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FAQ’s

Need help telling your PAT from your RCD? We’ve rounded up some frequently asked questions to help you understand electrical safety issues, tests and procedures.

How do I know if my electrics are safe?

You can carry out visual checks to make sure no sockets/extension leads are overloaded and visually inspect the condition of the leads. You can also ask a qualified NICEIC registered electrician (like us) to carry out a Periodic Test and Inspection.

How often should I have a Periodic Test and Inspection carried out?

The Electrical Safety Council recommends that a Periodic Test and Inspection is carried out every 10 years on residential accommodation; and every five years — or at change of tenancy — for rental accommodation, as electrical installations can deteriorate with age. By law, electrical installations and wiring need to be safe in all rental properties. You may be advised to have ‘Residual Current Device’ (RCD) protection (see below) fitted following a test.

What is Residual Current Device (RCD) protection?

This is a very sensitive device which monitors the flow of electricity.
If there is any abnormal flow of electricity through a different path, the electricity is automatically switched off, preventing a potential serious shock or electrical fire.

Do I already have RCD protection?

If you have RCD protection currently in place there will be a button on your fuseboard marked ‘T’ or ‘Test’ (see picture above). It is recommended that you press this button to test the RCD every three months.

By using the ‘Test’ function you ensure that the mechanical function of the RCD is working correctly. Regulations state that the majority of all new or rewired homes since July 2008 should have RCD protection in place.

If you are unsure, contact a qualified electrician… you can always ask us for advice.

What is Earth Bonding and why do I need it?

If there is a fault on any appliance or part of the electrical installation, earth bonding will provide a safe path to earth. If you also have RCD protection, this will be triggered, isolating the electricity supply.

What is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

This is a quick test which is carried out on the plug of a portable device — such as a fridge or a washing machine — to ensure the appliance is safe. Landlords are advised to have this carried out at the change of every tenancy. You’ve probably seen the green or red PAT Test labels on electrical appliances, indicating whether an appliance has passed or failed the test.

Have any other questions? Please feel free to ask us… either by phone or via the form on the contact page.