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Make safety a priority in the new year

We’re all looking forward to the new year and the positive changes it will bring to our lives.

While many of us continue to work or take online courses from home for the time being, now is a good time to take a moment to keep your home as safe as possible.

Hot-to-the-touch light switches, discoloured outlets, frequent circuit breaker trips, and flickering lights are all signs that the electrical system in your house could use an upgrade. You can also prevent life-threatening electrical hazards by following these simple tips:

Plugging in too many appliances to the same outlet can cause the circuit to overload and trip or start an electrical fire. If you frequently use power bars, consider having additional outlets installed. Also consider having a surge protector installed to add a layer of protection to your home office computer devices.

You should also regularly replace old or damaged cords in your home, as well as any loose or cracked outlets. This can reduce risk of injury from fires, sparks and electrical shocks.

To ensure you don’t overload circuits and to prevent fires, avoid using extension cords with major appliances or space heaters. Only use extension cords on a temporary basis, and always match the voltage and amperage to the device you are plugging in.

Most importantly, consult with and hire a qualified electrician if you’re planning on any electrical upgrades to your home. DIY electrical projects can result in an installation that does not meet Canadian Electrical Code standards and increase the risk of a shock hazard and serious fire.

Don’t wait on making electrical upgrades to your home. Always keep safety in mind with both your electrical and natural gas service. Remember:

  • Extension cords aren’t permanent. If you use one regularly it’s time to have another outlet added.
  • Use all three prongs on the plug. Never break off the round ground protector – it’s there for your safety.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors. If a ground fault is detected, a GFCI will protect you from getting an electrical shock.
  • Use a rated surge protector. A surge protector will prevent damage to your important electronic devices if a power surge is detected.
  • Keep clutter away from your hot water tank. At least twice a year, vacuum the area to remove dust and dirt and don’t store flammable liquids near it.
  • Remove ice and snow from natural gas meters. Buildup on the regulator can block the vent and allow excess gas pressure into your home or put stress on the meter piping and cause a gas leak.

Learn more home safety tips.