Spa Installed

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I would appreciate anyone with knowledge of the electrical code for a Spa installation to comment on the following:
I did the smart thing and had a certified electrician install my 60 amp Sundance spa. Sill, I'm concerned.
He used #10 THHN through conduit from the house meter to a disconnect near the spa. #10 THHN from the disconnect to the spa.
I questioned him about this since #10 is only rated for 30 AMP and he said this is OK on a 60 AMP circuit since each hot wire only carries 30 AMP. Is this correct?
The Sundance literature also says to use a GFCI breaker but the electrician did not install one. Is this safe without GFCI? I suspect not.
John
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John wrote:

Was that electrician licensed? Let's say the SPA needs 60 amps. Most of that is for the heater. Let's say that's 40 amps, another 10 for pump, blower, etc. The 240V 40 amps is flowing through one hot wire and back out the other. The 120V 10amps is flowing through one hot leg and back out the neutral. So, yes the wire needs to be rated for the full 60 amps.
Also, the SPA needs a GFCI. Generally the best way to do this is to install one at the panel. Also, the disconnect must be located near the spa and visible/accessible, but at least (not sure the exact distance, think its like 5 ft away from the spa, check code). And any other metal near the spa, like metal railings, for example, must be bonded to the ground loop of the spa.
I bet this guy didn't pull a permit either did he?
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Oh, and I forgot to add, until that GFCI is installed, I would not set foot in that SPA.
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Call your city electrical inspector, ask them and say you thought he was to get a permit. You will have to get one but the city will get the electrician to do it right.
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I've given strict instructions to everyone not to use the Spa. I've set the water temperature to less than the ambiant temperature to prevent the heater from running. Just a small circulation pump is running to keep the water filtered.
GFCI question:
This is a three wire Spa (2 hot and ground only, 240 only, no 110, no neutral). First, I'll insist on #6 THHN. For the GFCI to work properly does he have to run 2 hot, 1 neutral and one ground from the meter to the GFCI? Then bond the neutral to ground in the GFCI box? Then run 2 hot and the ground to the Spa?
Or, can the GFCI work with just the 2 hot and 1 ground (no neutral) run from the meter to the GFCI box?
John
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I've given strict instructions to everyone not to use the Spa. I've set the water temperature to less than the ambiant temperature to prevent the heater from running. Just a small circulation pump is running to keep the water filtered.
GFCI question:
This is a three wire Spa (2 hot and ground only, 240 only, no 110, no neutral). First, I'll insist on #6 THHN. For the GFCI to work properly does he have to run 2 hot, 1 neutral and one ground from the meter to the GFCI? Then bond the neutral to ground in the GFCI box? Then run 2 hot and the ground to the Spa?
Or, can the GFCI work with just the 2 hot and 1 ground (no neutral) run from the meter to the GFCI box?
John
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No permit that I am aware of. He just did the work.
I guess my next step is to have him come back out and correct his work. If he gives me any grief I'll call a building inspector to view his work, then get someone else to do it right.
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Regarding the question of 240V with or without neutral, all the spas I've seen use both 240 and 120. They use 240 for the heater, 120 for pump, blower, lights, etc. However, sounds like there are some like yours that are strictly 240V. In that case, you don't need a neutral. You would just need the two hots plus ground. But, if it were me, when running the wires, I'd go ahead and pull the neutral anyway, as it's negligible in the total cost, easier to do now, and you'd have it for possible future use. If you go that route, make sure the hack installs the right kind of GFCI. There are two, one for 240 without neutral, and one with neutral.
Also, since this guy is a hack, I'm not sure I'd let him do anymore work, unless someone else is gonna inspect it.
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Appreciate it. Good information and good advice. Thanks.
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If you are correct about the amperage of the unit, you'll need 6ga. and not THHN unless it has multiple ratings, it is not for use in wet locations, you need THWN. You'll need GFCI protection, if it's not already installed in the control panel of the unit. There are combination disconnect/GFCI panels made for spas, which tend to be less expensive than GFCI breakers with enclosures. I prefer to have the GFCI protection at the tub, especially if the feeder is a long run as there is no need to protect the wiring from the panel to the tub disconnect from ground faults
,

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Thanks.
If can be set for 30, 50 or 60 AMP. If I set it for 50 AMP and use a 50 AMP GFCI breaker box near the tub (but no closer than 5 feet) is 8ga THWN sufficient for 50 AMP?
Also, the power runs through conduit outside the house and then through a wall into an indoor room where the spa is located. Is THWN still required considering the outdoor conduit run and the spa is indoor?
I'm not trying to be cheap, I'll insist on what's rught. I just want to be well informed before I confront this "electrician" again.
John
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The GFCI disconnect panel is rated for 60 amps, If I were you, I'd want to use the largest heater in the unit, just so it heats up fast and maintains temperature without having to wait forever. Most smaller gauge wire comes with multiple ratings, which include THWN. If the inspector deems the outside conduit as a wet location, a wet location wire would be required. 8ga is good for 50 amps, but I'd go for the 6ga

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Thanks.
Heater runs at same amperage for both 50 and 60 amp operation. 50 amp operation disbles heather when both water pumps and air pump are running on high only, with the idea that this doesn't occur frequently and not for prolonged duration. 50 amp is the default shipped configuration for the unit.
The 50 AMP GFCI for spa operation is easier to find I think. Square-D makes one called their "spa package" in 50 amp but not 60.
Given this, I think I'll have him replace the 10ga thhn with 8ga thwn (it's only 20' from meter to tub so it should not be neccesary to go up a size as sometimes is necessary for long runs), the 60 amp disconnect with a 50 amp disconnect/gfci and leave the spa in 50 amp operation.
John
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John wrote:

