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Thread: water bonding different than bonding the pool

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    water bonding different than bonding the pool

    My brother, who is a by the book electrician and teacher in MA has informed me that not only the pool needs to be bonded, but also the water has to be bonded (and in our case our fence since it's less than 5 feet from waters edge). Noone has seemed to hear of a water bonder. I looked it up and it was created in 2008 and in AZ no one is forced to take trainings, so ofcourse the city nor electricians are up to date on code. They try to say that they have been doing their job for 30 yrs, but that doesn't mean they are doing it accurately or that they r current. My brother is out of the state and I have an email in to the creator of the water along with awaiting a call from someone else who sells water bonders. Apparantly it's a $40 part and easy to install so worst case scenario I will purchase it but with a new pool the pb needs to be up to code, so really, it's his responsibility. I already had to educate them on having the convenience receptical, along with the city inspector who got nasty with me saying he's been doing this for so many years. Well, they were wrong.
    The electrician finally just told me that I'm being nitpicky and that if we throw a radio into the pool no one will get electrocuted because they wrapped copper wire around the pool and it's grounded 5-6 feet into the ground on the rebar of the pool.

    Anyone with any knowledge in this are or awareness of electric help me out pls? does it make sense that the water needs to be bonded, too? Someone said they thought it makes sense that the pool is somewhat insulating the water so that they can see how the water needs to bonded, too.

    links: this one says that "other products available r placed in the plumbing, which is not always in contact with the water and therefore does not meet code. it also says "NEC (national electric code) 2008 680.26 (C) states: 'An intentional bond of a minimum conductive surface area of 9' shall be installed in contact with the pool water. This bond shall be permitted to consist of parts that are required to be bonded in 680.26(b).'" I'm not clear on this lingo but I know my bro says the water bonding is code.

    http://www.scottelectricusa.com/Prod...b680_flyer.pdf
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    Well, your quote is almost correct....

    Here it is
    (C) Pool Water. A minimum conductive surface area of 9 sq in. must be installed in contact with the pool, outdoor spa, or outdoor hot tub structure water. This water bond is permitted to consist of metal parts that are required to be bonded in 680.26(B)
    So, if you have any metal component that is required to be bonded such as a metal ladder, underwater light niche made of metal ect. then you do not have to have a separate "water bonding plate" like this one.

    That the electrician's statement about throwing a radio in the pool shows that he lacks training in bonding. The thing that protects you from a radio being thrown in the pool is grounding and a GFCI. Bonding is a slightly different matter. The basis of bonding is that all metal parts in and around the water are at the same potential.

    Now, the inspector may be correct. I believe (I very well could be wrong on this point) that the water bonding requirement was added in the 2008 changes to the National Electric Code. The funny thing about "National" codes (electric, plumbing and the like) is that there is no requirement for jurisdictions to adopt them. If your area is still working with a pre 2008 version of the code than the inspector is correct, it is not required. You could give them a call and ask what version of the NEC they have adopted.
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    tim5055, thanku! the quote of the code I got was from the website that is selling water bonders. sounds like u're saying they got the code wrong? sounds like it's saying two different things? my brother left vacation with a text that said if there is a light nitche fixture then we should be fine. would u be able to educate me on what a light nitche fixture is? an underwater light? we have 2 color logic LEDs.

    As for the NEC, i believe u r right that the water bonding changes were added to the 2008 NEC and Phoenix adopted the code in 2011. The pb said that there is something or other that overrides the NEC and makes decisions on if they r going to enforce NEC's "recommendations." This makes no sense to me. wouldn't a licensed electrician need to stay loyal to the NEC if the jurisdiction did adopt it?

    thanku!
    40' x 12' IG shotcrete (3 1/2' 5, 4'), Hayward variable spd pumpSP3400VSP, Paramount PV3 in-floor, venturi skimmer, 14,400 glns, Hayward Turbo salt cell T Cell-15, UV, Hayward DE filter, model DE4820, 2 Hayward Color Logic 320 LED color lights, Hayward P4 w puck. 2" line to in-floor valve (46'), deck mount canister parascoping fountain, leaf canister, Marbella, pebble. new build 6-24-15

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorsgal View Post
    The pb said that there is something or other that overrides the NEC and makes decisions on if they r going to enforce NEC's "recommendations." This makes no sense to me. wouldn't a licensed electrician need to stay loyal to the NEC if the jurisdiction did adopt it?
    The NEC is just a book. It's when a local authority adopts it that it becomes law. The PB has no leeway on following it or not. That is up to the inspector.

