In this post, we show you how to wire a GFCI breaker to your hot tub, so you can enjoy your hot tub without worrying about grounding issues or tripping the breaker.
Many people have installed hot tubs in their backyard only to find out that their house doesn't have the proper wiring for the tub to work. This guide is for you if you are one of these people. We will show you how to wire a GFCI breaker to your hot tub, so you can enjoy your hot tub without worrying about grounding issues or tripping the breaker.
Why Hot Tubs Need GFCI
Most hot tubs need a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). This protects against electric shock by detecting a ground fault in the water supply. If a person touches the water in the tub while the GFCI is activated, the GFCI will shut off the water flow.
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers are designed to prevent electrocution by preventing the flow of electricity if the ground path is interrupted. Ground fault circuit interrupters have become a common fixture in the home, but they're also becoming a fixture in the hot tub industry.
Safety Reminders Before Working With Electrical Systems
Wiring your GFCI to your main panel and your hot tub requires some understanding and experience working with electrical systems. If you've never done electrical jobs before or haven't been trained by a licensed professional, it's best to hire an electrician to do the wiring for you. However, you can use the information in this article if you want to know how pros do it.
Don't forget to turn off your hot tub, switch off the main panel, and only use approved electrical components and wires with the correct specifications suitable for your hot tub and GFCI.
What You Need
Here's a list of things you need for wiring a GFCI for your hot tub.
- GFCI breaker and panel
- Hot tub wiring and conduit
- 50 amp breaker (source)
Ask for recommendations from your local electrical supply about the best brands and specifications for your hot tub, or you can do your own research online. Refer to your user's manual about the hot tub's ratings to help you choose the most appropriate ones.
How to Wire a GFCI
Here are the steps in wiring a GFCI. Don't forget to switch off the main panel.
- Lay the electrical conduit from the main panel towards the GFCI panel. This may require digging a trench from the main panel or GFCI to the hot tub.
- Install the 50 amp breaker in your main panel. This breaker will supply the power to your hot tub.
- Install the wires connecting the 50 amp breaker to the GFCI. A 240-volt panel setup will have two hot wires (red and black) connected to the power source, a neutral wire (white), and a grounding wire (green) connected to earth.
- Hook up the red, black, and white wire to the GFCI input of the same color and the green wire to the GFCI's grounding bar.
- Next, install the wires connecting the hot tub to the GFCI. Most hot tub packs will also have three wires (red, black, and white) which go to the GFCI output, plus a grounding wire (green) that goes to the GFCI grounding bar.
- Hook up the hot tub to the GFCI. Note: it's best to have a professional do it for you if you're not familiar working with hot tubs.
- Ensure that the GFCI is working properly. Turn on the main panel and the GFCI breaker. Some GFCI has a test button that trips off the breaker. This tells you the GFCI is working properly.
- Another way to test your GFCI is to turn on your hot tub, put your hand into the water, and see if it trips the GFCI breaker. If it does, you have a grounding issue. This usually happens when the neutral wire is connected to the grounding bar in the GFCI along with the grounding wire. If it doesn't trip off, you've done it right.
- Close the GFCI panel and cover up the trench.
Wiring your hot tub to the GFCI requires basic understanding and some experience working with electrical systems. It's not rocket science. Anyone can learn how to do it. However, if you're not familiar working with electrical systems or haven't done any of those, it's best to have a licensed electrician do the work for you. It's much cheaper than putting yourself at risk of serious injury or damaging your hot tub.