Installing the wiring for a hot tub requires a solid understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements as well as the requirements of the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), your local building codes department. The NEC sets minimum standards for electrical work. The AHJ may have requirements that go beyond those of the NEC, so inquire about any such requirements when you apply for the wiring permit. An example is that the NEC permits the use of direct burial cable when wiring a hot tub, but many local codes require that the wiring be in electrical conduit.
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Things you need
- Wiring permit
- Wooden layout stakes
- Hand sledge hammer
- Mason's cord
- Trenching shovel
- Post hole auger
- Post, 4-inch by 4-inch x 72-inch
- Rediform tube, 8-inch x 18-inch
- Quickete post-setting cement
- Drill-driver, 3/8-inch
- High-speed drill bits
- Hole saw attachments
- Schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit, 1-inch diameter
- PVC couplings, 1-inch diameter
- 2 factory PVC 90s, 1-inch diameter
- 2 PVC LB Condulet fittings, 1-inch
- 2 PVC hub with locknuts, 1-inch
- PVC cutter
- PVC primer
- PVC cement
- Seal-Tight flexible conduit, 1-inch
- 2 Seal-Tight connectors, 1-inch
- 50-ampere GFCI breaker box
- 50-ampere, 240-volt, 2-pole circuit breaker
- Wire pulling tape
- #8 AWG solid copper TWW red building wire
- #8 AWG solid copper TWW black building wire
- #8 AWG solid copper TWW white building wire
- #8 AWG solid copper TWW green building wire
- Diagonal pliers
- Wire strippers
- Needle nose pliers
- Lineman's pliers
- Wire nuts
- Black plastic electrical tape
Lay out the route the conduit will follow from the house to the hot tub. Drive the stakes in the ground and link them together with Mason's cord. Pick an entry point on the side of the house as close as possible to the main service panel.
Remove the sod along the route in 24-inch x 24-inch squares and set aside for replacing. Dig a trench 20 inches deep. The NEC requires that conduit be buried at least 18 inches. At the tub end of the trench, sink a post hole 24 inches deep at the bottom of the trench.
Place the Rediform tube in the post hole and set the post inside the form. Brace the post to keep it vertical. Fill the Rediform tube with dry Quikete cement and add water. Quickete hardens in a very short time but allow eight hours for it to harden completely.
Lay out the conduit, end to end, next to the trench. Join the sections with couplings. Cut the last section of conduit so that the factory 90 is against the post and against the side of the house. Prime the couplings and conduit, and then coat them with PVC cement. Allow an hour for the cement to harden completely.
Using the hole saw attachment with the drill-driver, cut a hole through the side of the house where the conduit will enter. Measure the thickness of the wall and add 2 inches to determine the length of the conduit needed to connect the two Condulets. Attach the nipple to the back of the Condulet and slip it through the wall. Measure between the bottom of the second opening on the Condulet and the bottom of the opening on the factory 90. Cut a piece of conduit to this length and cement it between the factory 90 and the LB Condulet.
Mount the GFCI breaker box on the post. The GFCI breaker box fulfils the NEC requirement that the hot tub be GFCI protected. It also fulfils the NEC requirement of a safety disconnect within view of the tub. Install the hub in the bottom knockout. Measure and cut a piece of conduit long enough to join the hub to the factory 90.
In the basement, route the conduit to the service panel, and install in the side of the panel with the second hub.
Install one of the 1-inch Seal Tight connectors in the GFCI breaker box and the other in the hot tub's system box, which is behind a removable panel on the hot tub.
Run the wire pulling tape through the conduit from the Condulet on the outside of the house to the GFCI breaker box. Remove 8 inches of insulation from the ends of the wires and insert them through the eye on the wire pulling tape. Double one of them back and wrap it around all the other wires. Tape tightly in place. Stretch the other stripped wires out along the body of the wire pulling tape and tape in place. A helper is needed here to feed the wire into the conduit as you pull it through. Pull enough wire through to reach all the way to the service panel without having to splice it.
Remove ¾ inches of insulation from the ends of the wires in the GFCI breaker box. Route the red and the black hot wires to the top of the box and connect them to the two brass screws on the breaker. Route the white wire up over the breaker and down to the neutral bar. The white pigtail from the breaker should already be connected to the neutral bar. Route the green grounding wire up over the breaker and down to the grounding bar.
Assemble the Seal Tight flex and install the wires in it before installing the flex between the breaker box and the tub's system box. Remove ¾ inches of insulation from the ends of the wires. Connect the red, black, white and green wires to the appropriately marked terminals. Connect the red, black and white wires to the appropriately marked terminals on the output side of the GFCI breaker. Connect the green wire to the grounding bar.
Turn off the main service disconnect and install the 50-amp, 240-volt, 2-pole breaker in the house service panel. Depending on the type of panel that you are working with, either snap the breaker into place or secure it to the Buss Bars by screws. Connect the red and black hot-wires to the breaker. Connect the white neutral and green grounding wire to the panel's neutral and grounding bars.
With the new breaker in the off position, turn the main breaker back on. Do not replace the panel cover or install any of the other covers until after the work has been inspected by the AHJ.
Call for the inspection. Once you have the green tag from the AHJ, close everything up.
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