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Electrical Tips for a Safe Hot Tub Installation

Hot tubs are a popular addition to backyards and for good reason. These units help to create an oasis of relaxation and beauty in your yard, perfect for unwinding after a long day. But they will also require extensive planning for proper installation, including structural and electrical work. Although some of this is possible to handle as a DIY project, much of the wiring should be done by a professional to ensure it is safe and efficient.

Structural Support for the Hot Tub

Filled with 40 gallons of water, hot tubs are incredibly heavy and require adequate support no matter where they are installed. Even when you are placing the unit out on the lawn a concrete pad is recommended to be sure that the tub stays level and stable.

Often people install their hot tub onto a deck or patio. These units cannot be placed directly onto the ground without at least a gravel base laid, but often a solid surface is your best option. Pour a concrete pad if possible, or install a well supported wooden deck to provide the level, solid surface your new tub needs.

Electrical Work Required

The hot water in your tub is heated by electricity. Also, the pump and any digital elements of the tub (timers, thermostats, controls, etc.) will need to be hardwired in for dependability. Because this backyard feature will be outdoors the wiring and other electrical elements have specific requirements designed to withstand any weather. You need to be aware of what is needed - even if you are hiring a trained electrician to handle the installation.

All outdoor outlets and junctions need to be a GFI (or GFCI) design. This ground fault (circuit) interrupter will prevent electrical shocks and protect the system from damage due to water. A GFI box is often installed at the point where your hot tub wiring exits the house and heads into the yard. Inside the house wiring may be run through your joists or installed in conduit for protection and neatness.

Any wiring installed outside will also be in rigid PVC conduit, even if it is installed underground. Buried wire needs the protection of rigid conduit to protect it from accidental damage due to digging.

You also need to be sure that the wiring at the tub is done exactly as the owner's manual dictates. Some tubs are considered to be “no load neutrals,” which means that the neutral wire is capped off. This will look different than other models, but only in terms of the wiring. A professional will know how to ensure the connection is done properly.

Both structural and electrical work is essential to ensure your new hot tub is installed correctly. Often you will need to book an inspection for the electrical work, as well as for any support posts needed on the decking under the tub. This step may seem inconsequential, but when a building permit is obtained you can be sure your hot tub installation follows the code for optimum safety and reliability.

Posted by: diana
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