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Home > Home Wiring USA Archive: NEC 1999 > Accessory Structures to Dwellings > Above Ground Pools (NEC 1999)

Electrical Requirements Concerning Above Ground Pools (NEC 1999)

By Warren Goodrich
Electrical Requirements Concerning Above Ground Pools (NEC 1999)

Procedures to install above ground swimming pools that is 42” deep or less and removable for storage 680-4

The only electrical requirements to a storable above ground pool are as follows:

If electric is required to supply a pool filter pump motor, or a pool low voltage underwater light fixture to a storable pool that is 42” deep or less, 680-4 then you must have a gfi protected receptacle located at least 5’ but not more that 20’ from the water’s edge, 680-12 and 680-31 and 680-6-A AND 680-6-A-3 supplying the electric to the pool pump motor, or low voltage underwater light. 680-C THAT’S IT !

If the pool is surrounded by a deck making it a permanent setting, or the pool is deeper than 42” the rules that apply start on the next item of this article and is considered as a permanently installed pool.

Procedures to install above ground swimming pools that are deeper than 42" Nec -680-4

Note that both the pump and the underwater light conductors must be installed directly from the dwelling’s panel as two separate dedicated12 ga. / 20 amp circuits. 680-25 nothing else may be used on these circuits. Both the pool’s pump and underwater light fixture circuits must be unbroken except by a switch, disconnect, or a gfi control. Both the pool’s pump and underwater light fixtures circuits must have an insulated 12 ga. Grounding conductor for each circuit supplied directly from the dwelling’s panel. The pool’s underwater light fixtures must be protected by a gfi. When a receptacle is installed to serve the pump motor a gfi protection must be provided. When a pool motor is directly connected the motor can be installed without a gfi protection [code mute on the direct connect method of motor supply.]

PUMP MOTOR WIRING DESIGN #1 EXAMPLE PICTURE

PUMP MOTOR WIRING DESIGN #1 EXPLAINATION

The branch circuit to the pool’s motor may be installed as a regular romex 12/2w/g with a bare ground within the dwelling, but must be protected by a conduit immediately upon entering the outside of the structure or leaving the dwelling structure. Upon leaving the dwelling structure you must use an insulated grounding conductor no smaller than 12 ga. [thwn] and the motor circuit must be installed within a conduit while outside of the structure. 680-25-c

You could then install a switch at the pump with no receptacle on a 4x4 treated post, 2’ tall, to provide the form of disconnect for the pool’s pump. This form of disconnect must be within sight of the pool’s pump motor. [insight means that you can see it and it is within 50’ of the motor it serves.] [the panel’s fuse or breaker is your required overcurrent device, no use installing two fuses or breakers in the same branch circuit.

You could use pvc sch 40, for the conduits buried a minimum of18” underground to the pump motor and direct connect it to the pump motor. Be sure to connect the black, white and green wires to the proper terminals of the motor.

PUMP MOTOR WIRING DESIGN #2 PICTURE

PUMP MOTOR WIRING DESIGN #2 EXPLANATION

Note that the pump motor may be connected to a receptacle between 5’ and 10’ of the pool, if, with a locking type receptacle, 680-6-a-1 with a weather shield covering the pool motor’s plug while left plugged into the receptacle , 410-57-b and protected by a gfci dead front [without receptacles] control if mounted in the 5’ and 10’ distance from the pool’s edge. 680-6-a-1 and 680-6-d

If a recepatcle is provided at the pump then the circuit must be gfi protected. If gfi protected then you my bury the conduit 12” underground instead of the 18” normally required.

Normal style receptacles, no matter the use of that receptacle, are not allowed to be within the 10’ distance from the pools edge. There is an exception for a pump motor plug to be between the 5’ and 10’ distance as long as this pump motor plug is a twist lock style receptacle. 680-6-a-1

Measuring the 10’ or 5’ clearance requirement from the pool is accomplished by measuring the distance required for a cord connected appliance to reach the 5’ clearance [for twist lock pump motor receptacle] and [the 10’ for any normal style receptacle] without passing through a wall or deck. 680-6-a-1

Note that if you install the gfi protection under the dwelling’s panel and then install the twist lock plug at the pump you would meet the code requirements. [this method of wiring might save you some money considering the cost of a gfi breaker versus a gfi dead front device. If you install the gfi control under the panel you might save money avoiding the requirement of making it weatherproof outside by the pool.]

