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Making sure I've properly grounded and bonded my whirlpool bathtub...

Making sure I've properly grounded and bonded my whirlpool bathtub...

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  #1  
Old 08-03-14, 09:25 AM
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Making sure I've properly grounded and bonded my whirlpool bathtub...

Hi All, I need a little professional advice if anyone can help. I've just installed a whirlpool bathtub in the master bath and want to confirm I've done it correctly before I jump in and electrocute myself. The tub has a pump motor and an inline heater. Both have 3 prong power cords. I've installed two new 20 amp breakers at the main breaker box, run the appropriate (according to the electrical department manager at Lowes) wiring to the bathroom via the crawlspace, and installed two new 20 amp GFCI outlets, one for the heater and one for the motor. No problem so far. Now, the instructions say,
"Ensure the heater and pump are properly GROUNDED and BONDED as required. Attach the 8 AWG solid copper conductor supplied with the heater from the heater bonding lug to the motor frame bonding lug as shown in Figure 3. The conductor is secured to the lugs using set screws. The motor frame shall have a second 8 AWG solid copper conductor connected from the frame bonding lug to the homes electrical panel or approved local bonding point as shown in Figure 3."
I connected the copper wire to the heater and motor frame lugs as instructed, then purchased another 4' of 8 AWG copper conductor so that I can run that from the motor to ground as shown in Figure 3, which you any see here, unfortunately. There are two lugs on the motor, so I connected the wire from the heater to one, and the second wire to the other, assuming that's ok.
So my question is, how do I ground this second copper wire? From reading through similar questions in this forum, it seems that I could connect to the cold water supply if it were copper, but ours is all PEX. There's no additional metal nearby as the tub is all fiberglass and PVC (except the faucet). Is the second copper wire necessary even though I've got to 3 prong cords plugged into GFCI outlets? Do I run a copper wire all the way from the motor to the breaker box and send it through the grounding lugs there? Do I stick it straight into the dirt in the crawlspace (asked only half in jest...)? I'm at a loss what to do with this second copper wire...any help would be appreciated! Thanks!!!!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 09:30 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Do I run a copper wire all the way from the motor to the breaker box and send it through the grounding lugs there?
Yes.... if you don't have a copper pipe to connect to then you run a #8 from the whirlpool to the panel.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 09:38 AM
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Bonding the heater to the pump is all that is needed. The equipment grounding conductor in the circuit grounds the pump motor as long as it's at least a #12.

I like to install GFI dead fronts outside of the tub and feed regular receptacles for those so, if it trips, you don't have to open the tub to reset them.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 10:27 AM
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Oh boy, two conflicting answers!! So, the breaker box is about 40' away and the wire would need to run through the crawlspace and touch many other wires (insulated) and obstacles. Is that ok? If its necessary, would it be easier to connect it to a conductor rod and stick it in the dirt directly below the tub? That's what happens with the ground from the breaker box, for all intent and purpose, right?

Wirenut, if you have time, will you explain a little more about the GFI dead front? I've never heard of it and was just planning to build a panel door...
Thank you both!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 10:37 AM
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You only need to bond metal parts of the spa likely to become energized with a #8 to the pump motor. This brings everything to the same potential.

No need to run a #8 to your panel.

The dead front would feed the receptacle under the tub. You would install this outside the tub on an adjacent wall or something.
Here's a picture of it
Name:  dead front.jpg
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Old 08-03-14, 10:58 AM
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I definitely like the idea of NOT running a wire all the way to the panel. And I've seen those dead fronts before then....I wondered what they were for. Thanks so much for your help!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 11:10 AM
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680.74 requires "All metal piping systems and all grounded metal parts in contact with the circulating water" to be bonded together with a #8 AWG wire. This section does not require that the #8 wire be brought to any panel of any kind.

This agrees with wirenut but on the last whirlpool I installed, the inspector requested #8 to the panel. This difference may be my install was with all metal pipe.

Is there anything listed in the installation guide with your whirlpool ?
 
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Old 08-03-14, 11:53 AM
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The wording says any metallic piping in contact with the circulating water needs to be bonded. Your tub has plastic piping as well as your house. Just bond the heater and blower motors together.

The code specifically says the bond does not need to go the the panel.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 08-03-14 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:56 PM
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Great! I think I'm all set then. PJ max- nothing about it in the instructions besides what I quoted in the original question. Thank you all for taking the time to look the code and respond to help me out. I feel much better now! We have some other things to wire, so I'm sure I'll be back with more questions! Thanks again!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:18 PM
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I've installed two new 20 amp breakers at the main breaker box, run the appropriate (according to the electrical department manager at Lowes) wiring to the bathroom via the crawlspace, and installed two new 20 amp GFCI outlets, one for the heater and one for the motor.
This is just a minor issue, but you didn't need 20 amp rated GFCI devices, 15 amp would have been sufficient and code compliant. I agree with Wirenut and would have used the deadfront GFCI devices in a readily accessible location.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:42 PM
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The newest code requires the GFI protection to be accessible and not under the tub skirt.
 
 

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