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 or safety risks if used incorrectly.

Certification marks

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. Some signs that a product may be counterfeit include:

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

Appliances

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 company to setup a service schedule.

Never use gas powered electric generators in the home, including in the garage.

Chargers

Make sure to use the charger that came with your laptop, mobile phone, vaping device, hoverboard 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.

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 for consumers.

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
  • Do not place lamp shades too close to a heat source, including light bulbs
  • Do not place heat-producing electrical products (portable space heaters, irons, toasters, etc.) too close to combustible material
  • Always read the instruction manual for your electrical product to determine the acceptable distance between the product and combustible material
  • Do not bring electronic devices to bed, especially when they’re being charged, including:
    • laptops
    • mobile phones
    • any other device containing lithium ion batteries
  • Do not leave heat-producing electrical products plugged in when not in use, including:
    • irons
    • kettles
    • toasters
    • hair dryers
    • portable space heaters

Power cords

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 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(s) 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 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 cord and the product falls down on them
  • do not cover power cords

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 electric shock.

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