There is no question that Americans love the water, and hot tubs and pools are among the favored ways to exercise and relax. But very few people have heard of electric shock drowning.
Electrical safety is paramount, especially around water. While electric shock drowning is a danger to anyone in the water who is exposed to poor or faulty electrical work, it can be easily avoided.
How Does Electric Shock Drowning Happen?
Water and electricity don’t mix, and this is what makes electrical safety so important. Electric shock drowning, known as the hidden killer, is caused by low-level AC currents from boats, lights, docks, hot tubs, and pools.
If the low-level current escapes, people who are in the water nearby are paralyzed by the shock and then drown. Even in relatively shallow water, you can be stricken with electric shock drowning.
While the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association reported 98 electric-shock deaths since 1986, it claims that the occurrence is underreported. Also, many others have been injured by electrocution but survived. Electric shock drowning is more prevalent in freshwater, but it can still occur in saltwater.
Can You Get Electrocuted in a Hot Tub?
The short answer is yes. You certainly can get electrocuted in a hot tub. Anywhere there is water and electricity there is the potential for electrocution. The risk increases exponentially when hot tub wiring is performed by someone who is unqualified and unlicensed to perform electrical work.
Only a hot tub electrician is qualified to perform the electrical work for a hot tub in Mint Hill, NC.
Electrical currents can be released into the hot tub in a number of ways, including:
- Old, unchecked electrical wires
- No GFCI protection for any electrical receptacles
- Faulty electrical wires and underwater lighting
- Ungrounded filters, sump pumps, vacuums, and power washers
- Stereos, radios, or televisions
- Extension cords
Even low electrical currents are dangerous, and anyone in or entering the hot tub can be electrocuted. If you are installing a new or secondhand hot tub or have an aging hot tub, call a qualified hot tub electrician in Mint Hill, NC, to carry out all of the electrical work and provide a thorough inspection.
Electrical Shocks in Swimming Pools
Electric shock drowning occurs in swimming pools for similar reasons to hot tubs:
- Faulty electric pool equipment
- No bonding wire around pool
- Extensions and power cords
- Faulty underwater lights
- Ungrounded pumps and filters
- Lack of GFCI protection
- Faulty electrical wires
This risk is the same for underground and above-ground pools. Anywhere there is water and electricity — and faulty wiring — there is the potential for death by electrocution or electric shock drowning.
Can a Pool and Hot Tub Be on the Same Circuit?
Hot tubs and pools have different requirements for their electrical circuits, so they cannot be installed on the same circuit.
Large hot tubs and pools that need a 50-amp, 240v feed to fuel the lights and motors, or to connect to solar panels or any other amenities, will require hardwiring to a junction box. Typically the junction box is mounted underneath the hot tub itself or in an access panel on the side.
A small and basic hot tub can be plugged into a standard 15-amp, 120v GFCI, but it must be properly grounded and checked for compliance with electrical codes by a qualified hot tub electrician in Mint Hill, NC.
Bonding Wire Around Pools for Electrical Safety
Bonding is the process of joining the electrical and metallic components of the pool together with a wire to create a path that is non-resistive.
Correctly performed bonding contains, connects, and prevents the transmission of electrical voltage that is harmful to people and pool equipment. It ensures that the pool’s electrical and other components are connected to a network that contains the electricity. Any harmful current trips the breaker to stop the possibility of electric shock.
Bonding wire around pools and hot tubs is absolutely essential for safety. Qualified electricians in Mint Hill, NC, bond pool equipment by connecting it all together with a bonding wire, which is a conductive wire.
Electrical Safety: The Importance of GFCIs
A ground fault circuit interrupter is a protective device that breaks the circuit when it detects an imbalance between the currents that are incoming and outgoing. It also detects faults through the ground that cause a disruption to the current flow.
The GFCI outlet has three holes. Two of them are neutral and hot wire, and the third is the ground wire. This third hole is in the middle of the circuit and is responsible for cutting off the electricity flow when it detects any changes to it. This means that if you are using an electrical device that falls into water, the GFCI will switch off the electricity flow immediately.
GFCI outlets should be installed anywhere there is water:
- Laundry room
- Garage or shed
Not only will a GFCI prevent electrical shocks but it will also prevent fires and avoid damage to appliances and electrical equipment.
How to Avoid Electric Shock Drowning in Hot Tubs and Pools
The best way to avoid electric shock drowning in hot tubs and pools is to employ qualified pool or hot tub electricians to perform any of the electrical work or installation you require. DIY electrical work can be tempting to save some money, but this is not the area to cut back in.
Other ways to avoid electric shock drowning are:
- Maintain the electrical wiring
- Ensure that all electrical components use GFCIs only
- Periodically check all of the wiring and electrical equipment
- Use only battery-operated electronics around hot tubs or pools
- Protect the wiring
- Do not ignore the slightest fault or appearance of damage to equipment
The combination of faulty wiring or electrical equipment and water can mean death. It is simply not worth the risk. Make it a priority to have your hot tub and pool wiring regularly maintained and inspected by qualified electricians.
Expert Electrical Wiring in Mint Hill, NC
Don’t trust anyone but the experts at GB Electrical Services with your hot tub wiring. We provide superior electrical services in Mint Hill, NC, combined with customer service that is second to none. Call us today for all of your electrical repairs, maintenance, and installations.
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