Electrical Safety, Going Green

and FAQ

Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety Tips

Extension Cord Safety

  • Extension cords are handy for temporary use only; have a Licensed Electrical Contractor install a permanent wiring solution if you need power in that spot permanently.
  • Never remove the third prong – it’s there to prevent shocks!
  • Throw out cords that are frayed, cracked, squished or heat up when in use.
  • Keep extension cords away from heat and water.
  • Don’t run extension cords under carpets or under heavy furniture.
  • Use the right one for the job — there are special extension cords rated for use with appliances like heaters and air conditioners, and also ones specifically for outdoor use.

Plugs and Outlets

  • Never overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many receptacles – use an approved power bar.
  • Replace any broken or missing switchplate covers right away.
  • Install Ground Faults Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in your bathrooms and laundry rooms, and outdoors.
  • Test GFCIs regularly according to manufacturers’ instructions (usually monthly).

Light Fixtures

  • Use the right pot light for the job – there are ones for use in ceilings that have insulation and ones that don’t.  Using the wrong one could cause a fire.
  • Never exceed the recommended wattage bulb and choose the recommended bulb type in all fixtures.
  • Don’t remove the insulation or any other component of a light fixture when you’re installing it – this includes the insulation in flush mount fixtures and the grounding wire in all new fixtures.

Product Safety

  • Check that all electrical appliances have recognized approval marks to ensure they meet the electrical safety requirements for Ontario.
  • Make sure electrical cords on your appliances aren’t loose or damaged.

Misuse of electrical appliances can cause fires – find cooking safety tips from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC).

Your home’s electrical system

Don’t ignore these following electrical hazard warning signs:

  • Dim, flickering or surging lights
  • Fuses that constantly blow or breakers that often trip
  • Outlets that don’t work when the fuse is replaced or breaker is reset
  • Switches or fuses that are hot to the touch (turn them off immediately)
  • A hot, burning smell where you can’t find the source

A Licensed Electrical Contractor can help you assess and address these potential electrical hazards!

Going Green Tips

Going Green Tips

Turn It Off

Make sure to turn off all lights, appliances, computers and other electrical equipment when not in use during the day, and especially at night. Any cord that contains three prongs draws energy when plugged in.  Turning a power strip off at night and during the day when you are at work or not using those devices saves you energy and money!

Dimmers

Using dimmers saves electricity and increases the life of your light bulb. Dimming your light by 10% will save 10% electricity. Dimming your light by 25% will save 20% electricity. Dimming your light by 50% will save 40% electricity. And so on…

Programmable Thermostats

When used properly, programmable thermostats can save up to 33% on annual heating and cooling costs. Because less energy is used, greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production are reduced.

Timers

Using a timer for interior and exterior lights is another energy saver. If you need to leave a light on at a regularly scheduled time, a timer is the perfect device to use instead of leaving your lights on at all times.

Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan can save up to 40% on your summer cooling costs.

Attic Fans

If you install an electric or solar attic fan can save up to 30% of money spent on air-conditioning costs.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When is it time to call a Licensed Giannetti Electric electrician?
  • When you are resetting circuit breakers or changing fuses too often.
  • When you turn on your air conditioner and the lights dim in the room.
  • When your lights flicker or go on and off.
  • When you can smell electricity burning.
  • When you have six electronic devices going into one outlet in back of your electronics center.
  • When you have receptacle outlets overburdened by multi-plug strips.
  • When a three-prong plug needs a two-prong adapter.
  • If you have to run extension cords to plug in electrical devices.
  • When you have any other electrical questions or concerns.
What size service do I install in my home?

Most provinces call for 100 amps minimum, but with all the new electronic devices, air conditioning and electric heat, we suggest 200 amps, especially in new homes. This also gives you some space for future additions. A service upgrade is not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt. In most cases it involves replacing everything from the service loop (this is the wire that extends from the top of your meter to the utility tie in) up to and including the main panel.

What should I know about electrical panels?

Electricity enters your home from your local distribution company through the service entrance at the main switch. From the main switch, the panel board or fuse box splits power into circuits that distribute electricity throughout your home or business.  Each circuit is protected by a fuse or circuit breaker.  Fuses and circuit breakers detect short circuits and overloading which causes a fuse to blow or a circuit breaker to trip.

How do I reset a breaker?

In order to reset a breaker in your electrical panel, you must push the breaker firmly to the off position which then resets it.  Then you must push it back to the on position.  Most customers do not push the breaker hard enough, past the off (tripped) position and assume it is reset.  If you have reset the breaker correctly and still have no power, call Giannetti Electric Ltd.  If your breakers trip too frequently, it is possible that your breakers have been worn out or there is an underlying issue that one of our licensed electricians should investigate.

There is a light fixture flickering in my house, what should I do?

A flickering light could be a loose connection in the circuit or it could also be a problem outside your house especially if all the lights in the house seem to be flickering.  In this type of situation, we recommend not to use the lights and call a Giannetti Electric Ltd. licensed electrician to check it out.

