What is equipotential bonding and why is it a big deal?

Are you shopping for or preparing to install a spa or outdoor leisure product? You may have heard of the requirement for these to have ‘equipotential bonding’ or in other terms 'bonding’ or ‘earth bonding’.

Safety is a top priority when installing a spa or outdoor leisure product. In many cases, it will need equipotential bonding. In this article you will learn what equipotential bonding is, why it matters and if it’s relevant to you.

Backyard swim spa design idea

These measures exist to make the objects safe to use by you, your friends and family. In this article you will learn the definition of equipotential bonding, what products require it, why it matters, tips and more.

Important - This document provides a simplified overview of current regulations in reference to Spa World products. It is not a complete guide. We advise all customers to seek independent advice in relation to their own personal site requirements. The information in this article was accurate at the time of writing. This can change without notice and you must check the latest information with your local council.

What is equipotential bonding?

Equipotential bonding, commonly known as bonding, is a crucial electrical procedure that reduces the risk of personal injury and damage to equipment.

The process works by connecting exposed parts to an earthing system (also known as a grounding system).

Want to learn more information about Equipotential Bonding in visual form? Click the video link below.

What is the purpose of equipotential bonding?

The main purpose of equipotential bonding is to safely protect the user of the product from electric shock and damage to equipment as a result of an electrical fault.

In the case of a spa user, equipotential bonding will protect the swimmer from being injured by an electrical fault with the spa.

It is a key safety consideration for any pool, spa or swim spa.

Do I require equipotential bonding?

According to the Australian and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 3000: 2018 Electrical Installations), you will need your product to be equipotentially bonded if the product has a conductive metallic surface that is greater than 100mm in any dimension and the product is installed within arms reach of a body of water, including but not limited to spa pools, swim spas or pools. These standards are commonly known as Wiring Rules.

What objects need equipotential bonding?

Objects that need equipotential bonding are any conductive metals greater than 100mm in any dimension and within arms reach of the spa pool. These may include but are not limited to cover lifters, grab rails, pool safety barriers, ladders, spa steps, pergolas, gazebos and umbrellas.

Can Spa World™ set up the equipotential bonding for me?

Spa World™ employees and contractors are not and do not represent themselves to be licensed electricians and cannot carry out equipotential bonding. A licensed electrician must carry out the equipotential bonding work.

What should I know before I purchase a product that needs equipotential bonding?

Equipotential bonding is a crucial step in the installation process if your product requires it. There are several factors to be aware of and these include –

  • Hiring a professional By law equipotential bonding must be carried out by a licensed electrician before the product’s first use. This requirement is mandatory.

  • Owner responsibility If you are the owner of the product that requires equipotential bonding, you are responsible for ensuring the product complies with the requirements, at your own expense.

Where can I go to learn more about equipotential bonding?

You can find out more information about equipotential bonding by contacting a licensed electrician. You can also visit the Master Electricians Australia website.

When should I contact the electrician about equipotential bonding?

We recommend that you contact a licensed electrician well before the installation to determine if other electrical work needs to be carried out at your property before the delivery.

Once your spa has been delivered and the accessories have been fitted, you will need to have your electrician return to the site to assess your bonding requirements.

What is the definition of 'arm's length'?

Equipotential bonding tips and advice

Master Electricians Australia recommends you:

  • plan ahead and contact the electrical contractor early in the design and planning process
  • provide the electrical contractor with site plans and equipment specifications
  • remove any conductive metal that will be within arm’s reach of the edge of a pool, if possible.

In Summary

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of equipotential bonding. This knowledge will become really valuable as you make plans to buy and install a spa pool, swim spa or certain sized outdoor leisure products with a metallic surface.

As mentioned, safety is key to ensuring long term satisfaction from your new investment. Contacting a licensed electrician to carry out the bonding work will eliminate potential harm caused by electrics in your outdoor space. It will allow those using the area to play, relax and entertain with ease.

Are you planning for your spa delivery or wondering what the best pergolas and gazebos in New Zealand are? To find the answers to these questions and more, visit the learning centre on our website.

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