How to Approach Electricity and Pool Safety

When it comes to pool safety, swimming pool electrocution may be rare, but that comes as small comfort to anyone that has had their lives forever changed by it. Although it is not very common, as long as pool electrocution is still a possibility it is important that you understand the warning signs and know what to do to keep it from happening to you or someone you love.

Do Pools Pose an Electrocution Risk?

Typically, electrical accidents involving a pool fit into one of two categories: risky behavior (such as using radios, TVs, or extension cords near the water) or hazardous equipment (malfunctioning or improperly installed equipment, most often pool lights). The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is most concerned about the following electrical hazards in pools and hot tubs:

  • Faulty underwater lighting
  • Electrical wiring that has not been inspected in years
  • Sump pumps, power washers, or vacuums that are not grounded
  • Electrical appliances (such as radios and TVs) and extension cords falling into or being pulled into the water

According to the CPSC, these hazards present an even greater risk if the lighting, circuits, and nearby receptacles are not protected by Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCIs).

It is common knowledge that water and electricity do not mix, but you should know that you don’t have to be in the water or touching the water to be electrocuted; holding a metal brush or net handle or touching a metal pool ladder that is in electrified water can also cause serious injury or even death. You can even be shocked simply by touching another person that is being electrocuted. Electrical shocks in swimming pools are very rare, but you should still know what to do in case of electrified water and what to look out for.

Signs That Your Pool is Electrified

Knowing the warning signs of an electrified pool is incredibly important and may save your life. Feeling a tingling sensation, the inability to move, muscle cramps, or feeling like something is holding you in place are all signs of impending electrocution. In addition, if you notice passive or motionless swimmers, panicked behavior, or swimmers actively avoiding an area or bather, these are all signs of possible electricity in the water. Also keep an eye out for any underwater lights that do not function properly. If a light is flickering or only working intermittently, get it fixed as soon as possible.

How to Keep from Being Electrocuted

The best and easiest way to keep your pool or spa safe from electrical hazards is through regular, timely maintenance. Upgrade your pool lighting as necessary. The newer the lighting, the less likely it is to malfunction and cause an issue. Have the electrical components of your pool inspected periodically to make sure you don’t run into faulty wiring. If you are building a pool, have all of the electrical components inspected before it is finished being built; if you are buying a house with a pool already installed, include a pool inspection before buying the house. It is important to watch for signs of faulty equipment (flickering lights, erratic movements, etc), but never attempt to do any of the electrical work yourself.

Keep any electrical equipment at least five feet from the edge of the pool. This is one of the most common ways for electrical incidents to happen in a pool. Monitor any children or intoxicated bathers. A watchful eye not only keeps them safe from slipping or drowning, but it may also notice the signs of an impending electrocution. Most importantly, make sure you have a plan if someone is electrocuted. You need to turn off the power, calmly and quickly get everyone out of the pool (making sure they do not touch any metal fixtures), and call an ambulance.

Preventive Measures

The first step in most pool safety as well as spa safety measures is preventive planning. Following any codes that might apply to your city or state, maintaining your pool, and having it checked out by a qualified professional are key to keeping you and your loved ones safe. Remember that electrocution can also be dangerous to those who are not in the pool. Make sure that you yourself don’t become a conductor to increase the chance for survival for both the victim and the rescuer. Print out or write an emergency plan on what to do in the event of electrocution.

Proper pool maintenance includes healthy water chemistry. Ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced with pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Solar Heater

Eco-friendly and energy efficient, solar swimming pool heaters can be a great alternative to gas and electric models. A solar heater turns the light and heat from the sun into energy to heat up your pool. These heaters are very popular in different parts of the world, particularly areas with higher temperatures and a lot of sunshine.

How Do Solar Heaters Work?

If you already have a pump and filter set up for your pool, then all you need to set up solar heating is a kit with solar panels and a few other installation necessities. However, even if you are a pretty handy person, it is usually best to let a professional install your solar heating kit. Typically, the solar panels are mounted in an area that will get the most southwestern sunshine in a day, usually on a roof or a rack of some sort. Five to six hours of sun per day is ideal. If you do not have access to that type of sun exposure, you can still use solar heating by increasing the square footage of the solar heating panels for greater temperature rise in the water. Solar pool heaters work well in most parts of the United States and are incredibly low maintenance.

Once installed, solar heaters heat your pool by pulling the water from the pump to the black panels. The water travels through the panels, absorbing any heat picked up by the sun before flowing back through the pump and filter and into the pool.

Advantages of a Solar Heater

Heating your pool by using a solar heater provides one advantage that no other heater does: no direct operational costs. You can enjoy a heated pool all year round without having to worry about huge increases in your energy bills. People tend to use their pool heaters during peak times, which also happens to be when energy costs are the highest, but this is not a worry if you are using a solar heater.

Solar pool heaters are also more eco-friendly than most other options, since you are using natural resources to heat your pool, as opposed to using gas (which can emit carbon dioxide and other harmful elements during heating) or electricity (which requires the burning of fossil fuels to harness). If nothing else, solar heating is far more convenient and can usually be set up with whatever existing pump and filter you have, so you don’t have to worry about having to buy or set up new equipment.

Disadvantages of a Solar Heater

While there are several advantages to choosing a solar heater, there are a few disadvantages as well. Solar heaters do cost less in the long run when it comes to their operational costs, but the initial installment can be expensive. Depending on the size of your pool, they can also take up a considerable amount of room, so it is important to consider whether you are okay with solar panels taking up room on your roof, lawn, or anywhere else you may need to set them up.

The other thing to consider when it comes to choosing a solar heater is the wait time; a common complaint is that solar heaters do not heat as well (or at least as quickly) as gas or electric heaters. Solar heaters can take longer to heat the pool water, since they use energy and heat pulled from the sun rather than a separate heating element. Also, since a solar pool heater does pull its power from the sun, it is subject to weather conditions. On windy or cloudy days, you will not get the same results as you would on a bright and sunny day. A pool cover will allow the heating system to retain heat during those cooler, overcast days.

There are several options when it comes to deciding how you would like to heat your pool. Solar heating tends to be popular for its environmentally friendly process, low-cost use, and convenience, but there are disadvantages. It is important and recommended that you research different options to see what will work best for you before making a choice. Always consult a professional before attempting to install or set up any heating system.

To ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays chemically balanced, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.