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Discussion Starter #1
The other day I brought a hot tub home and stuck it out on my back deck. Was one of those, "if you come and get it you can have it" deals and me not being one to pass up a new toy for free, I went and got it. My deck is up behind my basement workroom where my panels are, and he gave me the breaker for the tub, however I dont have any room in my existing panels and would have to add another to accommodate it.

Firstly, my house has only a 100 amp service, will this electricity-sucker cause me any issues?

I have a friend that is a jorneyman industrial maintenance mechanic and he wires 240 and 480 all day long in control panels and such at the factory we used to work together in, is this a task he could handle or would it be better to hire a pro?

Thirdly, if I did hire a pro, any ballpark idea (within a few hundred $$) of what it would cost? Depending on where on the deck I put it it would be at the most a 25-30 foot run to the panel, I have the breaker already but do need a Square D box for it.

Im just a carpenter, I deal with wood, not wires, hence I aint touching it myself....LOL
 

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DGR,IABD
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Wiring spas is the one single thing that the code is perhaps the strictest on. There's a whole section of the code dedicated just to spas and hot tubs, and hydromassage tubs. They're even a little stricter than swimming pools, which are also a big headache.

Here are a couple of code facts that make spa wiring expensive as hell:
1) The spa must be GFCI protected. This necessitates the use of a 50 amp (normally) GFCI breaker in the panel, or a "spa disconnect" outdoors that has integral GFCI protection.
2) The code requires that the spa ground wire be insulated the whole way to the panel. That being said, the ground wire in Romex is not insulated, it is only covered with paper and the jacket. This requires that spa circuits be in conduit the whole way to the panel, and not wired in Romex.
3) Spas require a disconnect near the spa. There are min and max distances.
4) Spas suck a heck of a lot of current. This requires big conductors.

If you only have a 100 amp service, and you have any other electric heavy hitters such as central air, electric water heater, electric range, you can't hook up a spa without a service upgrade in all likelihood. You'd have to have your electrician perform a demand load calculation to be sure, but you can be pretty sure this won't fly if you have other big electric using appliances.

The cost for the "average" (if there is such a thing) spa install without any special circumstances is between 600-900 bucks, depending on local market conditions. If you need a typical (??) 100 to 200 amp service upgrade, add 1500-2000 bucks to that price. This free spa could cost you from 600 to 2900 bucks to get installed properly and to code. People get really upset with electricians all the time, because spa salesmen almost always tell people they only cost a few hundred bucks to get wired. Yes, they cost a few hundred bucks to get wired up if your deck was prewired for a spa (reasonably common in newer homes). It's much more than that starting from scratch.

Don't cut corners, and don't hire a guy who is willing to either. Boiled and deep fried Longacre is not something any of us want to hear about. There's a great divide between a "functional" spa install and a "compliant" spa install.
 

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DGR,IABD
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Just for kicks, look for the dataplate on the hot tub and see how many amps it draws. There are some models that don't have a heater, and they don't draw as much as a normal spa. It might not be the doomsday scenario if this spa only has a pump and no heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, it has a heater and all that. I am planning a service upgrade anyhow for my basement remodel thats upcoming, but I wasnt planning on that until winter. I've lasted 36 years without a hot tub, I can wait a few more months.

I appreciate the advice, I figured on the wiring expense, but it wasnt until today did the thought of, "oh yeah...100 amp service" came to mind. And yeah, I have central air, electric water heater, electric range, and an electric dryer...so no way in hell would my service handle that thing at the present time.

They finally ran the gas down the street last year, now I just gotta get it piped to the house so I can get rid of the electric appliances which would help, but why half-ass it, may as well upgrade the electric service too.....not like Im planning on moving anytime again in this lifetime...LOL
 

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2) The code requires that the spa ground wire be insulated the whole way to the panel. That being said, the ground wire in Romex is not insulated, it is only covered with paper and the jacket. This requires that spa circuits be in conduit the whole way to the panel, and not wired in Romex.


I just have a quick question. Is this requirement in the NEC, or is this required in your area. I could not find anthing about this in Article 680
 

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DGR,IABD
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TerryD said:
2) The code requires that the spa ground wire be insulated the whole way to the panel. That being said, the ground wire in Romex is not insulated, it is only covered with paper and the jacket. This requires that spa circuits be in conduit the whole way to the panel, and not wired in Romex.


I just have a quick question. Is this requirement in the NEC, or is this required in your area. I could not find anthing about this in Article 680
Eh, I wrote that off the cuff a year or so back. That is a requirement for field built spas with an underwater light. Normally not a requirement for a packaged spa. I'm surprised nobody called me out on it yet. Good catch.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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This would be true for the indoor part of the circuit in a one and two family dwelling.
Outdoors still needs conduit and an insulated ground.



IV. Spas and Hot Tubs
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 680.42(B), that would otherwise apply to pools installed outdoors.


II. Permanently Installed Pools
680.20 General

Electrical installations at permanently installed pools shall comply with the provisions of Part I and Part II of this article.
680.21 Motors
(A) Wiring Methods
(1) General
The branch circuits for pool-associated motors shall be installed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, or Type MC cable listed for the location. Other wiring methods and materials shall be permitted in specific locations or applications as covered in this section. Any wiring method employed shall contain an insulated copper equipment grounding conductor sized in accordance with 250.122 but not smaller than 12 AWG.
 

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Deck Designer/Builder
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This was an old post and I don't remember seeing it but I sure hope he didn't set that hot tub up on ANY deck!
 
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