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October 31, 2014

Don't Put Your Home or Your Family's Safety at Risk: Hire Qualified Contractors for Your Kitchen and Bath Renovation

At Monarch, we understand that remodelling a kitchen or bathroom can be an exciting time for homeowners. After all, a new design usually means new cabinetry, appliances, furniture, lighting and more.

While you're focusing what your new space will look like, a qualified kitchen and bath design team will also be thinking ahead to what issues might arise once the tear down process begins.

At the top of their list of concerns? Electrical.

"During tear down, improperly installed electrical wiring is often the best concealed--and most dangerous--issue we have to address," says Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre president Neil Samson.

Whether you're hiring a full service design firm to manage your renovation or handling the hiring of tradespeople yourself, it's critical to ensure that the people you hire to work in your home are licensed professionals.

As reported in The Toronto Star recently, hiring an unlicensed electrician can result in "numerous electrical hazards." And in this case in particular, it also meant significant fines and jail time for the contractor. 

Normand Breton, ESA registrar and director of contractor licensing and powerline safety, said there area a "significant number" of people who violate the Electricity Act each year. "The underground economy is alive and well," he said -- but for the public, it means "when you hire an unlicnensed contractor you are taking a lot of risk."

Don't put your home or your family's safety at risk. What lies beneath your walls needs to be addressed by a qualified and experienced contractor.  

Here are some examples of what Monarch's team runs into on a daily basis:

Illegal electrical joints hidden behind drywall.
And to compound the problem even further, there is a joining of aluminum and copper wiring: this is not only illegal but it also a major fire hazard. There is a very strict protocol when joining copper to aluminum.

In this Pickering home, we found seven electrical infractions which are against the Ontario Building Code. The exhaust hood fan in this home was connected to a 4" plastic dryer hose. Not only is this a fire waiting to happen but it's also illegal.
"Sadly, these are not isolated incidents," admits Neil. "Our team uncovers these problems quite regularly. As a homeowner, you need to be aware of the potential safety hazards that might be lurking behind your walls."

"If you have any aluminum wiring in your home, we recommend you have a qualified and licensed electrician check all of the connections in your electrical panel on a yearly basis," advises Neil. "The screw-down connections on aluminum wiring can loosen; and for that reason, aluminum wiring is no longer approved for use in Canada."

When it comes to working with electrical, only a licensed electrician will do. "Don't hire a handyman to do an electrician's job," says Neil. "As the old saying goes: Jack of all trades, master of none. Insist that the electrician obtain a permit, and make sure that you receive a copy of the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) inspection certificate. You will probably need it when you renew your home insurance."

Monarch ensures that each home renovation they perform that involves electrical work will have an ESA permit and inspections performed. Once the final inspection is complete, Monarch clients receive an ESA approval certificate.

Drop by the Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre showroom to learn more, or call 905-686-2001.