Pool Wiring What Need To Know From An Electrician - Conquerall Electrical (2023)

Ok so you purchased a new pool and now what? We can tell you all about pool wiring and everything you need to know to wire it safely.

As a general rule, all permanent structure above ground or in ground swimming pools should be wired or consulted with by a certified electrician. This includes metal wall frame and concrete style pools or anything that is required to be hardwired and does not plug in. GFCI protection is a must for any style pool.

Unfortunately the code rules around swimming pools are not cut and dry so read on to get the details.

Table of Contents

1.What Are The Electrical Requirements For Pool Wiring?

Knowing what the electrical requirements for a new swimming pool could be rather confusing. There are so many different types of pools to deal with that you will not be sure whether you can wire yourself. It basically boils down to two types of pools. Anything with a 1.5 hp motor or under including 1 hp will usually be a 120 V system that plugs in.

This would come in your typical metal style above ground pools. Usually around style pools or oval style pools. These type of pools can be simply plugged in to external outside GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet is a must for your safety.

Pool Wiring What Need To Know From An Electrician - Conquerall Electrical (1)

Anything over 1.5 hp in other words 2 hp and up usually requires a 240 volt connection and will need to be hardwired. This is for your larger inground swimming pools. In most cases you require certified electrician to do these connections for you.

When it comes to small blow up in the box pools they simply plug-in as well. Usually you can run those right off of your outside existing outlet because they do not draw much for power. The 1 to 1.5 hp size swimming pools usually require their own circuit so you may need to get an electrician involved to install an outlet for you.

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2.How Much Does Pool Wiring Cost?

The cost for wiring a swimming pool can vary. Obviously if you have a small blow up style pool that doesn’t draw much power like mentioned above you can simply just plug it into your existing outside plug.

If you have an above ground swimming pool with a bigger motor that requires a plug-in then we recommend you have a separate circuit or a GFCI receptacle or breaker installed by an electrician. You can count on three to $600 for the service.

If you get into the larger hardwired swimming pools then you’re in the thousands of dollars of electrical work. Keep in mind to do it properly had to do it safely you get what you pay for.

There are a variety of factors that can come into the cost that you would pay. If you have additional lighting or heating system for your swimming pool and these will all need to be worried as well. It will also all need to be on GFCI protection. GFCI protection or ground fault is a must on any type of water source.

3. What Electrical Is Needed For An Above Ground Pool Wiring?

All water sources including above ground swimming pools if you have electrical components need to have GFCI protection. This GFCI protection protect you while you’re in the water electrical fault to ground. This will detect that and trip if there are any issues.

All above ground swimming pool motors or pool pumps circulate the water. These pumps must be protected either by GFCI receptacle, a faceless GFCI or GFCI breaker. Some form of GFCI protection is needed.

Without the proper GFCI protection you could be putting yourself at risk to electrocution while in the pool. This is a situation that no one wants to get into so it is best to spend the money to have that GFCI protection in place. Some above ground swimming pools come with GFCI protection as wiring to put a plug in the motor. In so look out for that in your deal when you’re purchasing a new swimming pool.

4. Does An Above Ground Pool Wiring Need To Be On Its Own Circuit?

Any larger above ground swimming pool will have a larger motor either 1 hp or 1.5 hp. These larger motors usually run between 700 and 1500 watts. 1500 watt is actually a 15 amp electrical circuit.

So if you plug this in on other things that have on the circuit the circuit will most likely trip.

It is recommended that you have a dedicated circuit for the pool only. This will keep things from tripping and stop any issues from happening if the circuit does go out. It’s important to keep the pool circulating so if the pool power trips. Circulating and then you’re at risk of water going cloudy or building up algae.

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5. What If My Pool Is Not Bonded?

All swimming pool should be bonded in some form of manner. Find it it’s just a fancy way of saying grounded. Most times a plug-in pool pump will have a ground or does have a ground which is sufficient that plugs into your regular electrical system.

