Most people are aware that water and electricity don’t mix, but a surprising number of electricity-related accidents happen in swimming pools every year.
In September of 2016, 17-year-old Rachel Rosoff was electrocuted and drowned in a swimming pool. Authorities determined that a faulty ground wire in the pool’s electrical system didn’t trip a circuit breaker when the pump motor failed, allowing the water in the pool to become electrified.
According to Stephen Little, a licensed electrician and pool contractor in the area with more than 16 years of experience, pools fail electrical safety inspections frequently.
Little recently conducted 60 GFCI inspections in the Palm Springs, Calif. area, and all 60 failed the test. Two of the pools didn’t have ground fault circuit interrupters at all, and he was forced to cut off power to the pools.
Little said that most inspections fail due to an improper type of circuit breaker, allowing another appliance to be plugged into the same circuit as the pool. The GFCI used for pool lights should not have a plug attachment.
But there are other reasons that electrical safety inspections fail, and Little recommends that pool owners get inspections on their pools electrical work twice a year.
“Lights are required by National Electric Code to be grounded and bonded, and that is one of the primary things that should be inspected at least twice a year — that the grounding is intact, the bonding is intact and the GFI is present and working,” Little said. If the GFCI is working properly, it should shut the power off to the pool if there is a problem. Electrical inspections by qualified and licensed professionals can save lives. This is particularly important on older pools, where some of the wiring may have come loose or become corroded.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the biggest concerns are faulty underwater lighting; aging electrical wiring that hasn’t been inspected; or the use of electrical appliances that are not grounded.
Ask your pool and spa service professional to arange an electrical inspection today.