Pool Equipment Safety
There must be at least two suction outlets from the pool to the main circulating pump. Each outlet must have a cover fastened down with screws. Either one of these outlets should be able to supply the pump by itself without exceeding the flow rating of its cover. (Many above-ground pools use the skimmer as the suction outlet and have no main drain; these pools don't require a second suction outlet.) Read the pump owners manual for flow requirements for your installation.
All suction outlet covers (for instance, grates, anti-vortex covers, etc.) must be designed so that they won't trap body parts or hair. Plastic deck and drain covers may deteriorate and crack or break from exposure to sunlight or weather. Routinely replace them every 3-4 years.
An emergency shut-off switch for the pool circulation pump should be in an easily accessible, obvious place near the pool. Bathers should know where it is and how to use it. Use the switch in case of emergency.
Most pool cleaners and all pool vacuums use the pump suction to clean the pool. Because of the strength of the suction and the possibility of entrapment underwater, keep everyone out of the pool during cleaning or vacuuming. Read the cleaner or vacuum owner's manual for safe operating information. Never play with the pool cleaner, the vacuum, or their hoses - they are not toys.
Electricity - Mixing electricity and water is always hazardous. In a pool situation, underwater lights, deck lights, the motor on the circulating pump, or any other accessory requiring electricity may pose a safety threat to people in the water if the wiring is incorrect or faulty. Read the owner's manual for each piece of equipment to get information about electrical requirements. To make sure your pool is electrically safe, ask your pool builder or professional service person to verify these points:
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): The power supply circuit for each piece of electrical equipment should include a GFCI for protection against tiny - but dangerous - leaks of electricity to ground ('ground faults'). If these tiny ground faults travel through the human body, they can damage the nerves controlling the heart and cause cardiac arrest (heart failure). A GFCI will sense ground faults and disconnect the power supply. This protects you from a dangerous and possibly fatal electrical shock.
» Codes: All electrical equipment and wiring must meet the requirements of the local and national codes which apply.
» Grounding and Bonding: All electrical equipment must be grounded. All metal objects (ladders, diving platforms, etc.) must be electrically bonded together.
» Extension cords: Never use extension cords around a pool or spa. If they get wet, it's an invitation to a shock - possibly a fatal
By using a little common sense, taking proper safety precautions and having your pool professional do regular maintenance and safety inspections, your pool mechanical equipment should provide trouble-free enjoyment for years to come.
Water under pressure doesn't present much of a hazard. But the piping and filtering systems on pools can trap and hold large bubbles of air until they build up enough explosive potential to blow the tops off of filters, strainers. The owner's manual for your filter, and pump will tell you how to safely bleed the air out of your filter system. For safety's sake, review the following points:
» Read the owner's manual carefully to learn how to operate your filter system safely. Never try to adjust or service your pool filter unless you have read the owner's manual and understand how to release all pressure from the system (shut off the power and release the pressure first).
» When starting up the system after a period of non-use (for instance, after a winter shut-down), read the start-up instructions in the owner's manuals for the equipment involved so that you can purge all the air from the system before it builds up to dangerous pressures.
» Never connect your pool filter system to a household water system -the pool equipment is designed to run at much lower pressures and may split or burst if subjected to household water system pressures.
» To avoid a dangerous pressure buildup in the filter, make sure that any shutoff valves downstream of the filter always remain open during system operation.