Hot tub question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Speedy Petey, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This is posted for, and with permission of, member mat159:

  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Matt,

    ALL of the outside portion of the wiring for a hot tub of pool equipment MUST be in conduit, along with an insulated ground.

    To do what you want you'll need a sub-panel. You CANNOT feed a 50A hot tub and a 20A pool pump from the same circuit.

    You will need at minimum a 60A feeder to the sub-panel. I would recommend #4cu and a 90A breaker though. Pools can have a lot of peripheral equipment.
    From there you can run the circuit to the tub and pool equipment.

    The run would consist of three #4cu THWN (one marked white) and one #8THWN green.
    To the tub you will likely be required to run #6cu. Most manufacturers require this.
  3. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I forgot to add. You CANNOT double up on the lines (parallel conductors) of this size.

    I would STRONGLY suggest you have your electrician come out before you do anything. See what he suggests. You may wind up running something different that what he wants and you'll waste money re-doing it.
  4. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    And might want to sit down before they tell you the cost of wire these days!:eek:
  5. mat159

    mat159 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Petey-Thank you for bringing my question to the board.

    So here it is...
    Like I said earlier, i have to go nearly 50-60' indoors then another 30-40' outdoor. I can run the wire through the house then goto conduit once I go outdoors with it.

    Like BB said, the cost of wire this length & gauge is going to be a car payment. I need to know exactly what type of wire I need then I can shop it online (**** etc).

    With this being said is there anyway to guess-ti-mate what I will need?

    I know with computer wiring, similar to Romex, some cords are merely 3 or 4 color-coded wires with an outer shell wrapping. With the computer wiring, you can take & run each of the needed wires and run them single (but together) as if they were wrapped without the outer covering of a cord.

    Given the length I need to go I was thinking it would be much cheaper to buy 100' of #4, along with 100' of ground #?) Would this be a feasible idea or should I not even bother and just close my eyes when paying??

    Petey, I think you're already with me on this, based upon how I read this statement, "The run would consist of three #4cu THWN (one marked white) and one #8THWN green."
    If I am wrong, please let me know. (I don’t recognize your acronyms, THWN & #cu, please explain)
  6. mat159

    mat159 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Well here's the thing...I only have the Hot Tub now and the pool is to be installed in '09. I havent purchased the pump & filter for the pool yet so I dont know what the specs will be. I can only assume it will be 220 even though it could be 110.

    Food for thought; the pool pump & filter will be on a timer going off once or twice a day. This means I can have the pool off anytime i use the hot tub which will lessen the electric pull.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    We'll let speedy or bobnh tell us about the code issues of what you propose. I suspect that your personal "assurance" that you won't run the pump and the hot tub at the same time is not sufficient basis for installing smaller guage wire and smaller breakers.

    As far as the cost, I am always suspicious of the online sites such as you propose. In the case of wire, there is a LOT of stolen stuff out there. Some goes the the recyclers, but some ends up on you-know-where. The price of copper is what it is. If you can find somebody on line that just got overstocked with something he can't use, well these are the deals that people look for on line. Shipping will add to the cost. But check it all out, anyway.
  8. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    #4, #8, #6, etc are all conductor sizes. THHN or THWN are conductor types.

    Dual rated THHN/THWN is the most common conductor by far.

    What I meant was that a larger feeder to this new sub-panel would be advised. There is no way for you to tell when the heat will kick on with your tub, so going bigger might be a good idea.

    I would say a 60A feeder would be the smallest you should possibly go.
    This would require #6 cable or THWN conductors in conduit.
    The bump up in size to #4 would not kill you money wise.
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Not meaning to sound rude but it seems to me that if someone can afford a hot tub and pool they can afford an electrician to install them.

    This is not like changing out a switch or receptacle and needs to be done correctly or someone could die
  10. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    I was thinking the same thing... Must be tough to be so poor.
  11. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Not to mention the monthly power bill. :)
  12. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I don't know. I always get yelled at when I say such things. :p
  13. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You have given him the best advice that he would ever get so there wasn't much more to say. :D
  14. mat159

    mat159 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Everyone's a critic... I have been out of work since June and have come across a used hot tub for a steal, $1000.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear about my intentions, in an effort to avoid spending another $1K , I want to buy and run the lines then have an electrician do the hook up. I merely needed to be sure of what type of wire to run and the type of outdoor hook up I need to look for so I can shop the materials and know what the electrician is telling me when I get one.

    I had been told a couple of things ranging from splitting the hot tub line to feed both the pool and hot tub. But I now know this is not feasible.

    Petey- thanks for all your help. I now have all of my questions answered.
  15. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If I had been out of work for 5 months I think I would be saving money instead of blowing $1000 on something that is going to cost even more but then again I have never drawn public money either.
  16. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    But.... it was a steal, how could he not buy it?
  17. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    North Carolina
    There is a lot more to installing a hot tub outside than the feeder or branch circuit that supplies the piece of equipment.

