House of the Future

3D-Printed Homes

Are 3D-printed homes an affordable way to provide housing to third world countries and help with the homeless problem in our communities?

A home like the one in the video can be built in less than 24 hours at a cost of only $4,000. The secret? 3D printing; they could help families living in poverty and unsafe conditions. New Story, a housing charity organization, and ICON, a construction tech company, have partnered together. Their goal is to end global homelessness. An entire community of these 3D printed homes will be constructed in El Salvador. The ultimate goal is to get costs down to $4,000 per house with a build time of fewer than 24 hours. This prototype house was built in Austin, TX. The home measures 650 square feet. Mortar was printed layer by layer. Human workers installed windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical systems.

At-Home Electrical Safety

At-home electrical safety tips

Man preparing wires of a lighting fixture during home renovations.

Use electricity safely at home

Follow our simple electrical safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe at home. Refer to our visual guide to electrical safety tips.

General tips

  • Always call a certified electrician to do any wiring in your home.
  • Call BC One Call at 1 800 474 6886 before digging in your yard.

Electrical panels, fuses, and outlets

  • If a fuse blows, turn off all appliances and lights that are on the circuit before changing the fuse.
  • Use a flashlight. Don’t try to replace a fuse in the dark.
  • Replace a fuse with another that has an identical rating.
  • Loose fuses can overheat. If you have plug-type fuses, you should periodically check to make sure they’re snug.
  • Never replace a fuse with a coin or other metal object.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters on all outlets located outdoors.

Cords, extension cords, and plugs

  • Pull the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting an electrical device.
  • Never remove a plug when your hands are wet, or if you’re touching a metal object.
  • The third prong of a plug exists for safety reasons. Do not break it off or bypass it.
  • Use only three-pronged extension cords outdoors.
  • Keep cords away from sources of heat and water.
  • Cords and plugs that show signs of wear or damage need to be replaced. Stop using them immediately.
  • Do not place a cord under a carpet, through a doorway, or anywhere that it could be stepped on.
  • Always use extension cords that are properly rated for the amount of electricity you’ll be using.
  • Extension cords are intended for temporary use. If you need a permanent solution, call an electrician.
  • Coil up excess cord length and keep the coil intact with plastic ties or Velcro straps.
  • Use a certified power bar if you need to plug multiple items into an outlet.

Electrical devices, appliances, and power tools

  • Unplug the toaster before prying out that stuck toast.
  • Unplug your electrical gadgets when they’re not in use.
  • Keep your electrical devices away from sources of water.
  • If you use an electric lawnmower, only cut the grass when it’s dry and never when it’s raining.
  • Insist on appliances and tools that have been certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) seal or another accredited Standards Council of Canada association.

Electricity safety near gas supply

  • If you smell gas don’t touch any electrical switches as it could cause a spark. Go outside and call FortisBC’s 24-hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911.
  • Always use qualified electricity and gas contractors to install your services and ask them to ensure the services are installed the right distance apart.
  • Make sure your services are inspected and maintained regularly. Don’t try any maintenance yourself, always use a qualified contractor.
  • You can find qualified contractors through BC Safety Authority.

Protecting Electronic Equipment

Protect your electronics


Safeguard your electrical devices by planning ahead

Modern electronic equipment is sensitive to power fluctuations. And while some devices include a degree of built-in protection, you can also purchase items that will help protect your equipment from damage due to things like power surges, faulty wiring, or improper grounding.

You can protect your electronics by:

  • Limiting the number of devices connected to a single outlet.
  • Using a dedicated circuit for sensitive electronic equipment; avoid plugging your computer into the same circuit that runs your air conditioner, for example.
  • Ensuring that the wiring in your house is properly grounded. If your lights dim or circuit breakers trip or fuses burn out frequently, you should contact a licensed electrician.
  • Using three-pronged plugs whenever possible and wherever appropriate.
  • Unplugging sensitive electronic devices, during electrical storms.
  • Installing a surge suppressor or an uninterruptible power supply (with surge suppression) for your sensitive devices

Electrical Safety for Children

Electrical safety for kids

Baby biting power cord

Electrical safety tips for kids

  • Never put fingers or other objects in an outlet
  • Keep metal objects out of toasters
  • Never use anything with a cord or plug around water
  • Never pull a plug out by its cord
  • Stay away from substations and power lines
  • Don’t climb on power poles
  • Never fly kites near power lines
  • Stay away from broken or fallen power lines
  • Never touch or climb trees that are near power lines
  • Never touch big, metal transformer boxes with warning signs
  • Obey warning signs

Child proofing your home

Keep curious kids safe from the temptation to stick foreign objects into outlets or plugs.

  • Unused wall outlets should be secured. Plastic inserts can be used but they can be pulled off and stuck in the mouth. Consider using safety outlets that prevent foreign objects from being inserted. You can also block outlets with the creative arrangement of furniture.
  • If you’re temporarily using extension cords, hide them behind furniture or use a hide-a-cord device. You can also put electrical tape over unused plug holes on cords.
  • Put electrical devices such as DVD players on a shelf out of reach, or behind a barrier.
  • Store bathroom and kitchen electrical appliances – like hair dryers and toasters – out of reach of curious children.

Electrical Safety in a Car Crash

Taking the proper steps if you’re in a car crash involving electricity can save your life.