Installing 4 wire spa in 3 wire house

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-10-16, 11:05 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Installing 4 wire spa in 3 wire house

Hello, this is my first post, please let me know if I break any of the rules or regulations. I have been a carpenter for approx 10 years, so I have been around electrical, though not my fortè. My mother was given a spa/hot tub (what is the correct name) thank the good lord, right! She called a local electrician to see about hooking it up. Living in rural Glendive MT, the choices are lacking. When he arrived I was present, I played ignorant to judge his character and learn something. I learned that he would charge over double for the GFCI box, after I had to tell him that one was required, and the specs. Not to mention a few other less than ethical tactics. So after many hours of googling, here I am.

My mothers house is based on the 3phase system. I'm no electrician, I came to this conclusion beacuse coming into the top of the breaker there are 3 wires. While I was making sure the power lines were <10ft, I noticed there seemed to be 2 sets of 3 wires going into the home. I don't know if that is correct or relevant.

The spa and GFCI box requires a 4phase system. What I learned is 3phase is h+h+g, 4phase is h+h+g+n. So I'm missing a neutral. In order to gain a neutral would I be required to have my local power company to run one from the main to the breaker?

Is there a way for me to CAREFULLY add a neutral wire?

The breaker box also seems nearly full of breakers. There is a reciprocal where the hot tub will be installed. I was planning on increasing it to a 220V. I have done similar upgrades before, but not confident on doing it again. Could you please include a simple link to linking 2 110V breakers, or upgrading with one 220V breaker. Which ever you would recommend.

I was almost prepared to install everything until I noticed that detail. I studied the manuals and diagrams found at, http://www.calspas.com/downloads/man...nual_Rev_E.pdf

I'm here to learn so please correct any mistake or assumptions I have made. Thank you for your time and any advise you may offer.

Continue helping, thank you,
Dillon
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-10-16, 11:18 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,548
Received 409 Votes on 384 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

Stick with us.... we'll teach you.

You have a single phase service in your house. Two hot wires and a neutral.
That would be called three wire.... not three phase.

Your hot tub requires single phase service. Two hot wires, neutral and ground.
That's called four wire and you have that.

At your panel.... the neutral comes in as the third wire from the street. It should go to a bus bar where it connects to grounds. Could be water pipe ground or ground rods.

The two hot wires from your tub will go to a two pole 240v circuit breaker. The neutral and ground wires will connect to the neutral ground bar in the panel.

Now.... you need to confirm if you have a main panel in the house with a main circuit breaker or there is a main circuit breaker outside for the main panel.

You can take the cover off the panel, shoot and post a picture or two of the insides and we can help you further. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #3  
Old 12-11-16, 12:09 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for your timely reply, it's appreciated.

First off the house being 3 wire and the spa, 4 wire, both are single phase? Interesting. The electronics I am most familiar with is cpu's and like like.

Second, you say the 2 hots go to the 240V breaker in the house, that I understand. But the n and g, I'm a little unsure of. None to blame on your explanation instead on my inexperience. The way I'm understanding this is as follows: spa has h+h+g+n those four wires simply connect into my gfci breaker box. Then similar h+h+g+n would leave the 50A 240v GFCI breaker and run to the main breaker box inside the house. So I now have the 4 aforementioned wires at my main breaker. 2h would go into a 240v breaker. Then n+g would connect into the ground bus within the breaker?

I have read many forums where they HIGHLY recommend not to do this. In no way am I saying your wrong, instead that I am missing something. To paraphrase: something along the lines of, the neutral and ground, one works as a fault, so we don't you know die... But what I'm thinking might be the difference is isolating the power (lack of better words) in the GFCI box. Then running it to the main breaker.

But then is I'm running the n+g from the GFCI breaker to the grounding bus. Then how would I have a neutral and ground? Would the not essentially both be neutral or both ground.

In regards to the pictures, I must ask for your patience, I am babysitting my niece and nephew for the weekend. As soon as I am able I will attach the photos.

I'm asking these questions not from doubt in your knowledge but the lack in mine. I hope you don't take affence to my inquires, in my life, many do, when I just want to learn.

I edited this post to add a picture. I'm not sure how or where it will put it. Is this diagram correct? Is this what you are trying to explain to me?Name:  image.jpg
Views: 21153
Size:  50.8 KB
 

Last edited by DillonPS; 12-11-16 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Information conformation
  #4  
Old 12-11-16, 12:44 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,548
Received 409 Votes on 384 Posts
Then n+g would connect into the ground bus within the breaker?
Not the breaker...... within the panel.

That diagram is correct. That diagram also takes on the assumption that you are connecting to the main panel where the grounds and neutrals are on the same bar.

