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Thread: Bonding the water???

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    98xc600's Avatar
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    Bonding the water???

    Split off of How to bond a resin pool? JasonLion

    Quote Originally Posted by cubbybeave08
    Looks Good and now you are safe too.
    You're safer but not completely safe. You have to remember that you don't have any metal parts in contact with the the water so if some electrical equipment was to fall in the water, the breaker or the GFCI will not trip. In order for a breaker or GFCI to work properly the current has to have a path to ground.

    With above ground pools you don't have any path to ground, all you have is a isolated body of water. If something electrified was to touch the pool wall the breaker or GFCI should trip,because the wall is bonded to ground. But not if it fell in the water. The vinyl liner and the PVC pipe isolate the water from ground. So if you had a person standing in the water and touching the pool wall the GFCI should trip because that person becomes the path to ground. But if you had a person standing in the middle of the pool not touching the metal wall there going to get electrocuted and the GFCI will never trip.

    I'm not saying GFCI don't work, they do under the right conditions. Look at most of your small appliances, they don't have a 3 prong plug they only have 2. That means that they don't have a ground wire running to them so when they fall into the pool it still has no path to ground untill you make contact between the water and some sort of ground path.

    The same thing hold true with all these whirlpool bathtub in your home and your hot tubs. They are all fiberglass with all PVC piping.You need some sort of metal in contact with the water and grounded for the GFCI to work.

    Ive been an electrician for 18 years and I have tested to see if the GFCI would trip with no path to ground and it didn't. but as soon as i put a ground wire in the water it trip instantly. I also used a meter to check the voltage in the water with a hair dryer in the water and I was reading 118 volts to ground. [i]Please don't try this just believe me and leave it at that.[/i]
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    98...so have you bonded your water? I hear all you have to do is use a 6" copper nipple with a grounding block soldered to it and attach it to your bonding wire...you can put it anywhere between your skimmer and pump intake, since it is always in contact w/ the water. I also saw this gizmo ...but don't know if it passes code...I like my copper pipe idea

    http://www.waterbonder.com/

    Also, I'll make sure any outlets on the deck are as far away from the pool area as possible
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Honestly, no, my water is not bonded. My pump is bonded and I still use a GFCI for the pump but I don't allow any other electrical item anywhere near our pool. My theory for that is I don't want my families lives or mine to depend on a mechanical device to protect us, mechanical devices can fail at any time so if no electricity can get in the water then I don't have anything to worry about.

    Yes, all you need is a short piece of metallic pipe placed in the system (9sq inches according to the code if I remember right) with a water pipe ground clamp. I wouldn't solder a ground lug on to the pipe because under a fault condition the solder could heat fast enough to melt and then you would lose your path to ground.

    Thanks for the link on the waterbonder I never seen them before. They look like they would work good.
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Thanks 98...I like your thinking

    The only thing on the water bonder is I doubt it passes the 9" sq requirement...but pictures can be deceiving...thanks again for the advice
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by 98xc600
    But if you had a person standing in the middle of the pool not touching the metal wall there going to get electrocuted and the GFCI will never trip.
    That's not true. You have to touch two points that are at different potentials to be injured by electricity. The water will be raised to 120V, but everything you can touch will be at 120V, so you don't get any current flow.

    The reason the hair dryer deal read 118V is because you put the other meter lead on ground, completing the circuit. Leave the other lead in the air or in the water and see what reading you get. In the pool, you are insulated from ground. It's the same principle that allows linemen to work on high voltage lines without shutting them off. Once you are on the hot line, ground is what becomes dangerous.
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by 98xc600
    Honestly, no, my water is not bonded. My pump is bonded and I still use a GFCI for the pump but I don't allow any other electrical item anywhere near our pool. My theory for that is I don't want my families lives or mine to depend on a mechanical device to protect us, mechanical devices can fail at any time so if no electricity can get in the water then I don't have anything to worry about.

    Yes, all you need is a short piece of metallic pipe placed in the system (9sq inches according to the code if I remember right) with a water pipe ground clamp. I wouldn't solder a ground lug on to the pipe because under a fault condition the solder could heat fast enough to melt and then you would lose your path to ground.

    Thanks for the link on the waterbonder I never seen them before. They look like they would work good.
    I agree...even when I get my deck built...No AC current on the deck even...I don't want to mess with anything falling into the pool. If the pool is bonded to the filter and the only outlet by the pool has the pump plugged into it...There is little chance of introducing anything else electrical into the pool...There for the bonding does the trick...
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Normally I would never give electrical advice out on the net because it can be misunderstood what I said and that’s what leads to people getting killed or hurt and I don’t want any part of that. But this thread I felt what I had to say was going to help more that hurt, but with Johnt’s last post I don’t want anyone thinking that what I explained can’t happen.

