Hot Tub Re-wire

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Old 12-08-09, 01:32 PM
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Hot Tub Re-wire

I recently moved my hot tub that was built into my deck to replace the decking and put on a new roof. I moved the hot tub about 20 feet away from the prior location. The hot tub is a free standing tub and runs on 220v (50amp). Previously, the GFCI box was 5-6 feet away and is located on the exterior of my house. It is now time to re-wire the tub. I envision the project to include replacing the GFCI with a junction box, connecting the wires, burying the cable in a plastic conduit that will run under my deck, placing the GFCI in proximity to the hot tub, and reconnecting the hot tub connections.

My question is: Is this a job a do-it-yourselfer can tackle or is it a job for a professional electrician only?
 
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Old 12-08-09, 01:41 PM
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I'd say it's an advanced DIY project. Adherence to code is really important given the safety implications.

Do you need to move the GFCI disconnect to accommodate the new deck? If it's still within line-of-sight and on roughly the same level as the tub it wouldn't be a problem to leave it at the current location and just rewire from the GFCI to the tub. This would simplify the project a lot. What are you thoughts on that?

Could you describe the location of the tub a little better so we can get an idea of what would be required? Is it a raised deck? Access underneath? Anything electrical or metal within 10' of the tub new location?
 
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Old 12-08-09, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for the reply and the follow-up questions. The wood framed deck is a minimum of 3 ft. above ground. I have easy access under the deck so digging should not be a problem. The porch roof now covers the deck so there are no water issues. I do have an existing exterior GFCI 110 outlet about 8 ft away from the new hot tub location. Besides that, there are no other electrical or metal objects within 10 ft.

The current GFCI box location is no longer in sight of the new hot tub location. It's at the same level and has easy access, but the deck obstructs the view as well as straight-line access: You would have to walk around the deck to reach the box. I believe this is the reason it should probably be moved.

I'm all for safety during the installation, but more importantly I want a safe environment once the job is complete.
 
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Old 12-08-09, 04:32 PM
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Instead of digging you could run conduit strapped to the underside of the deck.

I might call the insepctor for an opinion about moving the disconnect.
 
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Old 12-08-09, 04:42 PM
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burying the cable in a plastic conduit that will run under my deck, placing the GFCI in proximity to the hot tub
If this is outside you can't use cable. Outside the ground must be insulated. You will need to use THWN individual wires.
 
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Old 12-08-09, 05:44 PM
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Since your interested in this being code compliant lets start at the panel and go from there.
What is your hot tub specifications?

This will tell us what the feeder wire size should be
.
What is the wiring method from the house panel to the gfci disconnect location presently?

Conduit with conductors run inside or a cable like nm-b romex?

The gfci disconnect is not necessarily an emergency disconnect... the disconnect is actually meant to be readily available and insight of the tub for maintenance purposes. It is however a good idea that it be as close to the hot tub as possible as long as it isn't closer than 5 feet.

If you want it closer you need to protect it with a permanent barrier.

As for a junction box for splicing the existing feeder. I'm not fond of wirenuts when connecting large gauge wires like #6 or #8 awg copper. There are better ways. I'm also not fond of splicing feeders so consider running all new wire if possible to the new gfci disconnect location.
 
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Old 12-08-09, 06:14 PM
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Specifications?There's a hand written placard on the inside door that states 30-48amps for the 220.

What is the wiring method from the house panel to the gfci disconnect location presently?
Runs directly from the main house panel, through the wall into the current box.

Conduit with conductors run inside or a cable like nm-b romex?
The run from the main panel to the hot tub box is a cable like romex. The same cable ran from the exterior box to the hot tub, a former distance of about 8 ft.

My thinking is to run the 4 single #6 wires through conduit, attached to the underside of the deck if acceptable. I'm confident #6 (or possibly #8) is the current wire size. Can I leave the GFCI where it is and put in another type of disconnect near the tub?
 

Last edited by Go NU; 12-08-09 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Go NU View Post
Specifications?There's a hand written placard on the inside door that states 30-48amps for the 220.

What is the wiring method from the house panel to the gfci disconnect location presently?
Runs directly from the main house panel, through the wall into the current box.

Conduit with conductors run inside or a cable like nm-b romex?
The run from the main panel to the hot tub box is a cable like romex. The same cable ran from the exterior box to the hot tub, a former distance of about 8 ft.

My thinking is to run the 4 single #6 wires through conduit, attached to the underside of the deck if acceptable. I'm confident #6 (or possibly #8) is the current wire size. Can I leave the GFCI where it is and put in another type of disconnect near the tub?
If you leave the gfci where it is I think it would simplify the installation. If you extend the wiring to the gfci disconnect at another location the installation gets into whether or not you have a feeder that is not existing existing anymore.... but lets don't argue the feeder thing.
If you wish to have a disconnect closer to the spa that you feel is a better location for convenience I see no problem with having both but it just needs to be a disconnect it doesn't have to have a protective device in it. Remember the requirement is for the disconnect to be in the line of sight so that a maintenance man or homeowner can find it. Not as an emergency disconnect. Get a 60 amp rated disconnect.
So my opinion is to just run conduit from the existing gfci location to the hot tub. Go under the deck and attach to under side and secure every 3 feet or close to that.

You didn't say if the spa required a neutral so the general rule for a homeowner is to run a bit bigger conduit than required. So a 1" would be good for your application. You my need a stick of sch.80 where the conduit is subject to physical damage before it goes under the deck. Sch 40 everywhere else.

If you have #6 conductors in the existing cable then just run #6 thwn copper conductors in the conduit along with an insulated #10 green ground wire.

You didn't mention if you need a neutral ran from the gfci to the spa for 120 volt loads.

If the spa is just 220/240 volts then you will only have 3 wires ( H-H-Ground) instead of 4 (H-H-N-Ground) and you could easily step down to 3/4 conduit.

If you want a disconnect closer to the hot tub a Squared d QO
200trnm (google it) or QO 200tr would be inexpensive and common at the big box.. I would not use the 200tr disconnect though if you need a neutral ran to the spa as it has very little wiring space to accommodate the extra #6.

You should have a 50 or 60 amp breaker in your panel inside the house if you have #6 copper. There should be 4 wires from it to the gfci (H-H-N-ground). There may not be a need to run 4 wires to the spa. If it is 220/240 only then it only needs 3 wires from the gfci to the spa (H-H-Ground)

If the cable is #8 nm copper it is too small for the spa amp load as you stated a maximum of 48 amps. So you might want to check that closer. Anything over 40 amps for cable like nm-b must be #6 copper.

Be sure you do not have any metal within 5 feet of the spa. If so get back to us so we can tell you how to treat it as for bonding. The outlet that is 8 feet away is fine.

Attached drawing to help you with the gfci required wiring.

 

Last edited by Bruto; 12-08-09 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 12-09-09, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Go NU View Post
My thinking is to run the 4 single #6 wires through conduit,
The wires can be #8 in conduit if the breaker is 50A.

attached to the underside of the deck if acceptable.
That is acceptable. The last 5' of conduit going in to the tub can switch to liquidtight flexible (same stuff used for an air conditioner) so you don't have to work with hard pipe in the tub cavity.

Can I leave the GFCI where it is and put in another type of disconnect near the tub?
Yes. A simple $10 60A air conditioner pull-out style disconnect is acceptable.
 
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