Wiring a new Kohler Whirlpool...

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Haazard, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Haazard

    Haazard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I'm new to these forums but from what I've been reading, you guys sure know your trade. I have a GFCI related question I hope you guys can help me with. Here's a little background:

    I'm nearly complete with a major master bathroom remodel and am now working on the new whirlpool tub. It's a Kohler model (K-1418-HN) that requires 240V direct connections (meaning it doesn't have a cable/plug, just a hookup box). Long before the tub arrived, I knew that it needed 240V and that it required a 20A GFCI circuit. So - earlier in the project when I was pulling wires, I added 2 12ga THHN wires dedicated for use with the tub. These go from the main panel to a box under the tub deck but are not currently hooked up to anything. Here's why:

    None of the home centers sell double pole, 20A GFCI breakers. The ones I HAVE seen at specialty outlets carry price tags from $100 - $400. What I'd really like to do, is install a normal ($10) double pole 20A breaker and add some kind of GFCI receptacle to the service box under the tub deck. That box will be accessible via an access panel in the event of a fault. The thing is, I can't find any 240V GFCI receptacles.

    What would you guys do? (or what have you done in a similar situation?)

    Many thanks in advance for your help,

    -Haazard
  2. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    I would figure that if I could afford a spa and could afford to heat it :confused:, then no problem popping for the proper $200 GFCI 240v breaker.

    That's basically my thinking about safety related stuff - do it right or don't do it at all...
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,316
    Location:
    New England
    If you ever decide you want to add a heater to the system, you don't have enough power there. Keep in mind the requirements for a good ground, too.
  4. Haazard

    Haazard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for the replies guys. Jad, the pump unit for the whirlpool includes a heater and the mfr specs call for 240V / 20A service. What did you mean about adding a heater and not enough power?
  5. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    You only have two choices. Pay for the breaker that you need, or use it for a tub, and not a whirlpool.
    Did you run the thhn wires in counduit all the way to the panel?
    You could have used a romex to wire this with.
  6. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    You are not looking very hard. The last one I picked up was about 50 bucks (Square D Homeline)

    It is still sitting in my warehouse BTW.
  7. Haazard

    Haazard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Yeah jb, i used thhn to the panel. I live near Chicago and local codes don't allow romex.

    Alectrician, where did you find that breaker for $50? I can find lots of single pole ones but the only double pole gfci breakers that are readily available near me are for much higher amperage than i need.
  8. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Crap...I don't remember.


    What brand do you need?

    The Home Depots here in Phoenix carry a LOT of electrical. I also use several supply houses so ?????
  9. Haazard

    Haazard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Go figure. After being called out for not looking hard enough, I found a little electric supply store less than a mile from my house. $95.
    Thanks guys.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,316
    Location:
    New England
    Most whirlpools require more power than a 20A breaker. Your motor must not be very big. Some are like 2hp, then add a big heater - as much as a kilowatt, and 20A just doesn't cut it.
  11. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I think he is taliking about a jetted/heated spa tub not a full blown Jacuzzi.
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,565
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I would bet it is a whirlpool tub that is filled for each use and the heaters are not designed to heat the water but instead just to keep it warm.

    A 1 kilowatt element at 240 volts wouldn't draw but around 5 amps.
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