However on larger metal frame swimming pools is always a good idea to have the electrician bond the metal frame to ground. This can be done either with ground electrodes directly into the earth. Or a bond wire run back to electrical panel source.

This isolates and ensures that if there is any leakage to ground it will cause a GFCI to trip. Is the safest way and approach It is safest way and approach even if your ground fault circuit interrupt her fails.

For larger swimming pools we usually run a number six green. Bond or ground between all current carrying parts or metal parts of the swimming pool. We then usually use ground plates or ground electrodes to be on the best possible place to ground all parts of the pool.

6. Why Do I Need GFCI Protection On My Pool Wiring?

Pool Wiring What Need To Know From An Electrician - Conquerall Electrical (2)



All swimming pools are required to have GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupt her protection by code. It is a serious safety risk not to have it installed on your swimming pool. The GFCI detects any leakage to ground and will trip so you do not get electrocuted.

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You’re not going mix water and electricity, water is very constructive. In addition you should also have GFCI protection on any pool related equipment that is electrical.

This includes all low-voltage in line voltage lighting. Pool lighting, rope lighting, accent lighting or anything that helps the look of the pool.

Any type of UV rated water system or timers should also be on GFCI protection. An even bigger factor, if you have your pool heated electrically via pool heater or a heat pump it should be also on GFCI protection. Most pool pump heaters are much larger and require a GFCI breaker.

7. How Close To An Electrical Outlet Can A Pool Be?

1.5 m or 5 feet is a rule for GFCI protection from any water source. However if your pool is it is away from your pool pump and you have a cord running on your full pump to plug it in you still need to have GFCI protection. The 1.5 m rule it’s just if you have permanently mounted electrical equipment directly next to the pool.

They should be in any case where you have a small shed with the pool wiring in it for the swimming pool. The whole feed conductor can be on a GFCI breaker.

In essence that protects everything related to the pool. This may be a cheaper option and providing individual GFCI protection for each electric pole circuit.

Pool Wiring What Need To Know From An Electrician - Conquerall Electrical (3)

8. Can I Replace A 1HP Pool Pump With A 1.5 HP?

Absolutely you can replace a 1 hp pool pump with a 1.5 hp pump. Pool pumps of 1 hp draw 746 watts can usually contain a 15 amp circuit 1.5 hp is about 1200 W. This can also still be on a 15 amp circuit although recommended to be on a 20 amp circuit for start up in rush current.

Both models one horsepower and 1.5 hp can consume a 120 volt circuit although can be pre-wired for 240. Most of the inlet and outlet sizes on the pool are the same 1.5 hp.

Once over the size 2 hp enough you are usually into a 2 inch inlet and outlet. You’re also into a 240 volt 15 or 20 amp circuit. Most 2 hp pump do not come in 120 volt so they can simply not be plugged in I will need to be hardwired. However the 1 to 1.5 hp range is OK it’s a common exchange.

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9. What Size Electrical Service Do I Need To Run A Pool?

Most common sizes are 15 amp 120 V and 20 amp 120 V for service to a swimming pool pump only however you will usually end up consuming more electricity with pool lights pool heaters etc. It is in this case that we recommend a minimum of 120/240 V 60 amp electrical service to a separate sub panel.

The sub panel can be on GFCI protection and will allow you to add a 40 or 50 amp heat pump to the electrical circuitry.

Usually this is just done in a “small dog house” next to the swimming pool or shed where they keep all the pool equipment.

Make sure that you have adequate size on your main electrical service as a minimum of 200 amp. This would be so that you can run 60 amp out to your swimming pool. You wouldn’t want to try this on a 100 amp main electrical service in your house and then take 60 of it for your swimming pool cause issues the rest of your house wiring.

