Electrical considerations are a must when it comes to planning a successful renovation project. Despite the fact that more than 25 per cent of electrical home fires are caused by faulty wiring and equipment, only 51 per cent of Ontarians are aware of the legal requirement to hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC).
A great home renovation has two parts: what you see and what you don’t. Homeowners want beautiful design and function, but they also need safe electrical systems behind their shiny new walls. The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) recently teamed up with longtime design expert Kimberley Seldon to provide Ontarians with expert advice for renovations that are both stunning and safe. Here are their six top tips for a successful kitchen renovation:
1. Don’t forget about the lighting plan
Although a detailed floor plan and elevations are vital, equally important is a lighting plan (which factors in electrical and switching requirements and helps avoid those ill-placed outlets and lighting controls). A proper plan will help you determine your electrical needs and assist in getting a specific, itemized quote from an LEC.
2. Electrical requirements don’t have to be an eyesore
By law, there must be an outlet within 900 mm of any given point along your backsplash. To integrate outlets more seamlessly into your design, consider matching switches and outlets to your backsplash. Another option is a pop-up style outlet. An LEC can help identify the right outlets based on your design plan.
3. Power your counter
Peninsula and fixed island counters that are not against a wall require outlets installed in the cabinet structure, which means you’ll have to accommodate for wiring – another reason why an electrical plan in the early stages of design is so important.
4. Plan the perfect “appliance garage”
Receptacles enclosed within cabinetry – what is sometimes referred to as an “appliance garage” – will require a special interlocking switch that turns off the power when the door is closed. This will need to be considered for your “super pantry” or maybe even your coffee station if you are planning to have enclosed appliances.
5. Make sure your electrical system can power your dream kitchen
The age and quality of your electrical could make or break your reno dream. All major appliances require a dedicated outlet. Adding hard-wired espresso machines, sub-zero fridges, televisions, double ovens, and other small appliances may require additional circuits and/or amperage.
6. Hire an LEC
If you are hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, by law, it must be an LEC. That’s the case if you’re hiring someone directly, or if you are relying on your general contractor or designer to hire the subcontractors. Always ask for a certificate of inspection when the electrical work is complete for insurance and resale purposes, not to mention peace of mind.
From arming homeowners with more kitchen advice online and the right questions to ask when hiring an LEC, to providing advice on showcasing their space with the perfect lighting, Power Your Reno is a unique renovation resource that matches electrical tips with design inspiration.
For more expert tips and important resources from ESA and Kimberley Seldon, visit www.poweryourreno.ca.