Dive in! But remember that Electricity and Water don’t mix! Electrical Safety Tips for Pools and Spas

pool and electricity safety

Here’s how to stay safe around Pools and hot tubs

As the heat of the summer continues to drive us to local neighborhood and backyard pools, it’s important to remember that water and electricity don’t mix. Wet skin and surfaces greatly increase the chance of electrical shocks and electrocution (death by an electrical shock).

Common sources of electricity around pools and hot tubs, or spas, include:

  • Underwater lights
  • Electric pool equipment (pumps, filters, vacuum, etc.)
  • Extension and power cords
  • Electrical outlets or switches
  • Radios, stereos, TVs and other electrical products
  • Overhead power lines
  • Lighting around the pool deck or along pathways

How you can prevent shocks and the danger of electrocution:

  • Know where electrical power switches and circuit breakers are located, and how to turn them off. Label all of your circuit breaker switches if you haven’t done so already.
  • Do NOT swim before or during lightning or thunderstorms.
  • Have a qualified electrician conduct an annual electrical inspection before the start of the swimming season. Your electrician will be able to inspect and upgrade essential electrical components according to all local codes and the National Electrical Code (NEC).
  • As outlined in the NEC, keep all electrical wires, outlets, and junction boxes at least 5 feet away from any water source.
  • Follow NEC requirements for ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs):
    • on underwater lighting circuits operating at 120-volts (CPSC recommends GFCIs for circuits that are 15 volts or greater)
    • on pumps and electrical equipment used with pools, spas and hot tubs, including heaters close to the pool and operated on 240 volt circuits
    • on electrical circuits around pools, spas, and hot tubs
    • on all outdoor receptacles and receptacles within 20 feet of the water’s edge to protect people from injury
  • Test all GFCI outlets EVERY MONTH (wear shoes while testing):
    • Push RESET button
    • Plug in light or similar device (light should be ON)
    • Press TEST button (light should turn OFF)
    • Push RESET button again (light should turn ON)
    • If GFCI is not working properly, call a qualified electrician
  • If possible, use battery-operated devices instead of cord-connected ones.
  • Print and laminate an emergency plan and CPR instructions in clear view of those using the pool.
  • Make sure overhead power lines and junction boxes are in safe positions whenever installing a new pool, hot tub, or spa.

If you think you are being shocked, get out of the water as soon as possible and move away from the source of the shock. Exit the pool without using a metal ladder, as this may increase the effect of the shock.

If you are in doubt about how safe your pool or spa may be, let the experts at Mister Sparky conduct a home safety inspection.