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Thread: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Last fall, about a month before I closed the pool, I had a freak occurrence where apparently the insulation cracked on one or more wires running to my pool, and it shorted and melted all the wires. It's right at the pumping station where an elbow wasn't properly secured. Anyway, I'm replacing the conduit and wiring from there out. My plan is to put a C condulet in and splice all the wires in it, then rerun the new wires to their proper tie ins. The current wire is #12 solid. What's the general consensus on solid vs stranded? I plan on using a mechanical splice with shrink wrap on each connection.

    Here's the makeshift connections I had to make to run the pump at the end of last season.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    as long as it's the same gauge (#12) than it really doesn't matter. Stranded has less chance of completely breaking somewhere random in the conduit or bend, but is more expensive. Personally, I HATE single core conductor wire. I have lousy luck with it.

    The electrical code book is really confusing on single conductor versus 2+1 or 3+1. Might be wise to give your local inspector a call and ask the question about that, but the conductor size has to remain the same size or smaller after a splice.

    The correct way to make the fix would be to put a junction box in on the old line, pull the old conductors through that, pull the new conductors through the other side and run a new stretch of conduit (think of it like a "T" fitting if that makes sense?) That way the splice using wire nuts and tape is inside the junction box. That keeps it at code as long as you use an outdoor waterproof (gray PVC is fine) box.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Lets just start by saying what is shown in the picture is dangerous. Very dangerous.


    This appears to be the line running from your service entrance panel to the pool sub panel.

    The best way to repair this is to repair the conduit and re run new wire from the main panel to the pool sub panel.

    You can put in a water proof junction box. Something like this: Cantex 12 in. x 12 in. x 6 in. Junction Box-R5133713 - The Home Depot I would make it about a foot back on the existing conduit so you are working with wire that has not been exposed to the elements. Then install all all new conduit back to the subpanel box. Run new wire form the subpanel to the new junction box and splice.

    An additional problem you have is that you are running nm conduit on the ground. A dangerous code violation. Generally all conduit outside must be either elevated above the ground or burred below concrete or if no concrete burred 18" below grade.

    You should resolve these issues at the time you make this repair. You should make this repair now rather than later.


    From a Code standpoint there is really little distinction between stranded and sold wire. Most electricians would use sold wire in outdoor applications because is is more resistant to corrosion. However if the run has more than a couple of bends then stranded is much easier to pull.

    If you have any concerns about your ability to do the repair then you may want a licensed electrician.
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    Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Oh, I despise the solid stuff too. Just a PITA to work with. I thought about using some type of junction box, but with it partially buried, it's right where it came above ground to tie into the equipment, it would be troublesome to do. That's where the C condulet would basically function as a junction box to house the splices. I'll have to see if the wire capacity for the junction box is high enough to include splices, otherwise a junction box may be the way I have to go. Gwegan, yes it is "very dangerous". At least it has the potential to be should the actual wires in use become submerged. Very very unlikely, but yes, still a risk. It was done as a temporary measure just to be able to run the pump for a bit before I used it to pump down the level and close. As far as the best way to repair, I agree that repairing the conduit, and running all new wire is the best approach. Not gonna happen. Not unless there is no other safe, approved method to splice two wires together. I literally need about 5 feet of wire on each run to get to the pool equipment, and the entire run is over 100 ft long underground and through an attic. As far as nm conduit being a code violation, please expound. It was installed by a pool company, shoddily I will admit, but none the less is required to be up to code for our area. Is pvc conduit not allowed to break the surface? Seems it would have to at some point. I would say some/most of the pic is below concrete; just not the part that comes from the pool area to the pump equipment. I have zero concerns about my ability, I just wanted to make sure my intentions lined up with the consensus view. Thanks for your input.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    The nm conduit cannot run along the ground. It must be 18 inches below grade or covered by concrete. It can run above ground (raised) just not on the ground or a few inches below. It did not comply with code when installed. (I'm shocked PB are always perfect).

    You need a wet location junction box not a C condulet. That way you don't have to run all new wire.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    The nm conduit cannot run along the ground. It must be 18 inches below grade or covered by concrete. It can run above ground (raised) just not on the ground or a few inches below. It did not comply with code when installed. (I'm shocked PB are always perfect).

    You need a wet location junction box not a C condulet. That way you don't have to run all new wire.
    I didn't have the pool put in, or I would've raised several issues with the builder at that time. I can't say they did anything "perfect". As far as the junction box instead of the condulet, is that strictly for the extra room needed for the splices primarily, or a code issue related to that extra volume of the box with splices in it. Had I done it, I would've rather had a 60 amp sub panel put in vs the multi conductor run they did from a panel in the house.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    IMHO, any wire subject to vibration should be stranded.... for example, the wire inside the flexible conduit. Two 90 elbows that close together can make for a pulling nightmare and uses up your allotted 360 of bend between pull points.... likely contributing to chafing the wire and the ensuing meltdown. I really can't tell, but if they ran low and high voltage in the same conduit, that is a big no-no....

