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Old 05-17-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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pool "current"


Ok ... this is a doozy. I have a in-ground pool (20x40) with fiberglass walls, vinyl liner, and vermiculite bottom surrounded by 8' of concrete sidewalk. The problem is if you're kneeling on the concrete and touch the pool water you get a small "shock". I'd say less then a 9 volt battery on your tongue. You will only feel this on open wounds ( small cut or whatever). I have been trying to figure this out for a week now talk to one electrician and still haven't got a solution. At first i thought faulty ground or maybe the pool light had gone bad but none of this pans out. First I Shut off the lights gfci circuit at the circuit box to make sure this wasn't it. I was right, The shock continued. The lights have been off the whole time as to not make them a factor in figuring this out. Next I removed the grounds off the heater, pump, and chlorine generator which were grounded into the ground on their own stake. I ran a continuous #8 copper to each component and back to the box ground ( thus eliminating the "stake" next to the components and making the main ground on the circuit box ground for the pump, heater, and chlo generator. I turned power back on and nothing changed!! After this failed I needed to see where to start so I turned off all the power to the pool area (yep everything) at the main circuit. you guessed it I still got the small jolt when reaching into the pool. So now i research on the net and read about bonding the concrete with a grid so knowing my concrete does not have this grid i tried something different. I went around to 8 places and drove a coper pipe 2 feet into the ground and ran # 8 copper in the concrete cracks to the pools edge and attached to the pipe. still this did not help!! I'm going bonkers trying to figure this out!! First where is the current coming from if I have all the power to the area off. What can i Do to fix this without paying 10k to tear all the concrete up and lay a grid that may or may not solve the problem. thanks for any help in advance. Pipefitter


Last edited by pipefitter; 05-18-2008 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:39 PM   #2
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pool "current"


Just two speculative ideas. First, do you have under ground utilities (main power lines) in the neighborhood, and if so, how far are they buried from your pool. I have heard of strange stray currents from leaks in these systems. Secondly, how long have you had the chlorine generator, and if it is fairly new, does the arrival of this problem have any relation to the same time frame. I.m thinking that the ionization process is causing a build up of static electricity because of the vinyl liner, and since the surrounding deck is grounded by the nature of its construction, you are the connecting link to ground. Just for the heck of it, you might try hanging a ground wire into the pool and connecting it to a ground rod to see if it eliminates the problem.


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Old 05-17-2008, 09:45 PM   #3
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pool "current"


I think you have a bonding problem. Don't confuse this with grounding. Bonding all the metal parts, motors, lights, and rebar together in a pool eliminates the risk of shocks by gradient differences in current. The current doesn't shock or kill you, the current traveling through you does. If everything is properly bonded, everything has the same electrical charge, which is a good thing.

Think of it in terms of getting shocked by somebody. The shock jumps to you as a path of least resistance. If you and that other person were holding hands, you'd be bonded, and therefore wouldn't get shocked.

Bonding in a pool has nothing to do with grounding or earthing, which is why someone would drive a ground rod. Ground rods are not required for pool equipment and will not add any benefit.

You really should hire an qualified electrician to perform continuity tests on all metal parts. Wet niche lights, motors, ladders, diving board, and yes, the rebar in the slab. That rebar needs to be bonded!!!!!! If you find a metal part that doesn't have continuity to the bonding grid, you've found the culprit.

Please don't underestimate the hazard here. It only takes a few milliamps traveling through your heart to stop it under the right conditions, so this is much more dangerous than you think.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:50 PM   #4
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You shouldn't have the grounding system of the house (rod, panel, grounding conductor, or otherwise) tied to the bonding grid via that #8 you mentioned. The #8 is linked to the pump motor and other equipment that has an integral equipment ground that originates at the panel.

Connecting the bonding grid to the house's grounding system could cause problems. In the event of a fault to ground, you're potentially energizing your pool's entire bonding grid.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:55 PM   #5
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pool "current"


First I only have #8 running from the rods i drove to the pools edge. The pool components (pump chlo gen, heater) are the only things on #8 tying into the box. Tomorrow I will try touching the water with my grounding system to see if that works. I'd rather find out where the source is and deal with that. Is there anyway this can be occuring naturally? The only metal near pool would be the ladder, dive holders and the aluminum couplin everything else is concrete (with fiberglass thus no rebar). Also tomorrow I am gonna shut the main circuit to the house down (kill all power within range)!! As for other ground power in the area.. none I live in country only house around.

p.s. The problem occured before the chlorine generator was installed.

Last edited by pipefitter; 05-18-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:19 AM   #6
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pool "current"


You DID NOT need to drive ground rods at the pool. This has NEVER been a requirement.
If there is a break or gap in the bonding grid there is the potential for voltage between different sources of "ground".
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:09 AM   #7
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pool "current"


I am by no means a swimming pool electrician as there are only 3 pools in my whole county that I'm aware of, that being said -- I attended a Mike Holt seminar a few years ago and one of the topics of conversation was about shocks coming from fiberglass swimming pools.
It concluded that the shocks were from "Stray Voltage", basically the voltage drop on the neutral causing a difference in potential between the neutral and ground due to the types of transformers that the utility was using.

I don't remember all the specifics, but Mike's conclusion was that the only way to resolve the issue was to insulated the ground with a rubber mat all the way around the pool, or to slice a thin groove in the concrete all the way around the pool and lay in a copper conductor from the ring into the pool.

I didn't read this whole article I'm about to attach because it's Sunday and my wife has other things for me to due, but you try reading it and see if it pertains to your situation.

