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Thread: Question about electrical wiring

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    Question about electrical wiring

    A few weeks ago, my wife and I saw an article about a man that passed away while trying to save his daughter who was getting shocked in their pool. Apparently everyone that jumped in was turning blue and when the father noticed this, he jumped in.

    I have a light on the deep end wall, but don't ever plan on using it. They mention faulty wiring or water getting into the "fixtures".

    My question (and I know that it may be impossible to answer), is that wouldn't there have to be something electrical turned on in the pool for this to occur?

    Link to article: Electric shock in pool kills man, injures 5 kids
    ~35k Free Form Pool, Polaris P9550, Sta-Rite System 3 S7M400 Filter, Centurion 2.2 Pool Pump, Polaris Booster Pump, Pool Heater

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Any pool light must, by code, have GFCI protection. Having pool fixtures installed by a certified electrician and periodically testing GFCI protection goes a heck of a long way. If you're concerned, have an electrician come check it out. If the wiring is faulty, even if the switch is off, it could short out and cause a shock. If the circuit breaker for the light is off, it's safer, but circuit breakers can easily be inadvertently turned back on unless locked physically in the off position.

    Any pool that's purchased with a home should be inspected by an electrician as part of the purchasing process to fully cover any issues. At a minimum, I'd have an electrician look at it before I ever used it.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    It wouldn't necessarily have had to be something in the pool. It could be a fault near the pool in the power grid or some other electrical equipment.

    The bonding requirement in place now is specifically in place to prevent that from happening. I don't know how old the pool in question was, but if it was a many years old installation it may not have been bonded at all.

    If your pool is relatively new it should be bonded and there would be no danger of that scenario happening.

    You should be able to look at the inspection records when the pool was built to see if bonding was required if your locality requires inspections.

    You may also be able to physically inspect the pool to ensure that it was bonded.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    That would typically be required.
    But if the there was a fault in the switching of something then on or off does not mean anything.
    That is why having your pool bonded is the most important thing that the NEC standards insist upon.
    Bonding or more correctly Equipotential Bonding reduces the risk of shock due to an electrical fault.

    The effectiveness of the bonding of your pool can be tested as shown in this article.

    http://aquamagazine.com/builder/how-...ding-grid.html
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Would the bonding requirement be local or national? It doesn't state in that article when the pool was built, but mentioned the house was built in 1963. My house and pool were built in 2003, so I'm wondering if that requirement was enforced then.
    ~35k Free Form Pool, Polaris P9550, Sta-Rite System 3 S7M400 Filter, Centurion 2.2 Pool Pump, Polaris Booster Pump, Pool Heater

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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    At this point I have not heard if any determination was made as to the reason for this. A few fundamentals need to be understood here. First off, some of what you were taught in school about electricity is wrong. for some reason it is taught that electricity always seeks ground. This is both true and false. Electricity seeks its source. This is to complete a circuit. All power coming in on the two hot legs of your house feed wants to get back to where it came from. In this case it is the transformer on the pole near your home. There is a grounded conductor there that is also connected to the center tap on the transformer to provide a neutral signal.

    In the case of this pool, I am suspecting one of the appliances connected to the pool may have had some sort of failure, Be it a light, pump, chlorine generator or heater, something energized the water. that energy wanted to get back to its source. this brings up another fallacy taught in school...electricity will take the easiest path to... This is wrong. electricity takes ALL available paths back to the source. This includes ground wires, pool frames and yes, water. Oh, and one more thing...people. What happened in that pool was voltage gradients were forming as the electricity passed thru the water. Human skin, being a better conductor, was acting as a path for the electricity thru the pool. somewhere there was a better ground source away from wherever the failure happened. It may have been part of the bonding grid in another portion of the pool.

    It would be interesting to be able to investigate this to see what really happened. I am wondering how many code violations could be found or if a unique set of circumstances happened to cause this. I am betting something as simple as a GFCI could have prevented this whole mess.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    It would be interesting to be able to investigate this to see what really happened. I am wondering how many code violations could be found or if a unique set of circumstances happened to cause this. I am betting something as simple as a GFCI could have prevented this whole mess.
    I am not afraid of many things in life, but electricity scares the bejeezus out of me. Luckily my father in law is an electrician. I tried to tell my wife not to freak out about this since there is no telling what happened. Not to down play the tragedy, but we've all seen the picture of the college guys in a pool with the surge suppressor floating on a flip flop. I'm not saying that anything like that was going on, but you never know what kind of equipment was being used or what condition it was in.

