GFCI Circut Breaker for Bathtub Jacuzzi

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  #1  
Old 12-06-04, 06:38 AM
shreveporteric
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GFCI Circut Breaker for Bathtub Jacuzzi

Have a new home with a jacuzzi bathtub and the pump/motor is on a dedicated 20Amp GFCI circut. The switch is air pressure controlled with no wiring whatsoever. It the tub is fiberglass and the switch is plastic, then what/where is the risk of of being shocked while in the tub? Thought through it both ways and can't come up with why. Called our city inspector-- that was like talking to someone at home depot or lowes. Anyone no the exact reason. Understand please that I am not thinking about changing it to a regular breaker, just want to understand the methodology. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-06-04, 07:39 AM
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I'm not sure why you are asking. But is the faucet metal? Is there anything metal within several feet of the tub? Also remember that the GFCI protects you not only while you are in the tub but also after you step out of the tub.

I'm not surprised you get little help from the building inspectors. They are not there to explain electrical theory to you or to satisfy your curiosity. They are usually plenty busy with other things. And unlike HD or Lowes, they're not soliciting your business so they don't really have to be nice to you (although many inspectors I've talked to are very helpful and nice).
 
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Old 12-06-04, 07:49 AM
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It's "redundant protection" from electrical-shock, a concept not subject to debate if the issue is the price of GFI protective device.
 
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Old 12-06-04, 08:06 AM
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Tub may not always have plain water.

If you've ever had a doctor tell you to soak some part of your body in Epsom salts then you can figure it out from there. Many bath additives contain conductive salts. The now conductive water is flowing through an energized pump. If the pump develops a fault to it's shaft, impeller or volute casing there will be a voltage gradient through the water. If there is metallic drain plumbing or any other path for the current to return to the source electrocution or electrical paralysis drowning could occur.
--
Tom H
 
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Old 12-06-04, 08:22 AM
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Tom, I like your explanation best of all.
 
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Old 12-06-04, 08:22 AM
shreveporteric
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Thanks, just to be absolutely clear, the issue was not whether or not to replace the breaker with a GFCI. Just trying to learn and I did. The tub works fine and is not in need of a breaker. The whole salt thing is pretty interesting. That post is what I like about this forum.
 
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Old 12-06-04, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by shreveporteric
The tub works fine and is not in need of a breaker.
I hope that means you put the tub on a GFCI. The NEC has been developed to address problems, not thought up by some in acedemia , but from actual real life faults and hazzards. In this case, I whole heartedly believe that someone(s) has been severely injured, if not killed, by a fault in a tub similar to yours. Just so you know that it is a possibliity. P.S. some water may be conductive even without the addition of bath salts. As Patbaa says, are your wife and/or kids lives worth the cost of the GFCI breaker?
 
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Old 12-06-04, 12:23 PM
shreveporteric
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guys, guys, guys, the price or the question of whether or not to use a GFCI was not the focus. The ways that you could get shocked/electr. were and they have been discussed. To be clear, again, I was not looking for justification to replace it with a regular breaker down in the future. It works fine and is not broken. Just trying to learn. I am not one of those guys who is penny wise and pound foolish and totally agree that life is priceless.
 
  #9  
Old 12-06-04, 02:06 PM
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Not a problem. I have seen some scarry posts here from uninformed people cutting corners which put not only their own lives, but those of others in danger. Many times these same people argue about doing things according to the NEC vs. the their (dangerous) way. Many have obviously no experience with electricity and yet defend their uninformed and unsafe opinions to the point of arguing with the professionals who donate their time and advice. It suffices to say that you have a mixture of electricity and water and therefore requires GFCI protection to prevent electricution from electrical faults. NEC section 680-70 requires that a hydromasage tub's electrical system is required to be supplied from a GFCI protected circuit. In addition, any metal piping needs to be bonded to the grounding system.
 
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Old 12-07-04, 06:13 AM
shreveporteric
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Thanks to all for the lesson and advice. Happy Holidays.
 
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