How Long Does an Electrical Safety Check Take?

Are you a homeowner? Did you know that it is recommended that your electrics are tested once every 10 years? But how long does an electrical safety check take? At IPF Electrical, safety checks are a speciality of ours and this article is designed to explain more about them. 

Why Should I Get an Electrical Safety Check?

In the same way that you get an MOT for your car, or your boiler serviced, it’s important to remember to get your electrics checked. For homeowners, these tests determine the safety and conditioning of the wiring within your home

As well as the 10 year rule, if you find your home is showing signs of wear and tear you should consider having an electrical test. These signs might include burning smells, sparking, flickering lights or irregularities with sockets. If this is the case, you should have a test done. 

Perhaps you own a business or you’re a landlord, subsequently you have  a legal obligation to have your electrics maintained.  Therefore, if you fail to comply, insurance companies could use this as a reason to refute any claims. 

In 2020, the legal requirements changed therefore landlords must get a new electrical safety report every 5 years or sooner if recommended. It’s essential to stay safe when using electricity and safety checks are very important. 

Preparing For The Visit

If you decide to get the safety test done, there are a few ways you can help by preparing your property before an electrician arrives. 

  1. Your electrician needs to turn the power off before working on the wiring. Therefore you won’t be able to use any electrical gadgets whilst the work takes place. Consequently, if you work from home, it’s probably better to go out for a while and work somewhere else if you can. 
  1. Your electrician needs easy access to all lights, sockets and light switches, along with the consumer unit or fuse board. Therefore please clear the areas where they will need to work before they arrive. 
  1. If you have a prepayment electric meter, you must ensure there is enough credit on it for a safety check to be completed. 
  1. Unplug as many appliances as possible including your TV and fridge. Remember, it is your responsibility to plug them back in after the electrics have been tested. 

How Long Will It Take?

An electrical safety check takes between 3-4 hours to complete. Nevertheless, this depends on the size of the property and the number of circuits that need testing. 

It’s worth noting that if you own a business it is your responsibility to ensure that the electrical system is constructed in such a way that prevents danger. Equally important is to ensure that the electrical systems are maintained. This includes a fixed inspection every five years. 

Failure to comply could lead to prosecution or a fine. Subsequently, it is in your interest to get a safety check completed which only takes between 3-4 hours. 

What Will The Check Tell Me?

The electrician working on your safety test produces a report known as the electrical installation condition report or EICR

This report identifies any damage, deterioration, defects or conditions which may be dangerous. It determines whether or not the electrics comply with the current British Standard for electrical safety. Finally, it will also include recommendations for improvements. 

The purpose of a report is to determine whether the installation is safe to continue using. An electrician checks the wiring, the fuse board, earth bonding and all the other parts that you can’t see. It’s not just about whether your lights come on or not. 

Electrical Safety Check Certificate

Once the EICR is complete, the contractor provides you with a certificate outlining the overall condition of the electrical installation. 

Homeowners, for example, may request a condition report as part of a house sale. It’s always worthwhile having a check done if you are moving into a new home, to see if any work needs to be done. Landlords need to get homes regularly tested to comply with the law. 

The EICR information is a more detailed report than a visual check which we will look at next. 

Visual Inspection

To begin with, your electrician will visit your property and make a visual inspection. They will then carry out a series of checks on your electrical systems. 

If a switch or socket is found to be an immediate danger, that’s a ‘code one’ problem. The electrician must fix it there and then or at least make it safe before returning. 

‘Code two’ problems are potentially dangerous and ‘code three’ problems are recommendations for improvements to appliances not deemed unsafe. Essentially, you will know about any dangerous electrics on the very first visit. 

How You Can Make Your Electrics Safer

Moreover, there are many things you can do to make your home or business safer. These include:

  • Making sure any bulbs are the correct wattage for the fitting on lamps or lights.
  • Ensuring any portable heaters are stable and at least 90 cm away from curtains and other combustible materials.
  • Checking the leads on your kettle, iron and other portable appliances to make sure they haven’t frayed.
  • Checking that only the outer sheath of cables are showing on plugs.
  • Wherever possible, unplugging appliances if not in use or turning lights and appliances off. This saves wear and tear of your equipment.
  • Making sure that appliance leads do not come in contact with hot or wet surfaces at any time. 

To Conclude: How Long Does An Electrical Safety Check Take?

So, to answer the question, how long does an electrical safety check take;   it’s between 3-4 hours. This may inconvenience you for a short time as you will need to unplug various appliances before the electrician arrives. However, the few hours it takes to complete a test far outweighs any risks to your property and the people inside. 

Even with all these safety methods in place, it is still important to get a complete electrical safety check on your property therefore giving you peace of mind. If you’re a landlord it’s a legal requirement to have it tested every 5 years. If you’re a homeowner, it’s in your best interest to have a regular electrical safety check. 

At IPF Electrical we have a number of years experience in the world of electrical testing among other services. For more information on how we can help, please feel free to contact us