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Thread: What's causing this voltage

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    What's causing this voltage

    I have a inground vinyl pool with concrete deck.I bought the house about a year ago pool was installed 10 years ago.Alabama is a non disclosure real estate state.We were told by a neighbor there was a tingle.We just started using pool 3 weeks ago no one has felt a tingle except my 4 year old granddaughter claims she felt something.I have read all I can find about bonding and I see no copper wire going to the pump except one from swg to pump grounding lug.With the pump running I read 0 volts from pool water to concrete deck dry.Splash some water on the deck it reads .08 volts.Now same test with pump not running,water on deck it reads .03 volts.I have the light disconnected also.Any help would be appriciated.
    Thanks,Tom

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    There are many things that can cause it. It can be a problem with the utility power distribution network, problems with your pool equipment, problems with phone company lines, problems with a neighbor's wiring and many other things. It can be difficult to troubleshoot. A good start is to shut off the main breaker for your house and see if the voltage is still there. If it disappears, you probably need to find a good electrician. If it doesn't go away, you may get some help from your power utility.

    Your bonding system is clearly missing or incomplete. Though it is important, it would have masked the voltage you are seeing now. You have two problems, and you should make an effort to solve them both, even though bonding will "fix" the issue.
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    There are many things that can cause it. It can be a problem with the utility power distribution network, problems with your pool equipment, problems with phone company lines, problems with a neighbor's wiring and many other things. It can be difficult to troubleshoot. A good start is to shut off the main breaker for your house and see if the voltage is still there. If it disappears, you probably need to find a good electrician. If it doesn't go away, you may get some help from your power utility.

    Your bonding system is clearly missing or incomplete. Though it is important, it would have masked the voltage you are seeing now. You have two problems, and you should make an effort to solve them both, even though bonding will "fix" the issue.
    The incomplete bonding should definitely be fixed, but the low voltage recorded is so low that it's not a problem. It's most likely caused by ground currents (could be yours or from other houses around you). At that level it is not a problem.
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    As John states above try turning off the main breaker at the service entrance and see if that changes things. If it does not then this is probably a utility pole problem.

    As you noticed your grandchild is the one who feels it. That's because she has less mass than you do. The lower the mass the more lower levels of electricity will effect you.

    This is a problem. You don't know the cause of the problem. You don't know how the electricity is getting to the pool or its voltage or amperage. I would not be surprised if you were to go out to your pool and take a reading from the water to the wet deck at opposite sides of the pool and get significantly different readings. It the electricity has sufficient volts (pressure) and sufficient amps (volume) it can cause serious harm.

    If a swimmer in distress struggles to the side and puts their hand on the coping and gets zapped is that ok? What if its strong enough to hold them so they cant move? Remember these values are lower for children than adults.

    It is a problem.

    Furthermore, what 4 year old wants to swim in a pool where he or she gets zapped every time they get out.
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    This stray voltage issue is a problem and should be fixed. Any advice to the contrary should be ignored. both Gwegan and JohnT have answered electrical questions on this forum for years and their advice is rock solid.
    Dave S.
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    I am well aware what your saying,but I'm looking at how to fix it without tearing up the concrete deck.If that's the case may as well demolish the complete pool.I am curious to know why the .03 reading when pump is off but .08 reading when pump is on.
    Thanks,Tom

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Dave S,I'm from Sebring,fl now living in Alabama
    Tom

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Does the vinyl pool have a gunite or concrete shell? Or is is a hole in the ground with a liner? If just a hole in the ground, how do you bond that?

    As for the Deck, You could demo just a little section, in one corner to find some steel in the deck and attach a bonding clamp, then somewhere at the farthest point away, and do the same. Then check for continuity between the two points to be sure that your steel is continuous throughout (the deck). I would do what they call a "four corners" (self explanatory i think), link all those together, and bring back to the pad, linking the light along the way. And of course, some sort of grounding rod to connect everything to. Oh and don't forget, any metal rails, diving boards, slides, hand rails... AND their anchors. You could always re-pour your demo points in the deck.

    Would that do it???
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    That would require a lot of cutting of concrete.Its a 18x36 pool with a ladder,diving board,wide fiberglass steps coming out at shallow end,with a hand rail.Concrete decking is quite large.
    Tom

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Tom,

    I doubt you are anywhere near what the article below describes, but since you have grand-kids and other swimming in your pool, the least I would do is find a good electrician and pay him to come examine your pool/house area. Tell him to bring all his test equipment and see what kind of things he can find.

    Based on what some forum members have stated, I would put together punch list and have him test it all. Then see what he states as the "source problem" and what he recommends to resolve it. Life's too short to be guessing, and this would at least give you peace of mind knowing you have identified the "issues" and their potentials.

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltmoeller View Post
    I am curious to know why the .03 reading when pump is off but .08 reading when pump is on.
    Thanks,Tom
    The voltage exists because there are two different voltage potentials. The difference in the potentials is what gives you the reading. The shock you feel is the voltage potentials trying to equalize. Since you are the conductor you feel a shock when you initiate the circuit. The voltage differential you are seeing could be coming from the grounding or neutral system supplying power to the pool. Is the ground wire connected from the panel to the pump insulated and isolated from the neutral? Is the wire used to supply power to the pump and other pool relate accessories the proper wire (THWN).

