How Do I Know If My Pool Is Grounded?

ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
Sorry, I meant to type bonded in the title. Would I be seeing the bond wire anywhere? Isn't it possible for the pump to be grounded, and the pool to be bonded?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
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May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
The pump must be grounded (a green wire connected inside of it with the power wires) AND bonded (a bare copper wire connected on the outside of the motor). The bond wire should be connected to any metal within 5 feet (I think) of the pool. This includes rebar in the pool shell and deck, etc, and is also connected to the motor.

I am fuzzy on the details, but there are many other thread discussing this.
 

ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
I've read some of those threads, but I am also fuzzy on this. Would the bonding wire be visible on the hand rails, or under the concrete hidden. I've also read in another thread that concrete must also be bonded.

All I see coming from the pump is the electrical conduit that goes to the timer, and the green ground wire. The ground wire goes straight into the ground. This also concerns me, isn't it standard for the grounding rod to be visible above the ground?

EDIT: I imagine it is obvious that the bond wire is hidden in the concrete.
 

ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
So if the pool is not bonded, would turning off the pump when we are in the pool (or changing the run time) eliminate the risk of being electrocuted by the pump (most switches disconnect the hot line when the switch is off).
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
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May 19, 2010
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There is no ground rod for bonding.

And no, turning off the pump would not eliminate the risk. The point of bonding is so that everything is at the same potential around the pool. This includes protection from stray currents due to the motor and equipment itself and also against stray currents in the ground that could come from far away and not related to any of your equipment.

So, turning off the pump only eliminates that as a source of current, but there could be other sources as well.
 
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ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
I understand the second part of your post. But if a short or fault were to occur in the pump, having it off would prevent an electrocution, right? I'm not including electricity from the ground.

For the first part of your post, I meant the grounding wire for the pump. I went outside and looked at the wiring again, and it looks like there is a bare ground in the conduit that comes from the pump to the electrical panel. That ground wire is about 18 gauge, which is smaller than the hot and neutral wires (it's common for a smaller ground wire; to trip the breaker).

So, it looks like that green wire coming from the pump (that I originally thought was the ground wire) is the bonding wire. It is about 8 gauge, and goes directly into the ground (hopefully to the pool). It is also attached to what I now know as the bonding lug of the pump. I guess the person who installed that bonding wire used a green insulated one.



So, to recap, I've figured out that the grounding wire coming from the pump is actually the bonding wire. The pump has an actual grounding wire in the conduit coming from the pump. The green bonding wire is what threw me off. That leaves me with my question from the top of this post that I'm assuming to be yes, because the switch disconnects the hot when off.
 

jblizzle

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May 19, 2010
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Tucson, AZ
The bond wire should not be insulated. And you have to hope that it runs around the pool and connects to all the concrete and metal.

If the hot wire the pump shorted, it should throw the breaker. It would take a very odd (and multiple) failures for the power wire to the pump motor to electrify the pool water. But, if it makes you feel safer, by all means turn it off.
 

jmhjgh

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2011
194
Minnesota
To verify, you could use an ohmmeter and connect to the bare bond wire and then go to the hand rails, diving board fixture, heater, etc. and make sure they are all bonded together.
 

ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
The insulation for the bond wire might end and be stripped where it connects to the pool, I know insulated ground wires work that way.

The standard non-GFCI circuit breakers have been known to not flip quick enough to prevent electrocution, so if people are in the pool at the time of the fault, the breaker flipping would take barely too long.

I've seen news reports of people being electrocuted in pools because of the pump, which is what worried me.

I'm not going to turn off the pump when we get in, but I will consider this if I decide to run the pump in the evening. I've been wondering if I should run the pump in the evening (because this is when I add chlorine). For now, I will run it in the morning so the chlorine can get circulated when we are not in (which will also help with chlorine loss).

Thanks for your help!

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jmhjgh, thank you for your suggestion. I missed your post while I was typing mine.

My bond wire is actually insulated, but I can try that at the bonding lug on the pump.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
741
Montville NJ
The insulation for the bond wire might end and be stripped where it connects to the pool, I know insulated ground wires work that way.
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The thing is, the bond wire needs to have no insulation on it at all, when it is in contact with the ground. The purpose of the bond is to keep any two conductive objects that you may touch at the same time at the same potential. The ground is one of these objects, so wherever the bond wire is buried, it needs to be bare, not insulated.

In extreme cases (not likely to happen in your backyard pool) two seperate points on the ground can be at a different enough potential to shock (and kill) a person just by walking across the ground. That is why the bonding wire has to be bare, buried, and in a "halo" around the pool - to keep everyting at the same potential.

Before you get all worried about walking across your backyard, things like being electrocuted by walking across the ground (the electricity goes up one leg and down the other) really only happens around things like substations and downed power wires - look up ground potential rise if you want info on it. Thats why if a truck gets a downed wire across it, and you have to jump clear (first choice is to stay in the truck) when you land, you shuffle away, not walk.


-dave
 

SunnyOptimism

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2014
860
Tucson, AZ
Not trying to be Capt Obvious here, but did you read - http://www.troublefreepool.com/content/187-Bonding-vs-Grounding

Also, are you asking the question because you are concerned the equipment was not installed right and you don't know the installation history OR are you just asking for information? I ask only because if the pool was built to code and the equipment installed by a licensed electrician, then it would take a massive oversight on their part to not properly bond and ground the pool and equipment.
 

ThinkPad

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2014
227
East Coast
The insulated wire might bond the ground if it is attached to the metal reinforcements under the plaster. Also, the insulation might end at the first connection, and then the rest could be bare. I have seen a couple other setups that are bonded with a green insulated wire.

This video at 4:21, and this image. So is using an insulated wire from the pump safe? Does anybody know more about these setups?

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Sunny, I don't know anything about the installation or history. Everything looks like it would have been up to code, but I can't be sure. I've seen some news reports about electrocutions in pools, and want to make sure I have some protection.

And yes, I have read that already multiple times, actually.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
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May 19, 2010
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Safe? Maybe, if it is only a short section that is insulated.

But, current code specifically states that the bond wire should be bare copper ... not sure what code was when yours was built or if meeting code was even required.

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I have no idea if mine is done properly either. There is a bond wire at the equipment, which is now correctly connected to the motor and automation. They never had it connected to the heater (which is now not plumbed). I highly doubt in the 70s it was attached to the diving board mount or the slide ... although I can hope I am wrong.

There was no GFCI on the pool light when I moved in :shock: That was quickly changed by me by adding a GFCI outlet at the equipment and feeding the light from it.
 

Divin Dave

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Oct 2, 2013
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Longview, Texas
Another thing to look at on that green wire connected to the case on the pump.
It should be 8 AWG Solid (not stranded) wire. If you google NEC swimming pool code, it will detail the specifcs of the bonding system.

In all likelyhood you will never have a problem. But if you ever have a slight static electricty shock around the pool, or a tingle while touching the ladder or any other metal thing around the pool, or if the hair on your arms stand up, then you have a have a bonding issue. These types of thing happen because of electrical potential differences, which a bonding system would prevent from happening.

Well, either way, it's gotta have better protection than nothing.