SPA GFCI install on the back of my house

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Old 08-31-15, 08:08 AM
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SPA GFCI install on the back of my house

I am installing a SPA GFCI / breaker box, rated for outdoor use, on the outside of my house. I am running 6-3 Romex from my main panel through an unfinished basement, through the rim joist entering the back of the SPA GFCI box using a standard cable clamp on the box. The box is then secured to the back of the house directly over the hole drilled for the Romex. Does running the Romex through the back of the house directly into the breaker box and securing the cable with standard cable clamps meet NEC? The Romex w/standard cable clamp doesn’t seem to me to be ‘weatherproof’ but I’m not sure what the code requires.
 
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Old 08-31-15, 08:30 AM
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You should use a PVC box adapter and a short piece of conduit to run into the house through the rim joist. You can then caulk and/or foam up the gaps. You also will want to seal the conduit using duct seal putty once the cable is pulled through.

Do you have the rest of hot tub install set up correctly? The outside part is the more complication portion.
 
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Old 08-31-15, 11:48 AM
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“PVC box adapter and a short piece of conduit to run into the house through the rim joist.” Easy enough to do. But I was under the impression that NM could not be run through conduit, period. Although this would only be a few inches in length, I don’t want to have to pull it out because the inspector is going to flag it. With respect to the rest of the tub wiring, I’m running #6 Stranded THHN (Red and Black (hot)) and #8 Stranded THHN (Green (ground) from the GFCI to the Spa control panel in Liquid-Tight with the appropriate connectors. Spa is a 3-wire system. Please confirm that running NM though a short piece of conduit into the back of the outdoor panel is acceptable.
Also - As it sits now, the NM cable is secured to the new box with the cable clamp. If I replace the clamp with a PVC adapter and a short piece of conduit, what secures the cable to the box?
Thanks.
 

Last edited by Fredgrandt; 08-31-15 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:27 PM
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Cables are specifically allowed to be sleeved in conduit.

I am going to differ, the connector into the back of the box is commonly used and is fine.
 
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Old 08-31-15, 01:59 PM
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So, according to pcboss, ‘the connector into the back of the box is commonly used and is fine’ So, I can leave my SPA GFCI outdoor rated box as is and the inspector will not object (with respect to the 6-3 NM cable running through the rim joist into the back of the box and secured with a sheathed cable clamp). Agreed?
 
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Old 08-31-15, 03:38 PM
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Agreed it is a common practice and that the inspector probably won't object.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 09:19 AM
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I certainly appreciate your help and advice. I think I have a problem I didn’t anticipate. My 6-3 NM run from my main panel, through my unfinished basement, and through the rim joist to the spa GFCI is all ‘indoor’ rated cable. If I understand correctly, once the cable leaves the house it is now in an ‘outdoor’ environment and needs to be outdoor rated cable, even if the length from the inside of the rim joist to the GFCI breaker is only about 18”, if that much. Is this a violation? The box is rated for ‘outdoor’ use so the cable in the box has to be outdoor cable, even if all I have is the unsheathed leads from the back of the box (able clamp) to the terminals on the breaker?
 
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Old 09-01-15, 09:55 AM
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It's a bit of a gray area. As PC stated it is common practice to run the indoor NM through the wall into the first box outside where you will switch to the outdoor wiring method to the tub. A very strict inspector could flag it as non-compliant, but they probably won't. Making sure the cable is reasonably protected from the elements with caulk or foam is a good middle ground.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 07:55 AM
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Size:  27.5 KB here is a photo of my installed GFCI and required 120v outlet. (whip to hot tub is not yet installed) Are there any NEC requirements for clearance or height that might be a problem?
 
