Swimming Pools And GFI - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-08-2012, 01:09 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 41
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


We have a pool some distance... maybe 70 feet... from the house. The pool's circulation pump plugs into an outlet. The wiring is in conduit.

We had a GFI-protected outlet in a weatherproof box, and a GFI breaker in the panel.

Whenever we get a hard rain the breaker would trip. This has been going on for a few years, and four or five electricians have tried and failed to fix the problem. We've replaced virtually every component of the system (including the pump) at least once.

This week we gave another electrician a crack at it. He told us that the GFI breaker in the panel was not needed, so he removed it. (It was inline with another non-GFI breaker). He then told us that the GFI outlet that the pump plugs into was defective and replaced it. Total cost $435... which would be fine if the probem were solved. An hour after he left it rained and the new GFI outlet tripped and would not reset.

My wife calls the guy back. He tells her that GFI outlets are supposed to trip when it rains. My wife isn't buying that so he comes back. He then tells her that we don't need a GFI outlet and replaces it with a regular outlet (and charges us another $200).

Now, it seems to me that if a GFI continues to trip there is a problem, and removing the GFI protection is not an ideal solution to the problem. In any case, I assumed that Ontario's electrical code required GFI protection on all outdoor outlets. He says that it not needed because it is more than three meters (just slightly more) from the water, although there is usually a puddle around the pump.

Thoughts?

Advertisement

apartment_guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 8,055
Rewards Points: 2,908
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


I see you are in Canada, but can say that GFI protection would be required by the NEC in the US. GFI protectio would also be required for receptacles outside even if not for the pool.

The GFI should not trip because it rains.

I think this guy is a BS artist and has ripped you off.

Advertisement

__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 41
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
I see you are in Canada, but can say that GFI protection would be required by the NEC in the US. GFI protectio would also be required for receptacles outside even if not for the pool.

The GFI should not trip because it rains.

I think this guy is a BS artist and has ripped you off.
Thanks for that... Subsequent to posting I asked my friend Google about this, and while I did not get a definitive answer I did learn that our Code requires outlets on porches and balconies, and that these must be GFI, so I can't see them making an exemption for swimming pools

Aside from trying to get our $200 back I'm wondering how urgent it is to get the non-protected outlet replaced (given that I will likely need to find another electricain).

Last edited by apartment_guy; 06-08-2012 at 02:03 PM.
apartment_guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 8,055
Rewards Points: 2,908
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


You are dealing with electric, water and human lives. I would suggest sooner rather than later.
__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:10 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


Contact the licensing agency for this electrician.

Fluke makes a device to troubleshoot ground fault problems.
Before you sign on with the next electrician ask him/her if he knows what it is and does he have one and does he know how to use it and does he intend to use it.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:11 PM   #6
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,573
Rewards Points: 2,042
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


Quote:
Originally Posted by apartment_guy View Post
Aside from trying to get our $200 back I'm wondering how urgent it is to get the non-protected outlet replaced (given that I will likely need to find another electricain).
Urgent. I would not swim in the pool with the pump plugged in. In fact, I would probably not use the pump at all. You already know there is an actual ground fault somewhere, and you've removed the one protective device that reduces the danger from that fault. Need to solve the ground fault problem and reinstall GFCI before using it again.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


BTW, hard numbers tend to get the attention of people.

Borrow a multimeter and make some voltage measurements. If you get voltages above 2v put a 3K resistor across the voltmeter leads and remeasure. The resistor is an initial attempt to simulate the resistance of a human body.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 41
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


Once again, thanks to all.

Apologies for the error, however I was relying upon my wife's recollection of the events. Our home is built into the side of a mountain (OK, were at the bottom of a ravine) and I'm an old f**t and wasn't much into the hike to the top this morning.

In any case, in disussions with the missus there was some confusion, so I checked it out myself.

What he had done was removed the GFI outlet and hard-wired a switch into the circuit. (See photo). The switch had once been in line between the pump and the outlet, but another electrician had bypassed the switch so that the pump plugged into the GFI outlet.

But he did not replace the GFI breaker which had (until he removed it yesterday) protected all of the outdoor electrics, so there's no ground-fault protection (and for what it's worth that's a metal box that the switch is mounted in).
Attached Thumbnails
Swimming pools and GFI-pool-switch.jpg  
apartment_guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 8,055
Rewards Points: 2,908
Default

Swimming pools and GFI


That metal box should have alredy been connected to the equipment grounding conductor from the circuit.

There should be no need to add resistors to the circuit to simulate a human body. The OP knows there is a problem. Now it just needs to be fixed correctly.

Advertisement

__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts