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Thread: Stray current???

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    Stray current???

    Here is a new one.

    I have a 25,000 gal IG vinyl pool that is 7 years old. There is a noticable current flow, shock, electic tingle...what ever you want to call it when both feet are in the pool and you touch either the ladder or the concrete deck.

    There is a bond wire that goes all the way around the pool, and is attached to the underwater pool lights, connects with the ladders and is also conected with the pump. The pump sits is a crock, under the decking.

    I had the electrician out, he rechecked all of the connections and was getting between 3 and 8 volts at the ladder and the deck.

    The shocking continues even when all of the electrical equipment was disconnected. Also, the voltages were the lowest at the lights and motor.

    He believes that there is no problem with my equipment and thinks that "stray current" from an underground cable is entering the pool. He basically said that this is a issue for the power company.

    Has anyone else ever heard of this? Any thoughts???
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Stray current???

    Stray currents from the power company are frequent enough and sometimes the power company will fix them. However, the bonding system should prevent those currents from shocking anyone in the pool. The only situations in which a properly installed bonding system might fail to prevent shocks are when a vinyl or fiberglass pool has a leak or when a live power wire falls into the water.

    A properly working bonding system guarantees that all metal parts in contact with the pool, or within several feet of the pool, are at the same voltage. There is no way the voltage could be different at the pump than it is at the ladder, as you describe, if the bonding system was working.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Stray current???

    ideliver,

    Here is a new one.
    Unfortunately for pool owners, what you are experiencing is not new or unique.

    http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive ... 040504.php
    http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive ... 040511.php
    http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive ... 040518.php

    http://www.mikeholt.com/newslettersArch ... gories.php

    http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.php?i ... ettersmenu

    Stray current can originate from the homeowners defective wiring, or the neighbors defective wiring, or the utilities defective wiring.

    The shocking continues even when all of the electrical equipment was disconnected.
    Which electrical equipment are you referring to? The pool sub-panel? Or the house main panel? Even if circuit breakers were turned off (i.e. hot wires disconnected), that would still leave the neutral (white wire) and ground (green wire) still connected. One way to ensure that the problem is not originating with your defective wiring would be to disconnect ALL of the wires from the utility, including the white neutral and green ground. One convenient place to do this is at the power company's meter - most meters pull out thus disconnecting the hot wires and the neutral. One would still have to disconnect the ground wire in addition to pulling the meter. Disclaimer: Unless you are an electrician by trade, or know EXACTLY what you are doing, please do not try this at home. Mistakes here can and will get you killed. Get the help of an electrician or the power company to pull the meter base.

    Even with defective wiring from your neighbor or the utility causing stray current, proper bonding (bonding in the National Electrical Code has a specific meaning and purpose, which is different than grounding) of all of your pool's metal components should mask any stray current below human perception.

    Here is some more background on the subject of stray current: http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/stray ... urrent.pdf

    Hope this helps a little. Let us know what you find out.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Stray current???

    Whoever bonded your pool neglected to connect the ladder sockets (or the wire to them is damaged or the sockets are somehow being insulated from the ladder) and the rebar in the deck. Leaving the rebar off is pretty common, but I'm surprised they didn't connect the ladder.
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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium

    Which electrical equipment are you referring to? The pool sub-panel? Or the house main panel?
    I was not present when he did the inspection. The electrician told me that he "shut off" the sub-panel. I am not certain what the means to answer your question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium
    Even if circuit breakers were turned off (i.e. hot wires disconnected), that would still leave the neutral (white wire) and ground (green wire) still connected. One way to ensure that the problem is not originating with your defective wiring would be to disconnect ALL of the wires from the utility, including the white neutral and green ground. One convenient place to do this is at the power company's meter - most meters pull out thus disconnecting the hot wires and the neutral. One would still have to disconnect the ground wire in addition to pulling the meter. Disclaimer: Unless you are an electrician by trade, or know EXACTLY what you are doing, please do not try this at home. Mistakes here can and will get you killed. Get the help of an electrician or the power company to pull the meter base.
    I would personally never do this...but this would be helpful for the power company

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium
    Even with defective wiring from your neighbor or the utility causing stray current, proper bonding (bonding in the National Electrical Code has a specific meaning and purpose, which is different than grounding) of all of your pool's metal components should mask any stray current below human perception.
    Then why does the testing show negligible current on the bond wire and at the pump. Understand that my pump sits in a hopper below the deck and the bondwire comes into it and the pump is directly attached to the bond.

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium
    Here is some more background on the subject of stray current: http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/stray ... urrent.pdf

    Hope this helps a little. Let us know what you find out.

