Bistro lights strung across a pool make a pretty picture. But, according to Anchor Pools and Spas in South Carolina, the risks far outweigh the aesthetic benefits.
These lights were never intended to be used near a pool or spa, and especially not to be draped across one. In just an instant, if one of the 120-volt lights or wires connected to the string of lights falls into the water, anyone swimming or standing nearby will likely receive a strong electrical shock or even die by electrocution.
Mixing Water and Electricity Can Be Fatal
Pool pumps, underwater pool lights, and other electrical devices specifically designed for pool uses have safety devices built in. String lights, or bistro lights, do not have that protection.
Electricians have noted that decorating around the pool by stringing bistro lights over a pool is one of the most dangerous trends they have seen. The standard lights are 120 volts. Strong enough to kill. At the very least, if someone is going to insist on doing this at their pool, they should make doubly certain that the lights are only 30 volts. The swimmers will still feel a shock, but will likely live.
The risk of electrical shock or electrocution is reduced if the lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Although these protectors are designed to prevent electrocutions, they can fail anytime. If the GFCI is not working, the swimmers will most likely be shocked or electrocuted.
Suggestions for Swimming Pools and Electrical Safety
It is best to check the South Carolina Electrical Code for basic requirements. Generally, the following guidelines are recognized as safe:
- All plugs in the outside pool area must be GFCI protected.
- Plugs should be at least 12 feet away from the water’s surface.
- All plugs must be permanently attached.
- No lights over 30 volts should be used near or over the pool.
Contact Anchor Pools and Spas
Anchor Pools and Spas can help you make sure your pool is safe for your family and guests. For more than 40 years, we have been South Carolina’s premiere pool company. Our service technicians are able to provide advice and help you check if all of your outdoor plugs are GFCI and properly installed as well as check on the lighting near your pool to be sure it is not over 30 volts.
Contact us online or by telephone at 864.855.1281.