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Tanning Bed 220 Volt Electrical Wiring


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Install an Electrical Circuit for an Indoor Tanning Bed – It is best to make your connection at the source of the circuit for the location of the tanning bed where the circuit enters that location and not at the thermostat locations. This will isolate the dedicated circuit from the thermostat which would be the preferred method.


Using a 220 Volt Circuit for a Tanning Bed

Electrical Question: Hi Dave. My home was built in 1965 and originally had what we were told was in-wall radiant heating. The home already had an HVAC system when we purchased it in 2002, so in the course of our many renovations we:

  1.   Turned off all the relevant breakers.
  2.   Removed the thermostats from the various rooms in the home, capping the wires with wire nuts.
  3.   Covered each box with a basic wall plate.

Recently my wife wanted to get her own tanning bed, but the models we were looking at were specified by the manufacturer for use on a dedicated 20 amp breaker. From what I understand this would normally mean that in order to go to the opposite end of the house from the electrical box I would need to run a new wire into the attic, staple it all the way around the perimeter, and then run from the wall header down the destination wall. But it occurred to me that we still have this old heating wiring, and that each of the upstairs rooms, including the target room in this case, had had its own thermostat.
The wiring is the same 12-gauge black/white/green sheathed wire that I have encountered throughout my home’s 120v wiring (for reference, the ground wires are of a much lighter gauge). The box where the thermostat was removed contains just one of the wires described along with two red (also apparently 12 gauge) wires entering the box from different directions. One of the red wires is joined to the neutral wire with a wire nut, while the other is capped separately, as is the hot wire. I presume that the hot wire and the single red wire were both wired to the thermostat to make a complete circuit of the whole arrangement.
The breakers in question are 20 amp breakers.
I am thinking it should therefore be safe to wire a plug to the wire in the old thermostat box, leaving both red wires capped off. Does this sound correct?
I also plan to replace the breaker with a new one of the same amperage just for peace of mind.

Thanks for any help,
Matt

This electrical wiring question came from: Matt, a Homeowner from Ashland City, Tennesse.
See more about Home Wiring for Tennessee

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Matt.

How to Install an Electrical Circuit for an Indoor Tanning Bed

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, electric drill,  auger bits and extension cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical circuit wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Matt, what you are describing is correct as long as the dedicated circuit is within the amperage rating of the unused heater circuit, which appears to be 20 amps. I did not see if the required circuit for the tanning bed will be 240 volts or 120 volts. Whatever the case may be, you may still use the unused circuit as long as it is converted if needed to 240 volt, where the white wire would then become a hot and should be identified as a hot leg using black electrical tape at both ends of the circuit, then installing a 2 pole circuit breaker.

Matt, it is best to make your connection at the source of the circuit for the location of the tanning bed where the circuit enters that location and not at the thermostat locations. This will isolate the dedicated circuit from the thermostat which would be the preferred method. The concern here is that the thermostats may only have switched one wire of the circuit, and that’s OK, but I do not want you to get confused with the old wiring of the thermostats. This way the circuit would now be dedicated for the tanning bed and the old thermostat wiring would be capped off and kept out of the circuit. You would just need to install a receptacle for the tanning bed.

If you needed to connect the circuit using the thermostat wiring then it could only be done as long as the thermostat wiring cable is the same as the incoming circuit and you have positively identified the path necessary to get the circuit to the desired location of the tanning bed, and that any splices are made in approved electrical junction boxes.

If you have multiple unused circuits, such as one dedicated for each room then all you need to do is to identify which circuit you will be using and you’ll have what you need, if all the required power specs are being met of course.

The smaller ground wire size that you are describing is typical for older home wiring. This would only be a concern if the tanning bed specs call for a specific wire size for the ground.

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