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Old 09-02-15, 07:58 AM
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Height should be above high snow line. Clearance should be 36" out from the face of the panel plus 30" side-to-side from the panel. Tub should be at least 10' from that (or any other) receptacle.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 09:43 AM
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In other words, my box is too low (we get 18” to 20” of snow around here in the winter). Also, there isn’t 30” side to side clearance. I didn’t think it was going to be that easy. With respect to the 10’ away from the tub, I though the code was ‘no closer than 5 feet.’ I can move everything but I will need to splice the 6-3 NM is the basement and run single strands of #6 THWN through conduit to a new location for the box.
1. Can I get a junction box that has terminal blocks already installed to splice #6 wires? What would that look like?
2. My 5 foot high fence (city requirement, not yet installed) will attach to the house on the wall almost in a direct line with the right edge of the patio. I can locate the GFCI box on that same exterior wall but, in order to maintain 30” clearance side to side it would have to be mounted higher than the fence. Is there a maximum height specification for the GFCI box? In my picture the GFCI box (bottom) would be 62” from the ground.
3. Another option would be to change the location my fence attaches to the house, to push it farther out to the right. That was I can lower the height of the GFCI and still maintain the 30” side to side clearance.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 09:55 AM
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Your 30" side to side looks ok (the panel does not need to be centered in that 30" space, just 30" total), and 36" out looks ok. Roughly speaking to visualize it, you need to be able to set a refigerator box up to the face of the panel without hitting obstacles. The height does look low if you get that much snow. I will have to check my code book on the distance of the receptacle to the tub. I know the disconnect is 5' minimum, and I'm pretty sure it's 10' for the receptacle, but I will double check. Maximum height is 6' 7" to the center of the top breaker handle. The location of the panel looks reasonable if you bring it up to 3' or so height to avoid snow, but you might have to just move the receptacle. Either along the fence or along the back wall of the house.

You could buy terminal lugs, split bolts or the big blue wirenuts for splicing #6 copper.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 10:41 AM
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Again – I really appreciate the help you’ve provided. I’d be lost without it.

Now, I’m confused with ipbrooks 30” space requirement statement. I don’t need 30” side to side but 30” total and it’s OK that the box is in the corner as long as there is 30” clearance on one side? So, if I just raise the GFCI box above the snow line the fact that it is in a corner doesn’t matter? I can move the receptacle so that it is a minimum of 10 feet away. That’s easy enough to do.

Bit, if I am going to move the box I’d prefer to move it on the wall to the right. Where it is now is directly under a downspout where the 2nd story roof dumps into the 1st story gutter. When it rains really hard the water overflows the gutter and pours out over the side.

With respect to splicing the #6 wire: The splices need to be in a junction box, correct? I’ve seen splices of #6 using split blocks and they are huge when the taping is done. I can’t envision 6-3 spliced to #6 strands using split bolts fitting in a junction box.

Another question on splicing. I've read the ground wire has to be spliced with an irreversible connection. Does that requirement apply here? None of the splicing techniques we've discussed are 'irreversible'.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 12:49 PM
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Correct on your understanding of the 30" clearance zone. The panel can be in the corner of the zone.

The splices need to be in a junction box and your 3/4" conduit needs to terminate at the box with a male fitting and lock nut. Individual THHN wires must always be in conduit. A deep 4-11/16" square box will have plenty of room. The blue wirenuts can splice (2) #6 wires without the need for split bolts and friction tape.

The irreversible splices are for grounding rods only. You can do this splice with a standard terminal block, split bolt, barrel crimp or wirenut.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 05:51 PM
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I have never seen a requirement of a panel,or junction box to be above snow level or any other minimum height.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 09:38 AM
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Here’s another question regarding the ‘whip’ from the spa GFCI box to the hot tub. I purchased a 25’ piece of liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit and individual THWN #6 wires to connect the hot tub control panel to the GFCI box. I was going to make it as long as it needed to be once the tub and the GFCI box were in place. Now I’m reading: “flexible conduit; liquid-tight flexible metal conduit or liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit in lengths of no more than 6 feet.” Is this right? The run connecting the hot tub to the GFCI cannot be longer than 6 feet if using “liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit”? This is getting real difficult to have the GFCI no closer than 5 feet but the whip no longer than 6 feet. What am I not understanding?
 
