Grounding and Bonding: What’s the Difference?

Most people have no clue what the difference is between grounding and bonding in a swimming pool.  This has become a more popular topic due to the recent incident where children were shocked in a swimming pool in Florida due to faulty wiring.  Improper grounding or bonding of a pool can result in bodily harm or even death, and should not be taken lightly.

The proper name for bonding a pool is Equipotential Bonding.  The concept is pretty simple: you want the pool water and everything in and around the pool to be at the same potential or voltage.  If there is a difference of fewer than 4 volts, you will feel a tingle.  If the difference is more than 4 volts, you can feel a greater shock.  Proper bonding of the equipment ensures the same potential (voltage) anywhere in the pool area.  Bonding is achieved by connecting anything metal in and around the pool together with a #8 wire which then leads back to a common ground.  The National Electric Code requires any fixed equipment made of metal that is within 5 feet of the pool to be bonded.

Grounding is a process meant to protect people against a possible fault in the electrical system.  Grounding equipment is achieved by connecting a ground wire from the pool motor or other equipment back to the home breaker panel.  If there is a short of any kind, the grounding conductor allows the short to go back to the source of power and trip the breaker.

To check for proper grounding and bonding be sure to contact your local ASP location for a thorough diagnostic!