    The water bond is for cases where there is nothing metal in the pool to serve as the water bond. A pool with no light and a plastic ladder is a case where you'd need a water bond. Your pool will have two lights, so those should take care of the requirement in your case.
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    John and Tim have both pretty much covered what is needed. The thing most people misunderstand about the NEC is that they are not a rules enforcement entity. The NEC board sets the standards for the codes based on sound electrical theory, research, past problems and unfortunately industry lobbying. (I won't get into the whole arc fault issue)
    In order for the NEC rules to be in effect the state government and in some instances, local governments, need to adopt the code cycle that is current or relatively current. What that means for instance is most areas are on either the 2008 or 2011 code cycle (the NEC releases updated codes every three years) The most current code cycle is the 2014 edition. Very few areas have adopted this yet.

    When it comes to pool bonding I would venture to guess that more than 90% of the pool builders out there have no fundamental understanding of what it is doing. I would have a hard time estimating how many electricians know how it works as the requirements to be an electrician vary from state to state. I recently fixed a bonding issue on a pool that a licensed electrician did. What surprised me on this, is the inspector wouldn't pass it. Well, actually it didn't as the inspector in this case does know his job and referred the customer to me to get it done right.

    As Tim and John eluded to, if there is a metal light niche (socket) in the pool and it is properly connected to the bonding grid then you are good to go. Since this is a concrete pool, the insulative properties of the concrete is very low. And as such the water in contact with the concrete/plaster is going to form a fairly good bond with the grid. If this were a vinyl pool I would definitely suggest a water bond device for the skimmer as well as a light niche connection.
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorsgal View Post
    tim5055, thanku! the quote of the code I got was from the website that is selling water bonders. sounds like u're saying they got the code wrong? sounds like it's saying two different things? my brother left vacation with a text that said if there is a light nitche fixture then we should be fine. would u be able to educate me on what a light nitche fixture is? an underwater light? we have 2 color logic LEDs.

    As for the NEC, i believe u r right that the water bonding changes were added to the 2008 NEC and Phoenix adopted the code in 2011. The pb said that there is something or other that overrides the NEC and makes decisions on if they r going to enforce NEC's "recommendations." This makes no sense to me. wouldn't a licensed electrician need to stay loyal to the NEC if the jurisdiction did adopt it?

    thanku!
    What I was pointing out in your quote was yours said 9' (meaning 9 feet) when the code says 9 sq inches, a big difference in measurement!

    You have two questions here -

    The light niche is really a bucket, turned sideways in the pool wall that the light is installed in. They look like THIS (this link if for identification purposes, not that this is the only niche or that they all look lie this) I like this link because if you watch the pictures scroll you see that some on the light niches are metal and some plastic. So, if the one in your pool is metal (most are in concrete pools) you are good. if yours is plastic, then you will need the additional water bond.

    The second deals with what is known as your AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Most areas of the country have what is know as an AHJ who set policy for their area on building codes. Yours may be the city council, or the council may have delegated the responsibility to a building department/director. That AHJ, as danpik pointed out decides which version of a code they are going to adopt as the law in their area of jurisdiction. If they really want to get into the weeds, an AHJ has the authority to exclude any section they want from the code they adopt. From what I read, there was controversy when the water bond section was proposed and a vocal group in the industry thought it unnecessary. So, when the 2008 code was adopted by the AHJ they could decide to exclude that section form enforcement in their jurisdiction. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. That is why people have to be very careful in making sweeping proclamations when they say something is "required" by the code. The NEC may require something, but it does not have to be adopted everywhere. There are even area of the US today that have no building codes in force and many are still multiple code versions behind.
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    thx so much for the info! i'm getting much closer to understanding, although there are still questions with if the AHJ requires Phoenix to follow the 2011 code that Phx has adopted. We have the Hayward Color Logic 320 LED color lights. they are pretty small. does anyone know if the part that is not touching water accounts for the 9 sq inches or would the entire niche and does anyone know if they are metal or plastic? pool is being filled, pool is paid, and we need to decide if we need this part and then if we fight for it or just install it ourselves. thanku!!
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    You want to know if your pool is bonded?

    1. Call your PB ask him if he installed the water bond and if he did how he did it.
    2. Most water bonds are achieved by installing a 9 sq inch plate in the light niche and connecting that plate to the bonding system or grid. You or a pool tech can remove your light and look in the light niche to see if the plate is present and is correctly connected to the grid. It must be both present and connected to the grid for the bond to be effective.
    3. While it is true that you can correctly bond a pool by connecting the metal ladder to the grid (and it should be connected anyway) most electricians will want a water bond in the light niche. People can remove ladders and leave the pool without a water bond, light niches are less likely to be removed.
    4. I'm unaware of any single part that can be added to a pool and magically achieve a water bond. Bonding is achieved by tying together the parts of the pool that can carry a current (have electrical potential) with a 8 gauge copper wire so that all parts of the pool have equal electrical potential. So for example if you add a metal fence within say ten feet of your pool you need to connect it to the existing bonding system. That means finding the existing bonding wire and connecting the fence to it with bare eight gauge wire using listed connectors.

