Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,129

    Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    So, I need better understand the risks of a 120 Volt light in our pool. The better half is very concerned about ever using our pool light again after it burned out due to water leaking into the light.

    The interior of the light fixture was pretty corroded indicating that it had probably leaked for some time. But the light had been working fine for several weeks since our remodel and the light being reinstalled. The night that it died, I turned on the light (no one was in the pool thankfully) and the light came on for a few seconds and then flickered and faded away to nothing; I assumed a burned out bulb until I opened it up.

    So the question is: had someone been in the pool would they have been shocked or possibly even electrocuted? I know there is a difference and is why I asked about both. Would they have felt anything anywhere in the pool or only if they were close to the light?

    This is fresh water pool - i.e. not a salt water/SWCG setup if that changes anything.
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,690

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    As long its it's on a GFCI circuit, it's fine.

    Mine sprung a leak. The only way I knew it was when i turned it on, the GFCI breaker threw at the same time I turned the light switch on.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,333

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    Bk is correct, but even without a gfci you probably wouldn't have felt anything even standing right against the light. A gfci is mandatory because there are instances where you can be killed when something goes wrong. They also should be tested on a regular basis.

    P.S. If your light isn't on a gfci I wouldn't turn the power back on until one is installed.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    SW Indiana
    Posts
    9,086

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    In addition to the GFCI, your pool should be protected by an equipotential bonding system that is also very effective at protecting you from electrical shock. With a properly installed bonding system, you could throw the end of an extension cord in the pool with no harm. Don't try this at home.

    If you are standing on a rubber mat and grab an energized line, you aren't shocked because you are not in contact with the ground. The bonding system works by making sure that everything in and near the pool is at the same potential. It doesn't matter whether that potential is ground or 120V as long as it is the same everywhere a swimmer can touch, you won't be shocked. You could be swimming in a pool with the water at 120VAC and never know it unless someone standing on the ground with non-insulating shoes reached in and touched you.

    The 120V pool light is one of those things that sounds way more dangerous than it is. People subject themselves to far more electrical danger when they use a 2-prong extension cord on a 3-prong appliance.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,129

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    As long its it's on a GFCI circuit, it's fine.

    Mine sprung a leak. The only way I knew it was when i turned it on, the GFCI breaker threw at the same time I turned the light switch on.
    Ahh right! There is a GFCI device in the circuit.

    Funny/scary thing though - I tested it yesterday when I installed the new light and it's not working (the GFCI that is). I'm off to HD tonight to get a new outlet. I need to put testing GCFI's on the 2X yearly check (at time changes) when we are supposed to test the smoke alarms, and replace their batteries, etc. ... and I need to get consistent on actually doing those checks too

    Thansk for the quick reponse! (It's a busy day on the forum)
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,129

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    In addition to the GFCI, your pool should be protected by an equipotential bonding system that is also very effective at protecting you from electrical shock. With a properly installed bonding system, you could throw the end of an extension cord in the pool with no harm. Don't try this at home.

    If you are standing on a rubber mat and grab an energized line, you aren't shocked because you are not in contact with the ground. The bonding system works by making sure that everything in and near the pool is at the same potential. It doesn't matter whether that potential is ground or 120V as long as it is the same everywhere a swimmer can touch, you won't be shocked. You could be swimming in a pool with the water at 120VAC and never know it unless someone standing on the ground with non-insulating shoes reached in and touched you.

    The 120V pool light is one of those things that sounds way more dangerous than it is. People subject themselves to far more electrical danger when they use a 2-prong extension cord on a 3-prong appliance.
    Thanks John. I have no idea how well the bonding system was installed as the pool has been here for 20 years. I hope it was done correctly.

    I get the part about a person standing on the ground in non-insulating shoes reaching in and touching you except that if the deck is on the same EP bonding system wouldn't they be at the same potential? It seems like that person reaching in would have to do so from beyond the bonded deck right? otherwise wouldn't you get fried when you climb out of the pool and have one foot in and one on the deck?
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    SW Indiana
    Posts
    9,086

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    Quote Originally Posted by carlscan26
    I get the part about a person standing on the ground in non-insulating shoes reaching in and touching you except that if the deck is on the same EP bonding system wouldn't they be at the same potential? It seems like that person reaching in would have to do so from beyond the bonded deck right? otherwise wouldn't you get fried when you climb out of the pool and have one foot in and one on the deck?
    Yes they'd have to be beyond the deck. Since everything conductive within 5ft of the pool is supposed to be bonded, you'd really have to try to make it happen.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,129

    Re: Question about electrical risk when pool light failed

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Yes they'd have to be beyond the deck. Since everything conductive within 5ft of the pool is supposed to be bonded, you'd really have to try to make it happen.
    Yeah that would be trying!

    Thanks again for your responses guys - really appreciated!
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •