The standard hot tubs operate on 220 to 240 volts or between 30 and 60 amps while smaller spa units run on 110 or 120 volts.
The majority of the modern houses have more than 100 amp service capacity. But if your house is built before 1980, you may want to call in a technician to check the service type.
If it is less than 100 amp service, you might need to upgrade your system before you install a spa.
What Size Breaker Do You Need for a Hot Tub?
A system including a 50 or a 60 amp breaker, and a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is ideal for hot tubs.
As the National Electrical Code (NEC) suggests, the hot tub or spa must be wired to the GFCI by a certified electrician.
Circuit interrupters need to be installed wherever there’s a possibility of water coming into contact with electricity.
The hot tub electrical panel/the spa panel or the manual disconnect device must be placed in order between the circuit breaker panel in the house and your hot tub. They will actively prevent any possible forthcoming accidents.
Why do you need a GFCI breaker for your tub?
GFCI Blocks unstable electrical current leakage
GFCI inhibits electrocution and cuts off power when things go wrong. The receptacles of the tub need to be GFCI-protected and weather-resistant.
Prevents electrical mishaps and accidents
GFCI is a power-protection fairly common with hot tubs. It keeps your tub safe for you and your family by auto breaking deadly electrical supply lines whenever there’s an unbalanced flow of current between the circuit return conductors and the supply.
Protects from ground wire faults
Your hot tub’s ground wiring works are protected by the GFCI. It’s a fine safeguard for whenever an unanticipated problem will take place under the ground due to broken wiring or an occurrence similar to this.
Safety Considerations for a Hot Tub
Emergency shut off
There should be a characterized emergency switch that’s easy to get to and at a manageable distance from the tub. Classically, a big red push button mounted on the nearby fence/pillar, or wall.
Danger is imminent as long as there’s water and electricity involved and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a must for hot tubs to avoid the risk of electrocution.
Power lines and Big trees
A hot tub should never be installed directly under or around a power line for everyone’s security.
Don’t forget to keep at least 15-20 feet safe distance from overhead power lines or trees with heavy branches in your backyard when installing a hot tub outdoors.
Keep away from underground wiring
Try to side-step underground wiring; especially underneath an outdoor hot tub even though it looks clean and saves up space.
When there’s no other way, the underground wiring should be placed in stiff metallic channels or malleable conduits that are burial graded.
The metal raceways should be buried at least 6” under the surface and non-metal tubes should be about 20” under the surface.
Light up the tub
Avoid low-voltage lighting for 10 feet around your tub even when your unit is GFCI guarded. You’re required to install brighter lights in your hot tub area by code.
How to Test Voltage and Amperes in a Hot Tub?
There are many different packs and setups for hot tubs out there, but the general idea is to look for two leads.
Once you have found the leads, carefully connect them to your voltmeter’s two ends without touching anything else. A multimeter clamp makes it easier.
You may get an electrician to do it for you if you feel uncomfortable. There are 2 popular ways to test your element fairly quickly –
- Grab yourself a voltmeter
- Turn it to volts
- Use AC power
- Get the 2 leads and put them on your element
- Connect the meter’s ends to the two leads right on the circuit board in case you can’t get to the element on the heater tube.
For instance, you should get around 240 volts if your hot tub is a 240-V model. It’s not a big deal if the numbers get a little high or a little low on the meter’s screen as long as the fluctuation is insignificant.
- Get an amp meter
- Select AC
- Put the clamp around the wire or one of the leads
- Lean it on there to see the numbers coming up on screen
Normally, a 4-kilowatt unit will show you about 40 amps and a 5.5 kilowatt will be about 23 amps.
How much will a hot tub add to your electric bill?
Too many physical factors
Every hot tub has different running cost indications with multiple elements involved. There are far too many physical factors to consider before giving you an exact figure.
The wind speed, water temperature, weather, the cover’s effectiveness at retaining heat, the hot tub’s effectiveness at retaining heat, the amount of time it needs to warm up.
Average cost per week
Regular hot tubs cost somewhere between $8 and $25 a week on your bill depending on the usage and the type of spa you have.
If you’re in there for 4-5 hours a day with the cover back in the depth of winter, the power consumption rate will be higher up at that point than in summer.
Professional vs DIY installation for hot tub
The DIYers need to step back a little this time. It’ll be more appropriate to let a licensed and experienced electrician deal with a 220/240 V electrical circuit and all the other wiring for your tub. One wrong move can get you seriously injured or killed!
Among other things, the connections should be safe and match the requirements of installation codes.
Why should you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines
Manufacturers know their products best. Read the owner’s manual well so you have a clear idea of what’s happening with your hot tub.
You’ll get a reasonable amount of information, recommendations, and precautionary guidelines to help you use the unit safer and longer.
Q. Can I use a 50 amp breaker for a 40 amp spa?
Yes, you can but make sure you have it wired and full-fledged inspected by a professional certified electrician.
Q. Is it necessary for a hot tub to have its own circuit?
A hot tub must have a dedicated circuit. Any electrical outlets, lighting, plugs, or other components within 5 to 7 feet of the tub also need to be connected to and protected by the GFCI.
Q. Can a hot tub run on a 30 amp breaker?
Yes, some tubs satisfactorily operate on 30 amp and 20 amp circuit breakers. Read your owner’s manual to have a clearer look at the matter.
Q. Can a hot tub share a circuit?
Never because using a hot tub’s circuit to run an air conditioner or any other components can be extremely dangerous.