Pool Wiring What Need To Know From An Electrician - Conquerall Electrical (4)

10. Is It Ok To Run A Pool Pump 24 Hours A Day?

Mostly all swimming pool pumps are rated for continuous duty yes. In fact when you first start your swimming pool it will most likely run it for a week straight to get it cleared up in the spring time.

After the swimming pool has been cleared up and the chemicals are balanced then you can cut the time back on the pool pump running.

There would be no need at this point to run the swimming pool pump at 24 hours a day. For example I run my swim pool pump for hours on in four hours off on a timer.

11.What Size Wire Do I Need To Run My Pool Pump?

For smaller circuitry for pool pumps only a minimum of 12 gauge to wire and nmd90 or tech cable is recommended for 20 amp circuit. However with the cost difference most consumers will run 30 amp circuit which is 10 gauge.

If you plan to run a sub panel of 60 amp then we recommend a minimum of number 6/3 copper an nmd 90 or tech cable depending on the type of installation and the type of construction that you’re providing the pool circuitry too.

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We recommend strongly that you have a pool pump house or an area where you can run through.

Tech cable is much more costly than an empty or non-metallic dry wiring. In addition if you can have an indoor rated electrical panel or subpanel you will save wisely.

Outdoor rated panels are three times the cost is indoor right and panels so if you add up the price difference in the wiring most enough money to build a small shed. We hope do you like this article and it helped give some sense to some pool wiring for your new swimming pool that you’re about to install. Please check out all of her other articles as they provide very helpful information.


What electrical is needed for a pool? ›

If you need to know the electrical requirements for your inground pool, here is a list of common pool equipment and the approximate volts and amps required for each: Pool Pump: 240v, 10amps. Salt Water Chlorinator: 240v, approx 5-8 amps. Pool Heat Pump: 240v, 50 amps.

How do you run wire for a swimming pool? ›

Plug in the pool pump and cover it with a weatherproof cover. With the main service off to the house, wire in GFCI circuit breakers to the electrical panel. Connect an 8-gauge wire to the metal posts of the pool, the pump, and the metal plate on the skimmer and then wire that to the pump to bond the entire pool.

How much does it cost to wire a inground pool? ›

If you have a standard-sized pool that's close to the house, you could pay as little as $350 for electric installation. On the other hand, if your pool is far from the house, you could pay $4,000 or more to account for the additional necessary trenching and materials.

How far does a pool need to be from electrical wires? ›

Make sure overhead electrical lines do not pass over the pool. Power lines should be at least 25 feet away from the pool in all directions. Allow a minimum clearance in any direction of at least 18 feet between overhead power lines and a diving board, deck, platform, slide or observation area.

How far does GFCI need to be from pool? ›

Any other receptacles installed in the equipment room must be GFCI-protected as well. 680.22 – Electrical equipment other than receptacles and lighting must be a minimum of five feet away fromthe swimming pool unless separated by a barrier.

What type of GFCI do I need for my pool? ›

Pool pump motors require GFCI protection. At permanently installed swimming pools at dwelling units, 680.22(A)(3) requires at least one 125-volt, 15- or 20-ampere receptacle to be installed within a 1.83 m (6 ft) to 6.0 m (20 ft) distance from the inside wall of the pool.

Does pool wiring need to be in conduit? ›

If a pool light is installed, a conduit system is required from the service panel board and a green insulated ground wire is required to be installed in the conduit with the circuit conductors, typically black, white, & green THWN.

What gauge wire should be used in a concrete pool? ›

The parts specified in 680.26(B)(1) through (B)(7) shall be bonded together using solid copper conductors, insulated covered, or bare, not smaller than 8 AWG or with rigid metal conduit of brass or other identified corrosion-resistant metal.

How much wire is needed to bond a pool? ›

The bonding conductor should be at least 8 AWG or larger solid copper. All metallic parts of the pool's structure, including reinforcing metal, must be bonded together using solid copper conductors (insulated, covered or bare), and at least 8 AWG, or with rigid metal conduit of brass or other corrosion-resistant metal.

