Keep your family safe this summer with these electrical safety tips for swimming pools and hot tubs
During the summer, with the kids home from school and the longer days, your hot tub or swimming pool is probably getting a lot of good use. Help ensure your family and guests can safely enjoy a luxurious soak, refreshing swim, or a fun game of Marco Polo with an electrical safety inspection of your hot tub or swimming pool.
This summer, follow these spa and swimming pool electrical safety tips:
1. Inspect Underwater Lighting
Underwater lighting provides your spa or pool with cheerful illumination. Keep it safely operating by conducting a thorough inspection with your eyes, nose, and ears, to ensure it’s safe for you and your guests.
Any of the following can indicate a potentially dangerous electrical problem:
- Look for: Dull, flickering, or non-functioning lights
- Listen for: A buzzing sound
- Smell for: A clean, but burnt, “ozone smell”
If you notice any of these red flags, or if your power supplies are looking worn out, stay out of your pool or spa, cut the power and call a licensed, professional electrician.
2. Inspect Your Outdoor Lighting
Though your beautiful string lights or tiki torches do not come into contact with your spa or pool, they can still pose a hazard. If they experience any of the warning signs mentioned in the previous section, you could have an electrical leakage.
Conduct the same inspection for your outdoor lighting and any other electrical equipment or device in close proximity. For more information on when to seek professional help, read our previous blog, “Is It Time to Call a Professional Residential Electrician”.
If you have plans to renovate your backyard that require bringing electricity outside, always consult a licensed residential electrician. Our experts at Schafer Electric, are highly skilled at installing outdoor features while ensuring the long-term safety of electrical lines and wires to keep your family safe.
3. Use GFCI Outlets Only
A Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet is a special electrical outlet that constantly monitors the amount of current flowing between the hot and neutral connections. You will recognize it, because it has a test and reset button in its center, between the two plug receptacles. Since the GFCI knows what the balance should be between the hot and neutral wires, it can trip the circuit whenever it detects an imbalance.
A faulty or compromised appliance or tool plugged into the GFCI outlet will cause the outlet to trip the system immediately, saving you from electrocution. All of the power going to your pool or spa, and any other electrical equipment or lights nearby should be plugged into GFCIs. Additionally, all of your exterior outlets should also have hinged doors over the faceplate to protect them from moisture.
If any of your outdoor outlets are exposed to the elements, or if you notice they are hot to the touch, feel loose, or appear damaged in any way, do not use them and call an electrician immediately.
4. Keep all Electronics & Power Tools at Least 5 Feet Away
It’s tempting to take electronics outside to enjoy them poolside, but it’s important to keep them at a safe distance. Small electronic devices should never be used while in a body of water, and larger devices such as boomboxes, should be kept at minimum of five feet from water.
Electronic equipment like power tools, should never be used around a pool or hot tub. In the US, the National Electric Code 680.22 (2020) states: “Electrical equipment other than receptacles and lighting must be a minimum of five feet away from the swimming pool unless separated by a barrier.”
5. Know Your Circuits
In the event of an electrical issue, it’s important to know which breaker controls the outlets that your pool or spa’s electrical components are plugged into. It also comes in handy when you need to cut the power to replace a bulb in a recessed light, or the breaker gets tripped.
If your electrical panel doesn’t have adequate labels, or hasn’t been inspected for a few years, an electrician can conduct a safety check and show you which breakers go to which areas or equipment. If you have breakers that get tripped frequently or you experience surges, or outages, it may be time for an electrical panel upgrade.
Schedule an Inspection with Our Pool and Hot Tub Electricians
Swimming pool electrical safety begins with a professional installation, and continues by following all safety guidelines and calling a licensed electrician at the first sign of an issue. Contact the professional electricians at Schafer Electrical Services, Inc. for an outdoor electrical safety inspection of your pool, spa, or other outdoor amenity at your North Bay home or business.