Our summer pool club is 59 years old. We had an outlet along the concrete deck under a bush. Mostly used for announcing swim meets, etc. It was a regular 120V 20A outlet, that someone (over zealous DIY Board Member) tried to convert to GFI a while back.
A site with water is no place to fool around! Electrical drownings are real, a very big deal, and the stuff of nightmares and bankruptcies. Go tip top, button down, ship shape in Bristol fashion
Further, this sounds a commercial business and public accommodation, and in most cases DIY by employees is not allowed, must be a licensed electrician.
So this is double trouble: being both a water feature and public/commercial.
I tested it today and found the GFI didn't trip. Took it apart and found the wire from the pumphouse (where the breaker box is) was a two wire, Line and Neutral. Whoever tried to put it in may have had good intentions and had the outlet grounded to the metal box with copper, however the metal box was on a PVC pipe into the earth....so in effect no ground.
Yup, corner cutters using DIY as an excuse. I DIY but I do it to Code. So can you.
But regardless, that's not the best way to provision GFCI protection to a location like that. If the recep itself got wet, or the wires got wet or damaged, they could electrify the earth around the location and a GFCI *receptacle* would be none the wiser. The better way to protect a circuit near water is a GFCI breaker in the service panel. At that point, a ground wire would be superfluous.
Before I would run a wire back to the ground, I would rather just put a plate on it and lose the outlet. Instead, I kept the PVC which had the Line and Neutral, and installed a galvanized pipe NEXT to the PVC, 24" down. I connected a groundwire to the end of the pipe before sinking it, so now the Line and Neutral remain the same, but the outlet is now grounded with copper wire and piping that for 24" down. (Both pipes feed into the gang box)
Except a grounding rod is no substitute
for a ground wire. I know you've heard about grounding rods in connection with electrical installations somehow, but they don't work like you assume.
Electricity wants to go back to source. Grounding *rods* are for returning natural electricity (ESD, surges, lightning) to source which is the earth. Ground *wires* are for returning wayward human-made electricity to source which is the transformer. One can't do the other's job. Dirt is a terrible conductor (that's why we don't make wires out of it) and if it tried to return 300 amps of bolted ground fault, all it would do is electrify the soil.
A grounding electrode is not allowed as a substitute for a ground wire, but if one was required, it would need to be 8-foot-long (96") rods, two of them
unless a complex hi-pot test proved soil conditions to be suitable for one rod (usually cheaper to just drive 2). Minimum distance between them is 6' but the more the better, and if there's a pool around, the requirement is much more complex.
This is a very solid ground, but not sure if technically code. Thoughts?
Sorry to rain on your parade, but it was a wasted gesture. It does not nearly meet the standards that exist for quality/safe work.
Given the inherent peril of electrical drownings, I would revisit this situation ASAP because you do not want a postmortem inspector finding work like this, even if the accident had nothing to do with this work, because it indicates that DIYers were mucking about in electrical at a commercial water facility, and that's going to cause a whole lot of trouble and also prejudice the lawsuit.
If you must DIY, the work must be absolutely flawless
. You'll dodge the bullet if they find out DIY work was done but there was nothing wrong with any of it.
- Since it's in conduit, either skill up to where you can pull a ground wire into conduit, or bring in a pro. Use green #12 stranded THHN.
- Replace the plain breaker with a GFCI breaker and don't worry about the ground. The hokey 2' ground is superfluous, it neither helps nor harms, except for looking amateurish.