Electrical product safety

Learn how to help reduce your risk of injury at home by safely using electrical products.

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About electrical product safety

Electrical products can pose health risks if used incorrectly.

Counterfeit products

Counterfeit electrical products that don’t meet Canadian electrical safety requirements may be dangerous. Always check for certification marks, such as CSA, cUL or cETL, before purchasing. Popular products and brands are most likely to have counterfeit versions. Some signs that there may be a problem include:

  • poor quality
  • unusually inexpensive price
  • grammatical errors and unusual fonts on the:
    • product
    • labelling
    • packaging

Appliances

Appliances with filters and screens, such clothes dryers, need to be regularly checked and cleaned. Leftover lint in the screen and piping in clothes dryers can ignite in high temperatures and cause fires.

Chargers

Make sure to use the charger that came with your laptop, mobile phone, electronic cigarette, hoverboard or any other product that requires a battery to be recharged. 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.

Make sure to use a charger that has one of the recognized Canadian certification marks, such as CSA, cUL or cETL. These marks indicate that the products are assessed to the required Canadian electrical safety standards. Chargers that do not meet the required electrical safety standards may cause electric shock and fire hazards for consumers. For more information on certification marks, visit your provincial or territorial Electrical Safety Authority.

Learn more: precautions for charging your lithium-ion battery

Practices to avoid when using electrical products

To help keep your home safe when using electrical products, do not:

  • leave cooking appliances unattended
  • place lamp shades too close to a heat source, including light bulbs
  • place heat-producing electrical products too close to flammable material
  • bring electronic devices to bed, especially when they’re being charged, including:
    • laptops
    • mobile phones
    • any other device containing lithium ion batteries, which can explode and cause fires when they fail
  • leave heat-producing electrical products plugged in when not in use, including:
    • irons
    • kettles
    • toasters
    • hair dryers

Power cord safety

Power 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 to see if it’s safe to use an extension cord or power bar with your electrical product
    • also check to see if the cord is rated for the electrical product(s) in use, as 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 result in a fire and shock hazard
    • discard or replace worn and/or distressed cords and plugs
  • keep cords for electrical appliances out of the reach of children - they can be hurt or burned if they pull an appliance down on themselves

Extension cords should not be:

  • run through
    • walls
    • doors
    • ceilings
  • 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 anywhere else where they can melt.

Never break off the third prong of a plug, because this prong reduces the risk of shock.

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