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Thread: Hot tub question

  1. #16
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    If I had been out of work for 5 months I think I would be saving money instead of blowing $1000 on something that is going to cost even more but then again I have never drawn public money either.

    But.... it was a steal, how could he not buy it?

  2. #17
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    There is a lot more to installing a hot tub outside than the feeder or branch circuit that supplies the piece of equipment.

    There is the issue of an insulated equipment grounding conductor, GFCI protection, the raceway in which the conductors are installed, the equipotential bonding grid and the list goes on and on.

    It has been my experiences that the installation cost of a hot tub far exceeds the cost of the tub itself. The installation is far more than something that a weekend warrior can attempt.

    A tub or pool has treated water and electricity in the same area. To simply install a circuit that makes the water churn about is nothing more than a death trap waiting to be sprung.

    Every one asks the question, “can I do this or can I do that” when the question should be, “is this safe or is that safe” but this is not what is on their mind. All they are thinking about is jumping into the water and having fun.

    My question is always, “are you willing to place yourself and your family in jeopardy just for the sake of having fun?” If you are then just jump into a pond full of alligators and have all the fun that they will allow you to have.

    The bottom line here is simple; if you can’t afford the cost of hiring a professional to make the installation then you can’t afford the tub.
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    Last edited by Terry; 10-09-2008 at 10:10 AM.

  3. #18
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    You're right not something to be cavalier about. But for a DIYer who's diligent about reading the manufacturer's requirements and following them to the letter, shouldn't that be OK? I installed the wiring to my outdoor spa myself. Just as instructed I used a dedicated 50 amp breaker at the main panel, located the spa panel at the proper distance to the water surface (it has to be not to close to reach it while in the spa, but close enough to get to it quickly when you are out), calculated the correct wire size based on length, installed it in PVC conduit with access boxes all all junctions, and grounded everything. I even installed a new ground rod next to the spa and ran that wire in a slab control joint and caulked it in.

    As I recall the electrical parts alone cost me about $500.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-09-2008 at 10:09 AM.

  4. #19
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    located the spa panel at the proper distance to the water surface (it has to be not to close to reach it while in the spa, but close enough to get to it quickly when you are out),
    There is no need to have a disconnect for a residential tub that is close to the tub.
    A maintenance disconnecting means is required by 680.12 but it is to be no less than 5 feet from the tub up to 50 feet from the tub as long as it is with-in sight of the tub motor.
    680.12 Maintenance Disconnecting Means.
    One or more means to simultaneously disconnect all ungrounded conductors shall be provided for all utilization equipment other than lighting. Each means shall be readily accessible and within sight from its equipment and shall be located at least 1.5 m (5 ft) horizontally from the inside walls of a pool, spa, or hot tub unless separated from the open water by a permanently installed barrier that provides a 1.5 m (5 ft) reach path or greater. This horizontal distance is to be measured from the water's edge along the shortest path required to reach the disconnect.

    An emergency switch is not required for a residential tub at all.
    680.41 Emergency Switch for Spas and Hot Tubs.
    A clearly labeled emergency shutoff or control switch for the purpose of stopping the motor(s) that provide power to the recirculation system and jet system shall be installed at a point readily accessible to the users and not less than 1.5 m (5 ft) away, adjacent to, and within sight of the spa or hot tub. This requirement shall not apply to single-family dwellings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    I even installed a new ground rod next to the spa and ran that wire in a slab control joint and caulked it in.
    As I recall the electrical parts alone cost me about $500.
    Unless you expect lightning to strike the tub the ground rod is as useless as tits on a bore hog.
    There is a requirement to install a equipotential bonding grid under a tub that is installed on the outside of a building. If the tub is going to be on a concrete pad this grid must be part of the pad even if the pad already exists. This requirement if found in 680.26 as mandated by 680.42.
    This bonding grid is one of the most important items to be installed as it keeps everything at the same potential electrically.

    Once again look at the picture that Steve posted to my last post above. To do anything less is to dive into that pond.
    Unless you understand why the code requires some of things that it requires then it is best to leave the installation to someone who does before you kill yourself or someone you love.

