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Thread: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    My electrical inspector said everything looks fine but I need to bond the pump to the pool with number 8 copper wire and number 8 copper nut. why does this need to be done, and what is the safety risk of undoing it when the inspector leaves?
    Beave
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It is a safety issue. Without the bonding wire, should there be a short in the pump that somehow routes AC to the water you could get electrocuted. It isn't at all common that there would be a problem, but even a very small chance of dying is worth some effort to prevent. Bonding causes everything conductive in and around the pool to be at the same electrical potential. If everything is the same there is no way for you to get shocked.
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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It is a safety issue. Without the bonding wire, should there be a short in the pump that somehow routes AC to the water you could get electrocuted. It isn't at all common that there would be a problem, but even a very small chance of dying is worth some effort to prevent. Bonding causes everything conductive in and around the pool to be at the same electrical potential. If everything is the same there is no way for you to get shocked.
    So it is like grounding an electrical outlet or a light fixture? That makes sense...I wish these guys would just speak english when explaining things...Do I need to have someone do it or can I do it myself???
    Beave
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    It's a fairly simple thing to do. You just run the copper wire from one of the bolts on the pool wall to the grounding lug on the pool pump. Of course, it would be good for you to make sure the pump is grounded properly as well. The grounding lug on the pump (mine) is located at the back of the motor on the outside.
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    MJCP's Avatar
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    Grounding the pump

    The electrical setup for my Pump, is grounded through the normal wiring to the timer.
    But the Pump Housing is also Grounded to a copper rod which (I assume) is 8ft long and driven all the way into the ground next to the pump. This same Copper rod can be the point you would connect to ground your pool wall.
    I am not familiar with codes in your area, but I would be surprised if this was not required by code everywhere.Edited by JohnT: The rod is code in Canada, but not the US

    It is easy to do yourself, most good home improvement places sell ground rods 8ft long, driving them down 8ft is easy with a hammer drill (you'll need a step stool to start it), any other way is difficult. (PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE DRIVING THE ROD WILL NOT HIT THE ELECTRIC WIRES, OR GAS LINES) leave about 2 - 3 inches of the rod above the surface, and purchase one or two "Acorn Nuts" at the same hardware store. these make attaching the #8 wire to the ground rod a simple task.
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    MJCP's Avatar
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    Also

    Forgot to mention - Don't undo it after the inspector leaves.
    Just buy a long enough piece of wire and after he has inspected it cover it with a few inches of dirt so you don't trip on it or have to look at it.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Grounding and bonding are not the same thing, although they are related. Grounding means connecting things to ground through a single grounding point in the area of the main panel. Bonding means connecting everything together, without regard for the ground.

    The bonding system should not be connected directly to ground, though there may very well be an indirect connection through the pump or a lighting circuit. Driving a grounding spike is not recommended in the US, though some other countries recommend it.

    There should be two different connections on the pump. One by the motor next to the AC input that gets connected to ground and another on the pump housing that gets connected to the bonding system.
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    I'm not an electrical expert here, but understand basic electricity.

    There is a difference between bonding and grounding.
    You want to bond all of your metal parts together so electricity does not try to travel in between them if there is a short.
    You usually have a grounding rod near your service panel to make sure any shorts go to that point, not travel through all those metal parts. Electricity wants to...and will take the shortest easiest path to ground, so this just makes sure it doesn't take a path through your pool water, ladders, rails, lights, etc, before going to ground.

    This is important, don't just pass inspection and then disconnect.
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    MJIP,

    JasonLion and belldiver are correct in their statements that "bonding" and "grounding" serve different functions and are created using different methods.

    The electrical setup for my Pump, is grounded through the normal wiring to the timer.
    But the Pump Housing is also Grounded to a copper rod which (I assume) is 8ft long and driven all the way into the ground next to the pump. This same Copper rod can be the point you would connect to ground your pool wall.
    The first sentence is correct in that the insulated green wire from the timer should terminate on the ground connection near where the power wires terminate.

    The second sentence isn't so correct. The pump housing is bonded ("bonded" has a very specific meaning in the electrical code) via a minimum #8 bare solid copper wire to all other metal parts in your pool system (pool light, junction boxes for pool lights, timer metal box, heater metal enclosure, metal pipes, ladder, metal fences, rebar in the concrete decking, rebar in the gunite pool shell, etc.). Basically everything metal within 5 feet horizontal of the pool inside walls and 12 feet vertical of the maximum water height need to be "bonded" together with the bare #8 (minimum) solid copper wire. The goal is to provide a means of equalizing the potential (voltage) of all equipment and parts so there will be no current flow between parts. By keeping the potential (voltage) difference as low as practicable, the shock hazard is reduced significantly. The copper rod, as you can see, is not the important thing here, and is not required in the "bonding" as described abovel The really important thing for "bonding" is that all of these metal parts in the pool area are connected together.

