GFCI blows on jacuzzi

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Carl Fredricksen, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Carl Fredricksen

    Carl Fredricksen New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Illinois
    about a month ago the GFCI outlet tripped every time I tried to turn on the water jets in the bathtub.
    I opened up the access panel and ran an extension cord over from a non-GFCI outlet and it worked.

    Today I replaced the outlet.
    Same damn thing.

    I then ran an extension cord over to an outlet on a different circut with a GFCI. It blew that one also.
    (Should have tried that earlier and saved the $30 and time for replacing the outlet)

    Its a 15amp. should be more than enough. Plus, it has been working for 8 years.

    Any ideas?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Its been working for 8 years and wore out
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    You have a problem with the tub and it may no longer be safe. I'd not run the jets until I figured out what was wrong - it's not the GFCI!

    A GFCI works by comparing the current that goes from the hot lead, through the load, and then back through the neutral. They should be equal. If they are not, some of the current is leaking, and going somewhere else (probably to ground, thus they call it a ground fault - error, problem). The problem is, that current might end up going through you along the way, and it doesn't take much to kill a person under the right circumstances, and adding in water makes that more likely. DON'T run it via a regular outlet if you value your life. Fix it.
  4. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    345
    Location:
    Colorado
    Nine times out of ten it's a heating element worn out. Nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand the GFCI is doing its job and protecting you.
  5. Carl Fredricksen

    Carl Fredricksen New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Illinois
    It has no heating element.

    My next step was going to be putting in a 20amp breaker.
    guess I should just call the bath guy.
    Anyone know of a good one in Chicago?
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If it is tripping the GFCI installing a larger one will not fix the problem. Installing a larger breaker will only make things worse.

    The problem is that the tub is 8 years old and needs to be repaired.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    While the GFCI might have current limiting, its primary purpose is to detect faults, and those can occur at ANY load. If it was exceeding max current, it would trip the breaker, not the unit itself. It only takes in the order of 5milliamps unbalance in the outgoing and incoming current to trip the unit. 10milliamps (that's 0.010A) applied just right can kill you. If the motor has brushes, it could be as simple as the conductive dust from them wearing down is providing a current path to ground. The thing is a safety device - a properly working appliance should NOT trip it. It is tripping, there is something wrong and applying a bigger hammer (circuit breaker) isn't the answer.
  8. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    ND
    Most jacuzzis have a heater,but if yours doesnt then it has to be the pump motor.Is the pump compartment wet at all? A wet motor will likely run but will trip a gfci
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    time for a new pump. Save the other for some non life critical use.
  10. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    GFI's don't trip from too much current being used so installing a larger breaker will not solve the problem.

    Have a repair company come out and service the tub.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,233
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    GFCIs are NOT circuit breakers so using a 20 amp breaker will just waste money. The problem is in the motor.
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