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Essential Electrical Grounding for Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I am installing a packaged above-ground spa. I have a 50amp breaker in my panel feeding a GFI disconnect panel near the spa…

Essential Electrical Grounding for Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
Background: Neil, a Homeowner from Simi Valley, CA

Question: I am installing a packaged above-ground spa. I have a 50amp breaker in my panel feeding a GFI disconnect panel near the spa. All 4 wires from the main panel to the disconnect panel are #6 copper stranded. I had an electrician install the disconnect panel and leave a length (about 16′) of flexible conduit and wires to the spa equipment. I will make the final connection of the 4 wires inside the spa equipment. The manual for the spa specifies #6 copper for common and the two hot wires. They also specify #8 for the ground. My electrician, for some reason, used #10 copper for the ground wire from the disconnect to the spa equipment (about 16′). He says it’s not a problem even though the installation instructions say to use #8. Is he right? Will it be safe to use #10?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Neil. No – this is not safe. A #8 copper ground wire must be installed in place of the #10 ground wire.  Furthermore, I would require the electrician to make this correction at his expense siting the specified requirements clerarly stated at the spa and due to the fact that the #10 ground wire that was installed is a violation of the NEC requirements for this circuit. The inspection of this project should have caught this, and if you did not do this with a permit then you just placed yourself in a vulnerable position in more ways than one, especially when it comes to spa and pool equipment where essential ground fault devices are required to be installed correctly and according to NEC code for your safety and protection.
I have provided the following links that lead to fully detailed information on this website that will assist you with your electrical question:

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2 Responses to “Essential Electrical Grounding for Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Rob,
    Because of the electric power requirement for the water heater it must be on a dedicated circuit that is not shared with anything else. The same goes for a hot tub, which typically requires a larger circuit than a hot tub anyway, so if you attempted to make the connections as you have described in your question the hot tub would trip off the water heater circuit breaker.
    The next question I commonly get with a discussion such as this is: Well if the circuit breaker trips off because the circuit is overloaded can I install a larger circuit breaker? And the answer to that question is absolutely NO, because installing a larger circuit breaker could cause the electrical wiring to overheat which could lead to a house fire.
    The point is to find out what the required circuits are for the larger electric loads, such as a hot tub, and then install the circuit as required.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Rob says:

    My water heater is 220 volts, so can I put a junction box in and run one cable to the water heater and then another cable to my hot tub?