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Thread: Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    hi
    hope someone is still on this site-----i am having the same problemas -PLUKY71------but its a hot tub----setting on a 16X16 wooden deck--
    power comes from a 50amp circuit breaker- 4 wires to a 60amp gfi--then 3 wires go to the tub all 8guage-----the gfi has never kicked out or the breaker---all are approx. 3yrs old---i also live in the country--- so there is no other electrical things around---on rainy days if u are bare feet---and and put your hands in the water u can feel the shock---cuts u can feel stronger---i even took a testor---touched one small metal screw that is in the fiberglass which secures the filter housing---touched it with one contact put the other in the water and the needle would move some--with shoes on u notice nothing or if u get in u notice nothing---the tub has 3 pumps--2 3hp ones and one circulation----all 3 motors are grounded to the control panel with 8 guage wire---same wire is used to feed the tub-------the heater housing has a ground wire that goes to the control panel---all the wires look good-and are tight i do not have a ground wire going into the ground---help please---thanks wes poore

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Hi welcome to TFP.

    I do not know how to diagnose and repair a problem like this. I ran my electric, wired my 50a gfi shut off box and installed my own tub. If it was my tub I would call the company I bought it from for a recommendation.

    Maybe someone else will come along who has run into this problem and solved it.
    Good luck!
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Sounds to me like you have a ground differential going on... In other words, the ground potential of the water and the ground potential of the deck surrounding the tub is different from each other. This is why they "bond" everything together with swimming pools... Probably need to get an electrician involved and possibly the power company... May be a bad ground to the tub, may need to drive a ground rod for the tub, could be a bad neautral on the power company's side, etc.

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    I agree with stebs, sounds like you have an electrical potential problem. Recommend to call an electrician asap to get it resolved. In the meantime, I would recommend to stay out of the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by stebs View Post
    Sounds to me like you have a ground differential going on... In other words, the ground potential of the water and the ground potential of the deck surrounding the tub is different from each other. This is why they "bond" everything together with swimming pools... Probably need to get an electrician involved and possibly the power company... May be a bad ground to the tub, may need to drive a ground rod for the tub, could be a bad neautral on the power company's side, etc.
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Are you standing on the wood deck when you feel the shock from the water? From the sounds of it you did all of the install yourself, correct? Did you put in a bonding loop/grid and bond the equipment and surrounding area properly?

    There has been volumes written on this forum about this very problem mostly because people do not understand voltage gradients/potential and how to control them. Right now you have two different voltage potentials at your hot tub and the shock you feel is because you are becoming the conductor between them.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    Are you standing on the wood deck when you feel the shock from the water? From the sounds of it you did all of the install yourself, correct? Did you put in a bonding loop/grid and bond the equipment and surrounding area properly?

    There has been volumes written on this forum about this very problem mostly because people do not understand voltage gradients/potential and how to control them. Right now you have two different voltage potentials at your hot tub and the shock you feel is because you are becoming the conductor between them.
    I'm having a hard time picturing if this is a "portable" tub which would not require a bonding grid or a permanent installation which would require it.

    In either case the recommendations to stay out of the water and get an electrician involved are good ones.
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    I'm having a hard time picturing if this is a "portable" tub which would not require a bonding grid or a permanent installation which would require it.

    In either case the recommendations to stay out of the water and get an electrician involved are good ones.
    Understood, However, voltage gradients don't care weather or not something is "portable", "temporary" or permanent. Voltage gradients exist all over the universe and sometimes they get big enough that we feel them. By the description he gave of the symptoms, it sounds like a bonding problem.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    When I asked about the reason they do electrical bonds with pools, My PB told me a story about an owner getting a very minor shock every time they got in there pool. This was prior to bonds being required by code. Anyway, the issue turned out to be an issues 2 houses away that was the fault of the power company. It took the power company 3 months to confess to the issue and fix it.
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    HDClown

    I have heard about these issues and don't deny that they exist.