Note that if you wire by either of the above mentioned designs with the twist lock plug in the 5’ to 10’ area of the pool you must mount the electrical equipment at least high enough that ground water will not usually flood the equipment. You may install this equipment [twist lock plug and / or dead front gfi] on a short 4x4 post standing up from within the ground as a support standard.

BONDING GRID WIRING DESIGN

The bonding grid is ignored if you have a double insulated pump motor that has no electrical bonding lug mounted on the motor. If you have a pump motor that has a bonding lug mounted on the motor then you must bury a #8 insulated copper conductor installed from the motor’s bonding lug to a customer supplied electrical lug bolted onto the metal shell of the pool. You can install this lug on one of the bolts that bolt the pool’s shell together after you have scratched the paint off the area of the lug to make a good electrical connection the pool’s metal shell. This is all that pertains to the bonding grid. You may omit concern about a metal ladder that runs from the ground up, over pool shell, into the water and to the bottom of the pool as one piece that is portable. The nec is not concerned about the portable equipment.

LOW VOLTAGE UNDERWATER LIGHT FIXTURE WIRING DESIGN

The low voltage underwater light fixture used for an above ground pool has a low voltage wire that can be buried under the sod to your desired depth out to an area at least 10’ from the pool. 680-6-a-1 and 680-6-a-3 then set a 4x4 treated post to mount the transformer of the underwater light and a weatherproof gfi protected receptacle to the post. This receptacle must be supplied directly from the dwelling’s panel as follows;

The 120 volt branch circuit supplying the low voltage underwater light fixture may be installed as a regular romex 12/2w/g with a bare ground within the dwelling, but must be protected by a conduit immediately upon entering the outside of the structure or leaving the dwelling structure. you must then use an insulated grounding conductor no smaller than 12 ga. and the underwater light circuit must be installed within a conduit while outside of the structure.

You then could use pvc sch 40, for gfi protected conduits buried a minimum of12” underground to a post installed at least 10’ from the pool’s edge. a receptacle must be installed on this post to serve as a form of disconnect and it must be weatherproof with the transformers plug that is plugged into the receptacle protected from the weather in a weather shield while it is plugged in.

CONDUIT THAT PROTECTS CONDUCTORS SERVING POOL PUMP OR LIGHT FIXTURES

No other type conductors may occupy the same conduit as any gfi protected conductor unless it is also gfi protected. 680-5-c this requirement does not require these conductors to be protected by the same gfi device. Therefore you may run the gfi protected dedicated gfi protected motor circuit, the dedicated gfi protected underwater light fixture, and the gfi protected general use receptacle in the same conduit. You must not use the grounded [white] or the grounding green conductors for these dedicated. Circuits for other cirucits. The pump, and underwater light fixture must have their own green and white conductors dedicated for each circuit.

POOL’S GENERAL USE RECEPTACLE

You must have a general use gfi protected receptacle installed between 10’ 680-6-a-1 and 20’ 680-6-a-2 of the pool’s edge. The dwelling’s outside gfi protected receptacle may be used if present within 20’ 680-6-a-2 of the pool’s edge. You must not power the general use receptacle from either the pool’s motor or underwater light fixture circuits.

POOL’S SWITCHES

ANY SWITCH MUST BE AT LEAST 5’ AWAY FROM THE POOL’S WATER’S EDGE.

POOL’S SPECIALTY CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS

NORMAL LIGHTING FIXTURES WHETHER LOW VOLTAGE OR NOT MUST BE AT LEAST 5’ AWAY FROM THE POOL UNLESS INSTALLED OVER 12’ ABOVE THE POOL. 680-6-B-1

NORMAL LIGHTING FIXTURES WHETHER LOW VOLTAGE OR NOT MUST BE GFI PROTECTED IF LOCATED BETWEEN 5’ AND 10’ FROM THE WATER’S EDGE. 680-6-B-4

NO UNDERGROUND CONDUCTORS CAN BE WITHIN 5’ OF THE POOL. 680-10

NO OVERHEAD CONDUCTORS ARE ALLOWED WITHIN 10’ HORIZONTALLY AND 22’ VERTICALLY OF THE WATER LEVEL OF A POOL. 680-8

This document is based on the 1999 national electrical code and is designed to give you an option, as a self-help, that should pass minimum code requirements. While extreme care has been implemented in the preparation of this self-help document, the author and/or providers of this document assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, nor is any liability assumed from the use of the information, contained in this document, by the author and / or provider.

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