A person flipping a switch on a circuit breaker

Hazards at Home

There are a variety of signs that could point to electrical hazards in your home. Familiarize yourself with them so that you can identify hazards in your home as they arise, and then deal with them safely.

Damaged Wires

  • Wires that are misshapen, torn, or frayed could cause electrical shocks or fires.
  • Replace appliances with damaged wires as soon as possible.

Overheating circuits

  • Circuits that overheat can cause electrical fires.
  • Become aware of circuit breakers that frequently trip off, or fuses that frequently blow in your home. These are indications of an overloaded circuit.
  • Understand how much amperage a circuit can sustain, and never go above that limit. The amperage limit for the circuits in your home will be indicated on your central circuit breaker.
  • Do not use power bars to plug an overabundance of appliances into the same outlet. Power bars create different routes to the same outlet, they do not create a new power source.
  • Different power bars serve different purposes. When purchasing a power bar, make sure to buy one that is appropriate for your needs.

Extension cords

  • Never use an extension cord in place of a permanent outlet. If you need an additional outlet in your home, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Never connect extension cords together. Instead, purchase an extension cord of the length that you will need.
  • Ensure that you do not leave extension cords in areas where people walk frequently; they are tripping hazards and they could become damaged from people walking on them.

Damaged light switch

  • Always replace loose light switches as soon as possible. If they break, they will leave wires exposed, which could lead to electric shocks.
  • If a light switch is emitting heat, or making a buzzing, crackling, or popping noise, turn off the breaker for that circuit and contact a licensed electrician to investigate.

Other potential hazards

  • Dirty refrigerator coils can cause electrical fires. Make sure to vacuum them at least once every three months.
  • Washing machines or dryers that move or vibrate too much when in use could lead to loose wiring, which can cause electrical shocks.
  • Lights that flicker are an indication of a loose connection in your wiring, which could cause an electrical fire.

For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority's website.

Familiarize yourself with the potential electrical hazards in your home through this video: