Trevor Tremblay, Technical Advisor at Electrical Safety Authority, shares his advice on keeping pools and hot tubs up to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
Summertime means homeowners are caving into their temptations to finally install that pool or hot tub they’ve always wanted, which means Licensed Electrical Contracting businesses are getting calls to do the installation. But before you dive in, it’s important you take vital steps of separating the water from the electricity -- or else your clients’ may suffer a shock.
Trevor Tremblay, Technical Advisor at Electrical Safety Authority, shares how to keep your backyard installations safe this summer, what common hazards to avoid and what to consider before installing a pool or hot tub.
In this episode, Josie Erzetic and Tremblay use their electrical expertise to explain how to stay grounded so your clients can enjoy their backyard oasis.
Before installing a pool in your backyard, it’s important to consider its placement-- or you may end up with a renovation disaster. The first step is to ensure the pool or hot tub meet the minimum clearances from overhead powerlines and communication lines. The local utility will advise their clearance rules based on the voltage of the lines.
“Water and electricity don’t mix. In some older neighborhoods, some of the overhead powerlines are run through backyards and it’s often overlooked,” said Tremblay. “You have to keep your pool five meters, sometimes more, from the edge of the pool or any other elevated surface associated with the pool.”
This can be particularly challenging for small backyards, so make sure to consider these length requirements before installing pool decks, slides or above ground pools. Not keeping Code in mind can cost you in the long run, said Tremblay.
“We did have a pool that was installed and the bonding was completed. Then it was noticed that the pool was installed too close to the high voltage lines that were running just directly behind their yard on a conservation area,” said Tremblay. “It took them a year and a half to get approval to move the pool and it also cost them $30,000 out of their own pocket.”
The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to have a proper plan in place when taking on a backyard renovation project. That includes considering the distance of your pool or hot tub from electrical equipment as well.
“Existing electrical equipment must be three meters away from the pool or hot tub unless suitably cut off by fences, walls or permanent barriers,” said Tremblay. “This could be lighting, air conditioners, etc.”
Many people overlook the importance of electrical maintenance. But after two or three years with your pool or hot tub, it’s essential to advise your customers to check-in with a Licensed Electrical Contractor to inspect for any potential hazards.
“In regular electric installations, typically a lot of incidents happen due to lack of maintenance. Licensed Electrical Contractors or pool contractors should advise their customers that they should do maintenance.”
The best time to do so is in the springtime during the first few weeks of your pool being open. That way, you can avoid the common electrical hazards -- like feeling a voltage when you enter or exit your pool.
“This routine electrical maintenance is to make sure the electrical components are in good condition. We’re not even just talking about bonding -- we’re talking about the pool pump,” said Tremblay. “And they should be checking everything anyway so you can have a safe and fun summer using your pool or hot tub.”