    Several years ago I had to fix a bonding problem on a pool. The owner was getting some pretty severe shocks and was sure it was a problem with something on the POCO lines. I fixed the bonding grid around the pool and eliminated the shocking problem. He was happy but still was convinced it was something on the POCO side. Fast forward about 2 years and we had a large area wide power outage that lasted several hours and covered a large portion of the northeast. With nothing to do I decided to test a theory. I went to his house, unhooked the bonding grid from the water and tested again. With an area wide power outage there should have been no "stray" voltage in the area. When I put one meter probe in the ground and the other in the water I measure a voltage differential of almost 3 volts.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    No doubt it is likely stray voltage from somewhere that is using the human as a ground. This sounds like a self contained, stand alone tub. Like a HotSprings or Jacuzzi etc??
    At least by me, there are no external bonding grid requirements for stand alone tubs.

    If I remember right my tub has a bonding wire (bare #6 copper) that runs from each pump to ground bar the control panel.

    Could it be as simple as one of those has come unhooked?

    I also have a rubber coated cord that has the conductors that connect to a plastic plug that plugs into the control panel. That is what powers the motor, the above bare copper wire is in addition to that.


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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Quote Originally Posted by bdex View Post
    No doubt it is likely stray voltage from somewhere that is using the human as a ground. This sounds like a self contained, stand alone tub. Like a HotSprings or Jacuzzi etc??
    At least by me, there are no external bonding grid requirements for stand alone tubs.
    A lot of times it is referred to as stray voltage. In actuality, it is two or more voltage potentials trying to equal out when the human becomes the conductor between them. As I stated earlier, voltage gradients do not care weather the code requires a bonding grid or not. If the gradients exist they need to be evened out with bonding.


    Quote Originally Posted by bdex View Post
    If I remember right my tub has a bonding wire (bare #6 copper) that runs from each pump to ground bar the control panel.

    Could it be as simple as one of those has come unhooked?
    Something does not sound right here. Bonding grids/wires are not required to be nor should be connected to the ground/neutral bars in a panel. It sounds like they are being used as EGC's (equipment Grounding Conductors) which if this is the case should not be bare wires. NEC 680 required ECG's to be insulated.


    Quote Originally Posted by bdex View Post
    I also have a rubber coated cord that has the conductors that connect to a plastic plug that plugs into the control panel. That is what powers the motor, the above bare copper wire is in addition to that.


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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    hi
    yes i did all the work myself----it is a very old hot tub-1998---i put 3 new pumps and a lot of plumbing control panel orginal has never blown a fuse either----it has worked fine for 2yrs now---
    --i called a spa place that sells the same kind of hot tub-VITA---he told me to get a new -GFCI- because it should be kicking out-its your first line of safety---the one i have is a-- connecticut electric spa disconnect load center has a60 amp breaker------designed just for spas pools etc.---it has never kicked out-----he said if i have an electrical charge in the water it should kick out-----yesterday 5-16-15 i put a new one in---$150.00--they dont give them away --ha--i installed it then--- from all the reading i have done i ran more grounding---the -GFCI- disconnect is loacted approx. 5ft. from the tub just just outside the deck---i ran a 12 guage wire from the ground bussbar--then inside the control panel--- where i have all 3 pumps grounded i ran a 12 guage wire from that buss bar-- connecting both of the 12 guage wires to a 7 ft long copper rod drove in the ground------then i tried the tub---it ran about 12 seconds---with al the pumps heater and air blower plugged in------it will not stay runing with the circulation pump and the heater pluged in-------it will run with both 3hp pumps runing and the blower---and i have no current in the water with them runing------the heater is 17 yrs old-------circulation pump is 2yrs old-----the only thing electric that touches the water is the heater-------------any ideas

    - - - Updated - - -

    hi
    yes it is a stand alone--item---and it has ran for 2 yrs fine-----new pumps plumbing orginal control panel and orginal 17yr old heater---i grounded the pumps with 6 or 8 guage wire each has a ground connection on them ---and ran them to the grounding busbar---all 3 are tight and still look new----and dry---
    hi
    i have a 1997 vita spa-seats 5---new on rainy days if u are bare foot and touch the water while standing on the wooden deck
    the water will shock u ---help

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    I am having a real hard time deciphering your post, sorry. what I am getting out of it is you have tried changing the GFCI in hopes of solving what I think is a difference in measure voltage potentials (gradients). If you have measured voltage in the water and it is not coming from voltage leakage from an appliance connected to the pool, the GFCI will not trip.

