Electrical bonding prevents accidental electric shock. Electricity-conducting metals — including water pipes, metal beams, pool ladders and pool equipment — are common in pool constructions.

However, if these are not bonded, they can inadvertently conduct electricity, presenting a significant safety hazard to swimmers and pool employees.

Through electrical bonding, exposed, noncurrent-carrying metals are connected. This returns the current to the circuit and dissipates excess electricity. When done properly, the result is a constant balance within the circuit, limiting accidental electric shock and the consequences of a system overload or surge.

The National Electric Code (NEC) regulates proper bonding in a pool setting. According to the code, all metal structures, fittings and parts that are horizontally within five feet of the pool wall and vertically within 12 feet above the highest water level must be bonded.

When a pool is not bonded properly, swimmers may be able to feel natural earth voltage (NEV) while in the water. These currents are not dangerous, but because they point to improper bonding, it’s important to pay close attention to them. Pools built with faulty or inadequate bonding may require significant repairs. A licensed electrician experienced with pool electrical systems can help assess and address the problems.