Does pool bonding wire have to be buried? ›

If there is no reinforcing steel in the deck, at least one bare No. 8 (or larger) buried wire may be used, if installed in accordance with code requirements. Generally speaking, all electrical equipment associated with the pool must be grounded.

How long do inground pool pipes last? ›

The plumbing should be scheduled 40 or better PVC, and if not subject to a lot of direct sunlight should last 15 to 20 years. If it gets brittle or warps it's time to re-plumb the system. Pinhole leaks are an indicator you have waited too long.

What is the NEC code for pool lights? ›

454.1. 4.2. 1 Outdoor Pool Lighting

Lighting shall provide a minimum of 3 footcandles (30 lux) of illumination at the pool water surface and the pool wet deck surface. Underwater lighting shall be a minimum of 1/2 watt incandescent equivalent, or 10 lumens, per square foot of pool water surface area.

Which of the following would be most appropriate to ensure electrical safety around the pool? ›

GFCIs are your very best protection against electrocution; they will automatically cut electrical power if they detect the presence of water.

Does a pool pump have to be on a GFCI breaker? ›

The National Electric Code requires that all swimming pool pumps be connected to a GFCI breaker.

Should pool lights be on a GFCI breaker? ›

The pool light must be installed on a GFCI circuit. That means that the wires coming to the pool light J-box must come from a GFCI breaker. These are often easy to spot by the yellow Test button, and are usually 20 amp breakers.

Do pool pump motors have to be GFCI protected? ›

Pool pump motor receptacles must be GFCI protected regardless of their location. All receptacles within 20 feet (6096 mm) of the pool water must have GFCI protection including any single-, locking- and grounding-type receptacles installed for specific equipment.

How do I know if I need a 15a or 20a GFCI? ›

Tip: The easiest way to determine whether a circuit is 15 or 20 amps is to look at the corresponding breaker or fuse in the breaker panel. Dedicated circuits are electrical lines that carry an electrical current to one single outlet.

Why does pool light GFCI keep tripping? ›

This can be due to a small amount of water being inside your light fixture which the light may heat up and vaporize. This can then cause the GFCI to trip. GFCIs are also known to trip from extreme humidity. Be sure that the outlets that may be on the same GFCI circuit are covered to help prevent this.

Does pool water need to be grounded? ›

Since 2008 the National Electrical Code (NEC) has mandated that pool water shall be electrically bonded, not just metals in the structure of the pool itself. NEC bonding requirements apply to in ground and above ground pools, and include all metal components including ladders, equipment and the water itself.

Do pool rails need to be grounded? ›

Electrical components, such as pumps, and non-current-carrying metallic components, such as pool rails, are electrically interconnected (bonded) and grounded to the earth so that electrical potential cannot exist between them. Together, proper bonding and grounding ensure the electrical safety of your pool.

Does a pool light need a dedicated circuit? ›

The light always has to be a dedicated circuit because it has to be protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI is a device that monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral.

How deep does a pool grounding rod need to be? ›

The only legal ground rod must be installed a minimum of 8-foot in the ground. The length of rod and pipe electrodes is located at 250.52(A)(5) in the 2017 National Electric Code (NEC).

What kind of wire do I need to wire a pool pump? ›

The one and only choice for a wire material for a pool pump is copper. Copper has a lower resistance than aluminum which is the other common wire choice. Copper's low resistance lessens voltage drop. The higher the motor horsepower, the more electricity it requires.

How do I know if my pool is grounded? ›

Look for an exposed copper wire attached to the motor and pumps, going into the ground. It should connect in a similar way as in the image to the left. If you live in a municipality, you can also contact the building and inspection department to see if your pool had a code inspection during its construction.

What happens if a pool is not bonded? ›

If you do not bond your pool equipment there is the risk that the equipment itself will become the anode in a galvanic couple with other metal components in or around your pool. If this happens, the anode metals will deteriorate at an advanced rate, a phenomenon called galvanic corrosion.

How thick should a pool bond beam be? ›

Bond Beam / Raised Bond Beam

Typically, it's about 12 inches wide and reinforced with extra steel rebar, because the top sections of a pool require extra support.

What size should bonding wire be? ›

The bonding conductor or grounding electrode conductor shall not be smaller than 14 AWG. It shall have a current-carrying capacity not less than that of the grounded metallic member(s). The bonding conductor or grounding electrode conductor shall not be required to exceed 6 AWG.

What is the difference between a bonding wire and a ground wire? ›

Bonding is the connection of non-current-carrying conductive elements like enclosures and structures. Grounding is the attachment of bonded systems to the earth. Both are necessary to safeguard people and property from electric hazards.

Is pool water required to be bonded to the equipotential bonding grid? ›

The pool water itself must also be bonded. An intentional bond of a minimum conductive surface area of 5800 mm2 (9 in.2) is required to be in direct contact with the pool water. This bonding can be accomplished with any of the conductive parts that are required to be bonded as described above.

Why is there a copper wire around my pool? ›

Since electricity will flow if some areas have different voltage than others, we use a bonding grid to equalize the electrical potential around the pool. This bonding grid connects all metal components in the pool area with bare copper wire.

Why is my pool using so much electricity? ›

That's because pools can consume a large amount of energy, in fact, the pool pump is second only to the air conditioner as an energy hog, and pools are used nearly year round, making the amount of energy they consume higher than in other parts of the country.

Do swimming pools use a lot of electricity? ›

If your home has a swimming pool, your pool pump may use more electricity than any other appliance in your home — as much as three times the electricity used by your refrigerator. Many residential pools in the U.S. have 1.5-horsepower or 2-horsepower pumps that draw 2,000 watts or more.

Do pool pumps use a lot of electricity? ›

One of the most significant consumers of energy in homes with swimming pools are pool pumps, which keep pools clean by circulating water through filters. Pool pumps can consume 3,000 to over 5,000 kWh per year.

What pipe is best for pool plumbing? ›

PVC - Rigid PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe is a standard for swimming pool piping, as well as many other plumbing jobs. The thickness of the wall of the pipe is known as the schedule, most commonly PVC pipe is made to schedule 40 or schedule 80.

Which type of inground pool lasts the longest? ›

What Type of Pool Lasts the Longest? Now that you know a bit more about the types of inground pools, let's talk about durability. Of the three choices above, fiberglass and gunite pools are the clear winners. With vinyl liner pools, the liner does have a shelf life and will eventually need to be replaced.

Do you need to wrap pool pipes? ›

If you have a pool equipment cover, put it on as this will help keep the equipment and pipes warm. If you do not have a pool equipment cover, wrapping equipment pipes with towels will insulate plumbing lines and help prevent freezing. Even pool noodles can serve as good insulation around pipes.

How many amps does a pool light pull? ›

Pool Lights: 12v, 3.5 watts each. Self-Contained Hot Tub: 240v 50 amps. Automatic Pool Cover: 220v, 5-7 amps OR 110v, 11-13 amps.

How do pool lights not shock you? ›

Bonding and grounding are the best defenses you have against pool electrocution. Grounding involves electrically attaching powered equipment to the ground. If there's a short in the system, the circuit breaker trips to shut off power almost instantly, effectively rendering the equipment harmless.

How close can low-voltage lights be to a pool? ›

UL Listed low-voltage landscape luminaires are for installation not less than 10 ft from a swimming pool, whether in or on the ground, and are not for use where supplied by a Listed swimming pool transformer or any other power source other than a Listed landscape power unit.

What is the most common safety problem you see at the pool? ›

As you've likely guessed, drowning is a primary concern associated with swimming pools. Children should never be left unsupervised, even if they are skilled swimmers.

