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Thread: Electric shock felt in and around pool

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    AimeeH's Avatar
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    Electric shock felt in and around pool

    This is one I couldn't find any other posts about:

    We had an inground Vinyl liner pool put in last July. Well after the cement was poured we had guests over and the wife got shocked on the cement while in the pool. After experimenting ourselves with one foot in the water and one out for example we could feel the "shock" or electrical current on the metal handrails and on the cement on one side of the pool. We experimented with the pump on and off and could always feel "something." we usually could only feel it on a scraped part of our skin or open wound. Went and bought a more sensative voltage meter and were able to measure about 1 volt of electicity between the cement and the water. Our contractor who put the pool in came and retrenched all the wire from our well pump to the meter......our well is on a meter by itself and the pool electrical equipment is wired to that. I guess I should have held the contractors feet to the flames a little more than I did because even after the retrenching of newer wiring from our well pump to the meter we could still feel current.

    I personally haven't felt it since opening up the pool this year but my children say they do. The tell tale sign is when they dip one foot in the water and keep one on the cement they say it feels like stinging.

    I know this is an odd problem to post, but I thought I'd throw it out there. It is a problem that never seems to have gotten worse so I was likely to ignore it. If anyone has experienced this or has thoughts on it, please enlighten me.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Welcome to the forum. You have a potentially dangerous situation that shouldn't be ignored. You can try searching "bonding" on this forum for some help.

    You will need a competent source to help you eliminate this and may well have to involve the Power Company.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I've seen this in once before in real life and I remember another post about it. Not sure if there was a definite answer but I think people mentioned the bonding might be screwed up. In the case where I seen it in person was around a light niche regardless if the breaker was on or off. Same result though, a slight tingle on sensitive skin areas (cuts, hangnails etc)
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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Ask your pool builder if he bonded your pool.

    Bonding is where they create an equipotential area in and around the pool. It is accomplished by tying everything within and around the pool together with a #8 copper wire. The pool shell (in your case the part under the liner) the reinforcement in the deck, the ladders, lights, etc. (do no confuse this with grounding, it has nothing to do with grounding).

    This equalizes the electrical potential between the water, the deck and all the aforementioned parts, so that exactly what is happenning to you does not. I bet you live in a rural area with little to no building codes enforcement? No inspections process?

    What needs to happen to fix this is that all of the aforementioned items need to be bonded together with a conductor. do a search on bonding in the forum.

    I am really sorry you are having this issue, and hopefully your pool builder will fix it. Do not let him try to tell you its something wrong with the electrical wiring to your pool pump or any crud like that, he just didnt bond the pool project properly and now he should fix it. (its not gonna be cheap).
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Yes lershac we are in a rural area as far as rural goes near Columbia SC. We did insist that our installer get a permit and have an inspection since my husband is a real estate appraiser and had nightmares upon thinking of skipping that step. I guess I need to call the installer (contractor) and ask. It sounds like this expensive repair could include getting to things that are now under cement and we had a lot of it poured.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Might be worth having an electrician in to look around as well, might be a problem with the electric hook up.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Guaranteed that the pool isn't bonded properly. If it was you wouldn't feel it. They at the very least left out the bonding of the rebar on the deck, and probably the rail sockets.

    You also have some kind of stray voltage issue as well. Your utility company may be able to help as well.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Your pool is not safe to use until this situation is fixed.

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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I really wasn't looking for the "unsafe" comments.........but thank y'all...
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Yeah... that really isn't a good situation, as you already know. This is the condition that a bonding grid/loop is designed to prevent, as it would force all wettable conductive surfaces to the same potential.
    Stray voltage, which is essentially a voltage traveling through the earth, can be caused by many things, and can be tough to pin down. Could be from your electric feed, could be from a neighbor's place, maybe the power company's equipment, possibly even the telephone system.

    One of the first things to look for is having multiple ground connections of the neutral conductor in your wiring.

    Some stray voltage info can be found here: http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.ph...ewslettersmenu
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Thanks to everyone for the replies. We did pull out our paperwork and the county inspection did indeed say the bonding passed inspection. I really was hoping this would be a problem I could forget, but doesn't sound like it. I may contact the power company next. It really doesn't seem plausible that it could be from a neighbor's lot as we sit in the middle of our own 26 acres. Thanks again for the information, this is a great forum and I've learned a lot from this site as a new pool owner.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    My bet is that something in the bonding loop got missed by both the contractor and the inspector.

