Hot tub wiring questions

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  #1  
Old 12-29-05, 04:46 PM
az350x
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Hot tub wiring questions

Greetings- I'm a total noob here. I just bought a used hot tub. It's 220, and I need to add 220 to my box, and run underground about 60' to the spa.

How many amp breaker do I need?

What AWG wire should I use?

There's four wires coming from the spa. I had a guy give an off-the-cuff estimate for doing it, and he quoted $600. Seems like I should be able to do it myself for subsantially less. He did say that I needed a "Square D QO" breaker, and they're like $170. Does that make sense to anyone? I've replaced a breaker or two in my box before, but never added one. Can anyone offer some insight?

Thanks for the help.
Tony
 
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Old 12-29-05, 05:17 PM
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Spa wiring is not generally a DIY job, even for a very seasoned electrical DIYer. The problem is that there is a whole section of the electrical code just for spas. It has many rules that don't apply to anything else in your house, and are not in most peoples' body of knowledge.

If you really want to do this yourself, visit your local public library. Go to the reference section and read all of article 680 of the National Electrical Code. Proceed only if you completely understand all that you read there.

Read this too.
 
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Old 12-29-05, 05:38 PM
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hot tub wiring questions

Like John said, you may not be able to handle this as a DIY project. The $600 quote you got is not out of line. You have to realize the box for the outside will probably run $150, the GFCI to install will run $50-60, the cable alone (60'!!!) will run $100 (and that doesn't count the cable from your breaker box to the outside box), so if the rest is labor, digging a code trench, etc, you could easily go through $500-600.
I've done it many times, and the code is very specific on things that don't even remotely resemble anything inside your house.
Good luck.

Larry
 
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Old 12-30-05, 11:18 AM
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$600 sounds very reasonable for spa hookups around here, ESPECIALLY if that included materials. Did it?

This is a job for an electrician.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 01:23 PM
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Need more info! What amp feed is required for the tub? Follow the cord back to the box and look around or you can just look at the cord. Look for 8/4 10/4 maybe even 6/4 if it has electric heat. This will give you the size of the feed needed. The first number means the size of the wire,10 gauge,8 gauge and so on. The 4 means four wires,two hots neutral and a ground. Look at the box were the cord is comeing from,is there just 3 wires with the neutral caped off on the feed comeing into the box? Look in there and let us know what you see. Also is your panel out side or inside? Work on that and chime back. You can do this! If you don't feel like you can,you can do 90% and call the electrician in for the hook up. This way you will only pay for 1hr of labor. As far as the trench when useing pvc pipe it needs to be 12in deep. You could also use UF cable and go 24in deep.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 02:34 PM
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I think $600 is a good quote for hooking up a spa; this is not a project for a novice to undertake. There are many rules that you must understand to install a spa safely. I would expect at least $300 in materials alone: GFCI breaker, disconnect box, 60' conduit + fittings, 60' x 4 condutors.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 04:30 PM
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The information posted by orlando illustrates why it is essential to read and follow article 680 of the NEC. Don't rely on rules you have read from other articles of the code.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 06:51 PM
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I say dig the trench and save your self over 100bucks. He's chargeing you at least 60hr to dig dirt.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:02 PM
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The information posted by Orlando is not very accurate if that is what John is getting at.

- PVC must be 18" deep.
- You CANNOT run UF for the outside wiring portion to a spa. Period!
- Most 240v spas do not have cords. If they did this would NOT be any indication of circuit size. The ONLY way to judge branch circuit size is with amperage or wattage ratings.

What we have here is another example of a non-professional giving advice outside the scope of his field of expertise. It is dangerous to give erroneous advice regarding electrical work. Some may not know it is wrong, follow the advice and have serious consequences later!

Many electricians are not fond of having someone else do some of the work and them being asked to do the "hook-ups". Hook-ups is a word I chuckle at. So many folks think it is so easy to do everything else except install wires into the panel. This is the easy part.


I also fimly agree that this is ONLY a job for a seasoned DIY'er or professional.
I DO NOT agree with the philosophy "If you think you do it, you can". This is just naive.
You can't simply ask "what wire do I need", "what pipe", "what breaker", etc....
Just because you have done some simple wiring does not mean you can tackle an important job as wiring a spa. This is NO place to learn your way through.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by az350x
Greetings- I'm a total noob here. I just bought a used hot tub. It's 220, and I need to add 220 to my box, and run underground about 60' to the spa.

How many amp breaker do I need?

What AWG wire should I use?

There's four wires coming from the spa. I had a guy give an off-the-cuff estimate for doing it, and he quoted $600. Seems like I should be able to do it myself for subsantially less. He did say that I needed a "Square D QO" breaker, and they're like $170. Does that make sense to anyone? I've replaced a breaker or two in my box before, but never added one. Can anyone offer some insight?

Thanks for the help.
Tony
The Square D QO stands for the home version that you can buy at your local home depot. Call him back up and ask him what amp breaker you needed for the spa and buy it your self with out the mark up. A 30 amp two pull GFI cost close to 130.00. Now if it's a 40amp two pull GFI thats about right. But I bet he has his 40 dollar mark up on that breaker. This is how I whould do it ,after buying the breaker dig the trench starting from your main feeders comeing up to the meter and dig to the spa 12 in deep trench. Call up two more companys and get bids. Check back with the prices saveings.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:16 PM
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Please do not follow Orlando's advice. Your trench must be deeper than 12 inches. And, as Speedy has pointed out, he is wrong on other points as well.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by orlando
if it's a 40amp two pull GFI thats about right.
Um, two-pole breaker, maybe?
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by orlando
The Square D QO stands for the home version that you can buy at your local home depot.
Yes, you can get these at Home Depot, but calling them the "home version" will likely confuse someone with the Square D "Homeline" series. I see lots of QOs in commercial settings. The Homeline is now more popular in residential settings.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 07:50 PM
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Hey Orlando. Please look at table 300.5 in the NEC before you give such assured advice.

PVC must be 18" (to the top of the conduit) in a trench. That is unless you plan on putting 2" of concrete above it.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 09:41 PM
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I was 6in off,but you get the point do as much of the manual labor your self. I've been out of the trade for 6yr now so some codes have change. It was 12in back in 2000.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by orlando
I was 6in off,but you get the point....
Sorry. That don't cut it when giving electrical advice.


And it's been 18" as far back as my '87 NEC book.
 
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Old 12-30-05, 10:45 PM
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There's four wires coming from the spa. I had a guy give an off-the-cuff estimate for doing it, and he quoted $600. Seems like I should be able to do it myself for subsantially less. He did say that I needed a "Square D QO" breaker, and they're like $170. Does that make sense to anyone? I've replaced a breaker or two in my box before, but never added one. Can anyone offer some insight?
Looks like orlando is entertaining us tonight

$600 is a steal in my opinion only if that "guy" is a qualified person, or works under the supervision of someone qualified and licensed and bonded. They should also be experienced in hot tub electrical installation not just locating it and the base support. Most all hot tub installations require a local inspection from the codes department of your city or county. Dont get one and your insurance company aint gonna be to friendly if you have a claim. Just someother reasons to go with what has already been discussed.
 
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