    I was very vague in the way I explained the hair dryer test, but sometimes less info can be better because of less chance of misinterpreting what I said and the theory behind it. What I did in the test was use a large Tupperware tub full of water and put a hair dryer in it. I put one lead of the meter to ground and one in the water and yes that is going to give you 120v because you have a completed circuit to ground. If you leave one lead out you are going to get 0v because you have no circuit and no potential. If you put both leads in the water and at different distances between the leads you get varying voltages because you are creating a different potential between the two leads. This of course is a small scale and the results in a pool will be totally different. The voltage is also going vary by what’s in the water. The more salt and minerals the higher the conductivity, but if your pool is pure water with no minerals in it, the more of an insulator it is.

    Now for the hard part, to explain how you get that difference in potential that Johnt said you can’t.

    What you have to remember is that the further electricity has to travel the lower the voltage is going to be at the other end. The resistance of the water or wire is going to cause the voltage to drop the further it has to travel. So for easy figuring let’s say we have a pool that is 40 feet long and you put 120v on one end of the pool, in theory you could put one lead of your meter right where the electricity is entering the water and the other lead half the length of the pool and you might read 100v and if you put that same lead all the way at the other end you might read 80v and that is what you call potential, because you have a difference in voltage. The voltage drop can vary greatly depending on the resistivity of the water.

    Electricity will always take the path of least resistance. So when you are taking the meter readings and you put the meter leads in the water you are creating a path of less resistance because electricity will flow through copper wire easier than water, so that’s where the voltage will go to get to the other end. The human body by nature is a good conductor of electricity. It has to be, that’s how it works. Electrical impulses move are muscles. So if you are in the water there is a very good chance your body has less resistance then the water does. Now let’s use the same numbers but instead of a meter it’s going to be you in the water.

    If we had a potential of 20v over 20 feet that would be a voltage drop of 1 volt for every foot of length. If you are 5 feet tall and are swimming you could have a 5 volt potential across your body from head to toe. Is 5 volt enough to kill you? I don’t know, because voltage will not kill you, amperage will, and to find amperage you would divide voltage by resistance. Everyone's body is different and so is your resistance. They say the human body is between 300-1000 ohms. So let's just say your body is 800 ohms of resistance. You would divide 5 volt by 800 ohms to find amps. That comes out to 0.00625 amps. Looks like you could be dead. and you never touched anything that was grounded.

    Sorry for the long post but I want to make perfectly clear what could happen. Water and electricity don’t mix no matter what others might say. Bond what you can, use GFCI, and keep everything else away and you’ll be just fine.
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Sorry for the long post but I want to make perfectly clear what could happen. Water and electricity don’t mix no matter what others might say. Bond what you can, use GFCI, and keep everything else away and you’ll be just fine.


    excellant advice 98...Like I said earlier...only one electrical component to my pool...that is the pump...everything else is solar...I have solar lights and I just ordered Solar Bear Solar heater. Coming next week. I had an intex pool, and I always worried about plugging that thing into an extension cord...Never thought that was the best system??? Anyway I completely agree...keep all other electrical away from the pool...that is the safest bet!!!
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by 98xc600
    Normally I would never give electrical advice out on the net because it can be misunderstood what I said and that’s what leads to people getting killed or hurt and I don’t want any part of that. But this thread I felt what I had to say was going to help more that hurt, but with Johnt’s last post I don’t want anyone thinking that what I explained can’t happen.

    I was very vague in the way I explained the hair dryer test, but sometimes less info can be better because of less chance of misinterpreting what I said and the theory behind it. What I did in the test was use a large Tupperware tub full of water and put a hair dryer in it. I put one lead of the meter to ground and one in the water and yes that is going to give you 120v because you have a completed circuit to ground. If you leave one lead out you are going to get 0v because you have no circuit and no potential. If you put both leads in the water and at different distances between the leads you get varying voltages because you are creating a different potential between the two leads. This of course is a small scale and the results in a pool will be totally different. The voltage is also going vary by what’s in the water. The more salt and minerals the higher the conductivity, but if your pool is pure water with no minerals in it, the more of an insulator it is.

    Now for the hard part, to explain how you get that difference in potential that Johnt said you can’t.

    What you have to remember is that the further electricity has to travel the lower the voltage is going to be at the other end. The resistance of the water or wire is going to cause the voltage to drop the further it has to travel. So for easy figuring let’s say we have a pool that is 40 feet long and you put 120v on one end of the pool, in theory you could put one lead of your meter right where the electricity is entering the water and the other lead half the length of the pool and you might read 100v and if you put that same lead all the way at the other end you might read 80v and that is what you call potential, because you have a difference in voltage. The voltage drop can vary greatly depending on the resistivity of the water.

