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seekay 07-03-2012 06:36 PM

Electrified Pool
 
On June 29th 2012 Our in ground pool become electrified with 5.7 Volts from water to hand rail and metal rim round the pool after east coast storm . Our power remained on so we tripped the main breaker that feeds our house and pool, We still got 5.7 volts from pool ! We live in the country so houses are not close together. Lot’s of area around us were with out power. Around us were no damage that you could see. On Sunday July 1st The pool becomes unelectrified and now is normal. Also on Sunday July 1st most every one around here got there power restored. I feel lucky that my son who got a bad shock to his right arm is okay but it was just 5.7 Volts, He could have been dead if it was 120/240. I checked the voltage and tried it my self even at 5.7 volts it felts like needles’ going into your skin. What could of this been. When I tripped the main breaker I metered the breaker to be sure both poles were dead. The only thing you can’t disconnect is the neutral , or ground wire from the power company. Could the neutral wire become hot? This could be come a killer next time. I called the power company first night and there have a work order on this. It’s now Tuesday and have not seen anyone yet. Would like to know if any one ever had this problem and what did you do so this don’t happen again. It’s now like you never know if and when your pool will become your death trap.

danpik 07-03-2012 07:16 PM

where and how did you measure this voltage? Ie...water to deck surface, water to pool frame/side...etc... Sounds like some stray voltage in the area. How is the water/frame/deck/mechanical system bond system on this pool?

joecaption 07-03-2012 07:18 PM

I'd kill the power to that pool and not let anyone use it until a real licenced electrition has gone through all the wiring.
It's not the volts that can kill you, it's the amps.

biggles 07-03-2012 07:19 PM

all your piping is PVC?the pump area and or heater is dry...some where where water passes thru an item it is leaking voltage or amps.seal on the pump motor is tight?

czars 07-03-2012 07:30 PM

What you are seeing is "STRAY VOLTAGE". The voltage you measure is the result of voltage drops along the transmission lines and also because of neutral currents being returned to the power sources through the earth (from your ground rod, your neighbors ground rod and and grounding conductors at every utility pole). The voltage you identified will come and go depending mostly upon the magnitude of the current in the earth. That current is present because of the way our power is distributed and you can't make it go away unless you turn off all power from all the substations and power transmission lines in your area.

When you say that you measured the pool water voltage to be 4.5 volts, what was your reference for the measurement, the pool deck, pump, ladder, what?

The reason you are seeing the voltage is that all of your pool equipment including the ladders, the pool shell, the pump, the pool deck around the pool, the pool water, etc are not bonded together. This is a requirement identified in the National Electrical Code Article 680.26. If everything is properly bonded, everything will be at the same potential and you will not measure any voltage except between the bonded items and the dirt adjacent to the pool area. That's the only solution to your problem. A good licensed pool contractor should be able to identify your unbonded items suggest how the items should be bonded.

danpik 07-03-2012 07:36 PM

Just re-read your post again, If there was a live power line down in your area it could have been leaking current into the ground. Wet skin will make a great conductor from one voltage potential to another voltage potential. I will go out on a limb here and surmise that you do not have a water bond in the pool. I would suggest having an electrician who is familiar with pool bonding look over your connections and fix or add what ever is needed

mpoulton 07-03-2012 08:24 PM

Sounds like there was a live line down or an open utility neutral somewhere fairly nearby. The current flow through the earth caused a voltage drop between the pool water and other nearby objects. There is not likely anything wrong with your pool. However, it was probably built before the current rules for equipotential bonding of pools. The modern equipotential bonding system is intended to prevent these kinds of things from happening by isolating the entire pool area from the effects of potential gradients in the earth around them.

stickboy1375 07-03-2012 09:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seekay (Post 957157)
We still got 5.7 volts from pool ! I feel lucky that my son who got a bad shock to his right arm is okay but it was just 5.7 Volts, He could have been dead if it was 120/240.

This is where you are mistaken, 5.7v could have easily killed your son. Im betting you don't have an EBG, (Equipotential Bonding Grid) around your pool deck, and the hand rail isn't bonded.

Also, with 5.7 volts, the utility had a MAJOR neutral issue.

bobelectric 07-04-2012 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stickboy1375 (Post 957265)
This is where you are mistaken, 5.7v could have easily killed your son. Im betting you don't have an EBG, (Equipotential Bonding Grid) around your pool deck, and the hand rail isn't bonded.

Also, with 5.7 volts, the utility had a MAJOR neutral issue.

The lowest kill voltage recorded was 16 volts.

stickboy1375 07-04-2012 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobelectric (Post 957485)
The lowest kill voltage recorded was 16 volts.

I may not have been clear on my intent, 5.6 volts could easily incapacitate someone in a pool atmosphere and cause someone to drown, ( so yes, you are correct, you won't actually die from being electrocuted)

seekay 07-04-2012 11:14 AM

I took a digital meter put one lead in the water the other to the hand rail for the steps and water to the metal rim all around the pool. The pool has concrete deck all around it. The in ground pool is 8 year old has a plastic liner. 20 X 40 the first 4 feet of the sides were metal and for the bottom and deep end vermiculite, PVC Pipes. And the pump is in doors and stay dry. No Heater.

seekay 07-04-2012 11:50 AM

Still waiting on the power company AEP to show up. I believe the only place for water in the pool to come in contact with the neutral ground wire would be through the light rim and screws. And the pump motor impeller shaft and nut. The rest is plastic, So the hand rail and metal rim all around the pool come in contact with the dirt at some point. The neutral ground wire is grounded well at the house and grounded well at the power pole and I checked both and they look good.
I will report back once I talk with AEP. And I will check to see if equipotent bonding was done.
Thanks everyone for all the replies

k_buz 07-04-2012 11:56 AM

What I find scary is that you had this happen, and you didn't call an electrician out to take a look, instead, you post on a DIY site. I am not trying to insult you, I see many posts here from people trying to figure out complicated problems here. It is good that you called the POCO, and I'm actually a little surprised they didn't tell you to call an electrician before they will come out. They always seem to try to pin the problem on the HO before taking any action...so for that I give them credit. But don't be surprised if they say that everything is fine on their end.

stickboy1375 07-04-2012 01:26 PM

I tend to agree, the poco will not really be of much service to you...

Yoyizit 07-04-2012 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seekay (Post 957157)
On June 29th 2012 Our in ground pool become electrified with 5.7 Volts from water to hand rail and metal rim round the pool after east coast storm .

On Sunday July 1st The pool becomes unelectrified and now is normal.

like needles’ going into your skin.

So downed power lines caused enormous currents in the ground and this problem has since been fixed?

10 mA or more is painful so at this voltage the skin/body resistance was less than 5.7/0.01 = 570 ohms which is about as low as it gets.

120v would have then put out 200 mA. You can probably find Google hits for the effect this much current would have.


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