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Portable Appliance Testing – How to do it?


Portable Appliance test is a unique test designed to check the viability of the electrical gadgets and fixtures to ensure their safety for the users and everyone around them. This testing is not only applicable in industrial or commercial settings but works in the residential industry too.

What is a Portable Appliance Test (PAT)?

A portable appliance test, commonly known as PAT is basically a safety inspection test carried out on portable electrical appliances and equipment. This test is especially done in schools, offices and commercial spaces to reduce the risk of accidents.

The main purpose of a PAT is to make sure that the electrical devices are safe to use. Moreover, it is a process of visual checks and electrical tests to ensure the functionality of the appliance.

Important things to check in Portable Appliance Test:

Below mentioned are some vital factors to be considered in Portable Appliance Testing:

  • Exposure to the conductive part because of the damaged outer covering
  • Worn out power cord
  • Defective or lose ground connections

Failure to identify the above problems or the right mechanism to fix the issues makes the electrical products not viable to use.

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On what products can you use the Portable Appliance Test?

The portable appliance test usually checks seven categories of appliances. These include:

  • Fixed appliances
  • Cables and chargers
  • Portable appliances
  • Stationary appliances
  • Hand-Held appliances
  • Moveable appliances
  • IT appliances

Why is PAT Done?

The Portable Appliance Test is carried out to meet the liability that the legal system places on the owner or the custodian of a place with electrical gadgets. The owner must ensure that all the electric items and gadgets are in good health for the employees, tenants, or public.

So, to meet this legal liability, PAT is performed. It helps pinpoint any problems with the gadgets and provides documented evidence in case of any mishap or accident.

Also Read: Is there such thing as a portable plug socket?

Is there a legal obligation to perform PAT?

The law in the United States requires employers to ensure the maintenance of electrical equipment. So the safety of users and other people around can be guaranteed. But it does not highlight the specific tests or the frequency of conducting these tests on the electric gadgets.

However, using PAT makes it easier to maintain and track maintenance that is why offices and house owners assume it is a legal requirement.

What is included in PAT?

Here are some of the tests that are part of the examination:

  • Visual Examination
  • Earth Bond/Continuity Test
  • Low Current Continuity Test
  • High Current Bond Test
  • Insulation Test
  • Differential Leakage Test
  • Leakage Current Test
  • Load Test
  • Polarity Test
  • Flash Test
  • Labeling
  • Documentation
  • Reporting

How often is this test done?

The equipment under consideration determines the frequency of testing. Here, we are sharing a few scenarios:

  • The equipment that is used more often needs to be tested frequently
  • The hand-held electrical gadgets need frequent inspection as compared to the stationary ones.

If the users report minor issues with the devices, the electric equipment is highly likely to be the inadequate condition. However, if minor issues in the electrical items are not recorded timely, these gadgets would have to be checked thoroughly, considering the risk of a major defect.

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Portable appliance test (PAT) maintains the standards of electrical safety and ensures that the appliances are in good working condition. However, it also depends on the type of appliance, environment, and local regulations. If you want to know more about PAT, you can take guidance from Chicago Electricians.