Bonding an above ground pool

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,814
SouthWest Alabama
#2
There needs to be a bare copper wire #8 awg ran around the pool and attached to the wall in 4 places. it then extends to the equipment pad and is connected to the pump and anything else metal that's within 5' of the pool or that touches the water.

Some localities don't require bonding an aboveground pool but it's a good idea to do it anyway.
 

Glock

Well-known member
Jun 3, 2012
866
Mesquite, Texas
#3
I am actually about to install a pool and bond it myself.

Bonding consists of running an 8 AWG solid copper "halo" around a pool (18-24" away from pool and buried 4-6" deep) and connecting it with copper lugs and split bolts to metal legs or metal plates of the pool in 4 different places even spaced around the pool. Then you bond the water using a special inline fitting or metal plumbing that comes in contact with the water. The Burndy Waterbug is a good choice but not cheap. Then you bolt the copper wire to the motor lug. Then you coil up the remainder of the wire (a couple of feet coiled into a 12" wide coil is ok) and bury it 4-6 inches underground.

This is not the same as grounding. The motor itself should be a grounded plug into a GFI but it does not replace bonding. Folks better than me will add more I am sure.

Edit: Oops. I type too slow. lol
 

poolgranny

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
120
Mid-Missouri
#4
Ok. When the city looked at our set up they didn't say anything about bonding it -- just grounding it.

The Waterbug looks interesting. If anyone has information on that I would appreciate it.
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#5
Pools that meet storable classification are not required to be bonded. Your pool may fall under that classification based on how your local authority sees it.


Bonding and grounding are two often misunderstood concepts. To start, we will look at grounding first. In the 120 volt electrical supply system for your pool pump there are 3 wires. Hot, Neutral, and ground. The hot and Neutral serve to move power from the source and back to the source so the pump can run. The ground wire in this system serves only as a non resistive conductive path back to source should something happen internally in the pump. For example, if, for some reason, the hot wire came in contact with the motor housing, the housing could become energized. Without the ground present, the housing could sit there waiting to shock any unsuspecting person or animal who happened to touch it. You would be the conductor to ground. Ground being the ground you are standing on. Now, because the resistive properties of the ground you are standing on are too high for the current to short circuit back to the source, it would most likely not trip the overcurrent protection (fuse, breaker). A couple of times here I have referred to "source". This is the power company transformer on the pole out at the street. The hot and neutral connections are both on this transformer and the returning current wants to get back to what is called the center tap on the transformer either via the grounding system or the neutral system. If there is a ground wire present in the circuit, the hot wire coming in contact with the motor housing would immediately trip the overcurrent protection as there would be a dead short in the system.

Bonding. The realy mis-understood concept.
Have you ever experienced a static shock?...You know, you shuffle your feet across a carpet in the dry season and touch a metal doorknob. If you were bonded to that doorknob when you shuffled across the floor you would not have felt it when you touched it. Everything in the universe has what is refered to as electrical potential. Humans have a certain potential, a piece of steel has its own potential, water its own, etc, etc, etc. Most times this potential is not different enough to feel it. When you shufflr your feet on the carpet though your potential changes from that of the doorknob. When you get close enough to the doorknob though both you and the doorknob want to get to the same potential. when that happens, a spark jumps the gap and evens out the potential. Fortunatly there is little amperage behind it so there is no chance of geting electrocuted. Now, lets look at your pool. your pool pump is grounded back to the source thru the ground wire. But, it still is at some level of potential. Your pool water is at some other level of potential, your heater at its own level, heck, the ground you are standing on is at some level of potential. This means that all of the items in the vicinity have some varying degree of electrical potential. Under most circumstances these potentials are so close to each other that you never feel any kind of shock. however, every once in a while something happens to change the potential of one of the items. It could be a stray voltage induced from an underground electrical service, It could be a slight resistive leakage of current in your pumping system. What ever it is there is a potential difference. Now imagine you are getting out of the pool and as you touch the metal side of the pool you get the shock of your life. Hopefully not enough to kill you but a good shot none-the-less. Guess what? You just became the bonding conductor in the system. Had all of the components in the system been bonded together by the #8 bonding wire you never would have felt it. The wire is a non-resistive path between all of the components and since electricity is lazy, it will take the least resistive path. This bonding system will also protect you if you were standing on the ground and decided to touch the water to see how warm it is. If the bond is in place there would be no potential difference between the water and the ground even if there were a stray current floating around.

