliances, the person carrying out the full PAT test will need to be competent to do so and also have the equipment in order to undertake a full test.
It’s therefore best practise to have a professional carry out your tests.
Do you need to PAT test new appliances?
New electrical appliances should be supplied in a safe condition and therefore not require formal testing and inspection. It is however sensible to do a visible check of the appliance to ensure it’s free from any damage that may have occurred in manufacture, transit or delivery to your property.
For more information on PAT testing for your electrical appliances please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf