Electrical Safety at Home

Follow these three steps to identify and address the hidden electrical hazards in your home:
 hidden electrical hazards

  1. Read more about hidden electrical hazards.
  2. Watch ESA's video Electrical Safety Hazards at Home.
  3. Follow these electrical safety tips on extension cords, plugs and outlets, light fixtures, electrical products, your home's electrical system and more

Extension Cord Safety

  • extension cords are handy for temporary use only; have a Licensed Electrical Contractor install a permanent wiring solution if you need power in that spot permanently
  • never remove the third prong – it’s there to prevent shocks! 
  • throw out cords that are frayed, cracked, squished or heat up when in use.
  • keep extension cords away from heat and water 
  • don’t run extension cords under carpets or under heavy furniture
  • use the right one for the job -- there are special extension cords rated for use with appliances like heaters and air conditioners, and also ones specifically for outdoor use

    3 prong plug

Plugs and Outlets

  • never overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many plugs – use an approved power bar
  • replace any broken or missing switchplate covers right away
  • install Ground Faults Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in your bathrooms and laundry rooms, and outdoors
  • test GFCIs regularly according to manufacturers’ instructions (usually monthly)

Light Fixtures
potlight in ceiling

  • use the right potlight for the job – there are ones for use in ceilings that have insulation and ones that don’t. Using the wrong one could cause a fire
  • never exceed the recommended wattage bulb and choose the recommended bulb type in all fixtures
  • don’t remove the insulation or any other component of a light fixture when you’re installing it – this includes the insulation in flush mount fixtures and the grounding wire in all new fixture

Product Safety

  • check that all electrical appliances have recognized approval marks to ensure they meet the electrical safety requirements for Ontario
  • make sure electrical cords on your appliances aren’t loose or damaged
  • misuse of electrical appliances can cause fires – find cooking safety tips from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC)
  • visit our product safety section to learn more

Your home’s electrical system

Don’t ignore these following electrical hazard warning signs:

  • dim, flickering or surging lights
  • fuses that constantly blow or breakers that often trip
  • outlets that don’t work when the fuse is replaced or breaker is reset
  • switches or fuses that are hot to the touch (turn them off immediately)
  • or a hot, burning smell where you can’t find the source

A Licensed Electrical Contractor can help you assess and address these potential electrical hazards!

More electrical safety tips

Keeping kids safe

At the cottage

When stormy weather hits

Yard & garden

Back to school