Weekly Hack: Electrical safety tips for opening up

Published: March 20, 2020 · Updated: March 25, 2020

electrical power By Sky Light Pictures/Shutterstock

One of the very first things you do on opening-up weekend? Turn on the power, of course. But a rough winter can wreak havoc on wiring and equipment. Annoying! And dangerous. Follow these electrical safety tips from Joel Moody, the chief safety officer with the Electrical Safety Authority.

Outside, look for damage to power lines leading to your cottage, or damage to the service mast; look for trees with branches overhanging power lines. Call for expert help: either your local utility or an electrical contractor, depending on whether or not you own the equipment (poles, lines) on your property.

Check that the wiring running to any exterior equipment–the water pump, for example–is in good shape. If it’s damaged, remove the associated fuse or turn off the circuit breaker.

Inside the cottage, inspect the cords of all your appliances for cracking, wear, or rodent damage; check that the chimney for your electrical furnace is clear of leaves, nests, or any other debris.

Ready to turn on the juice? Make sure all your appliances are unplugged, and all the branch circuits (in the electrical panel) are in the “off” position. Once you flip the main switch, turn them on individually; this helps avoid a power surge. Plug in and switch on appliances and devices one at a time.

Don’t forget about any electrical installations and equipment in the boathouse or at the dock. Are any cords frayed? Do all your marine cords have a ground pin (three prongs)? They’re supposed to, to prevent shock. Also make sure that you have Ground Fault Circuit interrupters (GFCI) for any outlets that supply outdoor equipment.

Want more opening up tips? Use our checklist.

Featured Video