Electricity in basket housing

Tekcor

Member
Aug 4, 2014
23
Columbia, CT
I have a Waterway Defender 140 that was installed by the local pool company about a month ago. At the time, everything seemed ok. Two weekends ago I went to pull the basket from the housing and felt a prick as my finger hit the water. Figuring I had a small cut on that finger that I couldn't see, I tried with my other hand and got about three fingertips in before I recognized the feeling. Definitely electricity, and felt perfectly normal when I unplugged.

I had my electrician out yesterday. He discovered the pool guys wired the pump backwards, with hot to neutral and neutral to hot. So he fixed that, set me up with a longer cord, better connector, and added a grounding rod. Unfortunately though, we were still able to detect a small amount of electricity in the water. 1V, 3V, or 5V depending on what the other contact was touching. This wasn't detected during installation because we were all wearing shoes. The first time I felt it was the first time I was working with the pump bare foot.

I have contacted both the seller of the pump and Waterway about the issue, but have yet to receive any kind of response. The pool store just says "call your electrician" though he suspect their crappy wiring job caused a fault. There will be a lot of finger pointing going around, because I'm sure nobody wants to take responsibility.

So here's my question. What can I do to potentially fix the pump? What should I be looking for? I've got a good engineering sense and don't mind taking stuff apart. I've fixed ovens and ice machines. I've replaced electrical outlets, breakers, and light switches. Considering I'm not getting much of any help, I'd like to try to solve this problem myself, but I'm not really sure what might be to blame or need to be replaced.

I'm considering that I may need to threaten legal action if the pool store really did damage my pump, but I'm not certain its their fault yet. They absolutely did something wrong, but I'll need to hear from Waterway I imagine. I have not disclosed to Waterway about the wiring issue, as they'll immediately point their fingers at, even though it may just be a manufacturing defect. It's a messy situation all around though.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
706
Orlando
First, are you absolutely certain that the problem is coming from the pump? Certainly having the lines connected backwards isn’t ideal, but it shouldn’t leak voltage in the pool, nor would it damage the pump and cause it to leak voltage. There have been a number of posts on here about voltage leaks in pools and they have come from a number of different sources.

You might want to do some further testing so you can be sure that it really is the pump that’s causing the problem. However, if it is the pump then I would think that would be a warranty issue. I have a hard time imagining how the pool store could damage a pump such that it would leak voltage into the water.
 

Tekcor

Member
Aug 4, 2014
23
Columbia, CT
It has to be the pump. There's no other electricity in the area. I have no lights, no nothing else. There's just the outlet for the pool pump - which the electrician fully inspected as well - which the pump is plugged into.
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
678
Columbus, Ohio
First off, I'm not an electrician so you get what you paid for with my opinion. I read a long article here about a pool with current. It was coming from the utility company transformer that was bleeding current into the ground. It wasn't noticeable until you got in the pool. The power to your pump might not be the source. Just something to keep in mind.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,221
Hernando, Ms
Your pool should have an equipotential bonding grid around it connected to everything metal that comes in contact with the water, the concrete decking & also possibly a water bond in the skimmer. There would be an approx #8 bare copper wire sticking up somewhere near your equipment pad to connect to if your pool is bonded.
I just have to think either the old motor was double insulated w/ no bond or they neglected to reattach the bond w/the new motor
How old is your pool?
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,221
Hernando, Ms
Your pool should have an equipotential bonding grid around it connected to everything metal that comes in contact with the water, the concrete decking & also possibly a water bond in the skimmer. There would be an approx #8 bare copper wire sticking up somewhere near your equipment pad to connect to if your pool is bonded.
I just have to think either the old motor was double insulated w/ no bond or they neglected to reattach the bond w/the new motor
How old is your pool?
Edit:
Not ruling out pump malfunction just yet
 

Tekcor

Member
Aug 4, 2014
23
Columbia, CT
Your pool should have an equipotential bonding grid around it connected to everything metal that comes in contact with the water, the concrete decking & also possibly a water bond in the skimmer. There would be an approx #8 bare copper wire sticking up somewhere near your equipment pad to connect to if your pool is bonded.
I just have to think either the old motor was double insulated w/ no bond or they neglected to reattach the bond w/the new motor
How old is your pool?
Pool is about 40 years old. The only thing metal that comes in contact with the water is inside the pump. Aside from the lip around the walls that is a good 6 inches from the water level, there's no metal anywhere. Not even a ladder.

That metal lip is the sections that hold the liner in place I assume. My guess is that the walls are probably galvanized steel sections. I am not sure of course about the electrical code in your area but where I am located, whether there are any electrical items or not there is a bonding wire that is attached to the frame of the pool in at least two locations and then attached to a 6-8 foot grounding rod. The pool motor would either have a separate grounding rod if it was a certain distance from the pool or it would be attached to the same bonding wire as the pool. Also any items that are metal, such as ladders or railings would also be attached to that bonding.

Having said all of that it doesn't fix your problem. Honestly, running the motor with the wiring reversed should not have harmed it. And it was for a short period of time. But I think you said that with the pump off or disconnected that the voltage in the water disappeared? And again, the motor of the pump should not be coming into contact with the water in the pump itself unless the seal or a gasket has failed. I would request that the store come back out and verify that or if you are assuming responsibility at this point, you can take it apart and verify it.
Thank you. My electrician said a bonding grid wasn't necessary for my installation, as that's normally an above ground thing and there isn't anything to attach it to. Maybe the walls are steel. I really have no idea.

