Being a pool owner is no easy task. On top of maintaining the pool and keeping it clean, it’s also essential that your pool is properly bonded and grounded to ensure safety when swimming and relaxing. And although it’s an essential task, it’s one many find tricky.
Pool bonding can feel like a complicated topic, but our team of professional electricians is here to break it down. From what exactly pool grounding and bonding are, to how to electrically bond a swimming pool, we are simplifying the process so you understand just what’s ahead for your pool maintenance.
What Dangers Lie Behind Pool Bonding and Grounding Absence?
You may be wondering, since grounding pool water is so complicated, is pool bonding necessary? Actually, it is.
Knowing how to bond an above-ground pool or an inground one is essential, as without taking this precaution, you’re putting yourself at high risk of pool electrocution. As you may know, there’s a great deal of pool equipment that keeps your pool functioning, and it can end up becoming a conductor.
With an electrical system that’s not bonded, an electrical current can move towards people in the pool, as well as equipment, as opposed to moving away or towards the earth. To combat this and maintain electrical safety, pool grounding is vital.
By grounding a pool, you're creating an electrical network that drives towards an electrical panel and into the earth, routing and dissipating electricity to maintain your safety and the safety of those around you.
What Is Grounding?
So, we know the importance of grounding above-ground pool structures, but what does pool grounding entail?
First, let's start by explaining the electrical current. This is made up of electrons, which naturally have a negative charge. In an effort to balance out, this charge flows towards things with a positive charge. It is through this movement that devices are powered. When creating a standard electric wire, one is charged and the other is neutral, allowing it to power devices.
With most systems, the best way for electrons to flow is along the electrical circuit via the charged wire to the neutral one. However, if this wire is damaged in any way, it can cause it to short circuit, which makes the electricity flow down a different path as it looks for the easiest way to a positive charge. Sometimes, this can lead to metal, or even a person touching the equipment.
To avoid this short circuit issue that can lead to pool electrocution, grounding gives the electrical current a path of least resistance, typically with a piece of copper wire leading to the earth. With this, the electrical current will dissipate and avoid harming anyone.
How Should I Ground My Pool and All Connected Systems?
To ground your pool, you need the experts. An electrician can handle this process, grounding your pool by attaching a wire to the electrical panel that fuels your system. This can also be done, based on your design, by linking your pool grounding in with the main electrical panel.
Additionally, pool equipment can be grounded when you install GFCI breaker outlets. A GFCI breaker, or ground fault circuit interrupter, detects when your electrical equipment may have too much power, which can lead to a short circuit. With this, it will interrupt the circuit, cutting the power to the shorting device to create a safer pathway.
What Is Bonding?
Another term you may have heard when looking into grounding is “bonding a swimming pool.” This is a less common electrical endeavor and is only done in situations with pools or hot tubs. However, equipotential bonding is a must to further ensure safety. But what is bonding a swimming pool, really?
Pool bonding, or equipotential bonding, helps to equalize the differences in voltage that may potentially arise between the different pool equipment parts. By properly implementing swimming pool bonding, you will reduce the chance of electrical shocks - something we certainly want to avoid.
Even when equipment is grounded, it can still accumulate a charge over time. This is where bonding a swimming pool comes in. When a pool motor builds up this charge over time, if someone touches it, it will have electrical potential.
While this is similar to sensations like a static shock, this kind of electrical current can jump through the water in your pool, or through people, as it looks to reach the ground, creating safety concerns.
What Does a Standard Equipotential Bonding Grid Include?
So, we know the importance of bonding wire pool systems, and now, we must explore how to properly bond an above-ground pool or inground pool.
By installing the systems to bond pool locations, you will connect all your pool equipment together to the same electrical potential. In having all the systems carry the same charge, the electricity will no longer jump from one piece to the next since the resistance is the same from every direction. With this equalization, you will limit the risk of electrical shocks, meeting pool water bonding requirements.
