Pool light GFCI - safety issue?

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Old 04-12-13, 02:45 AM
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Pool light GFCI - safety issue?

With the electrical wiring for my swimming pool is a 110 volt GFCI receptacle for the pool light. Presently it's wired like this: a single-pole switch is on the hot-side input wire to the GFCI receptacle, and the load is the pool light and the GFCI'S own outlet, in parallel with each other. The switch is of course to control the pool light, but as wired it also switches the GFCI outlet, so I can't plug in a radio, or a low-watt light to protect frost-sensitve plants nearby, etc., without the 400-watt pool light also on. Crazy - or is it?

It's trivial to move the switch to the load side: rewire the GFCI load to be the pool light plus switch in parallel with the outlet. The switch then controls only the light and the outlet is always live. The outlet is of course still GFI-protected. But is there some special safety issue here? Should I be using the outlet at all, or just consider the whole circuit as simply a dedicated pool light circuit?
 
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Old 04-12-13, 08:02 AM
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The challenge is, in pool wiring you're not allowed to run GFCI wires and nonGFCI wires in the same conduit.

There's no other safety issue with having the outlet always live and the switch and light only on the load side of the GFCI. In fact I prefer it. It saves on service calls when the HO can't reset the GFCI becouse the switch is off.
 
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Old 04-13-13, 11:48 PM
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Thanks for your helpful comments, Glennsparky. Actually it appears I can use the existing setup - conduits, waterproof boxes, junction box - to rewire the switch to the load side and still keep GFI and nonGFI wires separate as you discuss.

The previous owner who put the pool in used a professional pool company, and their electrician must have wired the light. So why wasn't it done the "right" way in the first place, if I'm correct that the existing setup permits it? Any clue? I'm trying to figure out if this is really as clear-cut as I think it is, or if there's a reason why I should pay an electrician to have a look.
 
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Old 04-15-13, 01:49 AM
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Electricians are creatures of habit like everyone else. And this isn't a code issue, it's a design issue.

When you're finished rewiring, turn on the pool light and press the test button on the GFCI. If the light goes out you can be pretty confident that you're safe.
 
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Old 04-16-13, 02:33 AM
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I have and it did. All's well. Thanks again, Glennsparky.
 
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