Eliminating stray voltage is accomplished by installing equipotential bonding grids, clamps etc. in swimming pools, spas and decks during the building process. With custom clamps and complete kits — it’s simple to accomplish the safety your customers deserve and the legal protection you need.
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Equipotential Bonding Explained
Equipotential bonding is simply bringing all conductive objects to “equal potential voltage”. This is achieved by electrically bonding/connecting the conductive objects. In the example of a swimming pool and deck, the rebar reinforcement of a concrete pool shell, the rebar or copper grid in the deck, any handrails, ladders, or other metal objects are typically connected with a #8 solid bare copper wire, then run back to the pool pump. This connects the conductive objects/area of the pool system, which brings everything to the same potential voltage.
A concrete pool shell is typically reinforced for strength by creating a grid of 3/8” rebar over which the concrete is poured. This grid creates an equipotential plane around the body of water. The 2023 National Electrical Code requires a similar grid of rebar, structural steel grid, or copper grid to be installed in the pool deck. These planes protect the swimmer in the pool and on the deck from stray and contact voltage that may be present in the ground. A shock, however small, is the presence of voltage differences. As the voltage differences get larger, so does the danger. The amount of voltage that can be present on a pool deck or in a pool or spa could cause serious harm and even fatalities. The voltage can come from a number of sources. Most often it would be older, damaged or poorly installed electrical.
CMI has bonding grid kits for pool decks with everything you need to install and connect. We also have every clamp, lug, and connector a pool builder needs to properly bond a swimming pool system. Not sure what you need? Just call us and we can help!
Is there a Code Requirement for Equipotential Bonding of Pools?
YES! After a contentious debate during the 2023 code development process, a handful of people was just enough to delay the requirement until 2026. However, after utility industry, laboratory, and subject matter experts presented the proven science, the data from numerous events in the field and the 2022 US Coast Guard Report, the Standards Council acted to implement TIA 1687 immediately!
The 2023 NEC® now has a restructured article 680.26, covering the bonding of swimming pools and decks.
There are three ways builders can create the equipotential plane in the first 3’ of perimeter surface surrounding the pool shell.
- Minimum Number 3 rebar tied in 12” x 12” squares, chaired up to be completely imbed in concrete. Poured concrete decks can be constructed with this method.
- 6×6-W2.0 x W2.0 steel mesh, chaired up to be completely embedded in concrete. Poured concrete decks can be constructed with this method.
- Copper Grid from #8 Solid AWG Wire welded in 12” squares. This does not have to be chaired up and embedded in concrete, it can lay on or in the dirt or concrete. All decks can be constructed with this method, including concrete, paver, and dirt/gravel surfaces.
The 2005 version of the Code required proper equipotential bonding of both the pool shell and deck, however between 2008 – 2023 the requirement for proper equipotential bonding of the deck was removed. There were too many instances of problems, so the Code was changed back to protect both the pool and the deck.
If you experience any level of shock on your deck, even a slight tingle, it is a clear indication of inadequate bonding and exposes a potentially fatal risk. Your pool should be safe and free from any shocks. If your pool builder can’t determine the cause and solve the problem, when Utility companies are asked to assist, they may determine your pool system is unsafe and stop serving the unsafe pool with electrical power until the proper safety measure is installed. The only proven measure is to remove the existing deck, install an equipotential bonding grid of either rebar, welded steel wire, or copper, and reinstall the deck. Retrofitting a paver deck with a proper equipotential bonding grid, is not a huge ordeal or expense. Replacing a concrete deck, however, could bear a higher cost depending on the amount of concrete to remove and dispose.
Subject matter experts here at CMI are available to answer questions and can also put you in touch with the proper utility liaison if there are any further concerns. If built properly, your pool should improve your health and provide you years of safe enjoyment. A few proper steps taken during development and construction will eliminate cause for concern. Enjoy your refreshing and beautiful pool.
Why Use Our Grounding and Bonding Products?
We are the world leaders in grounding and bonding for swimming pools and spas. Nobody else had designed what was needed, so we engineered the perfect solution. We are the designer of the world’s best equipotential bonding products. Our company makes a complex bonding problem into a simple solution. We are also a one stop shop for all your pool electrical products. We pride ourselves on making the process simple. When a part doesn’t exist that would make life easier, we engineer one. Let us know how we can make your life easier today!