As for taking responsibility, that's why I'm asking. The pool store did not sell me the pump, they only installed it, which just gives each party another to point their fingers at. I've already talked to them, they're not helping. I'm trying to get in touch with both the seller and manufacturer, but I'm currently assuming that I will not be able to. A lot of companies are using COVID as an excuse not to provide support. So my question is, which seals should I be checking?
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
678
Columbus, Ohio
I believe your electrician is wrong. The article I mentioned was for an inground pool that had current issues. It may still be the pump that is a problem if it is not grounded properly. The previous pump may have been grounded properly so you didn't have a problem them.

 
Last edited:

Tekcor

Member
Aug 4, 2014
23
Columbia, CT
I believe your electrician is wrong. The article I mentioned was for an inground pool that had current issues. It may still be the pump that is a problem if it is not grounded properly. The previous pump may have been grounded properly so you didn't have a problem them.

Well fine. Whatever. The pump is as grounded as it could possibly be. Definitely more than the previous pump. You're right though, the pool is not bonded and it never will be. I'm more interested in trying to fix the pump than bring the pool up to code.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,221
Hernando, Ms
Is the motor switched to the correct voltage?
Here’s the manual w/ installation instructions incase u don’t have it:

& a video of a shaft seal replacement to give u an idea of what’s generally involved
Inyo pools may have the replacement parts if u wish to go that route.
They’ve been known to be pretty helpful in the past. Not sure about right now w/ the covid though.
Since it’s hard to get anyone (manufacturer) on the phone you may want to resort to commenting on their Facebook along w/ email & chats. I had to do that recently & it paid off.
Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If u paid w/ a credit card some cover large purchases & have protections. That may be another route.

No one here myself included is trying to offend you but we also don’t wanna give u the idea that going into an unbonded a pool with an stray voltage is a wise choice.
We all agree something is wrong & it’s most likely the most obvious variable- the new pump.
If it’s wired correctly there shouldn’t be any stray voltage so a replacement should remedy the issue.
 
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JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,851
SW Indiana
Connecting the pump to a ground rod can cause unwanted voltage. Your pump should be grounded at the panel, not a local electrode.

Your electrician doesn’t understand pool wiring as evidenced by his ideas on a bonding grid, so I wouldn’t trust what he says.

Bonding is absolutely critical to making a pool safe.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,118
Fletcher, OK
bonding and grounding are 2 VERY different things that seem the same... your electrician connected your bonding lug to a grounding rod and that is your problem....

From your bonding lug there should be a copper cable going all around your pool, deck and connected to the water.... If it was not done before it needs to be done now to bring it up to code and not kill anyone swimming in your pool... You can do the work as it is not hard at all, you just have to dig a trench and connect the copper to everything...

Do you have a picture of your pool that you could post, that way we can help how to install it... :)
 
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danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,749
western NY
The reason you are feeling a shock is because the pool water, isolated from everything else around it is at one voltage potential and the surrounding area is at another voltage potential. When you are standing on the ground (with bare feet) and you touch the water it is the same as touching the black wire with one hand and the white wire with the other hand in a box.... YOU complete the circuit. It is irrelevant where the electricity is coming from at this point. The purpose of a bonding grid is to be the connection between those two (or more) voltage gradients. The pump has nothing to do with this other than if the bonding lug was damaged or not connected. Some pumps... double insulated... may not have a bonding lug. All others will. The pool sides, pump, heater, concrete deck, grass/dirt/sand/etc and water all need to be connected in this bonding grid to keep all voltages at the same potential. If this did not appear to be a problem prior to the pump being installed then I would look at the install location to see if the grid has been damaged or altered. The NEC is pretty clear on bonding grids for pools.

Dan
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
352
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
Connecting the pump to a ground rod can cause unwanted voltage. Your pump should be grounded at the panel, not a local electrode.

Your electrician doesn’t understand pool wiring as evidenced by his ideas on a bonding grid, so I wouldn’t trust what he says.

Bonding is absolutely critical to making a pool safe.
There you go, i was just reading through the post waiting for someone to bring this up. Gud on ya KohnT. I just shiver when i see / read of "added ground rods". They cause More problems then the good they do. They can actually generate electricity between them like mini power plants.
Lots of incorrect statements in the post on this one.
OP, any chance you still have your old pump / motor combo ? If so switch them back ? I would like to see how a 240V motor can be wired backwards ?
Do not be worried about the bonding at this point at there are thousands and thousands of pools out there with no bonding.
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
504
Martinez, CA
Connecting the pump to a ground rod can cause unwanted voltage. Your pump should be grounded at the panel, not a local electrode.

Your electrician doesn’t understand pool wiring as evidenced by his ideas on a bonding grid, so I wouldn’t trust what he says.

Bonding is absolutely critical to making a pool safe.
Mine was grounded to the panel Through the ground wire inside the conduit but also has a bonding lug connected to the bond wire coming from the pool structure. I was there when the inspector Checked for that specific wire and passed it. Maybe your jurisdiction is different but that’s how calif does it.
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,851
SW Indiana
Mine was grounded to the panel Through the ground wire inside the conduit but also has a bonding lug connected to the bond wire coming from the pool structure. I was there when the inspector Checked for that specific wire and passed it. Maybe your jurisdiction is different but that’s how calif does it.
Code is the same everywhere In the US. Grounding through the panel via EGC. Bonding from the bonding lug to the water, equipment and pool structure. No connection between them is required by code anywhere in the US. The NEC specifically states that.
 
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