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Old 03-17-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


SHORT VERSION:

Does a jetted bathtub need to be on it's own circuit? The pump only draws 9 amps. Can it be shared with anything else on the same circuit?


LONG VERSION:

I am replacing a normal bathtub with a jetted bathtub.

This is a bathtub for one person where the water is drained after every use, not a hot tub for several people where the water stays in. It is not a Jacuzzi or Whirlpool brand name, but similar. There is a pump, no heater.

The pump is rated at 9 amps. The tub has a 2 foot cord attached with no plug on the end of the cord, going into a plastic junction box. The tub was bought used, and there are no installation instructions. I have tested the tub and it does work.

There is currently one 15 amp circuit feeding the bathroom lights & fan and a light in the adjacent laundry room. This circuit is fed from the main breaker panel.

There is currently another 15 amp circuit feeding the bathroom GFCI and an outlet inside an adjacent closet (which currently has a light plugged into the outlet). This circuit is fed from a subpanel. I am not sure why it is the way it is, but that’s the way it is.

There is space for an additional breaker, but I am running out of space, a subpanel was added to make more room, but now that is almost full, and I would prefer not to install a new breaker.



Question 1: Where do I locate the junction box for the tub?

a) under the tub beside the pump, behind the access panel
b) on the other side of the wall behind the tub (in the adjacent laundry room) at a level higher than the water level in the tub

My preference would be (b) because it is more accessible and intuitively seems safer to have the junction above the water level, but have also read most go under the tub, and that it needs to be within 10 feet of the tub (technically it's only a few inches away from the tub through the wall, but a user would have to walk more than 10 feet to go around, which would be faster than removing the access panel)


Question 2: How do I make the electrical connections with the GFCI?

a) run a separate circuit to the electrical panel and install a GFCI breaker
-pros: obviously this would be to code and an acceptable method
-cons: a GFCI breaker costs $117, lots of wire required, a space in the panel is taken up, installation requires opening the electrical panel

b) run a separate circuit to the electrical panel and use a blank front GFCI at the tub junction box
-pros: I think this is just as acceptable as option (a), cheaper than option (a), a blank front GFCI receptacle costs $27, a normal breaker costs $11
-cons: lots of wire required, a space in the panel is taken up, installation requires opening the electrical panel

c) tie into the existing circuit feeding the bathroom lights and use a blank-front GFCI at the tub junction box
-pros: less wire required, installation does not require opening the electrical panel, a space is not used in the electrical panel
-cons: ? is this an acceptable method? Is this to code?

d) tie into the existing GFCI outlet, and connect the tub downstream so that it is also protected
-pros: less wire required, installation does not require opening the electrical panel, a space is not used in the electrical panel, cheapest method as no breaker or blank-front GFCI need to be purchased
-cons: ? is this an acceptable method? Is this to code?

e) rewire the existing circuits so that the bathroom circuit(s) are not shared with the adjacent laundry room or closet.
-pros: then everything would be to code
-cons: I really don’t want to do that much work, the question still applies which of the above options do I use to make the electrical connections to the tub. (If the pump only draws 9 amps I can’t see why it needs to be on its own dedicated circuit. GFCI protection is obviously essential.)


Last edited by couchpotato; 03-17-2012 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:47 PM   #2
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


What size wire is in the cord. Check the tub itself for any more information. We may be able to get an idea of what OCPD we need by the wire size, but that would just give us an idea of the current requirement. Check the cord jacket (outer covering) and see what type of cord it is and what type. Make sure its the original cord. If its not the original that came on the tub. Forget trying to use wire size. Is it possible it had a plug on the end of the cord. Anyway, look inside the junction box and the tub for anything you can find as far as information.
Your post is way to long. That is why most people did/do not take the time to read it. I just quickly glanced over it myself.

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Old 03-17-2012, 12:54 PM   #3
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Sorry for the length, I was just trying to provide complete information to avoid additional questions.

The size of the wire that is currently attached to the tub is irrelevant. It is the original cord. There is nothing inside the junction box, except the stripped wire ends. The pump has a sticker that says 9 amps. The tub and cord have stickers that say GFCI is required. There are no stickers that say a dedicated circuit is required.

No, there never was a plug on the end of the cord, it is meant to be direct wired inside the junction box, not plugged into an outlet.

Last edited by couchpotato; 03-17-2012 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:36 PM   #4
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


every one i have installed require a dedicated 15 or 20 amp gfci ckt.generally the gfci goes behind access panel but i have seen dead front gfci's installed on a wall near tub.
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:21 PM   #5
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Quote:
Originally Posted by couchpotato View Post

cons: a GFCI breaker costs $117, lots of wire required, a space in the panel is taken up, installation requires opening the electrical panel
What kind of panel do you have, I just paid $36.00 for an Eaton one.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


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What kind of panel do you have, I just paid $36.00 for an Eaton one.
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...s=P_PriceNav|1

Whatever prices you see, add 10% tax.
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Old 03-18-2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


I know that "generally" the tub gets it's own dedicated circuit, and that "generally" it is GFCI protected by either a breaker or a blank face GFCI receptacle, and that "generally" the junction box is under the tub.

What I really want to know is if it can be done any other way, and why or why not.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Use an extension cord. If you ask enough times I'm sure you'll get the answer you want.
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Read the installation instructions for the tub, if it says to use a dedicated GFCI Circuit, it's required.

NEC 110.3
(b) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.


I don't have a copy of the CEC, but i would think there is something similarly worded. One of the Canadian sparkys will correct me if i'm wrong, i'm sure.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


The prices for a single pole(110) is right around what I paid for mine,the link you posted are for the two pole(220) ones.
Either way, from what I have read you need to have it on it's own circuit.The same reference Techy posted above.
Can you dedicate one of the two circuits you already have ?
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:12 PM   #11
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


When you are going to be sitting in a jetted tub powered by 120v I would say your options are wire it properly with a dedicated GFCI Circuit or don't do it at all.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:19 AM   #12
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Quote:
Originally Posted by brric View Post
Use an extension cord. If you ask enough times I'm sure you'll get the answer you want.
The answer I want would quote a section of the code relevant to hydromassage bathtubs, then provide an interpretation, explanation, or discussion, and ideally a comparison between then NEC and the CEC.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:22 AM   #13
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
Read the installation instructions for the tub, if it says to use a dedicated GFCI Circuit, it's required.

NEC 110.3
(b) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.


I don't have a copy of the CEC, but i would think there is something similarly worded. One of the Canadian sparkys will correct me if i'm wrong, i'm sure.
Thank you.

Unfortunately I don't have the instructions. I had thought that the code would address hydromassage tubs specifically, but perhaps it just passes the buck to the manufacturer. That might be why I have been unable to find any detailed info other that personal anecdotes.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:26 AM   #14
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GFCI wiring for a jetted bathtub


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenworks View Post
Can you dedicate one of the two circuits you already have ?
That depends on whether the bathroom GFCI outlet can be on the same circuit as the bathroom lights, bathroom fan, laundry room lights, and closet outlet. My initial thought was No, according the the NEC, but recently found on another discussion topic on this chatroom, that it might be permissible according to the CEC.


Last edited by couchpotato; 03-20-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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