by Jayne Holden
(Denver, Colorado, USA)
You should plan on having water and electricity supplies available close to the pool, even if you do not expect to use technical equipment, like filters and centrifugal pumps. In a couple of years you will inevitably get tired of running the garden hose and an electric cable for the water pump to the pond for the necessary water changes.
Water Supply: The simplest method is to run a solid garden hose, buried about a foot deep in the ground, from the water source to the pool. To prevent damaging the hose later on, mark the water line and take a picture of it or enter its course on a plan drawn carefully to scale. A more expensive method is to have a plumber install a water outlet next to the pool.
Electricity: Here no inexpensive solution can be recommended in good conscience. You have to hire a licensed electrician to do the wiring for bringing electricity to the pool and to install the outlets needed for the electrical equipment. These receptacles must have the GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) safety feature that automatically stops the flow of electricity should an accidental surge of electricity discharge into the pool water.
All you can do yourself is to lay a pipe (for instance, a 1-inch PVC pipe) to run the wires through. Dig a trench for the pipe about the depth of a spade and at a slightly downhill angle from the house. This way the pipe will be a little lower toward the pond so that any moisture inside it will drain away from the house.
Since an air pump (diaphragm pump for supplying oxygen) is indispensable—especially for pools with fish—you should lay down a second PVC pipe for running the air hose for the pump from the house to the pool.
Preventing Accidents Caused by Electricity
Be sure to observe the following safety rules:
• Wiring may be installed only by a licensed electrician.
• When you buy electrical equipment, be sure that it is UL approved.
• Make sure everything has cables that are long enough; never use extension cords.
• Turn off the power before you take equipment out of the pond.
• Have any necessary repairs done by a licensed electrician.
• Never pull an electrical device out of the water by the cable.
• Make sure that the circuit to your pool is protected by a GFI out¬let and a fuse or by a GFI circuit breaker.
Note: It is possible today to use low-voltage systems for running many types of pool equipment. This kind of system offers a high degree of protection against accidents.
Find out more about low-voltage equipment from dealers selling electrical, aquarium, or garden equipment. These people will also be able to tell you how far solar technology has advanced for use in operating pools.