O.K. that didn't work cause the file was too big, I'll try to do a link.....

http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarch...3~20040504.php

Does this work?
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:33 AM   #8
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pool "current"


the difference of potential which is causing the undesired "stray" current you are experiencing could be coming from several places. start by eliminating the ones completely out of your control:
1) turn off all the power to your premise (absolutely everything, at the main if possible). If you are still getting this current, then either the poco's equip is causing the stray current or one of your nearby premises has a bonding/faulty ckt/loose neutral/etc issue, and you need to troubleshoot it in that direction (start at the utility)
2) if not 1, then its on your side, and you can investigate the other possibilities
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:47 AM   #9
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pool "current"


Silk.... I think your on to something this describes it perfectly!! Although I don't have a transformer close the nearest one to me is 1/2 mile away at my brothers. So that being said I will check my garage out to make sure all grounding is to par. I like how the articles says never to use a second ground on a system. The electrician i had did exactly that ! Though changing it to the poper way did'nt help still nice to know one wrong has been righted. Miserable today right now I'll try to get outside later to do some more testing.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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Update: I made it out before the rain and came to the conclusion it is not on my side.. I shut the main house breaker to all power on the property making the nearest power source (where pole electric enters house) 50' away and guess what I still got "shocked" it had not got any lighter. So I waited 20 min to make sure all current was gone and still got the shock. I also noticed that while kneeling on the concrete it will not give you the shock unless your point of contact on the concrete is wet. I also tryed running "my" ground (the copper pipe drove into the ground) and a #8 wire to the pool water ... still got the shock!! now that i know it is not anything of mine on the property I'm gonna head to lowes and get a volt meter ( can't find mine) to measure just how much the jolt is.. I'll update with tthe readings when i get them... In the meantime any other ideas on fixing this pls post..
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:10 PM   #11
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pool "current"


Connecting to, or touching, a ground rod or "spike" might only make it worse.
I have a suspicion that your bonding grid is not complete or correct.

This is exactly the thing the bonding grid is supposed to avoid. Like we have been saying, the bonding grid has NOTHING to do with grounding or connecting to your electrical system.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:24 PM   #12
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pool "current"


You absolutely have a bonding issue, I've seen this problem a couple of times as I've wired hundreds of pools. When I do a pool the pool company usually bonds the "grid" together because it's all under concrete, and if you don't bond EVERYTHING and get it all good and tight your going to have the problem your having now. I wish you luck because more than likely this is not an easy fix.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:08 PM   #13
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pool "current"


ok does anyone have any web page with how to properly bond a pool. From what im reading all metal parts around pool are connected with a #8 copper wire which is then led to a grounding stake. This being the case the only metal around the pool is the ladder holder the dive holder and a few small anchors for the slide. the only metal making contact with the water is the ss ladder but the shock was evident before the ladder was installed for the summer. I do not mean to sound like a newb but everything i thought i knew needs reinforced at this point of the game.
1. The current is not coming from the water but from the concrete to the water when contact is made?
2. when making the loop to all metal around the pool and then to a stake is bonding the pool, which also grounds the bond.
3. this all being true if i ran a wire to all the metal parts and then to the stake the shock should be gone? (i need to see what works before attempting costly repairs)
4. Does a steel grid have to be under the concrete if there is no rebar or any other metal there? (and if so your saying rebarless concrete is conductive)?
5. I read that salt water is more conductive then non-salt water, will this add to the problem?
6. I'm really interested when the rainy season passes and i get 3 to 4 dry days see if it all goes away.
Again any good reads on any of this pls post because not only do i want it fixed but my knowledge driven head wants answers or I'll start losing sleep soon lol. Thanks again to all who dedicated there time here.
also I been reading around the web, claims are that salt water is actually more conductive then non-salt water (wondering if this adds to the problem).
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:38 PM   #14
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pool "current"


Ok, it has been said two or three times already but I will say it again...

The driven rod (or stake) does not need to be part of the bonding grid at all, and may or may not even add to the problem. If you have one on your grid, disconnect it and sell it for scrap copper. It is not doing anything for you, so take it out of the equation.

Please re-read my first post that explains the difference between grounding and bonding.

The metal parts all must be bonded together. The ladder socket, the diving board mount, welded wire/rebar in the patio, etc. If your patio has no reinforcement, which is unfortunate, there's no way to bond it.

You need to get an electrician's multi-meter and a long piece of wire and do a continuity test. Touch one probe end to the bonding grid wire, and then touch the other end to every single part of that pool (using the long wire as an extender). You should show continuity between everything. Check light niches, ladder, slab, pump motors, etc. Don't assume that everything is connected...TEST EVERYTHING. If you find something without continuity, you might be on track to finding the problem.

Also, check your wet niche lights to see if they're correctly installed. They should be bonded at the niche itself (from the earth side) and also on the fixture. There should be potting compound installed on the pool side connection.

Yes, salinated water is a little more conductive from what I hear.
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:25 AM   #15
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pool "current"


Fellas...I think we might be holding down the transmit key while the OP
is trying to tell us something

re-read his posts..he has twice cut all power at his main..and still he has current in the pool . .doesnt that lead us to the conclusion that the only possibility is the grounded neutral at his panel ? that somehow is carryuing a load/or X-formers failure in some manner?


he stated that his trans is half mile away . . .if his power is off..the service conductors are open . . so only grounded neutral is left as an option at his panel right ?

Pipefitter..what did the POCO discover when you called them out?

if the power at main is off . . .and current is STILL felt at pool it must be POCO problem with neutral from x-former

half a mile from transformer? . . . .wow . . .wouldnt he have a rather nasty voltage drop on that distance? . . .

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