  5. #20
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    There is no need to have a disconnect for a residential tub that is close to the tub.....
    Unless you expect lightning to strike the tub the ground rod is as useless as tits on a bore hog.

    There is a requirement to install a equipotential bonding grid under a tub that is installed on the outside of a building. If the tub is going to be on a concrete pad this grid must be part of the pad even if the pad already exists. This requirement if found in 680.26 as mandated by 680.42.
    This bonding grid is one of the most important items to be installed as it keeps everything at the same potential electrically. .....
    It's a "spa panel" as specified by the manufacturer. The County inspected and approved this along with the deck work (overhead) that I did at the same time.

    The concrete pad doesn't have rebar in it so there's nothing to ground there. Besides 680.26 applies to Part II permanently installed pools, and this is a "portable spa", which are covered under part IV (I guess). For this, grounding is 680.42 (B). Regardless, all metal parts of the spa (there are none) plus the motors and all that are grounded back to the spa panel and to the main panel and to the new grounding rod installed at the edge of the concrete slab. Maybe the new ground rod is overkill but I'd rather not be killed at all.

    The only thing that I might have messed up on is that I used a rigid PVC conduit on top of the slab for about 4' between the wall of the house and the spa. I have it protected by portable wood "tiles" (for lack of a better term) that I have positioned at the front of the spa where folks get in an out. Although it has joints at both ends to risers so its not liquid tight I felt that this was better protection than a flex conduit.

  6. #21
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    It's a "spa panel" as specified by the manufacturer. The County inspected and approved this along with the deck work (overhead) that I did at the same time.
    One of the funniest things I hear on a daily basis is, “the inspector passed it so it must be right.” I wonder if the inspector that passed it can also walk on water. If he can’t then he is just like the rest of us and capable of making mistakes wouldn’t you think.
    If the panel is specified by the tub manufacture then it will come with the tub. If is doesn’t come with the tub then it is part of the premises wiring and must conform to the requirements of the NEC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    The concrete pad doesn't have rebar in it so there's nothing to ground there.
    I don’t see anything in 680.26 that says that if no rebar is present that the bonding grid can be left out. What I do see is that where no rebar exists then an Alternate Means shall be provided. This grid is not something that requires to be bonded it is something that is required to be installed to keep everything at the same potential electrically. This is why it is named, “The equipotential bonding grid”
    680.26 Equipotential Bonding.
    (A) Performance. The equipotential bonding required by this section shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area.
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Besides 680.26 applies to Part II permanently installed pools, and this is a "portable spa", which are covered under part IV (I guess). For this, grounding is 680.42 (B). Regardless, all metal parts of the spa (there are none) plus the motors and all that are grounded back to the spa panel and to the main panel and to the new grounding rod installed at the edge of the concrete slab. Maybe the new ground rod is overkill but I'd rather not be killed at all.
    This is just what I am talking about in my post through this entire thread. What is said in 680.42 is:
    680.42 Outdoor Installations.
    A spa or hot tub installed outdoors shall comply with the provisions of Parts I and II of this article, except as permitted in 680.42(A) and (B), that would otherwise apply to pools installed outdoors.
    This means that a hot tub installed outside must conform to the requirements of PART II of 680 as well as Part IV.
    With a quick read of 250.4 one can easily see that the ground rod is not worth a damn at a pool or a hot tub. It was nothing more than a waste of time and energy. It benefits nothing. It has the same value as dentures for chickens. It would be better used to tie out a cow with than to try and remove voltage at the pool.
    This bonding grid that is required by 680.42s reference to Part II of 680 is not required to be bonded back to the service panel nor any part of the service panel.
    680.26(B) Bonded Parts. The parts specified in 680.26(B)(1) through (B)(7) shall be bonded together using solid copper conductors, insulated covered, or bare, not smaller than 8 AWG or with rigid metal conduit of brass or other identified corrosion-resistant metal. Connections to bonded parts shall be made in accordance with 250.8. An 8 AWG or larger solid copper bonding conductor provided to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area shall not be required to be extended or attached to remote panelboards, service equipment, or electrodes.
    I do hope that you understand that the rod will not protect you when you step out of the tub onto those tiles that you didn’t grout in around from being killed in the event that something goes to fault in the tub. The grid when installed properly will keep every thing at the same potential which would be just like the bird that perches on a high voltage line and then flies away. The bird is at the same potential as the high voltage line therefore no harm comes to the bird.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    The only thing that I might have messed up on is that I used a rigid PVC conduit on top of the slab for about 4' between the wall of the house and the spa. I have it protected by portable wood "tiles" (for lack of a better term) that I have positioned at the front of the spa where folks get in an out. Although it has joints at both ends to risers so its not liquid tight I felt that this was better protection than a flex conduit.
    As long as the PVC is schedule 80 there is nothing wrong with having it lying on top of anything. Lets hope that the equipment grounding conductor inside is insulated as the bromide or chlorine will take it away in a hurry.

