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Basement spa pack for outdoor wood hot tub

Chaz's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 54

01-08-18, 10:57 AM   #1 (permalink)  
Basement spa pack for outdoor wood hot tub

I'm looking for install tips for putting a spa pack in a basement and don't see much information available for DIY. Can anyone point out a place where such info might be found?

A few particular concerns:

- Loss of head. Pipe run will be about 18 feet and I can get the pump about 1-2 feet lower than it would be for ground level install. Is this enough of a difference that we'll notice the pressure difference? I can run the outdoor run about 8 feet through 2" rigid instead of 1.5" flex pipe if that would help. I might prefer to do that anyhow as an easier way to enclose and insulate that 10' pipe run.

- Water in the basement. Are spa packs prone to flooding events? What are the odds that I'll someday find 600 gallons of water in the basement, and how can I reduce the odds of that happening? I can't even find good advice for simple things like filter changes online! Just cleaned up a minor flood on a whole-house sediment filter that might have been caused by the sub-zero weather changing the seal on the threads enough that it leaked, maybe 20 gallons before I caught that one.

- Separate cutoff from spa panel. I don't see any advice on how to wire these! Tempted to just run a switch and trigger the GFCI with 8 milli-amps of current @ 110 vac across about 10K ohms, though that certainly won't get approval from our electrical inspector. Any advice on what particular relay to use? I see some DP contactors that look like they can switch the 40 amp 220vac service. It looks like there are a number of spa panels with GFCI and two spare spaces . Seems I really want 3 spare spaces so I can also run 110VAC GFCI outdoors.. Any suggestions on the whole electric setup?

Thanks for any advice! Charlie

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Pilot Dane's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,131

01-08-18, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)  
1. There will be a loss of head but that will depend on how much water you're pumping, the pipe your using and how many bends. For a spa I would say you won't notice the difference if you properly size the pipe. The elevation of the pump doesn't matter since you are not actually pumping water uphill. You're just moving it in a loop.

2. Yes, bad things happen. If a pipe beaks or the seal on the pump lets go some of the spa water may drain down into your basement. How much can come in depends on where the plumbing is located in the spa. I would install shutoff's in both the incoming and outgoing lines so you have something to close in case there is a leak.

3. A lot depends on your spa panel. Almost all are designed to be controlled by some type of remote panel. Other than that I don't know what you mean by a "separate cutoff". Are you wanting to install a service disconnect so you can kill all power to the pack for maintenance?

Chaz's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 54

01-12-18, 01:13 PM   #3 (permalink)  
Thanks for the replies Pilot.

What I meant by a cutoff is that the spa pack ( Gecko ) will be located indoors, where there will be a GFCI panel by the pack. We also need an emergency cutoff outdoors by the wood hot tub. Thus what I want to know is what to add to a spa panel such as this one: https://www.amazon.com/Square-Schnei.../dp/B000BQT1AS in order to add an outdoor emergency cutoff.

PJmax's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 40,630

01-12-18, 03:21 PM   #4 (permalink)  
The GFI sub panel should be near the spa pack. You can use a non-fused service disconnect like in the link below outside near the spa. It needs to be a 120/240v disconnect as it needs an isolated neutral bar along with a ground bar.


~ Pete ~

Marq1's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1,613

01-13-18, 06:51 AM   #5 (permalink)  
Being a spa owner there is water present, changing filters, replacing heaters/pump you will get water outside the spa. I had a bad plumping joint that I had to replace so some water leaked.

Most likely not the full content but it will happen!

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