    Please note that this "bonding" #8 minimum solid bare copper wire is completely separate from "grounding", which is where you normally see the green insulated stranded copper wire (usually #12 minimum size).

    I hope this helps. The concepts of "grounding" and "bonding" confuse even pool builders and electrical contractors who should know better. Here is a link to the National Electrical Code that covers the section dealing with swimming pools, spas, etc. (Please disregard the first 15 pages of the pdf - the stuff about swimming pools starts on page 16). http://www.mikeholt.com/files/PDF/Pooldownload.pdf

    Figure 680-20 on page 23 shows both grounding and bonding
    Figures 680-22 and 680-23 show details on bonding.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Gosh Beave,

    They even lost me....I don't even know what they heck they are talking about, they might as well be speaking German. Good luck with this one.

    Now I'm wondering if our pool is grounded or bonded or whatever....

    Since Dave did the elec himself, what are the odds he'll recall if this was done properly?

    Tee heee....I just wanted to respond to one of your posts, LOL

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    monkeywrench's Avatar
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    Titanium is exactly right.
    Here in MA the electrical code also calls for specific lugs call "J" lugs designed for underground use, also the bond conductor should be continous where ever possible which will take some thought on how your route will go to determine the overall length. I did my own (IG SS wall w/ liner) all walls, lighting , handrail and ladder cups,heater,pump, and fencing ( don't forget the gates break the loop so bond both sides of the fence at the gate) in one loop took 150 of bond wire.

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    MJCP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the correction to my statement.

    Thanks - I stand corrected.
    (I thought I knew what I was talking about on this one, but I am glad those of you who spotted my error spoke up)
    My apologies if my answer confused anyone.
    -- admin - feel free to delete since it may mislead someone --

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re:

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Gosh Beave,

    They even lost me....I don't even know what they heck they are talking about, they might as well be speaking German. Good luck with this one.

    Now I'm wondering if our pool is grounded or bonded or whatever....

    Since Dave did the elec himself, what are the odds he'll recall if this was done properly?

    Tee heee....I just wanted to respond to one of your posts, LOL

    Love,
    Your sister "by proxy"
    It was really quite easy to do...I showed Frustratedpoolmom how to do it. I just went to Home Depot and bought about 10 feet of #8 solid copper grounding wire...Check your local code...as I re read my manual it did have intructions for how to do this. But basically there is a brass pressure fitting on the back of my Hayward pump right below the on off program switch...you loosen the pressure screw on that and slide the number 8 solid copper wire into the slot. then tighten the screw. After that you run the other end of the wire to the part of your pool where the walls are bolted together. Undo one of the nuts there and put on a similar brass fitting also bought at home Depot, and replace with the same nut that you just took off. Attach the wire in the same way to the fitting as on the pump...You are bonded...Poolmom has pics...maybe she will post them here so everyone can see how it looks...I passed inspection no problem...Electircal guy said he could not have done any better. It really is that simple.

    CubbyBeave!!!
    Beave
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    Re: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    How do you bond to a fiberglass pool? There aren't any bolts you can attach your copper wire to.
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    Re: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ke
    How do you bond to a fiberglass pool? There aren't any bolts you can attach your copper wire to.
    Non-conductive material doesn't have to be bonded.....but effective with the 2005 NEC, code requires a conductive grid under the pool and decking. It requires a 12"X12" 8AWG copper grid following the contour of the pool and extending horizontally a minimum of three feet into the decking. The crossing points of the grid must be welded together or connected with listed clamps or pressure connectors.
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    Re: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    John,

    Does this apply to EZ-Set type pools? Can you provide any additional info on the clamps? Is there a depth specified (touching the liner, under the sand, etc.)? Thanks!

    Tom

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    Re: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomU
    John,

    Does this apply to EZ-Set type pools? Can you provide any additional info on the clamps? Is there a depth specified (touching the liner, under the sand, etc.)? Thanks!

    Tom
    No, only permanently installed pools.
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    Re: What is bonding the pump to the pool?

    In our fiberglass pool, we have a concrete deck around, all the rebars and meshwire are tied together, which is also tied to the sockets for the handrail, and there is a copper wire coming out to the side of the pool and is connected to a metal grid which is buried into the ground. But between the equipment pad and the pool, there is no bonding. We are in Toronto, Canada, so the codes are probably different.
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