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Electrical Codes for Hot Tubs

Summary: Listing of electrical codes for hot tubs with examples of hot tub codes for home electrical wiring.

Electrical Code Definitions for Hot Tubs

Hot Tub Codes in NEC, National Electrical Code Section 680

This listing provides an example of the typical electrical codes for hot tubs as found in the articles of section 640 of the National Electrical Code.

Highlights of the Codes for Hot Tubs include GFCI Protection for the electrical circuit and electrical equipment within the vicinity of the hot tub.

Code Adoption Information: The codes shown are examples only and may not be current or accurate for your application or jurisdiction. Contact your local building authority for complete information.
  • NEC 680.22(A)(4)
    • Pools, spas whirlpool tubs and boathouses.
    • GFCI Receptacle outlets.
    • Receptacles that are within 20 feet or less of pools and outdoor hot tubs must be GFCI protected.

  • NEC 680.42(A)(1)
    • Hot tub/spa.
    • LFMC or LFNMC is permitted up to 6 feet for a package unit hot tub or spa.

  • NEC 680.42(A)(2)
    • Hot tub/spa.
    • A cord up to 15 feet is permitted for a GFCI-protected package unit hot tub or spa.

  • NEC 680.42(B)
    • Hot tub/spa.
    • Bands used to secure hot tub staves are exempt from bonding.

  • NEC 680.43(A)(3)
    • Pools, spas whirlpool tubs and boathouses.
    • GFCI.
    • GFCI protection is required for receptacles that provide power to indoor spas or hot tubs

  • NEC 680.44
    • Pools, spas whirlpool tubs and boathouses.
    • GFCI.
    • GFCI protection is required for outlets supplying power to any self-contained packaged spa, hot tub or field-assembled units with heating that is less than 50 Amps.

Questions about Wiring Hot Tubs

Question from Randy, a Handyman in Trinidad, Colorado:
Is it up to the Electrical Code and Safe to Splice Hot Tub Wires?

I’m replacing my old hot tub with a newer hot tub. I have a GFCI breaker in my main panel going to direct burial wire under ground to a quick disconnect box then out of there to my hot tub. When I got my new tub the wires ended up being to short so I spliced them with a heat shrink splicing kit inside the hot tub cabinet then to the control panel I used 6 gauge wire for all the connections. Is it up to code and safe to leave the splice where it is?

Dave’s Answer:

Electrical wires may be spliced inside a hot tub cabinet as long as the wires and connections are contained inside an approved electrical box. The electrical box must be securely mounted and accessible and have a cover plate. The additional length of wires or cable must match the same size and type of the original circuit.

Question from David, a Homeowner in Ocala, Florida:

Does a Hot Tub Need a 120Volt or 220Volt Circuit?

I was given a hot tub. The casing for the prongs on the power cord says 125v 20amp on it. I had a 110v outlet put in on a 20 amp breaker. I turned the pump on and it ran for about 20 minutes and then began shutting off. It was then running for a few seconds and shutting off for a few seconds. I felt the pump and it was very hot. I unplugged the unit and took the casing off the pump and saw that there are four wires going into the pump from the power cord. Does this mean it should be going to a 220v outlet and is this the cause of the malfunction?

Dave’s Answer:
Hot Tub Circuit Requirements

Hot Hubs are available in many sizes and with several optional features, therefore the circuit requirements must be identified for each unit. Hot Tubs typically come with an Installation Manual and an Owners Manual which will specify the necessary circuit requirements.

Question from Dave, a Homeowner in Dallas, Texas:

How do I Disconnect the Power to an Old Spa So I Don’t Get Shocked?

We have a spa with 220 service running from a separate breaker to an old spa that I am removing. If I turn off the circuit break to kill the power to the spa motor is there anyway I could still get a shock while disconnecting the electrical wires that run to the spa motor?

Dave’s Answer:
Disconnecting the Electrical Power to an Old Spa

To avoid getting shocked when disconnecting the wiring to a spa locate the circuit breaker that provides the power to the spa and switch the circuit breaker into the OFF position. The circuit breaker for a spa is typically located and labeled at the main electric panel or a sub panel. Once the circuit breaker has been shut off make sure to post a notice on the panel that the spa circuit should remain in the OFF position. The electrical wires to the old spa should be removed completely, or back to a part of the circuit wiring where an electrical box may be properly installed containing the wiring which is then capped off and insulated. A blank cover should then be placed over the electrical box.

Question from Joe, an Electrician in Kelowna, Canada:

Will incorrect wiring to a GFCI cause the breaker to go bad?

I am connecting a GFCI to a hot tub that has no neutral terminal. The DIY homeowner connected the hot to the output of the GFCI. After reconnecting it the proper way the test button does not trip the breaker. Could the reverse hook up have damaged the breaker? In a no neutral load hook up the pig tail GFCI is connected to the neutral lug with the line
side neutral, correct?

Dave’s Answer:
Wiring a Hot Tub GFCI Circuit Breaker

The GFCI breaker may have been damaged, however further testing may be conducted to be sure.
For proper connection of the GFCI breaker please refer to the installation manual. Typically with load or without, the neutrals may be connected to the load side of the GFCI breaker.


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