The Biggest Splash is a Safe Swimming Pool
Life might indeed be cool by the pool, but it’s even better when it’s safe in and around the water.
That safety begins with an annual electrical inspection of your pool, hot tub or spa and all their working parts to ensure that life-saving devices like ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and all grounding and bonding systems are functioning correctly to prevent hidden electrical hazards.
“With swimming pools and hot tubs bringing water and electricity close together, it is critical to get these inspections,” said Adam Dow, Southern California Edison’s principal manager of Operational Risk Management & Public Safety. “It is just as critical, though, that these inspections only be done by licensed electricians or pool contractors and never by unlicensed cleaning crews or pool owners.”
Qualified electricians and pool contractors will not only inspect but, where needed, replace or upgrade electrical devices and equipment to keep pools and hot tubs safe, preventing serious injuries and the more than 33 reported electrocutions that the Consumer Product Safety Commission says have occurred in pools and spas since 2002.
Some of the biggest threats, especially in older pools, are faulty underwater lighting, power systems that are not well-grounded or bonded, damaged wiring and faulty or nonexistent GFCIs — which should be on lighting, circuits, pumps and heaters — as well as all outlets within 20 feet of the water’s edge to prevent shocks.
Licensed professionals will ensure these essentials and junction boxes are properly and safely installed and make upgrades to conform to applicable local codes and the National Electrical Code.
Outside the water, permanent or storable pools should never be built or set up under power lines. If this exists, there are clearance requirements, and pool owners should consult SCE’s Local Planning at 800-655-4555 or their local inspection agency.
Lights should never be strung above or near swimming pools, and electronic appliances and devices are strongly discouraged around pools and hot tubs — always being kept at least 20 to 30 feet away from the water’s edge.
“It’s always better to be safe than sorry since all of the functions of pools, hot tubs and spas rely on electricity to run efficiently,” said Dow. “Electrical injuries from them are 100% preventable with the right inspections and awareness, which we urge our customers to perform to enjoy a safe summer of water activities.”
Additional SCE pool, hot tub and spa safety tips include:
- Downgrade 110-volt or higher pool lighting to 12-volt LED lighting to reduce risk drastically.
- Use portable GFCIs when permanent GFCI-protected outlets are unavailable.
- When possible, use battery-operated appliances and devices near pools.
- Keep high-powered water squirters away from power lines.
- Carry long-handled cleaning tools horizontally and stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
- If you feel a tingling sensation while in the water, exit as quickly as possible, avoiding metal ladders and rails.
- Power switches should be labeled so they can be turned off quickly in an emergency.
- Rescuers should never enter the water until power is turned off.
For more tips on pool safety, visit poolsafely.gov.