  7. #22
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    One of the funniest things I hear on a daily basis is, “the inspector passed it so it must be right.” I wonder if the inspector that passed it can also walk on water. If he can’t then he is just like the rest of us and capable of making mistakes wouldn’t you think.
    If the panel is specified by the tub manufacture then it will come with the tub. If is doesn’t come with the tub then it is part of the premises wiring and must conform to the requirements of the NEC.

    I don’t see anything in 680.26 that says that if no rebar is present that the bonding grid can be left out. What I do see is that where no rebar exists then an Alternate Means shall be provided. This grid is not something that requires to be bonded it is something that is required to be installed to keep everything at the same potential electrically. This is why it is named, “The equipotential bonding grid”


    This is just what I am talking about in my post through this entire thread. What is said in 680.42 is:

    This means that a hot tub installed outside must conform to the requirements of PART II of 680 as well as Part IV.
    With a quick read of 250.4 one can easily see that the ground rod is not worth a damn at a pool or a hot tub. It was nothing more than a waste of time and energy. It benefits nothing. It has the same value as dentures for chickens. It would be better used to tie out a cow with than to try and remove voltage at the pool.
    This bonding grid that is required by 680.42s reference to Part II of 680 is not required to be bonded back to the service panel nor any part of the service panel.
    I do hope that you understand that the rod will not protect you when you step out of the tub onto those tiles that you didn’t grout in around from being killed in the event that something goes to fault in the tub. The grid when installed properly will keep every thing at the same potential which would be just like the bird that perches on a high voltage line and then flies away. The bird is at the same potential as the high voltage line therefore no harm comes to the bird.

    As long as the PVC is schedule 80 there is nothing wrong with having it lying on top of anything. Lets hope that the equipment grounding conductor inside is insulated as the bromide or chlorine will take it away in a hurry.
    Actually what I said is that the inspector passed it. To me that means he is a trained second pair of eyes, sometimes equipped with a measuring tape, nothing more.

    The manufacturer specified a panel in accordance with the NEC. It also specified a flat, stable surface to install the unit. Neither were supplied with the unit.

    Since I installed this in 2002 I went by that Code. 680.26 is simply titled “Bonding”, and requires all structural metal including rebar to be bonded, if it exists. There is no requirement for a grid. Again, it does not apply, since it is a portable spa, and 680.42 requires Part II provisions “except as permitted in 680.42(A) and (B)…”, where (B) describes bonding. These requirements are even simpler, and do not include grounding wood tiles (again, for lack of a better term) or the wood steps to get in and out (which were provided by the manufacturer).

  8. #23
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Actually what I said is that the inspector passed it. To me that means he is a trained second pair of eyes, sometimes equipped with a measuring tape, nothing more.
    But sometimes he has limited training and little or no knowledge of electrical systems. How can I say this? I have been teaching electrical inspectors for the past eight years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    The manufacturer specified a panel in accordance with the NEC. It also specified a flat, stable surface to install the unit. Neither were supplied with the unit.
    Which of both must conform to the sections mention above that just found in a different place in the 2002 code cycle

