The long weekend is here and many of your will be heading to your cottage to get it ready for the summer. The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) recently announced over 40 per cent of cottagers will do electric work on their property they wouldn’t normally do at home. Operations VP Earl Davison says electricity is not a hobby.

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Generators can be a real danger to you if not installed properly. Davison says cottagers should remember is to never install a generator to your permanent wiring system yourself.

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The ESA is a not-for-profit group that works on behalf of the province to promote electrical safety for Ontarians.

COTTAGE OPENING TIPS: 

Click here to view the infographic and print a copy for your reference.

When you arrive:

  •  Look for damage to powerlines leading to your cottage. Stay clear of downed or sagging lines, and contact your local utility immediately.
  • Advise your utility if the trees appear to be too close to the powerlines (within four meters).
  • If you own the hydro poles and powerlines on your property, contact a professional to trim trees that are within four metres of powerlines

Before turning the power on at the main switch:

  • Check that all wiring around your cottage that runs exterior equipment such as water pumps, etc. is intact. If it’s damaged, remove the associated fuse or turn off the circuit breaker and contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor
  • Turn off all appliances and make sure there is no debris on stove-top elements or base board heaters.
  •  Fill the hot water tank.
  • Check all appliance and extension cords for signs of damage or wear – especially cracking or rodent damage.
  • Check that the chimney for your electric furnace is clear of debris (i.e. bird’s nests, leaves etc.).
  • ·         Ensure all branch circuits are in the “off” position. After you turn on the main switch, turn them on or replace the fuses one at a time to avoid surges that can damage your appliances.

Power Disconnection Information

If you had your local utility disconnect the power to your property for more than six months, you are required to have an ESA General Inspection before your local utility can restore power. The current fee for a general inspection is $266 plus HST, or up to $400 or more if travel fees apply.

General Electrical Safety Tips

  1. Doing electrical work? Follow these five steps and arrange for an application for inspection with the Electrical Safety Authority for any electrical installation you are planning. ESA recommends that you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to do electrical work in your home or cottage.
  2. Get protected. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are required for all circuits that supply outdoor appliances and tools, especially around the water. Outdoor outlets must have covers that protect them from the elements. GFCIs are also required for outlets located in kitchens and bathrooms.
  3. Using extension cords? Remember, they’re intended for temporary use only; permanent wiring is the safest option.
    • cords are rated for interior and exterior use – make sure you buy and use the right one for the job.
    • never remove the third prong – it’s there for your safety
    • discard any cords that heat up when in use or are cracked, pinched, frayed or show other damage
    • keep outdoor cords dry and protected from the elements.
  4. Darn, there goes that fuse again! Call a Contractor or electrician if fuses repeatedly blow and circuits frequently trip.
  5. Generator safety — If you’re buying and installing a portable standby generator, ESA recommends you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to install your generator. Read more generator safety tips here.