    5. All pools need to be bonded -- the code is immaterial -- all pools need to be boned to the greatest extent possible.

    6. If you have concerns :
    call your pool builder -- he may have an electrician on staff
    call an electrician with pool experience (yea they can be tough to find) but there are more in Phoenix than in Duluth.
    Call around with pool service guys and get the names of electricians they use

    - - - Updated - - -

    You want to know if your pool is bonded?

    1. Call your PB ask him if he installed the water bond and if he did how he did it.
    2. Most water bonds are achieved by installing a 9 sq inch plate in the light niche and connecting that plate to the bonding system or grid. You or a pool tech can remove your light and look in the light niche to see if the plate is present and is correctly connected to the grid. It must be both present and connected to the grid for the bond to be effective.
    3. While it is true that you can correctly bond a pool by connecting the metal ladder to the grid (and it should be connected anyway) most electricians will want a water bond in the light niche. People can remove ladders and leave the pool without a water bond, light niches are less likely to be removed.
    4. I'm unaware of any single part that can be added to a pool and magically achieve a water bond. Bonding is achieved by tying together the parts of the pool that can carry a current (have electrical potential) with a 8 gauge copper wire so that all parts of the pool have equal electrical potential. So for example if you add a metal fence within say ten feet of your pool you need to connect it to the existing bonding system. That means finding the existing bonding wire and connecting the fence to it with bare eight gauge wire using listed connectors.

    5. All pools need to be bonded -- the code is immaterial -- all pools need to be boned to the greatest extent possible.

    6. If you have concerns :
    call your pool builder -- he may have an electrician on staff
    call an electrician with pool experience (yea they can be tough to find) but there are more in Phoenix than in Duluth.
    Call around with pool service guys and get the names of electricians they use
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    gwegan,

    While I agree with yyour intent that bonding is an important issue, I think there are a couple of inaccuracies in your post:

    1. I would bet that most water bonds are achieved via the bonding of a metallic light niche body itself rather than the addition of a bonding plate.

    2. Your example of an added fence ten feet from the pool is inaccurate. The code specifically that the distance from the pool of objects needing to be bonded is five feet
    680.26 (B)(5) Metal Wiring Methods and Equipment.Metal piping, fixed metal parts, observation stands, towers, platforms, or diving structures, as well as metallic surfaces of electrical equipment located within 5 ft horizontally of the inside walls of the pool, outdoor spa or hot tub, and within 12 ft above the maximum water level.
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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    Tim:

    In my experience most of the PBs in California are using plastic light niches and inserting a bonding plate. I agree the NEC requirement is 5 feet from the inside wall of the pool -- my error. The idea of course is to prevent situations where someone inside the pool could have contact with a object with a significantly different electrical potential.

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    Re: water bonding different than bonding the pool

    gwegan and tim5055, couldn't get on site for a couple of days. i've been speaking with the pb about this and the electrician told me i'm being nitpicky, that if someone throws a radio in the pool noone will get electricuted, and that the fence is bonded to the pool. they said the rebar around the pool is what bonds the pool. my brother in the end, the electrician in MA who started this whole idea with me that i need the water bonder now thinks that there is probably enough moisture in the walls of the pool that the rebar would be sufficient if i understood him correctly. his text to me said, "the rebar would have a protective covering. i don't recall seeing it (in the pics i sent him). as long as the rebar is in contact with the shotcrete and there isn't a liner the concrete is porous enough to allow moisture to contact the rebar and provide a condutive path."

    the lights we have r plastic, so with that i'm left confused but thinking of just dropping it since my brother brought this u and now seems comfortable with it, unless there are any other comments. i'll ask my husband and see if he wants to pursue it. each time we have we don't understand enough to get anywhere, even despite your great explanations! i'll have him read the posts and decide if we want to ask more questions about it. thx!!
    40' x 12' IG shotcrete (3 1/2' 5, 4'), Hayward variable spd pumpSP3400VSP, Paramount PV3 in-floor, venturi skimmer, 14,400 glns, Hayward Turbo salt cell T Cell-15, UV, Hayward DE filter, model DE4820, 2 Hayward Color Logic 320 LED color lights, Hayward P4 w puck. 2" line to in-floor valve (46'), deck mount canister parascoping fountain, leaf canister, Marbella, pebble. new build 6-24-15

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