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Shocks Should Never Be in the Water
By Paul Netter, Energized by Edison Writer
Published July 2, 2019

Annual inspections by licensed professionals and awareness are the safest ways to prevent the hidden electrical threats in pools, hot tubs and spas.

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.

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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.

At least once-a-year inspections by licensed professionals are the best way to a summer of safe swimming.

At least once-a-year inspections by licensed professionals are the best way to a summer of safe swimming.

“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.”

Licensed electricians and pool contractors can spot and fix problems like faulty pool lighting, faulty or nonexistent ground fault circuit interrupters and incorrect wiring and bonding.

Licensed electricians and pool contractors can spot and fix problems like faulty pool lighting, faulty or nonexistent ground fault circuit interrupters and incorrect wiring and bonding.

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.”

For the safety of swimmers, pool electrical inspections should never be done by unlicensed pool owners or cleaning crews.

For the safety of swimmers, pool electrical inspections should never be done by unlicensed pool owners or cleaning crews.

Additional outside-the-pool tips include: 

  • Carrying long-handled cleaning tools horizontally and using them at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Keeping electrical cords, wires and junction boxes at least five feet away from the water’s edge.
  • Using only battery-operated appliances and devices near the pool.
  • Never stringing lights above or near swimming pools.
  • Keeping an emergency plan within view of pool users.
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Categories: Family | News | Safety
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