The summer is upon us and the heat is on its way. Pools are a main feature of summer fun, but they also present a number of safety hazards. Homeowners and property managers with swimming pools and/or jacuzzis need to take extra precautions to ensure that pools are safe and secure.
Electricity poses a real risk near the water because it is such an efficient conductor. Whenever water is exposed to an open circuit, it becomes a conductor for the electrical current and the pool, bathtub, or body of water becomes charged. Then, any body that comes into contact with the water will be shocked and the electricity passing through the body can burn the skin and internal tissues, cause muscle paralysis, cardiac arrest, and damage to the nervous system. It goes without saying that electrocution can be fatal. There is added danger of electrical shock in water because muscle paralysis can lead to drowning.
But swimming pools and spas are supposed to be fun; so let’s keep it that way!
How to Avoid Electrical Safety Hazards Near Pools & Hot Tubs
Here’s how you can avoid the risk of electric shock around water this summer.
1. Safety Certification
For newly installed pools and hot tubs, a licensed electrician should inspect that all the lights, motors, pumps, and other electrical components have been installed correctly. For example, the pool should not be installed within 25 feet of overhead power lines and power switches should also be labeled so they can be turned off immediately in an emergency.
Following a successful inspection, the electrician will then file a notification with the local electrical safety authority and provide you with an ESA certificate of acceptance that attests to the fact that the electrical work was done safely.
2. Annual Electrical Inspections
Pool safety starts before anyone jumps in the water. Scheduling a yearly check of the electrical work near the water is a real life-saving measure. Hiring a certified electrician will ensure that the work is done properly.
“Electrical inspections of pools, hot tubs and spas should only be done by a licensed electrician or pool contractor. They should never be done by unlicensed cleaning crews or the pool owners themselves.” – Andrew Martinez, vice president of Safety, Security and Business Resiliency at Southern California Edison.
Routine inspections by a licensed electrician will keep your pool and hot tub continue to be in compliance with local and National Electrical Safety Code over time. An inspection will check the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and junction boxes. It will also make sure that all grounding and bonding systems are working properly. Plus, the electrician will be able to replace or upgrade any deteriorating or damaged components that keep your swimming area safe.
3. Check the Electrical Safety Measures
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), all outdoor circuit boxes should be covered and have a seal around any openings in order to keep them dry. This is especially important around pools and hot tubs. All electrical equipment used around the water must be grounded. Plus, any equipment and electrical cords need to be kept at least 10 feet away from the water.
4. Switch to Low Voltage & Battery-Operated Devices
Electronic devices should not be used around within 20 feet of the edge of a swimming pool. If it’s possible, opt for waterproof devices that use batteries rather than a direct connection to an electrical outlet. Under-water lighting can be made more safe by downgrading from a high-voltage bulb to LED lighting.
5. Look Out for Signs of Trouble
Beware of signs that an electrical problem may be developing around your pool. These include lights that are cracked, flicker or buzz, mold or rust developing around electrical components, and damaged wire casings.
6. Follow Basic Safety Guidelines
- Do not touch electrical devices when you are wet – either from swimming or sweating.
- Do not allow anyone in the pool or spa during a thunderstorm.
- Never string lights above or near swimming pools.
- Carry long-handled cleaning tools horizontally and beware of overhead power lines.
- If you sense a tingling sensation while in the water, exit as quickly as possible, without touching metal ladders or rails.
Call AQM for Licensed Electrical Services
Let us help you and your family have fun and stay safe this summer. Schedule an electrical inspection for your pool or hot tub today.