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Thread: Rationale for certain pool codes

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    Rationale for certain pool codes

    Hi, I am new to the pool building and trying to better understand and follow various codes/requirements. Considering this pump and the instructions say:


    • Install a minimum of 5 feet (1.52 meters) from the inside wall of the pool and spa. Canadian installations require a minimum of 9.8 feet (3 meters) from pool water level.


    Can anybody guess what could be the rationale for this? I have a pit right next to my in-ground pool where I planned to put the pump that would place it about 3 feet from the inside wall of the pool.

    Thank you,
    Mike
    17 by 12 by 5 in-ground pool. Total of 8,000 gallons. Picture is coming soon.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    I believe the idea is to keep all electrical connections out of reach of the pool so that you can't touch pool water and electricity at the same time.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    Read the note on the left side of page 3. It tells you that if you install within 5ft you have to bond the pump. The distance is to keep un-bonded items out of the reach of swimmers.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    The 2014 National Electric Code (adopted by Georgia) generally prohibits anything electrical except certain lights within five feet of the pool. The rationale is you don't want someone in the pool to reach out and touch something electrical. additionally all pool electrical equipment except lights requires a maintenance disconnect, not a switch, a disconnect, which cannot be within five feet of the pool but must be visible from the pump.

    Additionally keeping anything electrical away means that if there is a fault or other failure any voltage gradient created will be further from the pool thus reducing the chances of shock in an unbonded pool. That's why the Canadians have the 10 foot rule.

    There is no way around this rule, except for some technical exceptions that don't apply here. Its just bad practice to put a motor within five feet a bathers in the pool.

    I think there are a lot of inspectors out there who would say this can't be within five feet of a permanent pool. A storable pool yes but not a permanent pool. Even if bonded.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    OK. thank you. I guess I have little unique situation and please advise if this would be an OK:

    Pool 8,000 gallons, enclosed (under waterproofed deck with glass wrap-around windows) and have little room for pool equipment. Thus, I am putting the equipment in a pit right next to the pool (see the drawing). Pit will be covered just like the rest of the pool surrounding with only a little hatch to access it (to go down into it).

    pool.jpg
    17 by 12 by 5 in-ground pool. Total of 8,000 gallons. Picture is coming soon.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    I hope this is engineered so that the wall can hold the weight of the water with no backfill.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    Do you need to get a building permit, have plans approved and have inspections? Is this a gunite (cement) pool or a liner pool.

    I would be concerned about the wall between the pool and the pit. Even with a sump pump I would be concerned about leakage through penetrations. Both from a electrical standpoint and from a flooding standpoint. The code also requires drainage in equipment pits NEC 680.12. Whether a sump pump is ok depends on your local inspector. I'd also be concerned about the engineering of the wall.

    Where the disconnect is for the equipment in the pit and whether your local inspector will allow all that electrical within five feet of the pool not enclosed in a raceway.

    From a practical standpoint it would be better to move your pit five feet from the pool. Then your big issues would be drainage , disconnect and enough space to adequately service the equipment. If the filter is going to be there the inspector is probably going to require a sump or elevating all the electrical so if the filter is completely drained into the pit water is still several inches below the pump and other electrical.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    The rules are there for safety, I work with, and around electricity in my career. Even in bonded / ground fault protected systems, any electrical source near a body of water is potentially unsafe. I have even seen where slight moisture can cause nuisance GFCI tripping.
    Brian -- Jacksonville, FL - 16' above ground pool 16' x 48" - 5000 gallons - Vinyl liner (sitting on 2 tarps and a gorilla pad to prevent / slow St. Augustine grass from growing through) - Intex 2500 GPH pump "B" filter upgrade (allows for excellent suction when utilizing my custom vacuum system) - K-2006 test kit will arrive shortly.

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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    OK. thank you. Just to quickly answer your question and confirm I understand your advice:

    The wall is reinforced poured concrete (10 inches thick and 1/2 rebar cage) - several folks gave me input on this and I am fairly confident that it is going to be more than adequate to hold the water. I should have absolutely minimal leakage with a liner on top of that.

    Also, the filter, even if completely drained, should not flood the pit for more than 6 inches and i can mount the components higher than that.

    I am somewhat constrained to the current design and would like to make the best out of the situation without investing tons more into re-engineering. So, based on the current (not so ideal) scenario, I am trying to apply your recommendations and please let me know if this would be tolerable:

    1) Mount electrically operated components (pump and chlorinator) higher in the pit so that, even with partial flooding of the pit, they stay dry.
    2) Bond the pump (along with all the regular precautions GFCI, etc.)
    3) If I mount the pump higher up away from the pool, then I can have the disconnect outside the pit and more than 5 feet away from the pool but still in direct sight of view from the pool.
    17 by 12 by 5 in-ground pool. Total of 8,000 gallons. Picture is coming soon.

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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    This is where I need to know if you are required to get a permit and have inspections. In many parts of the US you would be.

    In California you would be required to have an engineer sign off on your wall.

    But regarding the electrical. Many items in your proposal are within the discretion of the local authority, the building inspector. Your wall, whether it is engineered correctly and whether you can penetrate directly to your pit. Your pit, whether it requires drainage to a sump or whether you can have a sump pump on the floor. The pump and swg can be it the pit if the inspector interprets the code that way. Your pump and swg can be in the pit, but the location of the disconnect is something the local inspector has discretion on here.

    Because you have a liner, the rebar in the wall does not have to be bonded, but here it exposed within five feet of the pool so I can see an inspector saying it must be bonded. Your pit floor must have rebar and be bonded to the deck that is clear but not really obvious.

    I don't want to tell you something and then later have an inspector see it differently. If you can find a good local pool electrician I would sit down with him and talk it over. There are just a lot of moving parts here and you are right up against the pool.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    Yes, agree - lots of moving parts and lots of non-standard approaches. I will read up some more about this - this is DIY project (I know, complicated for DIY) but may need to get an inspector involved earlier rather than later.

    thank you for the advice.
    17 by 12 by 5 in-ground pool. Total of 8,000 gallons. Picture is coming soon.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    Just another point to think about, do you have any ventilation in the pit? Many gasses are heavier than air and can build up in underground pits like this. The telephone and power industry have portable ventilators they bring to any underground pit and have a period of mandatory ventilation before anyone can enter it.
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    Re: Rationale for certain pool codes

    Thanks. I will install one - I initially thought of using the pit area to draw air for the spa jets and this would provide some ventilation but, to your point, having some type of ventilation (even when spa is not running) may be a better option.
    17 by 12 by 5 in-ground pool. Total of 8,000 gallons. Picture is coming soon.

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