In sub panel wiring..... the neutral and ground wires are only combined at the main panel.
From that point on they will always remain separated.
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-16, 01:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes, the panel, I understand, wrong word, my bad.

Until I can phyphyscally see my panel i will assume it is the same. If not I will post pictures of any trouble I get into. So to summarize: spa h+h+n+g into GFCI breaker then h+h+n+g (hook up is understood) to main panel inside house. H+H into 240V breaker n+g into grounding bus within panel.

One last concern I have. I have not tinkered inside of a panel in a few years. I do remember my late mentor stressing how dangerous it is, given you can still be zapped bad regardless of the breakers being off. So what should I keep in mind when going about this. I'm not ignorant but I do make stupid mistakes so any advice and or recommendations would be appreciated. Such as should I sit on a tire so I'll be insulated? (I just made that up, sounds legit, right?) Things like that. I do enjoy the occasional shock, but I don't want to be seriously hurt.

I thank you and my mother thanks you. This tub will help with her ailments. Again thank you very much for your help it has been invaluable.
 
  #6  
Old 12-11-16, 01:14 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,548
Received 409 Votes on 384 Posts
We like to see the panel and then we can offer helpful hints. Since you are not accustomed to working in a panel you should consider shutting off the main breaker while working in there. There are still places you can get shocked but a lot less than with panel live. Don't forget you'll need a flashlight and holder.
 
  #7  
Old 12-11-16, 07:53 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,955
Received 33 Votes on 28 Posts
Until we get pictures, the large lugs where the incoming power wires are attached are almost always hot, even with the main breaker off. You do not want to touch these.

You said your panel is full which may require a subpanel to be added. The other concern is if the existing service is large enough to add the load of the hot tub. A demand load calculation would confirm this.
 
  #8  
Old 12-11-16, 09:38 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 156
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You've received good advice here so far.
I just want to add some detail of materials required.
1 - 50 amp 2 pole circuit breaker for inside main panel
1 - 50 amp 2 pole GFCI Hot Tub Disconnect panel, these are usually weatherproof
6/3 with grd romex from main panel to 50 amp GFCI breaker panel near hot tub.
2 - 1" romex connectors for 6/3
1" liquid tight non metallic conduit from GFCI panel to Hot Tub
2 - 1" liquid tight non metallic conduit straight connector
4 - #6 THHN copper wires for inside liquid tight H+H+N+G
1 - White tape to identify neutral wire in case a black wire is used.
large staples for 6/3 romex
 
  #9  
Old 12-11-16, 01:14 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,955
Received 33 Votes on 28 Posts
NM can only be used for inside portions of the circuit. If the tub is outside it needs an insulated ground per code.
 
  #10  
Old 12-11-16, 01:27 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 156
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Right, like pcboss said, do not run romex into the tub, use liquid tight conduit and an insulated ground wire in green. I would try to run the romex through the wall and into the back of the GFCI disconnect box. That way no romex is exposed outside.
 
  #11  
Old 12-11-16, 08:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for that extra advice everyone, most of that I haven't even considered at this point! Luckily some of the points are talked care of, due to the meter being near the project.

I have the pics you requested.

Name:  p1.jpg
Views: 3168
Size:  50.8 KB

Name:  p2.jpg
Views: 3135
Size:  49.5 KB

Name:  p3.jpg
Views: 3279
Size:  51.0 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-11-16 at 09:05 PM. Reason: enhanced pics
  #12  
Old 12-11-16, 09:08 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,548
Received 409 Votes on 384 Posts
I reloaded and enhanced your pictures. I couldn't get them much brighter. I was going to reorient them but I couldn't figure out what was up.

It looks like there's a few breaker spaces left but that panel is packed.
 
  #13  
Old 12-11-16, 11:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you pjmax for your efforts. To clarify, the ground bus is located on the bottom of the panel. The second picture is an overall image of the panel (poorly wired). The third is the main 3 wire into the panel. I hope that clarifies any discrepancies.

I noticeable a 2 open panels (apologies for wrong terms) that can fit a 220V breaker in addition to a 3rd single breaker that is avalitable.

Could you please remind me how to ensure that the panel can take the extra load.

Thank you, everyone, for your ongoing efforts to help me.
 
  #14  
Old 12-13-16, 11:39 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 10,092
Received 29 Votes on 23 Posts
To clarify, the ground bus is located on the bottom of the panel.
No, that is the neutral bus which should be grounded.

Your panel is really a mess. I see some code violations such as NM cables entering the panel through knockouts with no NM connector. Who is manufacturer of the panel, I see several brands of breakers including the Square D Homeline breaker you added which isn't UL Listed for that panel. Square D circuit breakers are only UL Listed for use in Square D panels.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: