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Thread: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

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    help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    Let me first say that I am not attempting to do any electrical work myself, but my landlord sends his general maintenance guy to do the electric work on the pool. I'd like to be able to know if he's doing the work correctly.

    Our light went out a few months ago and a pool guy came out last week to replace it. He tried to check the GFCI but we don't have one. He wouldn't replace the light and recommended an electrician. The junction box is a few feet from the pool and is a box with a front cover (no GFCI). The light switch is in a breaker box that is dedicated to the pump and light. Do I just need a GFCI receptacle in the junction box, or is it not that simple? The house was built in the 60's. I don't know how old the pool is but it's possibly as old as the house. I am purchasing the house soon and want the work done correctly.

    Also, the front cover has not been on the junction box. Ii think it's been off for a few months and I'm wondering if water got in and behind the light. Would that cause the light to go out? I got a cover and fixed it yesterday.

    Thanks for any feedback....

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    Willi's Avatar
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    Could there possibly be a GFCI circuit breaker in the main electrical panel?
    If none, I would have a GFCI breaker installed in the house panel to protect the entire circuit.

    If it trips the electric will be interrupted at the panel and not in the junction box out by the pool.
    18' x 36' IG Vinyl 30K gallon, Hayward 1 1/2 HP pump and DE Filter hardpiped, Aqua Pro 1300 Electric Heat Pump.
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    The best thing is to hire a qualified/licensed electrician; your landlord should be happy to do this as the lack of a GFI(ground fault interrupter) is now on record and the liability issue is on him. If possible I would try to have the light on it's own GFI as any slight power surge or electricity outage for even fraction of a second will shut down the pump(trip the breaker and not restart) as well as the light. Refrigerators(unlike other kitchen appliances) do not have to be on a GFI circuit for that very reason, their constant on/off cycle would trip a GFI. Building codes may require a separate dedicated pool light circuit, but a licensed electrician(no "handyman" please, this is life threatening) will know what is required.

    good luck, Brian
    15,000 ig plaster (kidney shape approx 30'x16'), Hayward 1.5hp "Max-flo" pump, Hayward DE filter(48 sq. ft effective filtration area, 96gpm, 6lbs DE), TF-100 Santa Barbara, CA

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    Welcome to TFP!!!
    My pool also did not have a GFCI on the pool light when we bought this house. The junction box (deck box) near the pool is just where the power to the light is connected to the light cord. What I did is added a GFCI outlet near the equipment pad. The light power comes from the circuit breaker to the GFCI outlet, then the power to the pool light switch comes off the protected side of the GFCI outlet and then from the light switch to the deck box.

    The other alternative is to use a GFCI breaker as stated above, although this would be best if that circuit was dedicated to only the light and not the pump as well. Another note is the current code often now requires that the pump be on a GFCI breaker as well.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    Great, thank you for the info. It looks like the pump is hardwired and not plugged into an outlet. Does that affect any codes that the pump must be protected as well? Also, I know the pool was completely refinished a few years back (2009/2010), so I'm really hoping that there is something that I am missing. How would I know if the breaker box by the pool is GFI? The box looks fairly new but I am unable to find anywhere to reset the GFCI.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    I think a GFCI would be pretty obvious if it was there.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Willi's Avatar
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    Re: help with pool light wiring/GFCI

    Quote Originally Posted by jdub View Post
    Great, thank you for the info. It looks like the pump is hardwired and not plugged into an outlet. Does that affect any codes that the pump must be protected as well? Also, I know the pool was completely refinished a few years back (2009/2010), so I'm really hoping that there is something that I am missing. How would I know if the breaker box by the pool is GFI? The box looks fairly new but I am unable to find anywhere to reset the GFCI.
    The pump should have a means of disconnect at or close by but not closer than 5 feet to the pool. Means of disconnect is either by a twist lock plug or in your case being hardwired you would need to have a certified electrician install a breaker or switch that is GFCI protected.

    GFCI outlets and breakers will have a test and reset button on the device.

    The best thing to do is get the certified electrician there to provide a plan and quote.
    18' x 36' IG Vinyl 30K gallon, Hayward 1 1/2 HP pump and DE Filter hardpiped, Aqua Pro 1300 Electric Heat Pump.
    TF100 Test Kit on order !
    Commercial Popcorn machine, sno cone machine and cotton candy machine, lost my red nose.

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