Hopefully this helps clear some of this up
 

Glock

Well-known member
Jun 3, 2012
866
Mesquite, Texas
#6
Good explanation. I wasn't going to bond mine (City says I have too) but I used to own an 18' round and got shocked a couple of times. Scared the poo out of me. I am bonding my new one.
 

poolgranny

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
120
Mid-Missouri
#8
Thanks for the explanation. I understand it now and will refer son-in-law to read this post so we can bond ours as I don't want the little ones to experience something like what was described!!
 

barnyard

Well-known member
May 12, 2009
99
Pennsylvania
#9
danpik is right. Some localities, and the NEC, will classify some AGPs as storeable and not in need of bonding. It also has to do with your pump and it's insulating properties as to whether you would need to bond even if your locality doesn't require you to. Mine is not bonded, but I didn't install it either. I always go with the saying - "If in doubt, bond"
 

linadu

New member
May 21, 2012
2
#10
I know this is going to sound stupid but until I get my pool bonded if I unplug the sand filter after it is finished filtering (usually 8 hours a night) will that prevent the little shocks that I have been getting? I felt it one day last week and also today. I don't have the filter plugged in when we are in the pool. Also, how much am I looking at price wise to have someone bond it? I would attempt to do it myself but am afraid that I wouldn't do it correctly. This is my first year having a pool.
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#11
linadu said:
I know this is going to sound stupid but until I get my pool bonded if I unplug the sand filter after it is finished filtering (usually 8 hours a night) will that prevent the little shocks that I have been getting?
hard to say. If the shock is emanating from a defective pump then it may help. However if it coming from a stray voltage source then it won't. There have been several posts on here this year with people trying to figure out this same issue with varying results. I would say try it but that is entirely up to you to take the risk



linadu said:
I felt it one day last week and also today. I don't have the filter plugged in when we are in the pool. Also, how much am I looking at price wise to have someone bond it? I would attempt to do it myself but am afraid that I wouldn't do it correctly. This is my first year having a pool.
I could not tell you any prices based on your area. I kknow one I did about two weeks ago cost the customer about $200.00 for material and labor. I would suggest calling a coulpe of electricians to get pricing. Maybe the local pool store has a list of installers in your area who are familiar with what to do
 

Samantha Sabrina

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2012
346
Bloomsdale, Mo
#12
Danpik,

Awesome wrtie up, very well explained! :goodjob: :goodjob:

I do have a question concerning the bonding of our pending Intex 22' Ultraframe, it will have 22 supports, how many to we need to bond?
If only 4 do we space them equally?

Would only doing a few supports actually ensure bonding of the entire frame?

Thanks
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#13
The NEC (National Electric Code) requires 4 bonding points evenly spaced around the pool. That is a minimum for code. You can do more if you feel comfortable doing so. The method of bonding is just as important as the number. The NEC spells this out in section 250.8. As I always recomend, call and ask the local authority in your area what they like to see. Believe it or not, they are there to help you and can be a very valuable recource. In my area, the town inspector does not inspect the electrical work. We have to call in an independent electrical inspector. I have a couple of them on my speed dial and do not hesitate to ask them what they want to see when I come up on a unique situation.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,814
SouthWest Alabama
#14
It might, but then again it might not. It all depends on where the voltage is coming from.

What type pool do you have?

Bonding isn't that hard, it's just misunderstood. With an aboveground pool it's really pretty easy. We can walk you right through it if you want to do it yourself.

I think Glock has a pic of all the parts you need.
 

mfwade

Active member
Jul 1, 2011
30
Hagerstown, MD
#15
This is what I used when I bonded my pool (AGP) including the water in the pool to the pump motor. The county i live in requires it to be attached directly to the skimmer. Worked really nice and I didn't have to drill a hole in my skimmer like you would need to do using the waterbug mentioned earlier. They are a bit pricey but work very well.

http://waterbonder.com/products.html

Marvin
 

crokett

Well-known member
Jul 17, 2007
535
Hillsborough, NC
#16
I did not realize I needed to bond the water as well as the metal in the pool. It makes sense though. I will look at the water bug or the water bonder. I don't think I want to drill a hole in my skimmer to install the water bug.
 

mfwade

Active member
Jul 1, 2011
30
Hagerstown, MD
#19
A list of distributes can be found here: http://waterbonder.com/distributors.html

As far as using the copper nipple, if I remember the code correctly, you need something like 9 sq. inches of connectivity/surface area to ensure a proper bond. If the copper nipple works, go for it. I am curious though, how would you attach the wire clamp?

In the end, it is up to the inspector on whether or not it will pass inspection.


Marvin
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#20
A brass or copper nipple can be used. All you need to do to bond to it is use a water meter bond clamp. They come in several sizes. The tough part is making sure you have at least 9 square inches of material in contact with the water. That is the NEC min requirement. Check with your local inspector to be sure it is what he expects to see.