Pool Info: Pool Electric Wiring
Equipment Pad Wiring:
Most modern pools will have a "sub-panel" at the equipment pad that houses the breakers for the electrical equipment; i.e., the filter pump, air blower, underwater light/ electrical outlet (GFCI), timer clocks, landscape lighting, electronic heater, automatic cover, control systems, etc.. This sub-panel is tied into the main panel inside the house, which provides its power.
Older, simpler pools may simply have a switch to turn the filter pump on, and perhaps a switch for the underwater light. Remember that water, weather, and electricity have never been friends. Loose wiring and cover plates, broken conduit and connections can be hazardous. Exposed wiring, for example, behind the flimsy, usually broken, protective plastic in a timer clock, can easily throw 220 volts onto wet (or dry) fingertips. Use caution and use common sense when operating your equipment. If something looks negligent, call for service immediately.
Having your filter pump operate on a timer clock makes good sense. Most pools have efficiency in sanitizing, filtering and circulation such that they don't need to operate 24 hours a day. Pools are designed to "turnover" the water in the pool in eight hours time. We commonly set time clocks to operate 10 - 14 hours per day, depending on the efficiency of the system, the ambient air temperature, amount of sunlight and debris and the usage the pool receives.
I commonly advise pool owners to operate the filter system during the day, so that processes are active while the sun is beating down and the pool is most likely to be in use. This would be something like 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. You may realize lower electrical consumption if you didn't operate between 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.... peak sunlight hours.... You decide.
Setting a time clock is simple. Inside the box you'll see a 24 hour dial. There are two "timer dogs" on the dial. One turns the timer switch on, allowing power to go to the filter pump, and the other turns the switch off, stopping power from going past the timer to the filter pump. Loosening the small screw on the timer dog allows you to slide the dog to any time on the dial. Reposition and retighten.
More than one set of timer dogs allows you to run the pump in the morning, and then late in the afternoon, to avoid peak usage times.
Timer clock not switching On?
Is the breaker on? The clock and the switch will only operate with the breaker on. There may also be loose wiring connections. (Check this only with the breaker off). There may be a visual inspection window to look at the timer mechanism and see if the gears are turning. If they are not turning, the mechanism may need to be replaced. This means that the clock motor is fried. If they are turning, check that the dial is not bent, which would prevent the dogs from contacting the switch as they come around. Also check that ants or other small insects have not shorted out the contacts.
Can't turn the timer clock off?
If the clock is close to shutting off, the dog may prevent you from manually turning it off by flipping the tab switch. Pull the dial out and turn the dog past the switch. Remember to reset the time in this manner later.
If you haven't got a timer on your filter pump, you probably should have. Timers vary in price with the voltage, speed and switch requirement. They range from $110 - $150. They may also be some connection fittings needed. Usually one hour labor.
If the mechanism in your timer box has given up the ghost, a replacement pops in for under $100. Labor is definitely under one hour.