ESA Electrical Inspection

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Posted by: from Toronto
8/25/2013 at 7:03:58 PM

Hello to all the pros:

I got a few very nice looking lamps that are imported from my home country. Obviously it does not carry the cUL or any other accepted electrical certifications in Ontario. But by no means they are not safe (they have however EU certifications, such as CE, etc). And after all, a lamp is a lamp.

I want to know that if I install them in my house, does the ESA electrical inspection (in the middle of a renovation) require me to remove them? Or do they not check for this kind of stuff?

Thanks a lot,


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Date/Time8/25/2013 at 8:08:23 PM


I would be more concerned with what my House Insurance Policy may or may not say about uncertified lighting. Perhaps check with them. Also, check with an electrician.

As far as I know, ESA is checking to see that your wiring is done to code only. It is up to the homeowner to make sure electrical appliances are used in a safe manner. Examples would be clearances from combustibles for lighting, toasters, baseboard heating, you don't put larger light bulbs in light fixtures other than what they are rated for.

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Date/Time8/25/2013 at 9:19:44 PM

The inspection has nothing to do with light fixtures you plug into a wall outlet.

I would ask a certified electrician his or her opinion as to the safety or lack of with the lamps.

I had some lamps in one of my homes that had been passed down from my grandmother that were originaly from Europe. And I never had any problem with them.


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Jeffrey in Toronto
Date/Time8/25/2013 at 10:45:10 PM

Sorry guys. I should have be more specific. It is light fixtures (chandeliers and wall fixtures), not a lamp that I plug into an outlet.



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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time8/25/2013 at 10:55:01 PM

Hi Jeff,

I had a client ask me to install these type of fixtures and I refused.

They were new and "supposed to be" certified for use here. Firstly the boxes they connect to in Europe are smaller and this normally means an "adaptor plate" must be provided which normally has been made by a chop shop with the proper hole size, bushings, etc. to fit our boxes.

We, as professional electricians, have taken many courses and must comply that everything we install is to be approved for use here in Canada otherwise we, as the installer, could be held liable for wiring equipment that is not to CEC standards.

2nd trouble is the wiring has been installed for 240 volts at, say, 100 watts which is about .5 amps, well dropping that 120 volts at 100 w means that wire in the light must now carry .9 amps which is almost double the amperage it was made to carry. Case in point, a chandelier with 10 of these lamps will draw 4.1 amps at 240 volts, but 8.2 amps at 120 volts which you may certainly find the wire inside will not carry this amperage and will not trip the ciurcuit breaker, but will melt and could cause a fire. So that must be our job to point out the fault before it occurs.

Some electrical people do not care and will connect it, but only a concerned professional electrician will tell you it is unsafe to connect without first being checked by ESA, ETL, CSA, or ULc stampings.

If a fire starts, your home insurance could refuse coverage, if other properties are damaged because of the fire, you could be personally liable, if someone is harmed in that fire that you could have prevented... you see how this can only get worse from here.

Take care and use proper approved equipemtn, if someone wants to connect it anyway, they are not doing you a favour.

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Jeffrey in Toronto
Date/Time8/26/2013 at 9:11:56 AM

Thanks Rob.

But I'm just curious whether the ESA inspection will check for those things and require me to take it down?

I'm putting up led bulbs to those lamb which is 1/4 of their maximum allowable watt rating so I think it is not a big issue.



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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time8/26/2013 at 10:04:55 PM

The ESA will not remove anthing you put up. At the end of the day it is your home/building. If the electrician installs it, he can get in trouble for installing unapproved gear in a Canadian home/building. It is not like you wired your home using overseas wire.

You may use LED, but someone else can change the bulbs in the future to something else. At any rate, the risk is yours. Homes in Europe are made from concrete, here they are wood, combustion point - no comparison. For your own safety use approved fixtures.

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Date/Time9/2/2013 at 9:38:14 PM

Great advice as usual Rob.

Jeff, ESA does have a service that will "certify" equipment that is not made with ULC or CSA approvals. I don't know if they will do a light fixture... I have ever only had them do specialized equipment in commercial and industrial settings. There would be a fee for this service, however as Rob points out this could eliminate the potential problems for all concerned.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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