    Titanium
    This information leads me to the conclusion that this is power company problem. Do you agree??

    What deptartment should I even call at the power company??

    Thanks for the great information.
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by ideliver
    This information leads me to the conclusion that this is power company problem. Do you agree??
    Well, yes and no. Stray currents are almost always a power company problem. But getting shocked by your pool is a problem with your pool. Your pool should protect you from stray currents.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Quote Originally Posted by ideliver
    This information leads me to the conclusion that this is power company problem. Do you agree??
    Well, yes and no. Stray currents are almost always a power company problem. But getting shocked by your pool is a problem with your pool. Your pool should protect you from stray currents.
    So was my electrician wrong when he felt that the bond wire was not the problem as there was no voltage measurable there???

    I have a somewhat unique situation in that I have ready access to my bond wire...
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    Re: Stray current???

    ideliver,

    This information leads me to the conclusion that this is power company problem. Do you agree??
    I think that the conclusion that it is the power company is premature at this point. It is entirely possible that the problem is with your wiring, or perhaps one of your neighbors. The electrician using the phrase "sub-panel" probably means he only turned off the pool sub-panel and not your house main panel, which means that you have not entirely eliminated your house wiring as the culprit.

    http://mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/SV- ... 031112.htm

    http://strayvoltagesolution.com/defective_equipment.php
    http://strayvoltagesolution.com/electric_service.php
    http://strayvoltagesolution.com/power_lines.php
    http://strayvoltagesolution.com/damage.php

    http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive ... 031024.htm

    Again, it may very well turn out to be a utility problem, but you need to make SURE that you have corrected any deficiencies in your wiring before you call the utility. If the utility finds any wiring problems on your side, even if these problems are not the cause of your stray voltage, they will use this as an excuse to deflect blame away from themselves.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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    Re: Stray current???

    ideliver,

    The shocking continues even when all of the electrical equipment was disconnected. Also, the voltages were the lowest at the lights and motor.
    Can you clarify with your electrician exactly which equipment was "disconnected"? Also, it would be useful to know exactly where he was taking voltage measurements.

    Let us know what you find out.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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    Re: Stray current???

    okay....this is season 3 of this problem...

    I have further trouble shot the problem and you can only notice the current when a part of your body is in the pool and another part is touching the deck...

    If you are in the pool and only touching the coping...nothing

    As soon as you touch the deck...you can feel the current flow.

    I am going to put this back on the poolbuilder, but am at a loss as to why this is happening or where the remedy is.

    Any help would be appreciated. TIA
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Stray current???

    There is supposed to be a conductive metal grid in the deck that is connected to the bonding wire. That will prevent the deck from being at a different potential than everything else. Normally, for a concrete deck, the metal grid is the rebar put in to strengthen the concrete. For other deck construction methods, there is normally a metal grid put below the top surface, for example with pavers it would typically be below the pavers in the top layer of leveling sand.

    From what you describe, that grid is either missing or it is not connected to the bonding wire. If the grid is missing, there isn't usually any easy way to add it back in. For a concrete deck you would have to tear out the deck completely to install a proper grid. If the grid is present, but simply not connected to the bonding wire, then the fix is fairly easy.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Stray current???

    This is what the electrician said last year. He also said that when my pool was installed in 2001 that it was not code to install the rebar and connect to the bonding wire, but now it is.

    While the physics of this explanation make perfect sense to me, I cannot understand why this is only happening to my pool. Why does this not happen to every pool that does not have the concrete connected to the bond wire?

    I am going to talk with the PB today and see what they have to say.
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Stray current???

    You need to have two different things happening at the same time to be able to get a shock. First, the bonding system has to be installed incorrectly, as yours is. Second, there needs to be some stray current in the ground. Stray currents happen when the local power company is doing something wrong. Sometimes you can call them up and get them to fix whatever it is that they did wrong, and other times they will just totally ignore you.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by ideliver
    This is what the electrician said last year. He also said that when my pool was installed in 2001 that it was not code to install the rebar and connect to the bonding wire, but now it is.

    While the physics of this explanation make perfect sense to me, I cannot understand why this is only happening to my pool. Why does this not happen to every pool that does not have the concrete connected to the bond wire?
    Stray current doesn't exist everywhere. You have two problems: Stray current, which may be a power company issue or it may be an issue with some or your or your neighbors equipment or wiring, and a lack of bonding in your deck. If there was no stray current, you wouldn't have any symptoms, and if your pool deck was properly bonded you wouldn't see the stray current. In your case, you have both stray current and an unbonded deck, so you feel the shock.