    Like mentioned above, I'd like to know the circumstances/

    Also, when you mentioned a GFCI, is that something that could be installed at the switch? The switch for my light in the pool is near our back door in our hearth room. If it's that simple, I may look into swapping it out.
    ~35k Free Form Pool, Polaris P9550, Sta-Rite System 3 S7M400 Filter, Centurion 2.2 Pool Pump, Polaris Booster Pump, Pool Heater

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by joe_c View Post
    I am not afraid of many things in life, but electricity scares the bejeezus out of me. Luckily my father in law is an electrician. I tried to tell my wife not to freak out about this since there is no telling what happened. Not to down play the tragedy, but we've all seen the picture of the college guys in a pool with the surge suppressor floating on a flip flop. I'm not saying that anything like that was going on, but you never know what kind of equipment was being used or what condition it was in.

    Like mentioned above, I'd like to know the circumstances/

    Also, when you mentioned a GFCI, is that something that could be installed at the switch? The switch for my light in the pool is near our back door in our hearth room. If it's that simple, I may look into swapping it out.
    It is fairly simple and I'm sure if your FIL is a licensed electrician, he could easily help you out with it. May also be able to check your pool for bonding properly. I'd buy him a steak/beer/whatever and have him look it over to put your mind at ease.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by joe_c View Post
    Would the bonding requirement be local or national? It doesn't state in that article when the pool was built, but mentioned the house was built in 1963. My house and pool were built in 2003, so I'm wondering if that requirement was enforced then.
    The bonding requirements are part of the NEC (national electric code) and are enforced (hopefully) at a local level. My oldest code book goes back to sometime in the early 80's and I am not sure where it is any more. If I recall, ( I did not do any pool work back then) the bonding requirement was in place then. If this pool was built in the early 60's then I am not sure on the bonding and I am pretty sure there were no GFCI's back then either (could be wrong) An interesting note on this....if there were no bond codes or GFCI's when that pool was inspected, it would be grandfathered from a legal standpoint. This is not to say it would be safe, just legal. I ran into this just recently with a house inspector who did not know the rules and flagged a kitchen for no GFCI receptacles and only two prong devices. When the customer called me to come in and look at it I made the suggestion that they upgrade it but, as it stood there was no requirement for them. The house, which was built in the early 50's had never been remodeled and all of the wiring was original. It was like stepping back in time. Unless a remodel happened, nothing had to be doe as all wiring was legal from the time it passed inspection when installed.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by joe_c View Post
    Would the bonding requirement be local or national? It doesn't state in that article when the pool was built, but mentioned the house was built in 1963. My house and pool were built in 2003, so I'm wondering if that requirement was enforced then.
    The bonding requirement would be local.

    In 2003 the bonding requirement would have been required by the NEC, but that doesn't mean that it was adopted by your locality. You AHJ should be able to tell you if it was adopted then.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    If your pool was constructed in 2003 is should have GFCI and some form of bonding. Ask a electrician to come inspect the pool and if there are issues he can help you solve them. Without a whole bunch of pictures and a long discussion its hard to help you with this here.

    But for maximum safety your pool electrical should be on GFCI protected circuits and it should be properly bonded.

    The incident you describe was with an old pool (Palm Springs has numinous old pools) before there were GFCIs or a bonding requirement.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Question about electrical wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by joe_c View Post
    I am not afraid of many things in life, but electricity scares the bejeezus out of me. Luckily my father in law is an electrician. I tried to tell my wife not to freak out about this since there is no telling what happened. Not to down play the tragedy, but we've all seen the picture of the college guys in a pool with the surge suppressor floating on a flip flop. I'm not saying that anything like that was going on, but you never know what kind of equipment was being used or what condition it was in.

    Like mentioned above, I'd like to know the circumstances/

    Also, when you mentioned a GFCI, is that something that could be installed at the switch? The switch for my light in the pool is near our back door in our hearth room. If it's that simple, I may look into swapping it out.
    You could add this between the switch and light in a separate box. Leviton 7590-I 20 Amp 120 Volt, SmartlockPro Blank Face GFCI, with Dual Function Indicator Light, Ivory - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlets - Amazon.com you can also add a gfci breaker to your panel and protect the whole circuit. I would be surprised if the circuit is not already protected with one
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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