What you need to know about electrical work in your home

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There are certainly a number of home improvement projects that can be accomplished by homeowners – with a little research, some expert advice and smart planning, you can save money and learn a new skill. But it’s so important to recognize your limitations.

Electrical work is commonly acknowledged as one of these limitations. Your home is likely the biggest investment you will ever make. It will house you, your family and your future, and as such, it is your responsibility to ensure all electrical work is safe, and completed according to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

A Licenced Electrical Contractor (LEC) will have a valid ECRA/ ESA Electrical Contractors licence and will work within the parameters of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. When you hire an LEC, you can rest easy knowing they are fully insured and employ only certified electricians. They are responsible for arranging permits and inspections and obtaining an ESA certificate of inspection. Be sure to ask for a copy of this certificate to keep for your records. Electricians are required to re-certify their licences during their careers to ensure they are knowledgeable about new technologies, products and safety codes.

Poorly executed wiring can lead to damaged appliances and voided warranties. It is also the leading cause of house fires. Legally, electrical work must be examined and approved by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Uninspected work can void your home insurance policy, and in the case of a fire, you could be left with no coverage at all. Arrangements for an inspection must be made as soon as possible after completion of the electrical installation.

Another aspect to consider is a permit. Most electrical work requires a permit from the ESA. An electrical “permit” (also called an Application for Inspection) needs to be obtained within 48 hours of electrical work beginning. Electrical permits are not the same as a building permit – if you have a building permit, it doesn’t mean you have an electrical permit. The fee for an electrical permit varies according to the type of work being done. If you decide to complete the work yourself, call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) to confirm permit requirements and get your permit.

Don’t take chances with electrical work. Choosing a certified electrician to complete your home improvement project is choosing the safe way to maintain your home investment and most importantly keep your family safe.

Jennifer Birch

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