    A few years back I had to fix a non-existent boning grid in an in-ground pool with a concrete deck. we had to hire in a concrete company that had a concrete saw and have them cut a groove in the pool deck to grout in a wire to bond the concrete. Do you know if there is any reinforcing wire in the concrete that you coud chip in from the side and connect to? You will also have to provide at least one water bond of at least 9 sq in. Light niches and waterbugs in the skimmer are great ways to do this
    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: What's causing this voltage

    There may be more than one source for the current.
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Let me say again I bought this home a year ago,the pool is ten years old,no one has ever been injured.It is a tingle not a shock although I am aware it is electricity.several electricians have troubleshooted this issue over the years they must not know what bonding is.I talked to an electrician today and he had no knowledge about bonding.I am getting ready to bond the water but I don't think that will fully solve the problem.

    Tom

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltmoeller View Post
    Let me say again I bought this home a year ago,the pool is ten years old,no one has ever been injured.It is a tingle not a shock although I am aware it is electricity.several electricians have troubleshooted this issue over the years they must not know what bonding is.I talked to an electrician today and he had no knowledge about bonding.I am getting ready to bond the water but I don't think that will fully solve the problem.

    Tom
    The odds that any electrician who's ever worked on the pool understands bonding is somewhere between slim and none.

    You can't just bond one item like the water. Bonding is the creation of an equipotential bonding grid by connecting everything together. The pump, deck, walls, light, water, SWCG, ladders, rails etc..
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltmoeller View Post
    Let me say again I bought this home a year ago,the pool is ten years old,no one has ever been injured.It is a tingle not a shock although I am aware it is electricity.several electricians have troubleshooted this issue over the years they must not know what bonding is.I talked to an electrician today and he had no knowledge about bonding.I am getting ready to bond the water but I don't think that will fully solve the problem.

    Tom
    Tom,

    Everyone is trying to help and I know it seems like we are the enemy, but we are very concerned fellow pool people that have helped many people on this very confusing thing called bonding... Let me put it into these terms..

    An electrician is like a Ford mechanic .. anyone can work on a ford, some do it better than others but they all pretty much know what it does..

    An electrician that knows bonding is like a space shuttle mechanic, everyone knows what the space shuttle is but not much of the population can work on it

    I hope this helps explain why we are so passionate about your family's safety and want to help in any way possible, and sometimes that comes across as we are against you but I promise we are not...

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Measuring the voltage by taking a regular multimeter and sticking the probes at different points might or might not be helpful. Stray voltages and currents can be difficult to analyze and track down. There might be mixed AC and DC currents from multiple sources.

    Good analysis will look at the characteristics of the voltage and current. What is the voltage differential from different reference points? How much current is supported? What frequecies are present? If it's DC, what is the polarity?

    Electric Shock Drowning is a very real risk with stray voltages and currents.

    It would be best to have a qualified master electrician evaluate the bonding grid and the electrical system to make sure that the pool is safe to use.

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    What's causing this voltage

    I know absolutely nothing about electricity but following this thread. If it were me trying to find an electrician that was properly qualified, I would call a few area pool builders. I bet if you explain your situation, more than one would be willing to put you in touch with the electrician they work with. That should be an electrician that understands bonding!


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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    I am no electrician so take this for what little its worth - when i installed my pool, I had my friend who is a licensed electrician help me with all things electrical (I did most of the grunt work). I think i was only supposed to bond 4-5 points around the pool but i went drill crazy and bonded every metal support (8 of them LOL). When it was inspected by the town the inspector he noticed I had the waterbug installed - he said "I wish everyone would use one of these" Amazon.com: Burndy Waterbug Pool Water Bonding Kit Ul: Kitchen Dining
    If you can get to it (im sure you will have to bust up a little concrete) you could probably install one of these and run another bonding wire. Again, I am by no means an electrician. I am posting for 2 reasons - one because this product seems to make sense and 2 I want to follow along. Electricity is always one of the scarier things - not just with owning a pool.

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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    Quote Originally Posted by MMM923 View Post
    I am no electrician so take this for what little its worth - when i installed my pool, I had my friend who is a licensed electrician help me with all things electrical (I did most of the grunt work). I think i was only supposed to bond 4-5 points around the pool but i went drill crazy and bonded every metal support (8 of them LOL). When it was inspected by the town the inspector he noticed I had the waterbug installed - he said "I wish everyone would use one of these" Amazon.com: Burndy Waterbug Pool Water Bonding Kit Ul: Kitchen Dining
    If you can get to it (im sure you will have to bust up a little concrete) you could probably install one of these and run another bonding wire. Again, I am by no means an electrician. I am posting for 2 reasons - one because this product seems to make sense and 2 I want to follow along. Electricity is always one of the scarier things - not just with owning a pool.
    I used that same exact Bundy waterbug in my skimmer and it has worked great..
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: What's causing this voltage

    I'm just looking to learn what others did to fix a bonding issue.
    Tom

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