What is the most common potential hazard in a pool pump room? ›

Numerous hazards lurk within the walls of the swimming pool pump room, toxic chemical fumes and carbon monoxide chief among them. In some commercial properties — apartment complexes, condominiums, hotels, country clubs and the like — the pump rooms are properly ventilated, but in far too many, this is not the case.

Should I wire my pool pump 110 or 220? ›

Connecting the wrong power supply to your pool pump can result in serious damage. Using an 110v connection on a pump that requires a 220v supply can result in your pump running slowly or not working at all. Applying a 220v supply to a pump that needs an 110v input could damage your unit beyond repair.

What size breaker do I need for pool equipment? ›

Booster pumps for pool cleaners or solar systems can be operated with 110V or 220V, and are usually connected to a separate timeclock, powered with a dedicated 15 or 20 amp breaker.

Do pools use a lot of electricity? ›

If your home has a swimming pool, your pool pump may use more electricity than any other appliance in your home — as much as three times the electricity used by your refrigerator. Many residential pools in the U.S. have 1.5-horsepower or 2-horsepower pumps that draw 2,000 watts or more.

Does a pool need its own circuit? ›

A swimming pool pump must have its own dedicated circuit, so I figured the only other way to add another outlet along with the pool pump outlet was to run two circuits then instead of one.

How many amps should a pool pump use? ›

The average pool pump (1 Hp.) pulls about 6.5 amps and moves about 60 gallons per minute.

What happens if you wire a pool pump wrong? ›

Failure to wire the pump correctly can cause electrical shock or can damage your pump motor and void your warranty.

Do pool breakers need to be GFCI? ›

The National Electric Code requires that all swimming pool pumps be connected to a GFCI breaker.

What is the best circuit breaker for a pool pump? ›

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit breakers work extremely fast and at much more sensitive thresholds than conventional household circuit breakers. They're required by the National Electric Code (NEC) standards for pool pumps.

Does pool equipment need GFCI? ›

All receptacles within 20 feet (6096 mm) of the pool water must have GFCI protection including any single-, locking- and grounding-type receptacles installed for specific equipment. This applies to storable pools as well as permanently installed indoor and outdoor pools.

Is it OK to run pool pump 24 hours a day? ›

Some commercial properties require 24-hour a day pump circulation, but as a homeowner, this is not advisable. If you are lucky enough to own an Energy Efficient, Variable Speed swimming pool pump (VSP) then , yes, technically you could run your pump for 24 hours a day.

How can I reduce my pool electricity usage? ›

7 ways to reduce your pool's energy usage
  1. Use a pool cover when your pool is not in use. ...
  2. Purchase a smaller, more efficient pump. ...
  3. Lower your pool's temperature. ...
  4. Choose an energy-efficient heater. ...
  5. Maintain your pool's filter and cleaning system. ...
  6. Upgrade to energy-efficient lighting. ...
  7. Invest in automated pool features.
Jun 16, 2016

How many hours a day should you let your pool pump run? ›

The rule of thumb is generally 8 hours, although it could be anywhere from 6-12 hours, depending on your pool's size. Each pool is unique, so to keep your pool pump efficient and effective, you need to figure out exactly what your pool's turnover rate is.

What happens if a pool isn't grounded? ›

Without a grounding system in place, people or pool equipment may become the conductor. Harmful electrical current may move toward people, pets, or equipment instead of moving away and to the earth.

What size breaker do I need for an electric pool heater? ›

Depending on the heat pump size, it will need a 30 to 50 amp breaker. If your pool has a 100 amp subpanel by the pool, which many in-ground pools do, it's possible that you have enough leftover ampacity available, to add a 30 or 40 amp breaker to the sub panel that's already there.

Should a pool be grounded? ›

The electrical equipment for swimming pools must be grounded and connected by wiring methods in accordance with the NFPA 70 National Electric Code®.


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