    I'm pretty sure the NEC required the rebar to be bonded in 2001 (and before), but you should check with your local inspector to find out what version of the NEC was code in your locale at the time the pool was installed.
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    Re: Stray current???

    This drama is not to end soon.

    The electrician will come out Friday. I am still getting 2 volts on my deck. When I mentioned that I thought the NEC for the year my pool was built required bonding of the pool deck...that got his attention...he told me that he went back to the Township electricial inspector and verified that it was NOT code in 2001. However, I have no other way to verify this other than to speak with the inspector myself.

    We will pull the meter on Friday and see..also planning on killing the cable and phone if needed....
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by ideliver
    This drama is not to end soon.

    The electrician will come out Friday. I am still getting 2 volts on my deck. When I mentioned that I thought the NEC for the year my pool was built required bonding of the pool deck...that got his attention...he told me that he went back to the Township electricial inspector and verified that it was NOT code in 2001. However, I have no other way to verify this other than to speak with the inspector myself.

    We will pull the meter on Friday and see..also planning on killing the cable and phone if needed....
    After reading through this, couldn't you just open up part of the concrete decking and find the rebar and attach grounding wire to it then and then re place concrete there. Or is that too simplistic a way of thinking about this. Two volts is two volts...and I don't think anyone would want to deal with that if it could be avoided. Just a thought...and I am no electrician, but get the whole bonding structure to the pool idea really well. Could it be done that way?
    Beave
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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by cubbybeave08
    After reading through this, couldn't you just open up part of the concrete decking and find the rebar and attach grounding wire to it then and then re place concrete there.
    The problem is that the connection between the pieces of rebar isn't usually made with electrical conductivity in mind. You could bond to an individual piece of rebar, but that wouldn't necessarily take care of bonding the entire deck.
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    Re: Stray current???

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Quote Originally Posted by cubbybeave08
    After reading through this, couldn't you just open up part of the concrete decking and find the rebar and attach grounding wire to it then and then re place concrete there.
    The problem is that the connection between the pieces of rebar isn't usually made with electrical conductivity in mind. You could bond to an individual piece of rebar, but that wouldn't necessarily take care of bonding the entire deck.
    i wondered if that would make difference in the rebar was not overlapped or connected in some way. That seems to be a shame to have that problem especially with a permanent structure like a concrete deck.
    Beave
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    Re: Stray current???

    When we decided to build an inground pool, we called the utility marking service to mark all of the underground utilities to determine if we had any lines in the way that would have to be moved. They came out and marked, all utilites were on the east side of the property.

    Then we had to move part of our septic field. Prior to the digging to move the field, we called the utility marking service to mark all of the underground utilities. They came out and marked, all utilites were on the east side of the property. The septic contractor came in and moved the lines.

    Then we had to dig for the pool. Again we called the utility marking service to mark all of the underground utilities. They came out and marked, all utilites were on the east side of the property. The pool was dug.

    Pool construction proceeded and finished.

    Then we wanted the fence put in. We called the utility marking service to mark all of the underground utilities. They came out and marked. Now, in addition to the utilites on the east side of the property, there was an electrical line running across 1/3 of the pool and over to my neighbor's house. I have no idea how the septic and pool dig missed it!!!! I have no idea how the marking service missed it the prior three times (as we told them in our phone calls to mark the entire back yard). Fact is they missed it.

    We had to call a supervisor in charge of new construction (although our neighborhood was built years before) at the electric company. After much ado, they finally cut the line (I made them cut it at both ends that ran under the pool) and they laid a new line to my neighbor.

    I also am in construction, and see the utility marking companies mark the yard when they find a utility on one side, and then stop; not go on to the other side of the yard to check for other lines. Although the neighbor's utilities are not supposed to be there, they frequently are.

    I don't know if this could be contributing to your problem, or if a line is just close and the current is "jumping" or if it is something else, but it is worth eliminating the possibility.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Stray current???

    I had the electrician out today. Today there is 1.5 V on the pool.

    Pulled the meter on my house...1.5 V on the pool.

    Called out the power company....he killed the transformer (and killed power to 8 houses)...1.5 V on the pool....

    As I am on the last house on my transformer...he pulled the my neighbors meter (he wouldn't kill the next transformer)...still 1.5 V on the pool...

    We did not killed the people behind me...our lots are 285 ft deep.

    He is going to get the power company engineer to decide what to do next...

    He thinks it is the phone company (but the cable is also a possibility)..says the phone lines can carry up to 80 to 90 volts...

    Crazy...
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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