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Old 09-03-15, 09:44 AM
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A rigid conduit it used to get close to the tub with the flex finishing the run under the skirt.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 10:51 AM
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Yes you're right now that I go back and read. NEC does not specifically mention snow accumulation. I was confused with some local enforcement in my area which interprets protection from wet locations and accessibility to preclude panels or disconnects from being buried in snow. J-boxes and conduit bodies are ok, but I have had receptacles flagged at less than 12" height. Although I think that number may have just been plucked from thin air given that we get quite a bit more than 12" of snow some years.

With that I'll modify my previous advice to say that I don't think it's a bad idea to raise it up a bit, but you may not be required to. Check with the local inspection department.

You usually would want to go underground a bit to get under the tub anyway so the conduit isn't a tripping hazard. That section should be rigid PVC, then switch to liquidtight for the final bit inside the tub.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 11:02 AM
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I agree that it would be easier to work on if higher, but had never heard of that rule regarding a minimum height.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 03:09 PM
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My tub will be on a new concrete patio. There will be about 6” of patio between the tub base and the edge of the patio. Then there is approximately 36” of flat dirt area (unplanted) between the edge of the patio and the back of the house, running the length of the back of the house. This area is not intended as a walkway (old window well) and will likely be planted with shrubs or filled with river stone. The patio is raised about 6” above the flat dirt area. If I go that 36” from the side of the house to the edge of the patio with rigid conduit it will have to be buried (18”?) before transitioning to flexible to enter the tub. I’d rather just terminate the rigid directly across from the tub and run flexible across the 36” space and into the tub. Will this be a problem?
 
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Old 09-04-15, 07:09 AM
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If running flexible across the 36" space is a problem, can I use Schedule 40 PVC for my underground run from my GFCI box to the edge of the patio? How do I transition from PVC to Liquid-tight flexible for the connection to the tub?
 
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Old 09-04-15, 07:43 AM
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It's probably ok above ground, given that the shrubs would preclude the space from being a walkway. Another decent thing to check first with the inspector who will be checking it out. If you do go underground, sch 40 PVC is the correct product. You can do the transition to liquidtight by terminating your rigid PVC with a glue by female threaded fitting, then thread the male liquidtight fitting into that. You could also use a condulet to make the transition as additional pull points are useful when working with flex.

FYI, if the slab has rebar, it must be bonded to the tub's bonding plane.
 
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Old 09-04-15, 09:29 AM
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I will run sch 40 pvc underground. I will need ¾” to accommodate the two #6 conductors. I will transition to ½” flexible at the edge of the patio. With respect to the slab (aka patio) concrete was poured over steel mesh which was placed on top of #8 limestone. There is at least 4” of concrete on top of the steel mesh. Rebar, per sec, was not used. Is bonding still required? I have no clue how that would be done.

I had planned on installing a 5 foot high decorative aluminum fence around the perimeter of the hot tub. The fence is required by city code. It will be about 3 feet from 2 of the sides of the tub. Does that present a problem as well?
 

Last edited by Fredgrandt; 09-04-15 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 09-04-15, 11:33 AM
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No, the mesh doesn't need to be bonded. The aluminum fence is not a problem, but does need to be bonded to tub's bonding bar using solid #8 copper wire. You'll have to devise some type of mounting lug or clamp to attach the bonding wire to the fence posts and/or sections. All exposed metal surfaces around the tub need to be bonded.
 
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Old 09-04-15, 03:22 PM
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Please clarify ‘no, the mesh doesn't need to be bonded.’

I’ve read elsewhere that if the concrete pad cannot be bonded (via rebar) then the tub cannot be installed directly on the pad. Some type of insulator (wood, rubber) needs to be installed 3 feet around the perimeter of the tub as an alternative. A wood deck might be a nice option. Not sure if I have the room.

Right now I’m also not sure if my community has adopted the ‘bonding requirement’ so my hot tub salesperson has a task to perform to find out if they have, or have not. I have been told that many surrounding communities have not, but each is different.
 
