When the summer sun shines bright, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a day in the pool. While pools offer an enjoyable experience for family and friends, it is essential that pool owners and users understand and prioritize safety from potential electrical hazards in wet environments. Electrocution accidents around pools are rare but can be extremely dangerous. To help ensure you experience worry-free, enjoyable moments during the summer, we share some crucial best practices for maintaining a safe pool environment. Let’s dive in.
The Danger Posed by Pools and Electricity
The primary danger presented by the combination of pools and electricity is the risk of electric shock hazards. Many people are unaware of the risks of electric shock drowning. It can occur when electricity from pool equipment seeps into the water, according to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association (ESDPA). A swimmer’s muscles are paralyzed by the electricity, which prevents them from paddling or swimming. Although the following focuses on pool safety, this hazard can also arise from a boat, dock, or marina, and the same precautions apply.
Precautions that Help Ensure a Safe Pool Environment
- Keep Distance: Maintain a safe distance between electrical outlets, fixtures, and any water sources such as pools, hot tubs, fountains, sprinklers, and hoses. Consult local electrical codes and adhere to their guidelines regarding the minimum distances required.
- Utilize GFCIs: Ensure that all electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, and equipment near a pool or recreational water source are equipped with GFCIs, and all switches are clearly labeled should you have to turn off power in an emergency. GFCIs automatically shut off the power if they detect a ground fault or current leakage, preventing potential electric shocks.
- Dry Hands and Feet: If you are using an electrical device or appliance around the pool, be sure to have dry hands and feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes to reduce the risk of shock.
- Be Mindful of Lighting: If an underwater light appears to have mold or moisture on the inside of the lens or the light flickers, this can indicate that moisture is getting in, which can present a shock hazard to anyone in the pool. If wired correctly with the proper GFCI protection, electricity should safely cut off if there is an electrical shock hazard. Reminder – if a breaker keeps tripping, stop resetting it and call an electrician.
- Education for All: Educate pool users about electrical safety precautions, such as avoiding the use of electrical devices near the pool and not swimming during thunderstorms. Install warning signs in visible locations to remind people of electrical safety practices and potential hazards.
Ensuring Proper Maintenance
Maintenance is a key aspect of electrical pool safety. By following expert guidelines and practicing diligent care, you can create a more secure and enjoyable swimming experience.
- Keep it Clean: Pool skimmers are a must for keeping the pool clear of larger debris. They have very long poles, though, so be sure to check around you for overhead electrical lines before using them.
- Inspect: Be sure to conduct regular inspections of all electrical components, including wiring, lighting, GFCIs, and other equipment, to identify any signs of wear, damage, or malfunction. Promptly address any issues by repairing or replacing damaged components.
- Work with Licensed Electricians: All electrical work to maintain your pool equipment, including wiring, switches/breakers, and equipment, should be designed and installed by licensed electricians who are knowledgeable about pool safety standards. Ensure that the materials and workmanship are appropriate for outdoor use and meet local electrical codes.
- Use Proper Equipment: Ensure that all electrical equipment installed near a pool or other recreational water source – such as lights, receptacles, and switches – is specifically designed for outdoor use and is weatherproof or waterproof. This helps protect against moisture, rain, and other outdoor elements, reducing the risk of electrical hazards.
A Note for Rental Owners and Renters
The same best practices hold true for rental owners and renters. If you rent your home, whether short-term or long-term, be sure your pool, spa, or hot tub is properly maintained, and safety information is clearly presented and available to the renter. If you are renting, be sure to assess these amenities and associated equipment/accessories, and all users are made aware of safety precautions. If it doesn’t look safe, it likely isn’t.
How Ting Can Help
Even with proper instantiation and maintenance, electrical hazards near pools are still a possibility, especially as equipment ages and wears. Just like in the home, Ting can monitor your pool’s electrical equipment for signals of arcing that indicate a risk of a fire. In the event of an identified hazard, you will receive an app alert as well as a personal text and call from the Ting Fire Safety Team. A Ting Fire Safety engineer will lead you through every step of repair to ensure your safety.
Here are just a few examples of families who were better protected from electrical pool threats thanks to Ting:
Ting was recommended by my insurance company, Pure. I received a Ting notification to contact Pacific Gas & Electric. They came over immediately and discovered that are neutral wire coming from the pool had been chewed through, likely by squirrels.
Michael H. | San Mateo, CA
Our experience with Ting was fabulous; they went above and beyond the call of duty. Ting found a major problem with the electrical subpanel for our swimming pool equipment. It could have easily caused a fire and significantly damaged our home. They even helped us in obtaining a licensed electrical contractor and covered the majority of the cost to repair the problem. We could not have asked for a more timely response and correction to a life threatening problem. Many, many thanks to Ting their excellent customer service!
John E. | Atascadero, CA
I first learned of the possible electrical fire hazard by an email from Ting, quickly followed by a phone call. As soon as I got home, I was able to quickly connect with a Ting Fire Safety Engineer, who guided me through the process of locating the problem, which turned out to be a bad circuit breaker for our pool pump. I was amazed at how helpful and knowledgeable she was, despite troubleshooting the problem over the phone. She also monitored my home’s wiring for several days after the repair was complete to ensure everything was operating properly, which was comforting to know.
Bruce S. | Fountain Valley, CA
Remember, to maintain a safe environment, water and electricity don’t mix. If you need to address an issue, or install a new feature near your pool, consult with a licensed electrician who specializes in pool electrical systems to ensure compliance with local regulations and safety standards specific to your area. You can read more tips about pool and electrical safety from the CPSC here.