When the weather starts turning nice, one thing on many people’s minds is when they can open their pool or hot tub. It is this type of summer fun that provides some relief from the Florida heat. It also provides a great way to relieve stress and relax.
However, one component that is not on everyone’s mind is the safety aspects of opening their water fun. However, there are some very real dangers of both a pool and hot tub, especially electrical dangers.
Fortunately, there are some pool safety precautions you can take to ensure your summer is fun and safe from electrical injuries.
Pool & Hot Tube Wiring
The very first thing to check is the wiring of the actual components of your pump and pool lighting systems. After all, these are the components that are coming in direct contact with water. A problem with any of these will cause not only shorts but also shock and electrocution risks.
One of the best ways to make sure that electrical hazards are minimized is to use GFCI outlets. These are outlets that have a mini breaker in them. These intelligent outlets trip when there is an imbalance between incoming and outgoing current. This imbalance is an indicator of a possible short in the system.
In addition to using GFCI outlets, you want to ensure that the wiring is properly rated for the electrical volume needed. Most systems will be able to run on 15-amp 120-volt circuit. However, larger systems will need a 50-amp, 240-volt circuit. Not only do you need the right outlet and breakers for the circuit, but you also need to ensure the wiring will handle voltage coming through the system.
In addition to ensuring correct wiring, you want to be sure switches and breakers are properly distanced from the water. Keeping these at least ten feet away from the water should be sufficient. When you work with a professional electrician to run your wiring you know
Overhead and Underground Wiring
Another significant hazard to pool safety is the utility wiring that runs overhead and underneath your pool or hot tub. There are specific requirements for where these are to be located. Here is a brief synopsis of where the wiring should be located
Overhead power lines: at least 22.5 feet above water level, or 14.5 feet above a diving board.
Overhead telecommunications lines: at least 10 feet above a diving board or water level.
Buried lines: these should be at least five feet away from the edge of the pool or hot tub.
Before installing your pool, check to make sure any utility wiring meets these restrictions. Where your lines are run may affect where you place your pool or hot tub. However, paying attention to these wire upfront will ensure your safety both during installation as well as during play.
Preventing and Dealing With Shorts
One of the biggest dangers to pool safety is electrical shorts. A short is when there is a low resistance connection allowing unrestricted voltage to flow through. Put in more common terms, a short is when electricity is allowed to flow where it does not belong.
There are a number of areas where a short can occur around a pool. This can be any place where an electrical wire connects to a device. It can also be any place where one of these electrical devices come into contact with the water or the pool. Thankfully it is easy to look for shorts.
If your pool is wired correctly, then the GCFI outlet will trip when a short occurs. If you find one or more of your GCFI outlets are continually tripping, you need to look for where the short occurs.
When hunting down a possible short, the first thing to do is inspect the wiring. You want to look for breaks in the insulation as well as where the wiring connects to the device. In any device used around a pool, the wiring should be sealed at the point of connection.
If you find a break in the insulation or a place where water can make contact with the electrical current, you need to fix it. In this application, you want to avoid a patchwork fix like electrical tape. Consider contacting an electrician in Florida to ensure proper safety.
The final area of concern is any electrical accessory you plan to use near your pool. This can be entertainment, such as televisions and music, as well as lighting and more.
For maximum safety, you want to keep these accessories at least ten feet away from the water. In some cases there may be waterproof accessories available, but use caution as these can lead to severe electric shock.
Follow these tips and exercise some common sense, and you should have a safe and happy summer.
Your Next Move
You should always contact a licensed electrician whenever you consider upgrading or repairing anything electrical. Electricity is nothing to play with, and attempting to fix a problem on your own could worsen your issue or create a bigger problem than you know how to fix. When it comes to installing dedicated circuits, you want to make sure the process goes smoothly and causes no issues.
At D.O.C. Electric Inc., we have the know-how to assist you. We’ll send out a professional electrician to help you figure out which appliances deserve dedicated circuits so that you can configure the electricity of your home more efficiently and logically. To get in contact with an electrician today, contact us, and we’ll help you get your circuits sorted out.