When the time comes to complete home maintenance or tackle renovations, we understand that costs can add up. Learning to do-it-yourself (DIY) can be an effective way to keep costs down while learning new, valuable skills. But when it comes to DIY electrical work, we recommend thinking twice.
Electrical work is not only highly complex and potentially dangerous, but the consequences of DIY electrical work errors can be catastrophic. While homeowners in Ontario have the option to take on minor DIY electrical work, Oshawa Power agrees with the Electrical Safety Authority’s take on this option — leave it to the pros.
Licensed professional electricians have the tools, expertise, and know-how to ensure your electrical work is completed safely and in accordance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC). Hiring a pro could not only avoid costly errors that could lead to potential injuries, electrical fires, or home insurance issues, but will also save you time and grant you peace of mind.
If you’re still thinking about taking on DIY electrical work in your home, here are some key considerations to ensure your work is completed safely and up to code.
Know the Code
All electrical work completed in Ontario is required by law to meet the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC). Updated every three years and approved by the provincial government, the OESC is designed help keep you and your family safe by outlining the standards all electrical installations and products must meet.
Before purchasing the tools and equipment required to complete your DIY electrical work, it is important to familiarize yourself with the OESC. By understanding the standards that your project will be required to meet, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. While the OESC is a lengthy document, taking time to know and understand Ontario’s standards is the only way you can ensure your project plan will be up to code.
To purchase the most recent version of the OESC, visit the CSA’s website.
Planning Your DIY Electrical Work
You’ve reviewed the code and are comfortable taking on your DIY electrical project, what’s next?
We recommend developing a full project plan, including diagrams, so you can ensure you are working safely and following the OESC. By carefully planning your work, you can ensure no important steps are missed or left incomplete, putting yourself and your home at risk.
When planning your project, it is important to remember that only individuals living in your home can complete electrical work in your home. If your project is large enough to require an extra set of hands, you can hire a license electrician to assist you. Asking friends or neighbours to help you out is prohibited by the OESC and could compromise your project.
Notifying the ESA
After you’ve planned out your project and begun your DIY electrical work, you must ensure you notify the ESA. By Ontario law, once electrical work is underway (even for small jobs!) the ESA must be notified within 48 hours.
Notifying the ESA of project commencement includes a notification fee that varies based on the scope of the work. The ESA has made it easy to learn more about submitting a notification form and associated fees.
Book Your Inspection
ESA inspections are required to help ensure your project is completed safely and up to code. All electrical work completed in Ontario is required by law to undergo inspection. Inspection requirements will vary dependent on the scope and complexity of your project.
Not only is inspection required by-law, but the ESA’s approval grants you peace of mind, knowing your electrical project was completed safely and without risk of future electrical fires or other hazards.
Just Hire a Pro
We know that initials estimates on electrical work can seem pricey, but the time, cost, and risk involved in DIY electrical work usually isn’t worth the minimal savings, if any, it provides. Hiring a pro is always our recommended choice.
Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) have proven their skills and expertise to the ESA and will help take the hassle out of completing your project by handling everything for you. Plus, hiring a licensed professional means your job is fully insured, eliminating some of the risks associated with completing electrical work around your home.
Find a Licensed Local Contractor
Finding a local LEC is a simple process. The ESA’s Lookup Tool helps you quickly find LECs across Ontario and provides their contact details.
Now that you understand the considerations and risks involved with completing DIY electrical work in Ontario, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your project. Whether you hire a pro or choose to do-it-yourself, we encourage you to always comply with local regulations to ensure you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from electrical hazards.