Why protecting your pool matters
The push for safer pools has been on the rise in recent years. Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths for children under 5 years old. In fact, each year too many young Floridians are lost to drowning— the equivalent of four preschool classrooms, and an average of 74 children in each of the last 10 years. That equals 744 children who did not live to celebrate their 5th birthday.
State and national data shows 76% of children under 5 primarily drown in residential pools. The Coalition, in its unwavering commitment to reverse this trend, established a water safety campaign called “Florida Safe Pools.”
Several counties and organizations have passed new pool safety regulations while being on the move for better and safer laws. There are several things to consider when talking pool safety. Has the pool equipment been wired properly? Has your pool been bonded properly? Is the electrical system free from defects? Is your pool light 120 volt or 12 volt? All of these items are essential to the safety of you and your family. If these items have been installed and maintained correctly it should prevent tragedies.
So often on existing pools where the pool pump and equipment have been replaced, wiring and bonding have been compromised due to an improper installation. For example, it is imperative your electrical wiring for the pool pump has proper connections and proper grounding. The importance of grounding is to have an effective path to the ground in case there is a short circuit in the pump or wiring prompting your breaker to trip. By today’s code a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker is required to be installed for the pump. This GFCI breaker trips quicker than a normal breaker insuring your safety in the event of a ground fault.
The bonding required by the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, Article 680.26 shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in pool area. This bonding grid is installed when the pool is built. This connects the steel that is used in the walls of your pool to the pool pump. Creating this bond reduces the effect of voltage leaking in to the water. The bond should always be attached to your pool pump and any other related equipment such as pool heaters, pool auto pilots, and pool lights. Once this is broken the risk of injury is increased.
Making sure your electrical system is free from defects is essential in the overall operation of your pool equipment. Any broken pipes where the feeder wires are going to your pool equipment exposes the wires to weather elements or other potential hazards that will break down the insulation causing the wire to possibly short circuit. The breaker feeding the pool equipment panel needs to be in top working order with no signs of overheating or other visual signs of wear and tear.
Due to several drowning events counties are taking a closer look at pool lights and the voltage they are operating at. Though the code states a residential pool light can be 120 volts while being protected by a GFCI this code article is under review to see if this is the best application practice. Counties are pushing to make a change to 12 volts as the primary supply to the pool light. And in doing so this will reduce the possibly of serious injury if there is a failure in the GFCI protection. However, if you enter a pool or hot tub and feel tingling immediately remove yourself or anyone else and notify Mister Sparky Electric to inspect your equipment before returning to the water.
A quick recap of important things to ask yourself when checking your pool system:
- Has the pool equipment been wired properly?
- Has your pool been bonded properly?
- Is the electrical system free from defects?
- Is your pool light 120 volt or 12 volt?
- Is your equipment GFCI protected?
If any of these are in question and you are not sure, we recommend you contact Mister Sparky Largo for a complete inspection keeping you, your family, pets and friends safe while swimming.