Wondering how to bond pool equipment? For an electrician to bond all your equipment together, they will connect it with a conductive wire, or pool bonding wire. With this bonding wire for pool systems, there’s a lengthy list of what must be included in the equipotential bonding grid, including:
- All metal parts in the pool shell
- The brackets and shells from pool lighting
- Metal fittings attached to the pool
- Electrical pump motors and fittings
- Any sheathing and metal that’s within 5 feet of your pool
- Handrails and other exposed metal near the pool
- The pool water
There may be more elements included in your above-ground and inground pool bonding, depending on the unique characteristics and needs of your pool system. An expert electrician will handle this process, but the above list is where they will start.
Common Grounding and Bonding Mistakes
Knowing the proper processes when grounding pool water and bonding a swimming pool is essential to creating a safe environment. This process isn’t the easiest, though, and for that reason, you may run into a few mistakes.
One of the most common mistakes sprouts from people not understanding the difference between pool bonding wire and grounding wires. Understanding the difference is essential to meeting swimming pool bonding requirements and creating a safe and durable equipment system.
Additionally, another common mistake is incorrectly grounding and bonding the pool. For instance, if there is metal within five feet of the pool, it must be bonded. Alternatively, any metal equipment involved in the pool needs to be grounded. Ultimately, truly knowing and understanding grounding and how to bond a pool is vital for everyone’s safety.
Also, based on misconceptions of how to ground and bond, some are led to believe that they should ground and bond to the earth. However, by simply sticking a ground rod into the earth and wiring it, you can still leave faulty equipment energized. Additionally, using the incorrect grounding and pool bonding wire choices can mess up the pathway for the electrical current.
There’s certainly a lot to consider when it comes to grounding an above-ground pool or inground hot tub, but thankfully, a trusted electrician will know how it’s done.
Can I Bond and Ground by Myself?
You maintain all other aspects of your pool, from installing a new pump to adding a diving board. But does this mean you can properly figure out how to bond an existing inground pool? Take it from us - grounding and bonding a swimming pool without experience is not a good idea.
Most obviously, this kind of electrical work isn’t safe for those that don’t know how it’s done, especially when dealing with water. Installing your own grounding and pool bonding wire systems will not only put you at risk but those who swim within your improperly wired system.
Furthermore, there are specific grounding and swimming pool bonding requirements that must be met, many of which are required to be handled by an electrician or at least have an electrician check the work. If an inspector discovers you did not meet this requirement, you will be met with code violations.
Ultimately, to create a safe and legal environment, allowing a pro to handle the installation of grounding and pool bonding wire systems is the way to go.
What Should I Do if I Have Issues with My Grounding and Bonding?
If you’re running into issues with your inground or above-ground pool grounding and bonding, the first step is to call your pool company or an electrician to look into the problem.
Electrical codes have changed over the years, which can require that you upgrade your pool bonding. Additionally, sometimes pools are improperly bonded, requiring a whole new bonding fix.
Additionally, you may be experiencing issues due to a wiring flaw. This may cause back-feeding electricity in the pool area - another reason to lean on an experienced electrician. Thankfully, if your pool was properly bonded, the solution is likely simple, and once an expert finds the issue, it can be solved in no time.
So, do all above-ground pools need to be bonded? Hopefully, after reading this, you can confidently answer “yes.”
Properly grounding and bonding a pool is essential to safety, and by owning a pool, you must commit to these safety measures. While we can provide all the electrical safety tips in the world, allowing an electrician to handle the process of grounding and bonding your pool is at the top of our list. You can do all the research, but when it comes to safety around pools and hot tubs, it’s best to rely on professionals.
Now that you understand the importance and intricacies of in-ground and above-ground pool bonding and grounding, it’s time to ensure the safety of your pool. Thankfully, we know just the expert electricians for the job in the Palm Beach County and Broward County area. For help bonding and grounding your pool in Miami Dade and Martin County, our experts at High Voltage Electric have you covered. For help wiring and improving the safety of your pool, contact us now to begin exploring solutions for your pool.
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