IMO, this is a losing std config for a spa. This means whatever temp the spa is at when you turn on the jets, it's all downhill temp wise from there. Or if you keep it set to a lower temp to save energy when not used, now it means it has to be at the max temp before you get in. This is the way cheap portable 120V spas run because they have to. I originally bought a 120V spa, cause the salesman fed me a bunch of BS and never told me what we're talking about above. Soon as I found out that the heater and pump can't run at the same time, I had them change the power pack to a 240V unit that allowed both to run.
If you;re running new power, you;d be crazy to go for this option. In fact, it's so stupid, I'd seriously wonder about the fool company that built this thing. I mean, they could have opted for a slightly smaller heater to keep the amps down under 50, which is still a hell of a lot of power, instead of disabling the heater when the spa is running. Didn't they ever hear about parties, where the spa may run for a few hours?

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On 23 Apr 2006 09:18:09 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Here is a 60 A variation of the Ground Fault Interrupter by Siemens.
http://www.sea.siemens.com/reselec/product/rzgfci.html
Not cheap. But meets code if you need a 60A circuit to do the job.
Beachcomber
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John wrote:

John, I have a few observations and thoughts for you. First of all, the spas I've seen use 240v for pumps, heaters, blowers and control transformers. There isn't a good reason, that I can think of to mix 120v and 240v equipment in a "box" situation.
When running pumps on high in a spa, the temperature of the water will rise gradually due to the work done by the pumps. My spa, up on a mountainside in the snow, would go from 102f to 105f within 45 minutes without the heater running. Due to this, I'd stick with the heater lock-out and work with a 50a circuit.
Even if the spa is a balanced circuit (all 240v), I'd still pull in a neutral. Why? Well, a few months from now you might want to put in a yard light, add a waterfall nearby or otherwise need 120v, for something. By pulling in a neutral now, you've "future proofed" the spa's wiring.
As for your electrician, I definitely would have him come out and give him the opportunity to redo his work. If he refuses, then I'd get an inspector out, because he obviously either is mistaken about what a 60a circuit is or is misleading you.
I also would just assume that it would be a wet location and go with water resistant flex and #6 or #8. Nothing in the world says that you have to just use the rated wire. By pulling in #6 and using a 50a "kit" for the wiring, you later would have the option to add on with a breaker upgrade.
Mark
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Mark and Gloria Hagwood wrote:

This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. A water pump just moving water around in a spa will raise the temp from 102 to 105 within 45 mins? The amount of energy introduced into the water by the pump is there, but it's minimal and sure ain't anywhere near what it takes to raise 250 gallons of water 3 dgrees. Figure out how many amps the spa pump draws and do the math. The physics say it's impossible, even if all the energy were converted into heat.

Even after he used 10g wire for a 60 amp circuit and claimed it was OK because in a 240V circuit each leg only drays 30 amps? And didn't install a GFCI? Really? You'd sit in a tub of water connected to 240V that this moron hooked up?

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I only know what I personally observed in my hot tub. I had two 4-hp motors and it would heat up when they were operating on high.

Yup- the OP is obviously attuned to what is right and wrong, now.
Mark
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Mark and Gloria Hagwood wrote:

Two 4 hp pumps in a home spa? That must have been one hell of a spa!

The OP obviously doesn't have the knowledge to know if any further electrical work will be done properly. After using wire too small, no GFCI and demonstrating a total lack of electrical knowledge and code, what makes you think anything else the hack did or will do is going to be safe? I wouldn't trust him with the life of my family. I'd get a real licensed electrician in to fix it, then demand a reimbursement from the hack for the additional amount to do the rework.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It was a very good, but not an unusual spa. The motors were 2-speed, giving me 3 levels of agitation, after mere circulation. My comment about the water heating up was not an exaggeration, either. FWIW, it was by Arctic Spas, of Edmonton Canada. It could also be obtained with a third pump, as I recall, but we got it back in 2000, and I'm sure they have made some changes. By the way, Arctic Spas is a good company, makes a good product and stands behind their product well.
FWIW, about ten years ago, we had a home with a septic system and lift station. When the effluent went to the final tank, we had a mascerator pump that lifted the sewage about 50' vertical lift to a the field in the front yard. The installer tried a small pump and it wouldn't do the lift well with the "thick" liquid, so he installed a 240v 5-hp mascerator with 2" riser connected to a 1-1/4" flex pipe for burial. It worked very well. The holding tank was around 1200 gallons, as I recall,
One night, about 2:00a, the high water alarm from the tank went off in our house. I flipped the breaker to kill the pump, knowing that the alarm was set for about 1/2 full, giving me excess capacity. The next day, I dug up the lid on the riser, pulled the lid on the tank 6' down, and looked in. The effluent was so hot, around 10 hours later, that it was still steaming. To make a long story short- the pump had torqued off the PVC riser, shearing it cleanly. With nowhere to pump the effluent, it became a circulating pump. How long was this going on? I have no idea. What I do know is that it raised the temp in that 1200 gallon final tank to almost boiling.
One of the little things in life that will never be memorialized by Hallmark Cards is having to climb down into a septic tank to redo a pump onto its riser.
Mark
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