It Only Takes One Spark: Electrical Safety
Stay safe around household electricty with these tips (also available on this printer-friendly fact sheet).
- Electrical work should only be done by a qualified electrician.
- Your home electrical system should be inspected by a qualified professional when buying, selling or renovating a home.
- Only purchase appliances and electronics that have a label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit snugly or are too loose.
- Replace any missing wall plates to prevent shock.
- Ensure that all outlets that are not in use have child safety covers.
- Never remove a ground pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit into a two-conductor outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances - plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- Ensure cords are not frayed or cracked – replace or repair any damaged cords.
- Never place cords under carpets, rugs or furniture.
- Do not overload extension cords – extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
- Place lamps on a level surface, away from combustibles. Use light bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
- Major appliance, small appliances and air conditioning units should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
Circuits and Fuses
- Always replace blown fuses with ones of the proper rating.
- Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas to reduce the risk of shock.
- Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home. They will automatically shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs.
Water and electricity don't mix...
- Do not leave appliances plugged in that may come in contact with water. If plugged-in appliances fall into the water, never reach in to pull it out even if it is turned off.
Call a qualified electrician if...
- You feel a tingling feeling when you touch an electronic.
- Discoloured or warm outlets or switches.
- A burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance.
- Flickering lights.
- Sparks from a wall outlet.
- Cracked or broken wall outlets.