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Thread: Bonding Retrofit

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    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Bonding Retrofit

    As a new pool owner I have been working on getting my pool operational. I have my new pump and filter ready to install and have realized that the subpanels in my filter room are in rough shape from years of chemical storage. Now that I have gone in and cleared out the old R-22 heat pump equipment from the filter room I can't find any evidence of bonding. I would like to get everything setup safely and am wondering if anyone has advice for adding bonding where there doesn't appear to be any. The pool is enclosed on 3 sides (formerly an indoor pool). There is a bare copper ground wire running from the subpanel into the concrete and another bare copper ground wire from the underwater light junction box running into the concrete. Otherwise I can't find any other copper wires.

    I have seen some posts mentioning sawcutting the concrete to lay a bare copper wire. Any advice on this? Does the bonding wire need to be connected directly to the light niche? Does the wire need to go around the entire pool or just connect between the light, ladder, pump and heater? How deep does the wire need to be in the concrete?

    I need to find an electrician to put in a new subpanel and want to take care of the bonding at the same time so it is most importantly safe and will pass an electrical inspection for permitting. In addition, the current grounding is questionable and there aren't any GFCI's. The house was built in 1975 and it is an in-ground fiberglass pool.

    EDIT: The niche is currently empty and for now at least I do not plan to install an underwater light.


    16' x 34' in-ground fiberglass pool, roughly 26,000 gallons. Mostly enclosed and shaded.
    Pump - 1HP dayton, moves water - replacing with Pentair 342001 SuperFlo VS
    Filter - 3.1 ft2 Master Pools media filter - replacing with Pentair Triton II TR 60
    Heater - Raypak P-R266A. New, previous owner never completed install.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    MitchRyan912's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Madison, WI

    Re: Bonding Retrofit

    Following this. I'm trying to bond as much stuff as possible, but my concrete deck doesn't have any rebar for bonding, plus the concrete was laid down in multiple sections (i.e. totally isolated from each other).
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    CJadamec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Quaker Hill, CT

    Re: Bonding Retrofit

    So bonding eh. Based on what you said with a bare copper wire running from your light into the concrete you might be bonded there already. Ideally your concrete would be bonded in 4 equadistant points. There would also be a bond wire attached to your ladder. Since there is no bond wire running to the pump or old heater you could attach to the rebar in the concrete deck and run a bare #8 copper wire over to them. The bonding circuit is not meant to be attached to the ground wire in your sub panel. Installing gfci might not be as easy as installation of breakers if there isnt a ground wire run from the house.
    So long story short you need a licensed electrician familiar with pools to go over your wiring. You might not be as unprotected as you think you are but it's hard to tell.
    15x30 AG, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

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  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Sacramento, CA

    Re: Bonding Retrofit

    Generally your pool must meet the requirements in fore in your jurisdiction at the time it was installed. It is not required to meet current standards. There are exceptions and you should call your local building inspector. One exception is substantial work or reconstruction. If you do substantial work or renovate the structure you may be required to bring it up to current code. Or you may be required to partially bring it up to code. It depends on your local laws and how well you can negotiate with the building inspector. If you make a deal put it in writing so its clear exactly what work you have to do.

    Your pool is old and fiberglass. So under current rules you deck should have a rebar or copper grid attached to a bonding system. You should have the pump and all other accessories attached to a bonding wire which connects to the pool ware bond and the deck bond. Every conductive surface within five feet of the pool must be bonded.

    When your pool was built this was probably not required. There may be no bonded grid of copper or rebar under the deck.

    Generally we strongly suggest that you update your bonding to current standards. Bonding is one of the first lines of defense against stray voltage and electrical shock hazards in a pool. Its relatively cheap insurance for the protection it provides.

    I would also strongly suggest that you upgrade your electrical system in the pool area with a new sub-panel that provides a insulated ground connection to the service entrance neutral buss bar. All ground wires in a pool installation should under the code be insulated. Even if the inspector says its not required to comply with code at the time of installation. Insulated gerund wires tied back to the service entrance neutral bus bar are a major electrical feature for the protection form electrical hazards in pools.

    If the electrician or inspector says that you can install GFCIs without a ground wire tell them no. While that will work and is generally allowed by the code in old work retrofits its not something you want at a pool. Ground wires are worth the extra protection in a pool environment.
    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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