Electrical Code and Swimming Pool Light Fixtures
January 22, 2020 by: Dave Rongey
GFCI Ground Fault Protection for Swimming Pool Lights: NEC Article 680-20, As described in this electrical question, anyone who enters the pool with this light on is in Danger of Potential Electrical Shock!
Swimming Pool Light Fixtures
Electrical Question: We have a pool with a 120 volt light. Should the light be on a GFCI circuit?
- We have an in ground pool with a pool light with 120 volts. It is an incandescent bulb, not LED. Does the national electrical code require this pool light to be on a GFCI breaker/circuit?Our pool pump/light is on a 220 line. I ask this question because it WAS on a GFCI and a bad rainstorm tripped it and an electrician came out and said that is your problem, it is on a GFCI and they “fluctuate” too much. He then installed a regular breaker non GFCI for our pool.
- I have done some research and found out that this can cause a dangerous situation, possible electrocution of people in the pool if something happens.
- So that is my question. Does a 120 volt pool light on a 220 line need to be GFCI protected? Because if it does, then this electrician that the pool company hired does not know what he is doing and could have caused our pool pump to burn up, spark a fire or electrocuted someone in our pool.
Thanks for your electrical question Lara.
Background: Lara, a Homeowner from La Porte, Texas.
GFCI Ground Fault Protection for Swimming Pool Lights
Pool Light Fixtures Require a GFCI Ground Fault Circuit
WARNING: If you have a pool light that is not protected by GFCI Ground Fault Circuit protection then the occupants in or around the swimming pool are at grave risk of potential electrical shock, this includes pets and other animals as well!
VERY IMPORTANT: PLEASE – Turn OFF the circuit to your swimming pool light or electrical outlets that are NOT GFCI Protected, call a Qualified Licensed Electrician and have the necessary Ground Fault Protection installed.
As described in this electrical question, anyone who enters the pool with this light on is in Danger of Potential Electrical Shock!
National Electrical Code: NEC Article 680-20 Pool Light Fixture
- The National Electrical Code – Article 680-20a1 states that a pool light fixture over 15 volts must be GFCI Protected.
- The very reason the original GFCI circuit breaker tripped indicates that there is something wrong with the circuit, and the GFCI circuit breaker was providing the protection against a potential electric shock.
- The alleged “electrician” who removed this GFCI protection has placed himself in an extremely liable position.
- This person should be notified and asked to come back and place the GFCI circuit breaker back on the circuit, then I would hire a Qualified Licensed Electrician who knows more about the electrical code.
- I would also notify the pool company who uses this other person and inform them of their inadequacies and the liable position their actions are placing onto the referring pool company.
- You have also stated that the 120 volt light is fed from a 220 volt pump circuit. If this is the case then this needs to be changed because a 220 volt pump circuit does not provide the necessary isolated neutral wire for the 120 volt light.
- Low Voltage Lighting as a Safer Lighting Source
The advance in lighting technologies now provide several low voltage alternatives to be considered as a replacement light source.
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