Electrical Safety at Home
Follow these three steps to identify and address the hidden electrical hazards in your home:
- Read more about hidden electrical hazards.
- Watch ESA's video Electrical Safety Hazards at Home.
- 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
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)
- 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
- 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