If I hire a licensed electrician, how does this protect me?

You are protected because Giannetti Electric Ltd. electricians carry an active general liability policy, automobile policy, and workman’s compensation insurance policy in order to perform business on your property.

Can’t I just do my own electrical wiring repair work?

First, you will need to pull a permit and you will have to have your work inspected by ESA.  Other things to consider include:

  • Do you know what the load calculation is for your homes electrical usage?
  • Do you know what it takes to make the electrical repairs up to Ontario Electrical Safety Code?

If you answered no to either of these questions you’d be better off calling Giannetti Electric Ltd.

How much should I attempt on my own?

Presently in Ontario, a home owner is able to obtain permits and do their own electrical work. But doing electrical work yourself is a gamble. In Ontario, if a homeowner does his own work and it results in damage of fire, his homeowners insurance may not pay, they may only pay if the work is done by a licensed Electrical Contractor. How much are you willing to risk to save money?

There is a reason why it takes so much training to become an electrician. Do not make a mistake by taking electricity lightly, even the smallest job could be a safety hazard. Why take a chance? Get a professional to do this work.

The most dangerous time is when you tell yourself “This is easy. I can do it myself. Why should I get an electrician?” Then, when you don’t remember where all those wires went, or your hair is standing straight up, you say to yourself. “Well maybe we better call someone to straighten up this mess”.
Now it will cost you double what you thought you were going to save in the beginning.

Do you have to be licensed by the province to work as an electrician in Ontario?

Yes.  Even if you are just working as a helper you must carry an apprentice license.  What should I know about electrical permits & codes?  Before starting any electrical installation you will need to apply for a permit through ESA.  One of the benefits of using Giannetti Electric Ltd. is that we handle the permit process for you.  Our electrical wiring jobs are done according to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

Why is it important to hire a properly licensed electrician?

Electrical work is very specialized.  It takes over 5 years to get an Electrician’s License.  An unlicensed electrician may not be up to date on code regulations or even aware of some safety codes, they may also not have the proper tools.  All of this can lead to future problems in your electrical system which could result in a fire or put people in danger of injury or death.  Electrician is a very precise and potentially dangerous profession, untrained electricians are more prone to work accidents and you may become the subject of a lawsuit.  They might also lead to having to hire a licensed electrician to fix the problems left by an inexperienced electrician resulting in extra costs.  If you do develop a problem, insurance companies do not cover damages associated with unlicensed contractors.  Basically electricians are licensed to protect you, your co-workers, and your property.

My electrical wiring is made of aluminum, is this dangerous?

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts creating an arcing problem.  When it arcs it usually does so without tripping the breaker.  This is a definite fire hazard.

What are the signs of potential electrical hazards in the home?

Some things to look for:

  • Room lights dim when the refrigerator or air conditioner kicks on
  • Circuit breakers frequently trip
  • Outlets or dimmer switches seem hot to the touch

These conditions indicate that there could be an electrical issue in the home.

Is an old-fashioned fuse box a hazard?

When fuse boxes were in widespread use, most homes had only 30 or 60-ampere service.

Today’s homes need at least 100-ampere service to safely supply power for major appliances. If you have a fuse box and you’ve added any large appliances over the years, it is recommended that you have your home wiring inspected to make sure it is still safe.
Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload (i.e. 20 amps of electrical load on a 15 amp circuit would cause a trip). The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset. Whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced.  Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.

How can I tell when an electrical outlet isn’t safe?

There are three indicators of an unsafe outlet:

  • If an outlet can no longer hold a plug snugly
  • If any parts of the outlet are broken, or
  • If the outlet feels hot to the touch.

If any of these conditions exist, Giannetti Electric Ltd. can come take a look and replace the outlet if needed.

Can I add more outlets in the kitchen?

Most likely, yes. However, don’t forget the requirements for GFCI outlets and separate dedicated circuits in the kitchen.

What should I do if my lights, switches, and receptacles don’t work?
  • Check to see if the outlet is on a switch.
  • Check and reset GFCI outlets and circuit breaker.
  • Check light bulbs and replace, if necessary.

If none of these are the problem, call us at Giannetti Electric Ltd.

What is a GFCI device or breaker?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In layman’s terms, this device protects you from electrical shock. When it senses the slightest increase in resistance resulting from ground fault, (i.e., the use of electrical devices in or near water), it trips off to protect you.

The test button, when pressed should deactivate the outlet and any other outlet fed from it – indicating a properly functioning device.

The red button is the reset button needs to be pushed to reactivate the outlet or outlets in the event of deactivation resulting from a fault/test.

My smoke detector keeps chirping. What does this mean?

This could mean a few things.

  1. An intermittent chirp could be an indication of a defective smoke detector.
  2. A consistent chirp could be an indication of a low battery condition, and the smoke detector requires a new battery.

Call Giannetti Electric today at 905-318-1425

or send us a message:

If you are contacting us with a job in mind please let us know in the message form below:

  • Commercial or Residential?
  • Service or Quote?

Our accepted payment methods are cheque and cash.