Summer in Florida is made for swimming. Indeed, on some days it is the only thing that makes our hottest temperatures bearable. To ensure that these sessions in the water are safe, have the GFCI on your dock or pool electrical system tested by a certified electrician.
Water and Electricity: Safety First!
For many of us Floridians, one of the highlights of the summer season is doing a bit of swimming. Keeping safe around water is second nature to most of us. We dive feet first the first time in a new location, learn CPR, and never let our children swim alone. However, when swimming in our pools or off of docks, there is another potentially fatal danger: faulty electrical systems.
What is a GFCI?
Electrical outlets, boat lifts, pumps, lights and sound systems are great features to have by the water. However, if they are not properly designed or installed with a working ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, it can be a disaster waiting to happen. A GFCI is a device that will cut off the flow of electricity when it senses a short, or fault. This can prevent electrical shocks that can lead to injury or even death by drowning.
In many areas of our state, docks and other shoreline structures may have wiring that does not meet modern standards. The wiring may have been installed before 1984, a time when fewer regulations addressed these systems. Homes that have more recent systems may still be at risk if they were built, repaired or altered by an inexperienced person without using a GFCI.
Regularly Inspect Your GFCI
Even if your system was designed and installed by competent professionals, these locations are exposed to harsh conditions that can lead to a failure. Heat, humidity and time can cause insulation to corrode or wires to become brittle. Animals may chew through fixtures or wiring, and heavy use can damage safety features. When this type of failure occurs, electrical potentials can travel along railings, light poles, or other surfaces that make contact with water.
When electricity and fresh water mix, it can create a deadly situation. Unfortunately, this has led to families losing loved ones. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented by a properly installed and functioning GFCI.
Henderson Electric Safety Tip: If you think a swimmer is being shocked, do not jump in the water or attempt to grab them with your hands! First turn off the power at the electrical panel to avoid becoming a second victim. Use a non-conductive pole or shepherd’s crook to pull them to safety.
Call Henderson Electric to Inspect or Install a GFCI
To make sure that a GFCI connected to any electrical system near water is safe, have it regularly inspected by a licensed professional. Electrical faults are not always apparent to the layman, and the system may seem to be operating normally until disaster strikes.
The professionals at Henderson Electric are experienced in designing, repairing and maintaining safe outdoor electrical systems with the proper GFCI in place. To schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 850-243-2223.