How to Electrical Ground an Above-Ground Pool

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Above-ground swimming pools are an option where soil conditions, such as thick stone, or other considerations make installing a pool in the ground difficult or impossible. Above-ground pools typically have a raised platform around them and may have lights installed on the perimeter. All above-ground pools must have a water filtering system, which uses a pump powered by an electric motor to remove contaminants from the water. All electrical outlets around an above-ground pool must be properly grounded to prevent any current from reaching the water. Each element should be grounded separately.

Things You'll Need

  • Building and National Electrical Code regulations
  • Nonmetallic conduit
  • Copper wire
  • Electrical connectors
  • Install all pool area wiring in rigid nonmetallic conduit, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. Connect all wiring to a pool to a circuit breaker or ground fault interruption (GFCI) plug. Provide a plug or disconnect switch within sight of any electric motor.

  • Connect bare copper ground wires on the source wiring to the green or copper grounding connection on any motor, pump, filtration system or other electrical device. Use wire nuts to make connections if the device does not have a strap or screw to hold the ground wire. Use only wire appropriate to the voltage of the circuit, typically 110 (115) or 220 (240) volts.

  • Run a number 8 copper wire, a grounding ring, around the outside of the pool, 4 to 6 inches below ground level and 18 to 24 inches from the edges of the pool. Connect this grounding ring to the pool pump motor, the pool water supply and any heating element. Bond the pool water with at least 9 square inches of metal, typically a pipe nipple in the water circulation system attached to a ground strap.

  • Connect any lights to a GFCI outlet or a separate circuit breaker, matching the bare grounding wire to the grounding connection on the fixture. Follow other wiring rules, such as placement of electrical outlets 6 to 10 feet from pool walls, limiting cord length for motors to 3 feet and keeping overhead wires at least 10 feet above the pool. Install underground wiring in approved conduit to prevent contact with the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult local building regulations and the National Electrical Code for wiring requirements for above-ground pools.
  • Specific connection methods will vary, but all source wiring must include one bare copper ground wire and all receptacles, fixtures or motors must have a green or bare copper ground connection. Some use straps to hold ground wires, others have screws that ground wires wrap around or some have fixed wires that tie to power sources with wire nuts.
  • Many communities require that all pool wiring be done by a licensed electrician.
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