Electrical product safety
Learn how to help reduce your risk of a fire or injury at home by safely using electrical products.
On this page
- About electrical product safety
- Fuel-burning portable generators
- Portable electric heaters
- Power and extension cords
- Safety tips for using electrical products
About electrical product safety
Electrical products can pose health or safety risks, including electric shock or fire, if used incorrectly.
Electrical products that plug into an electrical outlet must meet Canadian national safety standards and be certified by an accredited certification body.
Always check for certification marks, such as CSA, cUL, or cETL, before purchasing electrical products that plug into an electrical outlet. These marks indicate that the products are assessed and conform to the required Canadian national safety standard.
Do not buy or use electrical products that plug into an electrical outlet without a certification mark.
For more information on certification marks, visit your provincial or territorial electrical safety authority.
Counterfeit electrical products can be dangerous because they may not conform to the required Canadian national safety standard. Some signs that a product may be counterfeit include:
- poor quality
- unusually low price
- spelling or grammar errors on the:
Appliances with filters and screens, such as clothes dryers, need to be regularly checked and cleaned. Leftover lint in the screen and exhaust piping of clothes dryers can ignite in high temperatures and cause fires.
Furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters require periodic maintenance. Consumers should consult their product manuals and/or local authorized service and repair company to setup a service schedule.
Never use aluminum foil to line the bottom of your gas oven and never block any openings or vents on your gas oven because that can damage the product and create a gas leak or fire hazard.
Fuel-burning portable generators
Fuel-burning portable generators are a common source of power during a power outage, including those caused by severe weather events. These products can pose a serious risk to health or safety if not used properly.
Fuel-burning portable generators produce carbon monoxide, which has no smell or colour and can cause symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, and death.
Find out how to safely use your fuel-burning portable generator.
Make sure to use the charger that came with your laptop, mobile phone, vaping device, or any other product that has a rechargeable battery. If you need to buy or replace a charger, make sure the voltage and current are compatible with your device.
Make sure you follow the charging instructions and do not place a charging product near combustible materials or on soft surfaces, such as a couch or bed. Soft surfaces can trap heat around the battery and result in overheating or a fire.
Make sure to use a charger that has one of the recognized Canadian certification marks, such as CSA, cUL, or cETL. Chargers that do not meet the Canadian national safety standards may pose an electric shock, burn, or fire hazard to consumers.
Learn more: precautions for charging your lithium-ion battery
Portable electric heaters
Portable electric heaters can pose a serious fire hazard if not used properly. You can reduce your family's risk of fire related injury or death by following these safety tips:
- Keep portable electrical heaters at least 1 metre away from combustible materials, such as couches, beds, clothes, and curtains.
- Never plug a portable electric heater into an extension cord or power bar.
- Unplug your portable electric heater before you leave your home or go to sleep.
Power and extension cords
Power and extension cords can pose a home safety hazard if not used properly. Be sure to:
- unroll cords completely before use to avoid overheating
- keep cords a safe distance from heat and water sources
- use the proper indoor and outdoor cords for electrical products
- pull on the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting an electrical product
- read the directions for your electrical product to see if it's safe to use with an extension cord or power bar
- check to see if the cord is rated for the electrical product in use; the rating will indicate the power, voltage and current
- the power cord should be able to safely supply electrical power in accordance with the product's electrical needs.
- check the cords regularly on electrical products for fraying or damage that may pose an electric shock or fire hazard
- discard or replace worn or distressed cords and plugs
- do not cover power cords except in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
Keep cords for electrical appliances out of the reach of children - they can be hurt or burned if they pull an appliance cord and the product falls down on them.
To help prevent overheating and damage, extension cords should not be:
- run through
- run under rugs
- used to support heavy objects
- used as fixed (permanent) wiring
- permanently secured, such as stapled
- run behind or on radiators, baseboards, or other sources of heat
Never remove the third prong of a plug because this ground prong reduces the risk of electric shock.
Never use 3-prong to 2-prong adapters, sometimes known as cheater plugs, because this is similar to removing the third prong of a plug.
Safety tips for using electrical products
To help keep your home safe when using electrical products:
- Do not leave cooking appliances unattended when they are on
- Do not place lamp shades too close to a heat source, including light bulbs
- Do not place heat-producing electrical products (portable electric heaters, irons, toasters, etc.) too close to combustible material
- Keep electrical products dry and away from water
- Always read the instruction manual for your electrical product to determine the acceptable distance between the product and combustible material
- Do not leave portable electronic devices on soft surfaces such as a bed or couch, especially when they're being charged as they can overheat or start a fire, including:
- mobile phones
- any other device containing lithium-ion batteries
- Do not leave heat-producing electrical products plugged in when not in use, including:
- hair dryers
- portable electric heaters
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