Hot tub wiring can be complicated. Take care when doing a hot tub install

Updated November 2017

There is nothing more pleasurable than soaking in a hot tub after a long day. If you are one of the many people who would like the ability to do this regularly, installing a hot tub in your backyard may be your answer. That being said, mixing electricity and water is dangerous. So when installing hot tub wiring, you can rely on expert advice from Prairie Electric. If you run into any trouble or are simply unsure, give us a call before turning on the power and jumping in.

Service panel electrical capacity

The first thing you should check after you have decided to wire your own hot tub installation is the service panel to see if it has enough open slots of sufficient amperage capacity to accommodate the power requirements of your new hot tub. You will need at least two adjacent slots in the service panel and for the installation of the double pole breaker, which is used to supply your 240-volt circuits with the power they require.

Hot tub building codes

Another factor to consider is determining whether or not your yard is suitable for a hot tub. Each city has specific building codes that address installing a hot tub on residential property. Do a quick search for your city’s building codes to ensure you’re following safety protocols. Vancouver’s building codes as they relate to hot tub installation can be found here. Some factors that municipal building codes will address are overhead power lines, metal objects near the hot tub and underground wiring concerns.

Hot tub wiring considerations

When running wiring from the service panel to the hot tub, it is important to protect it with a PVC or metal conduit. Typically you can run your hot tub wiring through the basement or accessible crawl space inside the home, or even underground if the wiring spans more than 5 feet. Check your owner’s manual to ensure you have the gauge required for a safe power connection.

Wiring tips during the hot tub install process

  • Proper tub installation: Check your town’s requirements for bonding metallic parts in and outside your hot tub  Depending on your municipality, there may be different requirements involved when bonding metallic parts in and outside your hot tub to prevent electrocution.
  • Remember GFCI: Ground circuit interrupters: GFCIs shuts off the power to the hot tub should there be a sudden power surge that exceeds the capacity of your circuit breaker. In order for the GFCI to do it’s job, all circuit breakers, fuses, and quick disconnect boxes need to be a minimum of 5 ft away from the hot tub.
  • Positioning of your hot tub: You need to keep in mind the distance your hot tub sits from any electrical cables, including overhead power lines. The minimum distance between any conductive cables and your tub is 22.5 feet. Measure this distance from the top basin edge to the nearest surface of electrical or communications cabling. Making sure that your hot tub is positioned correctly is essential to avoiding accidents and enjoying your tub for years to come.

After following all the procedures laid out in your owner’s manual, be sure to double check all connections, confirm your work follows your city’s building codes and ask a licensed electrician to look over the hot tub installation before switching power on and hopping in the water. Good luck and happy hot tubbing!