Hot Spots! Safe Home Renovation Tips
Renovations aren’t just about choosing the right paint, furniture and surfaces. Many of today’s design trends have hidden electrical considerations, and the Electrical Safety Authority has some great tips to help you plan safe home upgrades. Whether you’re choosing a new light fixture or deciding whether to install in-floor heating for your new tiles, it’s important to know how to get today’s most coveted design looks safely and up to code. The first step is to hire only a licensed electrical contractor for electrical work — it’s the law in Ontario. Find a licensed electrical contractor online and get advice in the early planning stages — before you start renovating. Most electrical work requires a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority — not the same as a building permit — and be sure to ask for an ESA Certificate of Inspection when the electrical work is complete.
Want more advice? Watch our video with Kimberley Brown and Joel Bray for more kitchen and bath safety tips.
This cozy family basement features a spacious sectional and a large TV for the ultimate media room. When installing wired wall-mounted surround sound speakers, check whether you need any new outlets. New receptacles require a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority. When it comes to pot lights, ensure you use the right kind — there are ones for use in ceilings that have insulation (including soundproofing) and ones that don’t. Learn more at poweryourreno.ca.
Rustic wood, sparkling pendants and modern fixtures blend beautifully in this modern country kitchen. If you’re planning a similar look, keep these considerations in mind: along your kitchen backsplash, there must be an electrical outlet within 90 cm of any given point. That’s about the average length of a small appliance cord. Layered lighting is key in the kitchen. Pendants and pot lights need to be a minimum of 30 cm and 15 cm, respectively, from anything that could catch fire — including upper cabinets and shelving. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are also required within 1.5 m of any sink to prevent electric shocks from water.
More and more homeowners are creating pantry areas complete with a beverage or wine refrigerator. Just remember that all major appliances require a dedicated outlet, and smaller ones may have specific electrical requirements. Providing manufacturer materials to your licensed electrical contractor in advance can save time and money. Get more tips at poweryourreno.ca.
The latest bathroom designs often feature graphic tile, as well as distinct shower and bath zones. Whether you prefer modern or traditional bathroom decor, electrical safety rules apply. For instance, shower lighting and exhaust fans must be approved for wet locations. Be aware and look for CSA or UL certification marks. If you’re thinking about a steam shower or jetted tub, talk to your licensed electrical contractor to see if there are special power requirements. Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are needed within 1.5 m of any sink, shower or bathtub to prevent electric shocks from water.
With a washer and dryer on the other side of the vanity, this bathroom does double duty. Laundry or no laundry, consider a dedicated circuit for your bathroom to avoid electrical strain on other areas of your home. Large wood folding doors hide away the appliances when not in use for a sleek, streamlined look. Open shelving above the appliances provides ample storage for cleaning supplies. Visit poweryourreno.ca for more safe home reno tips.
Beneath these graphic black and white floor tiles, in-floor heating easily warms up the bathroom thanks to a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. Whoever is doing the installation — you or a licensed electrical contractor — needs to take out an electrical permit. This prompts a review process with the Electrical Safety Authority, which is an added safeguard for you and your family. Contact ESA’s Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE to take out a permit or for more information about the permit and inspection process.
A shaggy rug, ottoman and slipcovered armchair make this nursery ideal for a little one. Go for a similar look with safety in mind. Ensure Tamper Resistant (TR) receptacles are used throughout your home to help prevent a burn or shock from kids sticking their fingers or objects into an outlet. The only time these aren’t required is if the outlet is out of reach, like the ones behind a washing machine or other large appliance, or those more than two metres above the floor. However, the Electrical Safety Authority recommends you put them everywhere in your home to be safe.
Installing a new pool in your backyard? Have all wiring for your pool and pool shed done by a licensed electrical contractor. Professional installation and a review by the Electrical Safety Authority are needed to ensure pools have enough clearance from underground wires, among other requirements. All outdoor outlets should be equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) and have weatherproof covers to protect the outlet from the elements.
Outdoor downlights emphasize the clean lines and indoor-outdoor aesthetic of the rear façade. Step and landscape lighting add ambience but may need special transformers — talk to your Licensed Electrical Contractor. Proper grounding and bonding is essential for all electrical that powers pool equipment, as well as for metal objects within 1.5 metres of the pool. Call 1-800-400-2255 or visit on1call.com before you dig to locate and avoid hitting underground wires, gas lines and water or waste-water pipes.
Turn extra space in a garage into an inviting workspace. This detached garage features overhead lighting and plug-in lamps, in addition to cabinets, tables and shelves, to make it usable throughout the day. When outdoors, ensure you plug into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected electrical outlets. Use only those extension cords rated for outdoor use, as they are designed to resist outdoor wear and conditions, and for electric power tools, be sure to use a heavy duty extension cord. Visit poweryourreno.ca for more reno tips.