    Electricity will always take the path of least resistance. So when you are taking the meter readings and you put the meter leads in the water you are creating a path of less resistance because electricity will flow through copper wire easier than water, so that’s where the voltage will go to get to the other end. The human body by nature is a good conductor of electricity. It has to be, that’s how it works. Electrical impulses move are muscles. So if you are in the water there is a very good chance your body has less resistance then the water does. Now let’s use the same numbers but instead of a meter it’s going to be you in the water.

    If we had a potential of 20v over 20 feet that would be a voltage drop of 1 volt for every foot of length. If you are 5 feet tall and are swimming you could have a 5 volt potential across your body from head to toe. Is 5 volt enough to kill you? I don’t know, because voltage will not kill you, amperage will, and to find amperage you would divide voltage by resistance. Everyone's body is different and so is your resistance. They say the human body is between 300-1000 ohms. So let's just say your body is 800 ohms of resistance. You would divide 5 volt by 800 ohms to find amps. That comes out to 0.00625 amps. Looks like you could be dead. and you never touched anything that was grounded.

    Sorry for the long post but I want to make perfectly clear what could happen. Water and electricity don’t mix no matter what others might say. Bond what you can, use GFCI, and keep everything else away and you’ll be just fine.

    You are misrepresenting the situation. The GFCI tripping has nothing to do with whether the pool is bonded or not. A GFCI trips when the amount of current flowing in the hot wire differs from the amount of current flowing in the neutral wire by more that about 5mA. It doesn't care if that current is going to ground, another source or is just sneaking back into the neutral around the GFCI.

    When you place a live electrical source into the pool, it will try to move the electrical potential of the pool water to that of the line. If something like a ground connection (a bonded ladder for example) is holding the pool water at another potential, current will flow from the source to the ladder. You will see potential close to the source voltage near where the wire enters the water, and potential close to ground near any grounding points in the water. If the electrical source is protected by a GFCI, this current flow will result in a difference between the neutral and hot, the GFCI will trip and the power is shut off.

    If the pool water isn't grounded, only a very small amount of current may be required to move the pool water potential from whatever it may have been before to that of the electrical source. The water at all points in the pool will be at the same potential as the source. 120V in the case of a hair dryer. The reason is that the resistance of the water isn't relavent when no current is flowing, and if there was current flowing, the GFCI would trip. The GFCI won't trip because there is no current flowing. You won't be electrocuted because every point of your body is at 120V with respect to ground, as is every point in the water. If you reach out of the pool and grab a fence that is grounded, you will be shocked (if the power isn't on a GFCI), because the fence is different from the potential you and the pool water are at.

    When you bond the pool, you make sure that everything that is in the water or around the water is at the same potential. It isn't relavant what that potential is, because it doesn't matter. NEC 680.2 specifically states that a grounding electrode isn't required on the bonding circuit, because the voltage of the pool doesn't matter as long as everything is the same.

    Water and electricity don’t mix no matter what others might say. Bond what you can, use GFCI, and keep everything else away and you’ll be just fine.
    Exactly
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    Re: How to bond a resin pool?

    Looks like Johnt and I are going to have to agree that we disagree.
    I did the test and seen the results with my own eyes and it is what is, so I'm going to leave it at that.
    Sorry I pulled this topic a little off subject. I just wanted people to know that even if you have everything bonded and have all GFCI in place you are safer, but you are not 100% safe.
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    Re: Bonding the water???

    The requirement that the water be bonded is a new addition in the 2008 NEC code. This version of the code has not been adopted in very many places yet. In most pools the water is already bonded, but newer pool designs use less and less metal and some of them don't bond the water in a standard install.

    The debate during the adoption process was rather heated, and included several conversations very similar to the one above between 98xc600 and JohnT. My reading of the NEC debate basically agrees with JohnT's statements, as far as they go. The argument that appears to have finally won the measure approval was based on a different scenario involving someone in the water touching something electrical on the pool deck while a downed live wire was in the water. The approval process was complicated, with the panel initially rejecting the addition and then reversing themselves and putting it in at the last moment.

    There is further confusion because the wording of the requirement that the water be bonded appears to extend to storable pools, which don't otherwise need any bonding. That debate is still on going, with the code as written contradicting it's self.

    There are also changes in the 2008 edition which appear to require that the bonding grid be connected to the electrical ground. This, and various other points like this one, are just another set of things that electricians argue about. The actual safety difference aren't in the obvious situations, but in obscure double and triple failures, and hinge on how common this particular double failure is relative to that one.

    One very important aspect of this kind of debate that must be kept in mind is that no pool is ever completely safe. No mater how many situations you protect against, there is still some complex multi-way failure that can get you in trouble again. The difference between bonding the water and not bonding the water is small. Many many other things are more important. The code tries to cover as many of these rare and unusual situations as it can, and every couple of years they revise it to include some more of them.
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