    There is the issue of an insulated equipment grounding conductor, GFCI protection, the raceway in which the conductors are installed, the equipotential bonding grid and the list goes on and on.

    It has been my experiences that the installation cost of a hot tub far exceeds the cost of the tub itself. The installation is far more than something that a weekend warrior can attempt.

    A tub or pool has treated water and electricity in the same area. To simply install a circuit that makes the water churn about is nothing more than a death trap waiting to be sprung.

    Every one asks the question, “can I do this or can I do that†when the question should be, “is this safe or is that safe†but this is not what is on their mind. All they are thinking about is jumping into the water and having fun.

    My question is always, “are you willing to place yourself and your family in jeopardy just for the sake of having fun?†If you are then just jump into a pond full of alligators and have all the fun that they will allow you to have.

    The bottom line here is simple; if you can’t afford the cost of hiring a professional to make the installation then you can’t afford the tub.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2008
  18. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You're right not something to be cavalier about. But for a DIYer who's diligent about reading the manufacturer's requirements and following them to the letter, shouldn't that be OK? I installed the wiring to my outdoor spa myself. Just as instructed I used a dedicated 50 amp breaker at the main panel, located the spa panel at the proper distance to the water surface (it has to be not to close to reach it while in the spa, but close enough to get to it quickly when you are out), calculated the correct wire size based on length, installed it in PVC conduit with access boxes all all junctions, and grounded everything. I even installed a new ground rod next to the spa and ran that wire in a slab control joint and caulked it in.

    As I recall the electrical parts alone cost me about $500.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2008
  19. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    North Carolina
    There is no need to have a disconnect for a residential tub that is close to the tub.
    A maintenance disconnecting means is required by 680.12 but it is to be no less than 5 feet from the tub up to 50 feet from the tub as long as it is with-in sight of the tub motor.
    680.12 Maintenance Disconnecting Means.
    One or more means to simultaneously disconnect all ungrounded conductors shall be provided for all utilization equipment other than lighting. Each means shall be readily accessible and within sight from its equipment and shall be located at least 1.5 m (5 ft) horizontally from the inside walls of a pool, spa, or hot tub unless separated from the open water by a permanently installed barrier that provides a 1.5 m (5 ft) reach path or greater. This horizontal distance is to be measured from the water's edge along the shortest path required to reach the disconnect.

    An emergency switch is not required for a residential tub at all.
    680.41 Emergency Switch for Spas and Hot Tubs.
    A clearly labeled emergency shutoff or control switch for the purpose of stopping the motor(s) that provide power to the recirculation system and jet system shall be installed at a point readily accessible to the users and not less than 1.5 m (5 ft) away, adjacent to, and within sight of the spa or hot tub. This requirement shall not apply to single-family dwellings.
    Unless you expect lightning to strike the tub the ground rod is as useless as tits on a bore hog.
    There is a requirement to install a equipotential bonding grid under a tub that is installed on the outside of a building. If the tub is going to be on a concrete pad this grid must be part of the pad even if the pad already exists. This requirement if found in 680.26 as mandated by 680.42.
    This bonding grid is one of the most important items to be installed as it keeps everything at the same potential electrically.

    Once again look at the picture that Steve posted to my last post above. To do anything less is to dive into that pond.
    Unless you understand why the code requires some of things that it requires then it is best to leave the installation to someone who does before you kill yourself or someone you love.
  20. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It's a "spa panel" as specified by the manufacturer. The County inspected and approved this along with the deck work (overhead) that I did at the same time.

    The concrete pad doesn't have rebar in it so there's nothing to ground there. Besides 680.26 applies to Part II permanently installed pools, and this is a "portable spa", which are covered under part IV (I guess). For this, grounding is 680.42 (B). Regardless, all metal parts of the spa (there are none) plus the motors and all that are grounded back to the spa panel and to the main panel and to the new grounding rod installed at the edge of the concrete slab. Maybe the new ground rod is overkill but I'd rather not be killed at all.

    The only thing that I might have messed up on is that I used a rigid PVC conduit on top of the slab for about 4' between the wall of the house and the spa. I have it protected by portable wood "tiles" (for lack of a better term) that I have positioned at the front of the spa where folks get in an out. Although it has joints at both ends to risers so its not liquid tight I felt that this was better protection than a flex conduit.
Similar Threads: question
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Question regarding wireless light switch Oct 15, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Hard wired 220v GFCI Questions Jun 2, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Air compress 240v question Jun 1, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog GFCI receptacle questions May 16, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Outdoor Fluorescent security light question Apr 30, 2014

Share This Page