Grounding and Bonding: Why Your Swimming Pool Needs Both
If you are thinking about putting a new in-ground or above ground swimming pool in your backyard, grounding and bonding are two essentials that are a must before you dive in. Even if you already own a swimming pool, it’s good to know what grounding and bonding is because your pool may be incorrectly grounded or bonded, or maybe not even at all. A swimming pool with no grounding or bonding, or a swimming pool that is improperly grounded or bonded can result in electrocution, shock, and even death.
As licensed electricians, the team at KB Electric LLC has seen multiple botched electrical pool wiring jobs from unlicensed electricians and amateurs. We have even seen other licensed electricians who clearly didn’t provide the time and care, or follow the proper electrical codes when grounding and bonding swimming pools. Because of this, we decided to write a short blog on why grounding and bonding are important when installing swimming pools, and how both work to provide you safety on those hot summer days.
Grounding a Swimming Pool
Grounding and bonding are two different things that sometimes get confused as one. Grounding refers to protecting people in the pool from a potential fault in the electrical system (in the main electrical panel or pool sub-panel). A fault in the electrical system refers to a higher than normal flow of electrical current.
When a fault occurs, it needs to be stopped by attaching a piece of equipment to the earth’s ground so that high electric current can flow towards the ground and not through the people in the pool. When the pool’s equipment is properly grounded to the earth with a GFCI receptacle or breaker, it will protect the people in the pool from potential electrical shock. This is because the GFCI receptacle or breaker will turn off the equipment once the GFCI detects the fault. Please refer to our blog for more information on GFCI receptacles.
Bonding a Swimming Pool
Bonding refers to protecting people in and around a swimming pool from shock by connecting all of the pool’s metal components together with a copper wire to make all of the metal components of equal potential (voltage).
When you have differing electrical voltage, an electric current is able to flow, and thus will shock or electrocute a person when touching one of the metallic components of the pool. This process of tying all of the metal components together to equalize the amount of voltage is also referred to as equipotential bonding.
When you have everything tied together to equalize the voltage with a copper wire, you now have what’s called a bonding grid. Here are a list of common items (but not limited to) that should be bonded together in the bonding grid to equalize voltage:
- Structure of the Pool (bonded by 4 equal cross sections)
- Pool Pump
- Pool Motor
- Pool Lights
Both grounding and bonding together prevent shock-related injuries and electrocution. Grounding prevents shock through faults in an electrical system, while bonding prevents shock through differential currents running through the pool’s metallic components. Both are needed to provide safety for anyone entering your pool.
To properly ground and bond your pool, don’t trust anyone who isn’t a licensed electrician. Let me rephrase that: to properly ground and bond your pool, don’t trust anyone other than the master electricians at KB Electric LLC. We are licensed and insured, and know the ins and outs of any pool grounding and bonding project. Safety is our number one priority when it comes to an enjoyable summer!