*Shallow end, being shocked when grabbing railing*

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
The issue: When entering or exiting the pool through the shallow end, and you grab the railing you are feeling like you are being shocked. This is not happening anywhere else in the pool. The deep-end ladder isn't demonstrating this issue.

Info: The pool was built in 2003 and is bonded with a #8 copper wire from the pool motor, over to the four corners of the pool, hand railing anchors in the shallow end, deep end ladder anchors, pool light, and the concrete rebar; it all passed inspection. This issue has never happened until this summer, June 2021.

Testing and isolating: Voltage from the railing to the concrete is about 1.5V and railing to the water is around 1.9V. When we disconnect the ground wire to the house, the voltage drops to .0023V at the railing in the shallow end, and the shock goes away. This is the closest point to the pool motor from where the bonding begins.

We have solar panels on the house. We had them come out to verify that there isn't a voltage leak or grounding issue on their equipment. With all of their equipment unplugged, power off, main breaker to the house turned off, we still had the voltage in the shallow end. Over by the pool motor, we were seeing around 3V on the ground. Absolutely NOTHING was turned on at this moment. All of the solar equipment checked out. The next course of action, check with the power company to see if there's a load issue. They came out, performed a load test, and everything checked out. The house grounding rod is secure and reads 0V. We've taken out breakers, disconnected all of the wires for the pool motor, timer, outdoor outlets, checked the GFCI's. Nothing, absolutely freaking nothing is leading us to the source.

We've never had this problem, but it's only isolated at the railing in the shallow end. I'm planning on removing the railing, cleaning up the bottom section for better contact, then taking a wire brush and running it inside the anchors to see if that helps.

All of the bonding is encased in concrete. However, is there a possibility that the anchor lost its bond? Any insight would be helpful. Thank you!
 

JohnT

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Welcome to TFP!

I think it’s certain the anchor for your railing isn’t bonded now.

When you say you are seeing 3V on the ground by the pool motor, how exactly are you measuring?

I think you understand the situation well enough to realize you have two problems: Your railing anchor isn’t bonded and you have a stray voltage situation. I would personally want to fix them both even though fixing the bond connection to the railing anchor will hide the issue.

I’m not sure the power company did all they could have done. Odds are it’s a problem with their system before it gets to your house. It could also be a problem with a neighbor’s well pump or phone lines in the ground. Are there wells in the area? How close are your neighbors?

When the power company said your ground rod “measured 0”, did they disconnect the wire and measure between the wire and ground rod? That can be a key piece of info as it tells you how far the power service is offset from ground near your home.

Be ready to make some measurements if their is a power outage. This can confirm whether the issue is with the electric service or elsewhere.
 

cowboycasey

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Welcome to TFP :)

You have done an amazing job at trying to find the culprit..

When we disconnect the ground wire to the house, the voltage drops to .0023V at the railing in the shallow end, and the shock goes away. This is the closest point to the pool motor from where the bonding begins.

Are you talking the main ground wire from your main electrical panel to the ground? So you turned off everything in the box, all breakers including the main breaker and the voltage was still there.. not until the ground was removed did the voltage go away?

Sounds like you are getting voltage from someone else feeding it into the ground and your ground is picking up the voltage... Could be your next door neighbor or it could be a mile away... Something has happened close by this year... I do not even remotely know how to track stray voltage down..

Here is the kicker, your bonding is supposed to stop exactly what is happening, so why is it not working... Do they have your bonding also connected to ground? do you have a ground rod near the pool pad?
 

Brianf60

Well-known member
May 18, 2017
181
Bradford ontario
Can you temporarily add another copper wire frombtge handrail to your bonding point at the pool equipment? Does this resolve the issue?it would be nice to know before you go through all of the work to remove the gave rail.
 