    Is there a water bond on the plumbing anywhere? (a piece of stainless steel pipe or nipple with a bare wire hooked to it) If not, your water may not actually be bonded since it's a vinyl liner pool. That would be easy to fix.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I'm not sure I understand where I'd be looking for that. The only piping I've noticed is all PVC. The thing is we don't know if this is an issue that potentially was always present (maybe the wiring at the well which isn't too far from the pool) and that now a big body of water along with cement allowed us to notice it or if it is directly related to the pool construction. I know when I called the contractor about it last August, he brought out a different electrician than the one who did the installation as in maybe even he wanted a second opinion. The irony of that was that it looked as if they both suspected the electricians that did the installation didn't do something correctly at the well house since there was a 4 foot snake skin in there. That is when they corrected the connections in the well house and retrenched new wire from there to the meter.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Actually now that I think about it...........it may not be related to the pool construction at all. We do indeed have odd issues out here with our well being on a meter by itself (we get two electric bills). It is set up that way because before the house was built (not by us) there were two different mobile home sites on this property and the wiring for those is all buried and was on the meter that now just has the well on it. We've known for years that we should have had the well connected to the same meter as the house but have just never done it (always something else to spend money on, like a pool). One time years ago we lost power to the well and called the power company and as it turned out we had just tripped the breaker and at that time the man from the power company found a hot wire in the ground where there had previously been a mobile home. We corrected that at that time. So with all that in mind, I'm thinking this may not even be related to the construction of the pool..............who knows. But thanks again to everyone for all the input.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    You're missing the point.

    If the pool was properly bonded you'd never feel any 'shock' from the pool water no matter what is happening with any stray voltage. The bonding grid would take care of the stray voltages by making every part of the pool and everything around it at the same potential.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I agree, you have a problem with the pool and until you determine what is wrong with the bonding, you will continue to get shocked which isn't good...
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I agree with the other posters who suggest that this is a potentially dangerous situation.

    I've been in the electrical business since 1974 and I would not consider allowing a loved one to enter that pool until the problem is identified and solved.

    Any good electrician can test all metal components in on and around the pool as well as the pool water itself for voltage potential. Each metal component can be grounded temporarily and you can see if any breakers trip.

    Utility detection equipment like that utilized by Ms. Utility or your power company can identify stray currents in the ground, and might be worth trying. Before trying anything, I'd kill the power to the second incoming electrical service, and see if anything changes. I'd also trip the main breaker for your house as well to help identify the source.

    It is clear that the electrical fault is not gfi protected or if it is, the gfi has failed. If the source is electrical current supplied and leaking from the pool light circuit or the pump motor circuit, these are supposed to be gfi protected through their respective circuit breakers. Those can be tested to see if they are tripping properly. Power to each of those can be interrupted to help further identify the source.

    Good luck and be careful!

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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    Fascinating post - I found this site which gave a good layman's synopsis of the issue:
    http://www.riverpoolsandspas.com/blo...ould-Shock-You

    Now I too finally know what those copper wires are touching everything from my motors to my ladders around the pool.

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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    A good resource to go to would be your local inspections department. Ask for an appointment with your head of the electrical inspections division. Explain the situation to him. Print out the link prettypools posted and bring it with you and show him. Then ask for a list of electricians in your area he would feel are knowledgeable enough to trouble shoot the issue.

    The city inspectors are a great resource you pay for with your taxes and inspection fees, and are usually very happy to help, especially if you approach them in a friendly manner.
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    Re: Electric shock felt in and around pool

    I am willing to bet that the ladders and their mounts (pockets) in the concrete deck are not correctly bonded together and therefore do not have the same potential. The point of bonding the mounts is that this allows the metal rails of the ladders to act as a bond between the water and your pool deck which also equalizes the potential of the water. When you climb out of the water and feel the "tingle" you are essentially becoming the bond and equalizing that 1 volt difference between the water and your concrete deck by becoming the conductor instead of the ladder rail. The water is isolated because your ladders are not properly bonded.

    I didn't even ask if you have ladders. Maybe you have plastic stairs leading into the pool, in which case they make a bond that can be installed in the skimmer.
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