A DIY hot tub installation could save you several hundred dollars in labor fees of an electrician, and you can do the installation at your own convenience. These tips will help you to get through the process safely.
Creating a Power Route
Make a path for the electrical cables to reach the hot tub. Today’s hot tubs are usually self-contained, and no pipes are necessary for the delivery of water. However, you will need to wire the tub. Most cities have specific code requirements for routing power to an appliance that uses water. You may have the option to choose a conduit that runs above ground or underground. If you plant to run the conduit underground, be sure to have the utility company come out and mark the locations of current underground pipes and wires.
Most cities, like when installing a spa in Portsmouth, NH, might have specific code requirements for routing power to an appliance that uses water.
Please check your local governing jurisdiction for code requirements.
Installing Updated Breakers in Your Electrical Panel
A hot tub’s pump will need to have its own separate circuit, and it needs to be hard-wired. This circuit must be dedicated to the hot tub. Most hot tubs will need to have a ground fault circuit interrupter that delivers 240 volts and 50 amps, but some require 60 amps. The 240 volt demand is more than any other appliance usually takes, and additional wiring is needed. You cannot simply plug in a hot tub into an outlet. If your hot tub is large and has more than one pump, it might need even more amps.
The tub’s heater will also require its own hard-wired circuit. The size of the wire that you use should have National Electrical Code approval or approval through your local building codes. Choose the size of the wire based on the distance between the circuit breaker and the hot tub. The maximum current draw of the hot tub is another important factor in choosing wire size. All wiring should be copper with thermoplastic nylon insulation. If you use wire more than 10 millimeters in diameter, it will need a junction box.
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Consider Electrical Safety and Product Warranties
The manufacturers of hot tubs sometimes stipulate that the product’s warranty will be voided if the wiring is not done by a licensed electrician. In some situations, the manufacturer will require the signatures of both a licensed electrician and a local building or electrical inspector in order to validate the warranty.
If you choose to do the wiring on your own, be sure to keep the wiring on its own circuit. The high demands of the hot tub’s pumps and heater could cause a short circuit if another appliance were connected to the wiring, and you tried to use both appliances at the same time.
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Connecting the Electricity to the Hot Tub
Put together the hot tub and connect the electricity. Before adding water, shut off the electrical power to the tub. Once the hot tub is filled with water, you can then turn on the pumps and heater. If you are not familiar with how electrical systems work or how to make connections between junction boxes, wiring, circuit breakers and electrical panels, be sure to consult a licensed and bonded electrician for guidance.
If you have any questions or doubts about how to wire your hot tub, consult a certified and licensed electrician. Saving a few hundred dollars is not worth an injury or damage to your house. An experienced electrician can usually make quick work of a hot tub setup. When you are familiar with wiring, take your time and have someone nearby to help you at all times.