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    Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    IMHO, any wire subject to vibration should be stranded.... for example, the wire inside the flexible conduit. Two 90 elbows that close together can make for a pulling nightmare and uses up your allotted 360 of bend between pull points.... likely contributing to chafing the wire and the ensuing meltdown. I really can't tell, but if they ran low and high voltage in the same conduit, that is a big no-no....
    There's 120 and 240 volt run in it. The pool light is the black cord that remained intact during this entire ordeal. The light is a POS pentair aqualumin that I wish wasn't even there. They didn't even leave enough cord to put it on the deck to change the bulb.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    The pool light cord shares the conduit? That's a big no no. It should be a dedicated run from a listed pool junction box to the niche. There are some exceptions to the listed junction box but the cord must always be in its own dedicated conduit.

    Splices must be in junction boxes not pull boxes. Pull boxes exist to permit more than 360 degrees in turns in a run.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    The pool light cord shares the conduit? That's a big no no. It should be a dedicated run from a listed pool junction box to the niche. There are some exceptions to the listed junction box but the cord must always be in its own dedicated conduit.

    Splices must be in junction boxes not pull boxes. Pull boxes exist to permit more than 360 degrees in turns in a run.
    It's a niche less light, so I don't know if that affects the wiring. I may see if I can find some fittings to go from the conduit to a junction box on top of the concrete next to the pump, then run the remaining conduit on top of the concrete out of the dirt. As far as my desire to use a pull box instead of a junction box, I figured it would be more likely to remain waterproof since it had glue on fittings vs mechanical fittings on a junction box.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Most inspectors (at least in California) don't interpret the code to permit conduit at grade on concrete they require some support so its above grade.

    The best resource for pool electrical is Mike Holt"s guide.

    Google Mike Holt Pool Electrical. The 2014 version the NEC is the second result in PDF. Read all of Article 680 on swimming pools. Its complicated in parts, parts are counter intuitive so its important to read it all.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Most inspectors (at least in California) don't interpret the code to permit conduit at grade on concrete they require some support so its above grade.

    The best resource for pool electrical is Mike Holt"s guide.

    Google Mike Holt Pool Electrical. The 2014 version the NEC is the second result in PDF. Read all of Article 680 on swimming pools. Its complicated in parts, parts are counter intuitive so its important to read it all.
    I'll take a look at it. Apparently in KY, unless you live in the city limits, few people know what the NEC is. As a side note, just because I know what it is doesn't mean I always follow it to a T either. Like in this instance the final result will be safe, but possibly not up to code.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    My and TFP's goal is not to browbeat you with the code. But we do try to get folks to follow the code. Especially because as I said above many parts of Article 680 are counter intuitive and contradict other parts of the code.

    There are piratical reason the Code has you do things this way. For example, the direct line to the listed junction box is to make it easy to change your lights without draining the pool. the code sets forth a procedure that if followed allows your to change the lights without needing to drain the pool and only make electrical connections at the junction box.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    I understand that. I hadn't thought much about the reason behind the light wiring because I was infuriated that it's such a piece of junk, and the previous owner had sprinkled shock all around the pool, fading the liner, and corroding the light and ladder. Oh, they also put a standard steel cantilever diving board stand on a saltwater pool. Like I was saying, I would've done several things differently. And this was done by the biggest pool installer in my area with like 4 stores in 3-4 states. It's craziness.


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    You really need to check with your local codes (if you wish to make this repair to code).

    Everyone above is correct, with two additions, and these are subject to local code. The main electrical service to the equipment pad may NOT be spliced, or have a junction box. IOW must be one uninterrupted line from your main panel to the pool equipment.

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    Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Ok. You guys are absolutely gonna love this. Best I can tell, code is 18" for conduit runs. I know you guys weren't fans of my C condulet inline splice for my pool wiring. I wasn't a huge fan, but thought it was sufficient. Check out these pictures of what the pool builder though was ok as far as a "T" condulet being underground, and the whole run being buried 4-6".
    Those are all the pics from where I had to dig it up along the way since it didn't exactly follow a straight or logical path. I'm hopefully gonna get the new light installed tomorrow. It is my intention to move my pad wiring over to the side of the pumps so the main wiring coming in won't have to be spliced. I will also separate the main conduit from the pool light conduit, and put in a proper light junction box. That will either be late this fall, or early next spring.


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    Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Duplicate post
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Like digging for buried treasure. And the electrical conforms to the Pirates code.
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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Like digging for buried treasure. And the electrical conforms to the Pirates code.
    What's the Pirates code? If you don't see it, it doesn't count?


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    Re: Pool equipment main wiring repair- solid or stranded

    4-6" is dangerous....the next person that inherits that house is going to dig or chop at some root and and punch right through that stuff...here, you only have to go 12" if its in conduit and 24" if its direct burial wire... I would go at least 12" with your burial...btw, I'm not a code beater either, and the conduit being buried is at least safer then it was...but I would take the time, dig another 6" and call it a day...

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