We all love our pools. Maintaining them can be a chore sometimes but the reward is worth it. But they can be dangerous if treated carelessly or neglected. In addition to drowning, the water in the pool poses a constant threat of electrical shock if electrical equipment comes into contact with it (even battery-operated appliances).
Keeping pools, spas or hot tubs electrical safe isn’t hard though if you know what you should be doing. So here’s some tips from a Perth electrician for pool electrical safety.
Before diving into the topic, it’s crucial to briefly address the potential hazards. While the risk of electrical shock is a prominent concern in all electrical safety discussions, there are other risks to consider as well. For instance, electrical fires caused by appliances situated around a pool can result in property damage, which can have physical and financial repercussions, and pose a threat to your safety.
Safety regulations are there for a reason too, and not adhering to them can have serious consequences. Not only does an unsafe pool greatly increase the chances of fatal electrical accidents, pools that are not up to the standard set in the regulations can give you legal trouble as well. If you are a landlord renting your place out this can also have serious financial repercussions for your business.
While a licensed electrician will always be the best and safest method for inspecting your electrical system and determining if there are any issues, there are some signs that you can look out for.
Chances are if your pool liner and decking is worn and weathered and in need of maintenance, the electrical components in it will be too. Though your pool should never get to a stage where it is visibly damaged, use this as a telltale indication of the need to inspect the electrical system.
An obvious one, if you’re experiencing electric shocks or pain (even mild ones like a tingling sensation) you should immediately exit the area and call an electrician. Needless to say, don’t go touching any wet appliances around your pool as well.
Regulations mandate that any metal items within 1.25 meters of your swimming pool must be electrically bonded to the main earthing system of your home to prevent electrocution, but pool wiring and electronics can age over time, so it’s important to keep on top of maintaining your pool.
If your nearby appliances and electrical equipment are often wet it’s a sign that they are probably too close to your pool. Wet appliances pose just as much of a danger as an appliance falling into a pool. Water guns and electric pool toys can make this happen much more frequently than you might think.
First and foremost, have your pool regularly maintained. This will not only keep it operating in tip top shape but also ensure that any issues arising from damage or simple wear and tear get picked up on before they can become a much larger problem. This applies to the safety switches that protect the pool as well (particularly the ground fault circuit interrupter). They will age too and with that age their effectiveness will be reduced.
Exterior power sockets are common in our houses and are far more likely to encounter water (especially if they are situated near a pool). Weatherproof outlets are rated to be resistant to water entering them, and usually have a cover, which is very important around a swimming pool.
IP rating is the metric for weatherproof outlets and IP53 is the base weatherproof outlet rating. These are able to withstand moderate amounts of dust and water from certain angles, but if you want more substantial protection there is also the option of IP55 and IP66 rated options, with the latter able to withstand the spray of a fire hose from any direction (if you ever find the need for that).
Along with regular maintenance, an electrical inspection can go that extra mile to ensure that any hidden dangers in your swimming pool’s electrical system are picked up on. A licensed electrician will conduct these inspections regularly and will be able to pick up on what the layman may miss.
Not everything floating around out there on the internet about pool safety is true, and there are a few notable misconceptions about pool electrical safety.
You may be tempted to think that simply keeping your electrical devices away from your pool will be enough, but that’s actually not the case. Your pool has several pieces of electrical equipment built into it such as the pump and filter that need to be regularly maintained.
Usually when a light goes out we just replace it and go on with our lives, but with pool lights it’s a little different. Damage and wear to the electrical components of a pool light can be dangerous so be sure to keep a close eye on the condition of any pool lights you may have.
Pool electrical safety is a serious matter and everyone’s situation will be a little different. Only a qualified electrician will be able to accurately assess your situation and give you the right, up to date advice.