May is Electrical Safety Month: TDLR Says Make Sure Electrical Work Near Water is Completed by Licensed Electricians
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation urges property owners to hire licensed electrical contractors to perform any electrical work on wiring or equipment located within 20 feet of a body of water, including pools, lakes or beaches.
“It’s way too easy to accidentally electrocute someone in a swimming pool or near any body of water because of improperly installed electrical work,” said TDLR Executive Director Brian E. Francis. “Don’t take that risk by hiring someone who is not licensed to perform that type of work.”
Electrical contractors, electricians or residential appliance installers should not perform this type of electrical work unless they’ve received the proper training for water and electrical safety. The 2017 National Electrical Code, Articles 553, 555, 680, and 682, discusses the requirements for working around electricity and water.
New pool electrical installation must be done by licensed electricians working for an electrical contractor. Pool electrical maintenance must be done by licensed electricians working under an electrical contractor or licensed residential appliance installers working for a residential appliance installation contractor.
SAFETY TIPS FOR POOLS AND ELECTRICITY
· It’s always a good idea to hire a licensed electrician to perform periodic inspections of electrical equipment around your pool, spa or fountain each year, just to make sure the equipment is still safely operating.
· Before using an outdoor electrical outlet, check to make sure the receptacle is protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and that the GFCI is working properly. You can test the GFCI by pushing the test button on the receptacle or on the breaker inside the electrical panel. If the GFCI isn’t working properly, hire a licensed electrician to fix it.
· Any electrical wiring that is within 20 feet of a swimming pool should have protection from a ground fault circuit interrupter, INCLUDING UNDERWATER LUMINAIRES (pool lights).
· Make sure overhead electrical lines do not pass over the pool. In fact, it’s best to keep a pool at least 25 feet away from power lines in all directions.
· Allow at least 18 feet of clearance between overhead power lines and a diving board, deck, platform, slide, or observation area. Never build an in-ground pool or set up an above-ground pool over underground electric cables.
· Pools and pool decking should be installed at least 5 feet away from all underground utility lines.
· Except for specially designed lighting fixtures, don’t put electrical fixtures or receptacles within 5 feet of a pool.
· Be sure to comply with any local building codes that may provide more stringent guidelines than the ones that have been listed.
When hiring an electrical contractor, be sure to check whether they are licensed by TDLR: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/verify.htm.
Report unlicensed activity: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints/.