Electrical Safety around Pool and Spas

Published on 12 August 2022

Water-based activities such as swimming and bathing are usually safe, when risks are managed.

When people think of safety around pools and spas, we automatically jump to water safety, which isn’t surprising given the 171 hospitalisations and 36 deaths from drowning in swimming pools in 2019-20.* But there is another serious threat to our fun filled summer days which is less talked about – electricity.

We all know that electricity and water don’t mix so its important for pool and spa owners to be aware of the risks and take precautions when using electrical equipment near pools.

The electrical safety of your home should be reviewed by a licensed electrician anytime electrical work is carried out or during regular maintenance, this is because of updates to the requirements for safety switches or RCDs (Residual Current Devices) and Circuit breakers which may not have always been mandatory. When I first moved into my house I had old ceramic fuses with fuse wire from the 80’s!

Making sure your switchboard is up to current electrical requirements not only improves the safety of your pool and spa but all electrical equipment in your home, it will also properly cope with demand and high current devices - like pool pumps.

Many products typically used in pool installations, such as the chlorinator, pumps and lighting, should have built in protection devices in the event of failure or misuse, and conform to current electrical safety standards. They should all have a label which shows compliance marks and its always a good idea to check, especially with any equipment imported or bought online.

Pool owners should always make sure the electrical installation is carried out by a licensed electrician, following local and national wiring rules and the equipment is installed and used following the manufacturers installation and operating instructions.

Then there are items which aren’t meant to be used near water but may find their way into a pool area such as stereos, lights and extension leads. Bringing them near any water should be avoided so make sure to put them outside of the pool area, in a place which is protected from any water ingress, splashing or where they are able to fall into the pool or spa.

More information on electrical safety around water can be found on state government websites.

*Australian institute of health and welfare