For 31 years, the voice of the pool and spa service professional.

Wiring pools: Do you know what you’re doing?

By Marcelle Dibrell

Water and electricity don’t mix. You shouldn’t swim in a lightning storm and it’s not a good idea to blow dry your hair in the bathtub. Most (but not all) of us know that. 

As a case in point, in 2013, a firefighter responding to electrical transformer fire doused the live power lines with his hose. The explosion was massive. If the fire fighter lived, he probably learned his lesson.

Most of us know that it’s a really bad idea to take chances with electricity and water, and that’s why it is so important to take special precautions in the pool area.

Because while it is true that swimming pool electrocutions are a rare occurrence, that fact is of little comfort to the families whose lives have been changed by it. Remember Calder Sloane, the 7-yearold boy who was electrocuted by the faulty pool light? His devastated father continues to fight for stronger electrical legislation in the state of Florida. And there was another electrical incident that shocked several children in a condominium complex last year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there have been 14 deaths related to electrocution in swimming pools from 2003 to 2014. Some of these accidents occurred due to hazardous pool equipment that was either malfunctioning or improperly installed in the first place.

Experts say that the greatest risk of electrical accidents comes from older pool lights. For that reason, they recommend upgrading old pool lighting to lighting that adheres to modern safety standards. They also recommend getting an older pool’s electrical components inspected periodically, especially if the history of the pool is unknown. There are plenty of pool projects that are considered do-it-yourself work, but electrical work is not one of them. 

Electrical repairs should be performed by a qualified and licensed professional. As a pool service technician, it is important to know that most jurisdictions require that electrical repair work be done by a licensed electrician. Check with local codes to determine what you are allowed to do. 

For complete electrical safety requirements, obtain the copy of the National Electric Code (NEC) that is referenced by your local authority.

This special edition of Service Industry News provides a general discussion on electrical circuits, electrical safety and lighting.

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