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How to Spot Faulty Electrical Appliances

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how to spot faulty electrical appliances

Faulty electrical appliances are a big problem for businesses. They pose a safety risk to employees using them, a fire risk for your premises and can even cause damage to your electrical system itself.

But how do you know if an electrical appliance is faulty? Read on to find out…

What counts as an electrical appliance?

First things first, it’s worth clarifying what’s covered by the term ‘electrical appliance’. Quite simply, it’s anything that’s connected to your electrical mains. That can be a hard-wired appliance, also known as a fixed appliance, or a portable appliance which is plugged in.

Some examples of fixed appliances included hand dryers, storage heaters and even light fixtures and switches. Portable appliances can be anything from fridges, printers and computers to kettles, phone chargers and even extension leads.

What’s important here is that – fixed or portable, big or small – all of these examples are connected to your electrical circuit. As such, any electrical appliance faults can still cause serious damage to your staff, your premises and your electrical installation.

Here’s what to look out for…

Spotting electrical appliance faults

Let’s be clear – nobody should go looking for electrical appliance faults without the right training. The following are things you may notice day-to-day that indicate a fault with one of your appliances…


It’s not unheard of to get a small shock when switching on an appliance. But that doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore. Even the smallest shock indicates a fault with the appliance and/or your electrical installation, so you should contact a professional immediately.

Circuit breaking

Circuit breakers are installed as standard to interrupt the flow of electricity when a fault is detected, such as an overload or short circuit. In many cases, these are caused by faulty electrical appliances. If your power goes out, don’t just reset the system.

Poor function

From flickering lights to random outages, functional problems with your appliances can also indicate an electrical fault. Again, rather than simply turning them on and off, or putting up with the issues, it’s definitely worth getting your appliances checked.

Old (and not tested)

Finally, there’s age. Older appliances are naturally more likely to develop faults. That’s especially true when they haven’t been checked for their lifespan. The problem? This isn’t a sign you can look out for unless appliances are regularly tested, which bring us to…

PAT testing

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is a quick and easy way to identify faulty electrical appliances before they cause serious problems for your business. Rather than waiting for the issues above, all appliances you use will be tested and approved for their safety until the next test is required.

The recommended frequency varies based on the type of appliances, rate of use and their surrounding environment. A competent professional will take all of these factors into account when advising on the next test date.

If you would like to find out more about our PAT testing services in Yorkshire, don’t hesitate to email [email protected] or call 0113 397 1361.

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.