Electrical Safety for Pools and Spa

  • By Todd Starr
  • 13 Apr, 2016

Electrical Codes for Pools & Spas

Pools and spas can bring hours of enjoyment to you and your family, but safety must also be a concern. Many people don't think about electrical pool & spa safety, even though it is too important to overlook. Chemicals, chlorine, salt and moisture can have adverse effects on your pools electrical safety.

There have been dramatic updates in the last 10 years to the National Electrical Codes (NEC) regarding pools and spas. They recommend an annual complete electrical check up by an electrician on all electric pumps, filters, heating and lighting. Be sure to have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make certain that junction boxes and wiring connections to the lighting are correctly and safely installed. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens can indicate water leakage. Be certain that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are clearly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency. Also, test permanently installed GFCIs monthly to assure continued protection.

Make sure that GFCIs are installed:
  • On underwater lighting circuits operating at more than 15 volts
  • On electrical equipment used with pools, hot tubs, and spas, including 120-volt and 240-volt heaters close to the pool
  • On all outdoor receptacles and receptacles within 20 feet of the water’s edge to protect people from injury.

What should I do if I think I’m being shocked while in the water?
  • Move away from the source of the shock.
  • Get out of the water. If possible, exit without using a metal ladder. Touching a metal ladder may increase the risk of shock.
What should I do if I think someone in the water is experiencing an electrical shock?
  • Immediately turn off all power. If the power is not turned off, rescuers can also become victims.
  • Call or have someone else call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Enjoy your pool or spa, but please stay safe. If you need electrical inspection, repair or maintenance on your pool or spa, contact My Neighborhood Electrician. We are experts on pool and spa safety.

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Here are 4 electrical safety tips for your home:

1. Have a fire extinguisher in your home.  The only safe way to put out an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. Be sure you have one that is easily accessible and that you know how to use it.

2. Do not ignore electrical irregularities. If you see lights flickering, have frequent power surges or hear crackling outlets, don't ignore it. Call an experienced residential electrician right away. 

3. Do no overload electrical outlets. Be sure that you do put to much strain on your outlets by plugging in more than they are designed for. This can lead to dangerous conditions and fires.

4. Check the condition of your electrical cords. If cords are frayed, damaged or stripped, they can be extremely dangerous. Don't attempt to repair or tape a cord either. Extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution, not a permanent remedy.

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Safety Tips for Smoke Detectors:
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• Install alarms on every level of the house including the basement.
• Interconnect smoke detectors so when one alarm sounds they all sound.
• Smoke alarms should be at least 10 ft from the stove to reduce false alarms from cooking.
• Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.

CO detectors are important as well to alert us of carbon monoxide gas. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that is undetectable by the human senses. It causes flu like symptoms in low level exposures and more severe symptoms and/or death at higher levels and longer durations of exposure.

Carbon monoxide is created by malfunctioning fuel burning appliances such ranges, water heaters, furnaces and room heaters. CO is also created from fireplaces and charcoal burning equipment. High powered engines, such as cars and portable generators, also create CO.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends the following:
• One CO alarm should be installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home.
• CO alarms may be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall.
 Hard wired or plug-in CO alarms should have battery backup.
• Avoid locations that are near heating vents or that can be covered by furniture or draperies.
• CPSC does not recommend installing CO alarms in kitchens or above fuel-burning appliances.

Installing both smoke detectors and CO detectors is critical. Consider installing detection devices that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. This is a small investment considering the unthinkable consequences.
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4. Inspections Help Save Energy and Money – Bad wiring and circuits can drain energy. Appliances that are not receiving adequate power are not efficient and may sustain damages due to insufficient power.

A proactive approach can save on expensive damages and repairs later. A peace of mind is worth the cost of the inspection.
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