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
@JohnT @cowboycasey

Thank you both for commenting and reaching out. I live in the suburbs and houses are right next to each other. All of our electricity is underground for the neighborhood. We have public water, connected to sewer, and no wells in the neighborhood. I will certainly take note of power outages to take measurements. Both service techs that came out said they never receive dispatch calls like this in our area. When you say "measure between the wire and the ground rod", which wire are you referring to?

As for the 3V on the motor, I connected it from the ground of the house that feeds back to the main breaker panel to the motor ground wire.
Are you talking the main ground wire from your main electrical panel to the ground? So you turned off everything in the box, all breakers including the main breaker and the voltage was still there.. not until the ground was removed did the voltage go away?
Correct, as soon as we disconnect the ground wire that feeds to the timer and the pump, the voltage drops. Even if we turn all breakers off including the main, we still see the voltage unless we disconnect the ground coming from the house.

Our main electrical panel is original in the house, 1987-ish. Grounds and common are shared and not separated, and when the pool was built a sub panel was not required. There isn't an extra grounding bar near the pool. The bonding connects to the pump, then the ground wire from inside the pump runs over the timer and house ground wire.

I'm baffled because like both of you said, the bonding should be doing its job to prevent this. I deeply appreciate your assistance with this and for taking the time to help.
 

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
Can you temporarily add another copper wire frombtge handrail to your bonding point at the pool equipment? Does this resolve the issue?it would be nice to know before you go through all of the work to remove the gave rail.
Yes, I can definitely test that. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

cowboycasey

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Ahhhh, so you are disconnecting the ground wire from your pump and that is when the voltage drops in the pool... So it may be something in your house... I thought you were disconnecting the "MAIN HOUSE GROUND"

Try this, turn off your main breaker so no power is coming into your house... Does the voltage go away?
 

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
Ahhhh, so you are disconnecting the ground wire from your pump and that is when the voltage drops in the pool... So it may be something in your house... I thought you were disconnecting the "MAIN HOUSE GROUND"

Try this, turn off your main breaker so no power is coming into your house... Does the voltage go away?
I apologize for not relaying that clearly before. The voltage still remains when we turned off the main breaker in the house.
 

cowboycasey

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no apologies needed.. :)
 

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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
25,709

 

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
Here's what I was able to put together before the rain started.

Ground from main breaker panel to timer and pump:
Frequency: 200-350Hz
Current: 150 mV (AC) / -180 mV (DC)
Voltage: 2.4-2.5 V

Railing to concrete with the ground from the main breaker disconnected from timer and pump:
Voltage: 6 mV (AC) / -180 mV (DC)
Frequency: 60Hz
Railing to water: ~178Hz

I checked the ground bar going to the house, and I was getting 180 mV (AC) going to external ground leads going to communication connections. I doubt that's a solid test but if you're able to point me in the right direction then I'll do it.

Also, I ran a make-shift bonding wire from the pump to the railing and I had the same result with the voltage. Yes, I did disconnect the ground wire on the pump before testing the temporary wire.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
25,709
How far away is the power transformer that feeds your house?

Is your main neutral in good shape?
 

Brianf60

Well-known member
May 18, 2017
181
Bradford ontario
Just to recap to make I'm following. If you disconnect the wiring from your house to pool pump/ timer (you mentioned disconneting thd ground) the issue is no longer present?
 

gamerfan2004

Active member
Jul 3, 2013
27
Newark, DE
Was this jumping all over the place?
Ground from main breaker panel to timer and pump:
Frequency: 200-350Hz

Yes, this was changing every second.

How far away is the power transformer that feeds your house?

Is your main neutral in good shape?
All of our power through the neighborhood is underground. I honestly don't know how close our relay station is or where exactly it's coming from. Yes, the main neutral is in good shape and was load tested yesterday by the power company.

Do you have a whole hose standby generator ? Have seen those causing trouble....
No, we do not have a standby generator.

If you disconnect the wiring from your house to pool pump/ timer (you mentioned disconneting thd ground) the issue is no longer present?
Correct.
 

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