Marco … POLO … Marco … POLO …
The long-favorite game remains, along with swimming, splashing around and just plain floating, a staple of swimming pool fun every summer, but there’s another guessing game pool owners never want to play.
It involves electricity, namely the potential hidden electrical hazards in and around pools — and hot tubs and spas — that could lead to serious injuries and should never be ignored for the safety of occupants.
Forgettable prevention could lead to unforgettable tragedy, and that’s where the best prevention comes in.
“Swimming pools, hot tubs and spas should always be inspected at least once a year by a licensed electrician or pool contractor who will check your lighting, wiring, grounding and junction boxes to ensure they are properly and safely installed,” said Andrew Martinez, vice president of Safety, Security and Business Resiliency for Southern California Edison. “These electrical inspections should never be done by unlicensed pool owners or cleaning crews.”
Faulty pool lighting, faulty or nonexistent ground fault circuit interrupters and incorrect wiring — especially in older pools — are generally considered the greatest potential hidden hazards. Licensed professionals will not only repair these, but also make upgrades to comply with applicable local codes and the National Electrical Code.
Mark Chapman, a licensed electrician, pool and Jacuzzi owner and 34-year SCE employee who is now an electrical foreman, goes further on the lighting. He advises downgrading any 110-volt or higher pool lighting to 12-volt LED lighting, saying, “It will illuminate your pool just as well while drastically reducing potential risks from cracked or broken lights.”
And while essential on all electrical equipment, working ground fault circuit interrupters should be on all outlets within 20 feet of the water’s edge.
As for other hazards outside the water, a permanent or storable pool should never be built or set up underneath power lines. If this exists, there are clearance requirements that pool owners should consult with their local inspection agency about.
“The best prevention is awareness and annual inspections by licensed professionals,” said Martinez. “We strongly urge our customers and their families and friends to practice both to enjoy a summer of safe swimming.”
Additional outside-the-pool tips include: