Static electricity in a fiberglass pool..

dremin2flyhi

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2010
121
Darlington, SC
Just some background here... I finally talked my uncle this year into installing a SWG. He is loving it so far--very easy maintenance. So over the weekend I go over and check on to see how he is doing. Pool is looking great. We are talking there and he says he has been feeling like a small "Buzz" from whenever he goes to get out of the pool using the stainless hand rail. I check it out for myself --and sure enough you could feel small trickle of current around my hand up into my arm. So I went home and grabbed my meter and started checking everything. We killed all the circuits that had anything to do with the pool and surrounding area--still could feel the small buzz. I checked with my fluke meter from the hand rail to the water and sure enough-- I was reading about .800 volts DC on the meter. I done more checking around the pump area and everything-- really was scratching my head at that point. Only thing I could come up with --Is that the hand rail had lost its bond to rest of the grid. So for a temp fix-- I used a stainless worm clamp and piece of Nichrome wire with a stainless bolt hanging in the water to make the handrail the same potential.. My uncle is getting the pool builder to come back and check over everything.. Just wondering if anyone had experienced this with a fiberglass pool.. any thoughts / comments ??
 

oldkayak

Active member
Apr 27, 2010
29
Actually this happened to us in a rental property in North Carolina one year. Same problem that you are describing, but we were also getting the "Buzz" around the step area. The property management company called the electric company who came out to troubleshoot. They installed a large grounding rod in the yard, that may have helped but did not solve the problem. They also killed the circuits, and still could feel the buzz. They were out most of the week we were there and eventually found some problem with a transformer about a block away from the house.
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,061
Denton, TX
That's not a good thing.

Definitely get the builder to come back out there and assess things. If you don't make headway with that, then I would find a licensed electrician to come out there and figure it out.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,963
SouthWest Alabama
Sounds like a bonding issue. With large fiberglass tanks we have to ground everything connected to the vessel as well as the liquid inside it. It's surprising to most people but fiberglass will conduct electricity. We even have to put lightning protection on them.
 

dremin2flyhi

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2010
121
Darlington, SC
That was my thought too-- on the bonding.. Somewhere something is loose or disconnected. I am gonna try and snag the ground bond tester from work.. I do UL and CE / CSA testing at work.
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Just one thing to add, seen one issue where the ground rod wasn't deep enough and had actually lost its "connection" with the earth due to the soil drying out around it. I found the problem by pouring a bucket of water around the rod while I was testing and the issue instantly disappeared. It is hard to tell how far a rod has been driven into the earth from the outside and the proper length rod isn't always installed for the prevailing soil conditions.

Its an easy test to do especially if you already have the test equipment on hand.

Another one happened at an industrial facility where we had a phase issue caused by a bad transformer, we never actually found it until the transformer blew up and destroyed nearly all the electrical components in the facility. I knew there was an issue as I was the guy installing three phase heater coils in their steam boiler which were blowing constantly (I thought there was a supplier quality issue) and alerted the maintenance staff but who could have guessed the street level transformer was bad (it was brand new since it was a new building). Kinda made me wish for the old days when buildings would have a set of three bulbs running off each phase somewhere in the basement where you could see the phases and how they were operating, those old timers could teach us a thing or two I think. :wink:

Let us know what you find.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Bonding and grounding have nothing to do with each other. Bonding means connecting all of the metal parts that touch the water, or could possibly be touched by a person in the water, together. If everything is connected together, no current can flow through a person, even if there isn't any grounding at all, because everything is at the same potential.

Bad grounding can certainly cause problems, but proper boding will prevent the issue dremin2flyhi is having regardless of grounding or not.
 

dremin2flyhi

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2010
121
Darlington, SC
update:

pool builder found loose bond connection at the input of the fiber optic connection to the pool- thankfully they still had the layout they had done for the pool .. so far so good... no more buzzing for now...
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
JasonLion said:
Bonding and grounding have nothing to do with each other. Bonding means connecting all of the metal parts that touch the water, or could possibly be touched by a person in the water, together. If everything is connected together, no current can flow through a person, even if there isn't any grounding at all, because everything is at the same potential.

Bad grounding can certainly cause problems, but proper boding will prevent the issue dremin2flyhi is having regardless of grounding or not.
Are pools that are bonded are not grounded also? Just curious since it would seem to me that a static issue could cause a similar problem because of poor grounding even though the bonding would be OK.

Not an expert by any means, just curious.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
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May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Nearly all pools are both bonded and grounded, though there certainly are pools that are bonded and not grounded. In any case, bonding and grounding serve different purposes. Bonding is designed to prevent people in the water from getting a shock, regardless of what else is happening. Grounding is designed to help detect wiring mistakes and damaged wiring and to prevent them from becoming dangerous.

Put another way, grounding helps prevent a live wire from ever being connected to the water. Bonding helps protect a bather even when a live wire is connected to the water. If you took a pool that is properly bonded, but not grounded, and connected a live 240 volt wire to the bonding system, it would still be impossible for someone in the water to be shocked. Bonding puts everything at the same potential. Since the potentials are equal, no current will flow.
 
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