There is nothing more refreshing than swimming in clean, cool pool water. However, people are finally becoming aware of the dangers associated with electricity and swimming pools and boat docks. The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association launched an awareness campaign that labels Electrical Shock Drowning (ESD) “A Silent Killer.” Lives can be saved by being proactive about your home pool. These are the best 3 practices for pool safety.
1. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
GFCI’s protect against electrocution. The GFCI will trip in 1/40th of a second if an imbalance of power is detected, stopping the lethal electrical charge. All pool equipment should be GFCI protected including the lights, pumps, motors, heaters, etc.
All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected too. It is important to know that GFCI receptacles don’t last forever, so they should be tested every month and replaced as needed by a licensed electrician.
2. No Devices On Deck
Music adds beauty to our lives and is commonly played at the pool. However, a number of electrocutions are caused by electronic devices falling into the pool or spa. Keep all radios and power cords at least 5 feet away from the pool’s edge for the best protection. Better yet, use only battery powered devices around the pool.
3. Bonding and Grounding For Life
All pool equipment should be properly bonded and grounded. Bonding means all the pool equipment is connected together. This includes the pool itself and parts like the ladder. Without bonding, if one piece becomes energized from a fault in the system, that electricity travels to any other object – including people. Grounding is when the equipment is electrically attached to the ground system. If there is a short in the system, it shuts off at the circuit breaker almost immediately.
Pool Lighting is a hazard if it has not been properly bonded and grounded. It can energize the water and eletrocute someone even if the light isn’t on. The same issue is true of any pool feature that uses electricity such as waterfalls or fountains.
Pools and spas can become deadly if the electrical system wears out or is not properly installed. Have an electrician inspect your pool for electrical safety on a regular basis. Have fun and stay safe!