The average consumer does not understand the potential dangers related to electricity and pools, so they rely on you, the electrical professional, to do it right. There have been 98 verifiable water deaths from electricity since 1986, but that is likely just the tip of a very large iceberg. A small amount of current can cause muscular paralysis and drowning.
We have put together a basic checklist for electrical safety-related to pools. This list is not exhaustive. We will focus our attention on three important areas: grounding and equipotential bonding, GFCI protection, and corrosive environments.
It seems like we just started using the 2017 National Electrical Code, and now the 2020 version is available. There have been significant changes, accomplished through public comment and hard work by the Code Making Panels and others. What are some of the important changes that will affect installers, electricians, and AHJ’s? We are eager to know what has been changed. Just as importantly, when can we reasonably expect that the new version of the Code will be adopted? Each state must decide when to move to the next edition of the NEC.
It is no surprise that Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protection has again been expanded in the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code. Since its inception in the 1971 edition, GFCI coverage has been expanded and tweaked with just about every code change. In this edition, coverage has been increased in several significant ways, but an important clarification has also taken place. Specifically as regards protection for 15 and 20 amp outlets near sinks, the point at which the measurement is taken as well as the method to be used to measure the 6-foot distance has been clarified.
Ground fault protection is not new, having been introduced in the 1971 edition of the National Electrical Code. GFCI devices have saved many lives since then by preventing shock and electrocution. As you may know, they contain a small transformer that detects current leakage from the phase to the grounded (neutral) conductor. That is why they work even in circuits that do not have a separate grounding conductor. These devices are designed to interrupt current when the leakage reaches a threshold of 4 to 6 mA, just shy of the amount of current that can cause injury to the human body.