Did I almost DIE from electrocution last night?

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
I have one of those 15ft easy set aboveground pools. My girlfriend wants us to get a playground so i found someone to take it.
I used the waterpump that you get at harbor freight. Sinks to the bottom and sucks water out through a garden hose.

The chord is only about 10ft long so I used an extension chord. I figured id get in there and manually move the pump to suck out small debris. Once I got to the far side, I noticed that the plug thats plugged to the extension chord was also in the water. Both plugs (the pumps plug and extension chord) are fairly new and are completely flat. I guess they were tight enough because I was not electrocuted or feel any shock. I also didnt do the loop that would prevent them from disconnection if I pulled too hard.

So my question is, on a 15ftx 3ft high fulled pool (it was halfway empty by this point), how bad would that have been?
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
4,705
NW Ohio
Most likely in that scenario the majority of the current would have just flowed between the connectors and shorted out. If you have a GFCI it should trip, but if not then the breaker should trip once the current exceeded 15-20 amps. The extension cord would probably have been ruined if that were the case. You likely would have been ok. -LIKELY-

There are possibilities where you get hurt pretty badly, but the electric code is designed with a lot of safeties in place so that (if everything is to code) a lot of things would have to fail for that to happen. If everything is built right then the hot side would have at least two better paths to ground than through you and would have then tripped the GFCI almost instantly.

Do be careful in the future though. Much like with vehicles, all the safety features in the world aren't as good as preventing the accident in the first place.
 

Lineman7

Silver Supporter
Jun 26, 2017
26
Snyder, TX
I honestly can't say. I've never been in that scenario. If your breaker is in good condition... I would think it would have caught it before discomfort. Also, luckily... you weren't deep in the water.
 

Teald024

TFP Guide
My opinion is that you didn’t die for the same reason that a bird doesn’t die when it lands on the wires. You never bridged a high and low voltage. Now if you had grabbed a metal pole to scoop leaves out and touch the ground, that might’ve been the end of it. I’d say don’t ever do that again, it was was a bad decision. In theory the GFCI is supposed to save you but you never know.....
Glad all turned out ok.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
24,001


Watch the second video at 17:00 where Mike drops a wire in the pool and it carries 10 amps.

When mixing electricity and water, it's difficult to determine exactly what will happen.

It could have been fatal.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Wow, bad news. You might actually be dead and just don't realize it. Have you found that people aren't listening to you? Or are talking about you even though you're standing right there? Have any walked through you? Can you see yourself in a mirror? If so, can you see any fogging on the mirror when you breath on it?

Please post your results and the experts here will advise you on how best to proceed.
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
4,240
Tampa, FL
Pool Size
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Intex Krystal Clear
Ha, Dirk!

OP, glad you are ok and know that you won’t do that again!
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,924
Hernando, Ms
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If it was plugged into a gfci I’m surprised it didn’t trip it when it got submerged.
As to how dangerous it could have been to u would depend on how it would have traveled through your body (whether or not it crosses your heart) & how long it would have held you before the breaker tripped. (110v has a tendency to hold u vs blow u off like 220v or 480v. )
Take it as a Lesson learned on awareness. Be thankful that you were lucky & always use gfci’s when dealing with water applications. I’ve seen really bad incidents w/ electricity that could have been avoided. Glad u weren’t in one😊
 

aussieta

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
if the active shorted to the water and the neutral didnt
and you have an older house without gfi
when you stepped out of the pool you would have completed the circuit
and you wouldnt be here to post
use a portable gfi on leads outside
 

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Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
722
Orlando
I honestly can't say. I've never been in that scenario. If your breaker is in good condition... I would think it would have caught it before discomfort. Also, luckily... you weren't deep in the water.

This is absolutely not true. A standard breaker in good condition or not will never stop someone from being electrocuted. The breaker will allow way more current than is necessary to kill someone to pass through it. However, a GFCI is designed to trip and stop someone from being electrocuted. So if this was plugged into a GFCI outlet or a GFCI breaker then that should have tripped before electrocution happened.
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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If it was plugged into a gfci I’m surprised it didn’t trip it when it got submerged.
I would have bet on that, but watch the first video that JamesW posted, above.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
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Hernando, Ms
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Gfci’s detect small mA (4-6mA) differences Between the Hot & neutral & are supposed to interrupt the circuit within a specific amount of time after a fault is detected. The 4-6 “let go” mA rating is based on when children would actually let go during worst case testing.
Most people don’t test their gfci’s regularly & just hope they’re protected by them if needed.

Standard breakers are simply designed as over current protection for the circuit to protect the wiring which is why you should never install a larger breaker than your wire is rated for or the wire will burn up before the breaker trips & as someone else posted a breaker won’t necessarily trip due to electrocution.
All these things are like a safety on a gun. They are a layer that works in a perfect world & may fail in the real world under certain conditions.
I would never point a loaded gun where I didn’t intend to shoot with or without a safety just like I wouldn’t stick my hand in a body of water w/ a power source in it with or without a gfci.
Fwiw i have explained to my children to never touch or stand near a person who is being electrocuted & how conductivity works. Hopefully they’ll never have to test their knowledge
Oh the joys of being an electrician’s kid !
lol 😂
 

Lineman7

Silver Supporter
Jun 26, 2017
26
Snyder, TX
This is absolutely not true. A standard breaker in good condition or not will never stop someone from being electrocuted. The breaker will allow way more current than is necessary to kill someone to pass through it. However, a GFCI is designed to trip and stop someone from being electrocuted. So if this was plugged into a GFCI outlet or a GFCI breaker then that should have tripped before electrocution happened.
I thought I specified the GFCI internal Breaker.

I need to proof read better.
 
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