    GFCI's only trip when there is a voltage differential between the hot and neutral of a 120 volt system and the L1 and L2 of a 240 volt system. The GFCI will not trip if there is a bonding problem (not grounding). You can connect as many ground wires as possible without solving this problem if it is indeed a voltage potential difference between two items.

    I am not rely sure what you are trying to do by driving a ground rod. Ground rods will not clear faults. They are for high voltage events such as lightning strikes
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    hi
    sorry but i am not a good writer---and i do not know electrical terms--
    tub was given to me--all that was good on the tub was the control panel, the tub itself, the outer covering, and some plumbing
    i worked on it for about 9 months new plumbing-new pumps new wiringand a lot of cleaning---looks new---has ran fine for approx. 2yrs---then approx. 3 weeks ago could fell a small shock or tingle if standing on the wooden deck bare footed and touching the water in the tub------the GFCI- was purched new 2yrs ago--designed for pools and spas--it has never kicked out--never---i took an ohm meter and grounded it stuck the other end in the water and it would show small charge in the water---so i stoped using the tub and started reading and asking questions-----but not knowing the proper words to use i didnt get any real positive advice answers---from
    all advice i got i grounded all the pumps control panel together and then ran that to the ground i live in a very rural area no other electrical around in the ground----that was not what was puting the charge in the warter-----installed a new -GFCI- it kicked out within 12 seconds of the tub runing---so i started unpluging and unhooking the electrical parts of the tub one at a time to see what was causing the iussue----if i am right its the 17yr. old heater element----tub runs fine and no cjharge in the water with the heater disconnected----
    and i made several tests---new heater on the way ---
    hi
    i have a 1997 vita spa-seats 5---new on rainy days if u are bare foot and touch the water while standing on the wooden deck
    the water will shock u ---help

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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Wes,

    There are several safety systems that need to be present to protect you. Here's a list of few of them.


    1. GFCI protection on incoming power - you HAVE that, but you can see, sometimes they go bad and they don't fully protect you against all faults.

    2. GROUND connections to all powered equipment - you HAVE that, but their purpose is to mostly to ensure the circuit breakers trip quickly when there's a fault, so as not to start a fire.

    3. BONDING connections to all conductive components (including water and decking) - YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS IMPORTANT SAFETY SYSTEM which would have prevented you from being shocked, even when your GFCI was faulty.

    BONDING is DIFFERENT from grounding. It is a totally SEPARATE wiring system. It does not use ground wires. It uses a group of SEPARATE, bare, uninsulated, copper wires to interconnect all the conductive elements of your spa/pool.

    You're probably thinking, "Why do I need a SEPARATE bonding system, when I have a grounding system that already connects all the same points together?" The answer is that your grounding system was designed to cause circuit breakers to trip when there's a fault condition. The grounding system wire is NOT sized properly to even-out "stray" voltages, and it is probably NOT connected to all the "shock" path components of your spa, like your water and deck.

    If you had a properly installed SEPARATE BONDING system, you would not have felt any shock, even with a defective heater and a defective GFCI. A SEPARATE BONDING system is the best protection against shocks and is standard practice for all modern installations.
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    have you tested your GFCI with the test button to see if it trips?

    I had a GFCI circuit breaker go bad and the button would not trip it.
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    Re: Electrical shock from my pool water!

    Quote Originally Posted by borjis View Post
    have you tested your GFCI with the test button to see if it trips?

    I had a GFCI circuit breaker go bad and the button would not trip it.
    And, this is the best way to test a GFCI. The test button shunts a small (5-10 Milliamp ) current from the hot to the neutral to cause the circuit to trip. Most GFCI's have a trip threshold of 4-6 millivolts.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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