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Since I installed this in 2002 I went by that Code. 680.26 is simply titled “Bonding”, and requires all structural metal including rebar to be bonded, if it exists. There is no requirement for a grid. Again, it does not apply, since it is a portable spa, and 680.42 requires Part II provisions “except as permitted in 680.42(A) and (B)…”, where (B) describes bonding. These requirements are even simpler, and do not include grounding wood tiles (again, for lack of a better term) or the wood steps to get in and out (which were provided by the manufacturer).
    Even as far back as the 2002 code cycle a hot tub installed outside was to conform to the rules found in Part II of 680 This is found in 680.40. The bonding requirements found in 680.42(B) simply states that the metal parts found on the wooden supports for the skirting of the tub is not required to be bonded,
    The verbiage found in .40 that a tub installed outside is to adhere to the rules in Part II deals mainly with the equipotential bonding grid. In the 2002 code cycle in 680.26(B)(1) the requirement to install a copper conductor where there is no rebar or the rebar is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound.

    In the 1999 code cycle this requirement was found in 680-22(b)(3). This rule to install a bonding grid is not something that is new and had been around for quite sometime. It is those who never saw any use in having this grid that seems look past the fact one is not installed around tubs installed outside.

    Not meaning to sound rude or anything like that, just speaking code but by your own admission you tub is not in compliance with the NEC today nor was it at the time of installation.

  9. #24
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    I don't think that you're being rude. You do, however, have me confused. 2002 NEC 680.40 requires conformance with Parts I and IV. It doesn't say Part II is required. The bonding requirement in (B) states that "metal to metal mounting on a common frame or base shall be permitted", which is what I have.

    And in Part II, 680.26(C) requires a Common Bonding Grid, where (3) allows a copper conductor. I don't find anywhere where the grid is specified to be under the tub on a unreinforced slab. I do have a ground buried in a control joint right in front of the tub where people walk to get in and out. This is bonded to the tub components, panel ground, and then to a ground rod. When I put it in I thought it was overkill but I did it anyway.

    With regard to non-compliance, If I need to change out a short length of conduit that runs on the floor to a piece of liquidtight then I can. But that is a mere technicality as it pertains to corrosion protection that is probably not necessary in this location, since the floor is rarely wet.

    Also if I need to cut in a perimeter ground wire then I can do that also.

  10. #25
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Well I guess I made a typo in the code section so to help me get it right I will just post the code pages and sections that mandate a bonding grid right out of the 2002 code cycle.

    Please overlook my markings as this is how I remember what to point out when teaching an electrical inspector’s class. See page eight of this link for more information concerning these classes.

    First let’s look at the page where the installation of hot tubs is found in the 2002 cycle,



    Look closely at section 680.42 for outdoor installations

    Here is where we are told that a hot tub installed outside must conform to Part II of 680.

    The Common Bonding Grid is found in 680.26 in the 2002 cycle



    In 680.26(C) the parts that are to be bonded together is outlined,




    In the first sentence it states that those parts specified in 680.26(B) shall be connected to the common bonding grid.

    680.26(B) in the last sentence of 680.26(B1) it gives us the alternate method in there is no rebar or if the rebar is encapsulated with an nonconductive coating. This alternate method is outlined in 680.26(C)(3).

    Be sure to click on the blue links to see the code sections mentioned in this post.

    Edited for spelling
    Last edited by jwelectric; 10-10-2008 at 10:03 AM.

  11. #26
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    OK so Part II is required. I'm fairly certain that I complied with it.

  12. #27
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    OK so Part II is required. I'm fairly certain that I complied with it.

    Not hardly

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    I do have a ground buried in a control joint right in front of the tub where people walk to get in and out.
    This grid is to be part of the pad not stuck in an expansion joint

    Been involved in the process more years than most are old

  13. #28
    National Electrical Code Expert/Speaker/Educator TheElectricalGuru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Not hardly



    This grid is to be part of the pad not stuck in an expansion joint

    Been involved in the process more years than most are old

    I agree.......he is old...thehehehehehe

    Yikes....lol....you know I love ya big guy
    Last edited by TheElectricalGuru; 10-10-2008 at 05:02 PM.

  14. #29
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Not hardly



    This grid is to be part of the pad not stuck in an expansion joint

    Been involved in the process more years than most are old
    Not hardly but you can't say where.

    A control joint is not quite the same as an expansion joint.

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