Summer is here, and people across Southern California look forward to using their swimming pools on these hot days. Before you get too deep into swimming season, it is always a good idea to review your swimming pool’s electrical safety.
Lights and outlets should be protected by GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) that will shut off electricity should the circuit come in contact with water. Lights should be tied to a GFCI outlet, or all lights and outlets should be tied to a GFCI breaker. A good idea is to test your GFCI. I often find that between the blaring sun, getting splashed with pool chemicals, and being outside in general, GFCI outlets can wear out, even on pool systems that are not very old. They may not trip, or they may trip and not re-set. A GFCI that does not trip is a shock hazard that can potentially be lethal. A good idea is to use the test button on your outlet or breaker and make sure the power to the lights and outlet cuts out, and then make sure it will re-set. If you encounter any problems, call a qualified and licensed electrician who is familiar with pools to get this taken care of!
Another good idea is to make sure you have a bonding wire running between your pump or pumps and the pool heater. The bonding wire should also attached to any metal handrails or ladders, but this is often hard to see if the wire to the handrail is under ground. The bonding wire is to equalize any stray voltage around the entire pool so your body does not create the circuit which would result in getting shocked. Many well meaning pool cleaners may help change out a pump or pump parts and not realize the bonding wire is important. Many older pool systems were made before bonding wires were common.
Another check is make sure the wires to your pump, breakers, and timer boxes are adequately protected and not exposed. Often I see loose conduit, or rusted out timer boxes, leaving live electrical wires exposed. This is major safety hazard to any one who touches the live wires, or if water were to get splashed onto the wires.