Help! Did lightening strike my pool?

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,917
NY
I’m telling ya...... I spend more time trying to figure out the lightning damage I find than it does to fix what broke. At times it defies anything I know about electric and common sense. Walk around for 20 minutes going whaaaaaat the heeeeeeeeeeeck. Sometimes it’s easy. Big hole in the ground and a tree split in half. Once it enters the house or anything house related it usually becomes a head sctrat her.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
17,363
There's no way that you're going to turn pvc black with heat or electricity without it burning or melting. It's a smooth, even black coating with no damage.

Show one example of blackened plastic where it's not smoke damage and where the plastic is not burned or melted.

In addition, burning requires oxygen or an oxidizer. Being under water means that there is no oxygen.
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,917
NY
I could be dead wrong. It’s just my hunch. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Based on the many times I’ve seen unexplainable things, that’s my opinion until the claims adjuster who has seen more than me says otherwise.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
17,363
It’s happened before and it will happen again.
What's happened before? Lightning striking a pool and causing this?

Give one example.

Explain what the black substance is and where it came from. What physical and chemical process produced the black substance?

Also, what makes you think that a claims adjuster is going to be able to figure it out?

Maybe it's their first day on the job and they have no experience or training or scientific ability whatsoever.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,917
NY
What’s happened before is me being wrong. It will happen again for sure.

You’re absolutely right, a claims adjuster may not know either. Could be a brand new employee or just an idiot. But if they’ve been there a while they will have seen this sort of thing. So most of them would have a good guess. We may never know for sure. It just looks like a massive power hit to me. And I’m inclined to rule out a power surge from the Electric company. Chances are that would have affected the immediate neighbors too.
 

Socojoe

Member
Apr 27, 2019
8
Arkansas
Wow. I noticed that the electrical plug looks to only be burned on the hot side prong and not on the neutral side or ground side prong providing it’s wired correctly. Not sure if that means anything or not. Also with the exception of the black rectangle running across the pool bottom, everything else effected is leaving the pool (stairs, return, drain and skimmer). That seems strange too but I bet means everything to someone that knows. Good luck with this.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
17,363
My best guess would be that some sort of insoluble black compound got in the water. Maybe vandalism where someone threw in back pigment like carbon black.

Maybe a metal oxide.

Probably the only way to tell for sure would be to have it analyzed by a chemistry lab.

Even if we knew what it was, it doesn't explain how it got in the pool.

Water is 1/3 oxygen
Then, why do people use water to put out fires?

It's not oxygen, it's oxide. Big difference. Oxide has a full outer valance shell and it won't oxidize anything.
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,917
NY
My best guess would be that some sort of insoluble black compound got in the water. Maybe vandalism where someone threw in back pigment like carbon black.
Wouldnt that just float on the water like oil ? Or completely sink to the bottom and be circulated all around ? I dunno man that is a perfect rectangle on the bottom. And not one speck on the pool walls. Just the stairs, handle, returns and skimmer. Just gonna have to agree to disagree in friendly discussion i guess. I'm really hoping whoever goes to asses the damage has a clue because my curiosity is piqued on this one for sure.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
17,363
The strip on the bottom is probably a panel of vinyl that has a different composition than the rest of vinyl panels.

The liner maker buys rolls of vinyl and then cuts and heat welds panels together to form the liner.

Most likely the one panel was from a different roll that had a different composition of vinyl or ink that reacted differently to the contaminants.

How would lightning cause the perfect rectangular discoloration?

As far as whether the contaminants would float or sink depends on what they were.

In any case, there are definitely black contaminant compounds that got in the water as evidenced by the pump basket and the filter.

How would lightning cause the black substance?
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,917
NY
In my eyes its all burnt. From 1 point twenty seven Gigawatts. But i'm not there for a full analysis. So i'll just have to go with whatever the electrician says. Like i said, i've been wrong plenty in the past. And this wont be the last if its another time
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
17,363
In my eyes its all burnt. From 1 point twenty seven Gigawatts. But i'm not there for a full analysis. So i'll just have to go with whatever the electrician says. Like i said, i've been wrong plenty in the past. And this wont be the last if its another time
If I'm reading you correctly, and I think that I am, you're suggesting that the lightning strike caused everything in the pool to travel through time like in Hot Tub Time Machine?

I had received a notification about a temporal distortion, but I thought that it was a passing gravitational wave.
 
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duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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You OWE it to us. Lol seriously tho...... really intrigued here
Actually, OP doesn't owe us anything. There have been other things posted on this forum that were not solved and, at some point, it will be time to move back to pools and water chemistry issues.

I will say this........there is virtually nothing in the evidence shown to indicate lightning hit that pool.
 
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CincyDools

Active member
May 18, 2017
41
Cincinnati, Ohio
The strip on the bottom is probably a panel of vinyl that has a different composition than the rest of vinyl panels.

The liner maker buys rolls of vinyl and then cuts and heat welds panels together to form the liner.

Most likely the one panel was from a different roll that had a different composition of vinyl or ink that reacted differently to the contaminants.

How would lightning cause the perfect rectangular discoloration?

As far as whether the contaminants would float or sink dept all the he black stuff is hat ends on what they were.

In any case, there are definitely black contaminant compounds that got in the water as evidenced by the pump basket and the filter.

How would lightning cause the black substance?
I am with you on this. And I think Frogabob may be on to something - ink toner. Probably not soluble in water but electrically charged to "stick" in the right conditions. Enough of the toner got into the pump to overload the circuit and caused the damage to the plug. I am not convinced that all the black stuff on the pvc parts is electrical damage - especially if it does not smell charred. "If it doesn't smell like a fish, it isn't a fish". This might also explain why it only stuck to the stairs pole up to the water line. The toner was in the water but the pvc had the right charge to attract the toner.

I think the dark stuff on the pvc and the electrical damage are two separate but related issues.
 

CincyDools

Active member
May 18, 2017
41
Cincinnati, Ohio
I don't think this is lightning damage. If it was there would be some other catastrophic physical damage. You might be able to convince your Insurance claims adjuster of that. But as an Electrical Engineer in the Utility Industry this does not look to me like High Voltage related damage.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
594
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Again, lightning follows the lowest IMPEDANCE path to ground. It seems weird because typically the period of the pulse is short. One over gives a frequency usually of 2 MHz or so. At that point it's a RF (Radio) problem. So things that look like a low impedance at RF get fried and things that look capacitive or inductive don't. I suppose being a EE, RF engineer for many years, and a ham forever give you a different perspective. The typical number eight solid is good for draining off charge before a strike but isn't effective during a direct or nearby strike. The several inches thick copper strapping needed and extensive grounding needed is prohibitively expensive so it isn't used on normal houses because the statistical risk of being struck by lightning.... Well... Is like being struck by lightning...

Having said all that, the outlet looks like a cheap quality overloaded GFCI, the underwater stuff mostly likely wouldn't have provided even as good of a path as thd surface of the pool, and with that damage the inside of the house and neighbors would have issues.

I doubt highly the lightning hypothesis. The toner cartridge is an interesting theory...