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Old 09-04-15, 05:32 PM
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I’m reading Mike Holt’s Illustrated Guide to ARTICLE 680—SWIMMING POOLS, SPAS, HOT TUBS, FOUNTAINS, AND SIMILAR INSTALLATIONS Based on the 2014 NEC® and he states: “The bonding requirements of this section don’t apply to spas and hot tubs [680.42]” and “(B) Equipotential Bonding. Equipotential bonding of perimeter surfaces [680.26(B)(2)] isn’t required for outdoor spas and hot tubs if they meet all of the following conditions:
(1) Listed as a self-contained spa for aboveground use.
(2) Not identified as suitable only for indoor use.
(3) Installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and located on or above grade.
(4) The top rim must be at least 28 in. above all perimeter surfaces that are within 30 in. measured horizontally from the spa or hot tub. Nonconductive external steps for entry to or exit from the spa can’t be used to reduce or increase the rim height measurement.
Based on that reading, hot tubs on concrete pads do not require equipotential bonding.
 
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Old 09-04-15, 11:38 PM
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The bonding requirements were more strict under codes prior to the 2014 edition . Your area may not have adopted the 2014. Check to see which is being enforced for your area.
 
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Old 09-10-15, 07:27 AM
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The building inspector has informed be that the city is under the 2011 edition. Does that code require bonding?
 
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Old 09-15-15, 07:53 AM
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Trying to understand this requirement for installing a hot tub (see earlier post): The top rim must be at least 28 in. above all perimeter surfaces that are within 30 in. measured horizontally from the spa or hot tub.

What is a perimeter surface? Are we talking about the surrounding ground, deck, patio, etc.? Or are we talking about any item or structure within the 30” perimeter of the tub sitting on or mounted to the ground, deck or patio?

Can I have a table, a storage box, a structure above the spa, like a pergola or other roof like structure? What about a 60” tall decorative aluminum fence? Can the fence be within 30” of the hot tub?
 
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Old 09-15-15, 08:29 AM
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That sounds to me like a code to prevent small children from climbing in or climbing up an adjacent item and falling in. It would seem that a spa with a rigid lid or one surrounded by a locked fence would negate the requirement, but that is up to the local building department.
 
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Old 09-15-15, 09:16 AM
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I would say the perimeter surface is the walk area around the tub.
 
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Old 09-18-15, 01:05 PM
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Hot tub install - The NEC also requires a 120V receptacle ??

I keep reading references to “The NEC also requires a 120V receptacle within 10-20 feet from the spa.” but cannot find the specific section. I have found 680.22 which I believe states “One 15A or 20A, 125V receptacle must be located not less than 6 ft and not more than 20 ft from the inside wall of a permanently installed pool, outdoor spa, or outdoor hot tub. This receptacle must be located not more than 6½ ft above the floor, platform, or grade level serving the permanently installed pool, outdoor spa, or outdoor hot tub.
My electrician says he thinks the requirement pertains only to swimming pools and he advises against installing a receptacle. Does NEC 2011 require the extra 120v receptacle for a hot tub installation? I don’t see the harm as long as it meets code.
Which brings me to the next question. Is it ‘no closer than 6 feet, or no closer than 10 feet?’ Right now I have a receptacle at 8 feet. If 6 is the minimum, I should be good. If 10 is the minimum, I need to move it.
I have asked the inspector for clarification – still waiting to hear back from him.
 
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Old 09-18-15, 02:43 PM
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It is required, and it is 6' - 20'. Other electrical equipment (not associated with operation or service of the pool/spa) is allowed no closer than 10'. In other words, it is the only receptacle allowed closer than 10'. Art 680.22(3) Specifically says outdoor spa -- it is not just for pools.

(3) Dwelling Unit.
At a dwelling unit, one 15A or 20A, 125V
receptacle must be located not less than 6 ft and not more
than 20 ft from the inside walls of a permanently installed
pool, outdoor spa, or outdoor hot tub. This receptacle must
be located not more than 6½ ft above the floor, platform, or
grade level serving the permanently installed pool, outdoor
spa
, or outdoor hot tub.
 
  #34  
Old 09-18-15, 04:58 PM
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So, is the intent of this 120v receptacle is 'the operation or service of the spa' ? Sounds good to me. I just wish things were better described. Thanks again guys. Electrical inspection is Wednesday!
 
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