Hot Tub Wiring

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by aopainter, May 31, 2011.

  1. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    I am running the wire for my hot-tub, and I had a few questions.

    1.) My electrician told me I needed Type SO 6/3 wire, and I don't understand what the Type SO means, and is it really needed? I am running it through my attic, and its going about 70ft.

    2.) He gave me two options of either the Type SO cable, or get 4 THHW wires, and run them through the conduit. Is PVC conduit acceptable to run this through? and instead of getting 100ft of each color (rd,bk,wht, grn/ylw), can i just get 400ft of one, and mark the color myself? it seems to be cheaper to do that.

    Anyways, I'm getting very tight financially, and just trying to figure out which way would be the most economical, but still safe way to install the wiring.

    Thanks for your help
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,149
    Location:
    New England
    You only need three colors, and if the hot tub doesn't need 120vac, you can use two black for the hots and a green for the ground. So, you may only need two hots and a ground. If the tub needs 120vac as well as the 240vac, then you'll need a white for the neutral.

    Don't know if the inspector will buy off on them all being the same color (I doubt it)...too many chances for error or confusion down the road. They sell pvc tubing rated for electrical wiring (stuff I've seen is grey, but they probably make it in others). You'd have to research what size you need for the 6g wires. It has a bell on one end to mate up with the straight end of the next piece. Trying to get 6g wires through conduit can be a pain, especially if it has elbows.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It would help to know if the hot tub was being installed indoors or out.
  4. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    It being installed outdoors. Its running from my box, through the attic, to the disconnect panel on the outside wall in back of my house.
  5. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    also, do I need the type SO for my attic?
  6. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    The best advice I can give you is to get a new electrician. The one you have now has no clue.

    Type SO is a flexible cord. It cannot be used in place of proper methods like conduit and THWN conductors.
  7. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    well, he is a friend. (edit: who owns an electrical business) He suggested the Type SO cord because it might be cheaper then doing the THHW wires. He said he preferred 4 strands of THHW through conduit
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  8. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Friend or not, he should not be giving you options that the electric code prohibits. If anything I would think he would be doing more considering the friendship. It would be hard enough to find out something that you did created a fire or death for a customer. How much worse would this be if it happened to a friend?
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Actually SO cord is more durable than other types of wire.

    It is normally used for portable hookups, where the wire takes a lot of abuse.

    I would not think that it would be cheaper, but maybe he has contacts.

    Normally that type of wire would be run in a cable tray.


    Have a Great Day, Your friend is OK, That is good wire.


    DonL
  10. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Gee Don, here is what the NEC says about using flexible cords,

    400.8 Uses Not Permitted. Unless specifically permitted
    in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the
    following:
    (1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure
    (2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings,
    suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors
    (3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar
    openings
    (4) Where attached to building surfaces
    (5) Where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located
    above suspended or dropped ceilings
    (6) Where installed in raceways, except as otherwise permitted
    in this Code
    (7) Where subject to physical damage

    Type SO is fine for some things. A hot tub is not one of them.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I agree Jim,

    The application for a Hot Tub and that wire is not the best, Something else should be used.

    But it is normally run in a cable tray and is not a problem when used correctly.


    DonL
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,837
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Depending on where you buy the wire, it is sold by the foot and the color is immaterial, but as stated, since you were told you need four wires, two of them will be black, one white, and one green. There is no need to buy 400' of one color and recolor it yourself. In the first place, if you MISCOLOR the two ends you WILL create a hazardous condition, and if the colors are not permanent, it could cause problems down the road. Four #6 wires would require a minimum 1" conduit, but a larger one would be easier to pull through. Your green ground may not need to be #6.
  13. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Grounded conductors #6 and smaller need to be insulated in the proper color insulation. Re-identification is prohibited under Article 200.
  14. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Colorado
    SO should never be run in an attic. It is meant to be used where flexibility is needed not durability. It is never a substitute for permanent wiring.
  15. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    ok, i wont go with the SO cord. I'll stick with the THHN/THHW. But PVC Conduit is acceptable, correct?
  16. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Colorado
    Yes, PVC is acceptable. I would use EMT if it were my house. PVC can get droopy when it sits in the sun. Make sure it is supported to code.
  17. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    it wont be in the sun. It'll be in my attic, and I'm going to get brackets to tie it down
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Use the correct Romex™ wire and skip the indoor conduit...Unless required in your town.


    P.S. And aopainter don't forget the cost to operate the unit, for the electric and chemicals to maintain it.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  19. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for pointing that out ActionDave,

    How flexible do you think a Type SO 6/3 wire would be.

    I guess you have never worked in the industrial plants, They use it for the big machines and run it in cable trays. And it is very durable, when installed and used in the proper environment.

    How many people have a cable tray in their attic ?

    Jim already said it all, Why don't you catch up.


    O , and have a great day.


    DonL


    P.S. Around here a outdoor Spa / Hot tub is not considered as a permanent fixture. That is why there is no requirement for a building permit. That may vary from area to area.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  20. aopainter

    aopainter New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle
    What is the correct Romex™ wire?

    edit: I looked it up, and I still think it's going to be cheaper to get the cables and run them through PVC Conduit. I can get 6AWG red/blk for $63/100ft, and 8AWG wht for something like $40/100ft, and 12AWG grn/yllw for $30/100ft. Add that to the conduit that I should be able to get under $100, and I can probably run it all for under $300. For $100 ft of 6/3 romex, it runs around that same cost, and my electrician still wants THHW for the outside connection from the disconnect box, to run in EMT conduit.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
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