Hot Tub Electrical Requirements
The installation of a hot tub requires adhering to certain electrical requirements. A hot tub is a homemade or company manufactured large pool of water, which is heated either by burning fuel or by electric current. The hot tub is used for recreation, relaxation, and therapeutic purposes. These come in different sizes and power ratings. Generally, wood or plastic is utilized in constructing the body of a hot tub. It is a bulky accessory and is mostly installed outdoors in the yard or on a terrace. A hot tub has different electrical requirements depending upon where it is being installed, indoors or outdoors, and how it is powered.
There are two types of hot tubs based on voltage requirements. One that operates on 120v and other that draws 240v. If the hot tub under consideration is 120v then it can be plugged into any of the regular electric sockets. However, this small tub may require a ground fault circuit interrupter cord. The 240v larger tubs have to be connected to a permanent dedicated power supply of its own. Another electrical requirement for installing a hot tub is that a GFCI breaker is required to be installed within 5 to 10 feet of the hot tub for emergency shutdown purposes.
National Electric Codes
Across America, the dedicated National Electric Codes are followed in different types of electrical wiring projects. The NEC has also laid down codes for hot tub installation that are mandatory to follow. Many states have their own rules too. It is necessary to check with the local authorities before commencing the hot tub installation. The general NEC codes to be followed include 680.12 and 680.42 stating that all hot tub installation must have a disconnection point installed within sight of the hot tub. Other NEC codes are 680.44, which lays focus on installation of a GFCI protection of all hot tubs. The wire size too must be in accordance with NEC and is usually determined by the maximum power drawn by the wire and the distance between circuit breaker box and hot tub. Use only copper wires that have THHN insulation. It is best to avoid aluminum wires for a hot tub installation.
It is advised by the authorities and is mandatory by law in most states to use the services of a licensed electrician for installing hot tub wiring. Since it requires drawing up special circuits, the electrician with his professional expertise would be able to minimize cost while maximizing the safety.
Wiring is perhaps the single most important factor to consider while installing the hot tub inside or outside your home. All the wires must be properly covered and contained within PVC conduit pipes. The wire must be rated to at least 90c so that they are able to handle the heat. The circuit breaker must be at an appropriate distance from the water.
There is much to consider when planning for the installation of your hot tub. Unless it is a basic 120v, it is best to leave this task up to the professionals.