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Old 09-11-2007, 03:06 PM   #1
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


I'm new to this forum, so forgive if this has been posted in the past. I couldn't find anything recently on this specific question and I'm hoping that ya'll can help me out!

I'm installing the electrical for a new spa. I'll have an electrician check on my work prior to install, but I have a question about grounding rods.

As far as I can tell, there are no code requirements in my area for a separate grounding rod, but my old man (bless the guy) is adamant that I should install a grounding rod for the spa. I'm ok with the idea of doing "better than code" for safety reasons, but want to make sure that installing another grounding rod can't cause any unforseen problems.

Per code in my area, I'll install a 60am 240v "spa box" outside my house, at about 10' from the spa. The spa box is simply a small panel that includes a 60amp/240v GFCI in it.

I'll connect the spa box with GFCI to a 60amp breaker in my house panel that is not GFCI.

I'm running all 6 gauge/3 wire plus ground (two hots, 1 neutral, ground).

My question is--is there any problem with also installing a grounding rod near the spa box, then connecting the grounding rod to the spa box (and therefore the ground from the GFCI)??

Dad thinks this is an excellent safety step to prevent possible shock if something goes haywire in the spa itself... shorting through the grounding rod instead of my wife, kids, or myself! But a friend thinks I could be setting up "competition" between the original grounding rod and the new one, in the event of lightning strikes and/or other unforseen elec spikes.

Help me understand??

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Old 09-11-2007, 04:41 PM   #2
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Sorry, but your dad is quite wrong. There is NO added "safety" in sinking a ground rod for a spa. In fact your friend is correct that if it is not bonded to the service EGC you can have problems.

Your father is under the common misconception that a ground rod serves any safety purpose at all. It does NOT. Especially when considering live wires and tripping breakers.
Again, contrary to popular belief, power is NO seeking ground as many folks think. It is looking for it's source.

Here is some good info:
http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.ph...lt%20(01-25-2K)

http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.ph...0(01-25-2K)%20

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:10 PM   #3
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Also if your spa has an underwater light you must run your conductors in conduit all the way to the main panel.

And yes installing a ground rod is a bad idea creates differnet potential.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JohnTelcoMan View Post
Also if your spa has an underwater light you must run your conductors in conduit all the way to the main panel.
This is a controversial subject. To simply say "if your spa has an underwater light you must run your conductors in conduit all the way to the main panel" is WAY too broad of a statement that does not apply in many/most cases. If you've ever seen the lights installed in a package spa you'd know why it does not apply. They are simply not what is referred to in that section of the code.
Usually it falls to the fact that the light is part of a "package" spa and does NOT follow the same rules that pools do in this regard.
If the spa is "assembled" on site and is comprised of different parts, the light being one of them, then yes, it does have to follow the same rule as pools.
Most every package spa I have done in recent years has had either a low voltage or fiber optic light so this "all conduit" rule does not apply.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
This is a controversial subject. To simply say "if your spa has an underwater light you must run your conductors in conduit all the way to the main panel" is WAY too broad of a statement that does not apply in many/most cases. If you've ever seen the lights installed in a package spa you'd know why it does not apply. They are simply not what is referred to in that section of the code.
Usually it falls to the fact that the light is part of a "package" spa and does NOT follow the same rules that pools do in this regard.
If the spa is "assembled" on site and is comprised of different parts, the light being one of them, then yes, it does have to follow the same rule as pools.
Most every package spa I have done in recent years has had either a low voltage or fiber optic light so this "all conduit" rule does not apply.

Wow I really wish I knew that when I put mine in. Actually the whole low voltage thing Is what I was thinking about at that time. I think John N is the one who mentioned the whole conduit thing to me.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:45 PM   #6
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Some AHJs are trying to enforce this rule applying it to package spas.
IMO I don't know how they get away with it. If you look at the descriptions in 680.23 is is quite obvious that none apply to the average package spa. That whole section is aimed at underwater lights that require re-lamping from the water side.

Even 680.42(C) specifically states "Wiring to an underwater light shall comply with 680.23 or 680.33".
How can the wiring "to the light" comply when it already done at the factory?
680.33 is the closest thing that would apply and it says nothing about conduit.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #7
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Wow--thanks for the speedy help folks! So I guess I pounded that 8' grounding rod into the earth for nothing then.... crap.

I'll head your advice on this one, but if you have just a moment, can someone explain to me why having two grounds is a potential problem? I'm just curious as to how that could be a problem? I guess I'm one of those people who likes to understand the "why" of it all...

Even if you don't have time to answer this new inquiry... thanks again for your advice!!
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Old 09-13-2007, 12:12 PM   #8
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Folks;

Please endulge one more question on this topic??

If I connect the new grounding rod to the bar that's part of the new service box (that contains the GFCI), AND IF I ALSO connect that bar to my main panel's ground, then is there any problem?

My read of the material that Speedy Pety recommended, and to this thread suggested that there could be danger in an additional grounding rod that was NOT connected to my home panel, and its' respective grounding rod.

But if the two grounding rods (the original on 1 side of my home, and a new on on the other side of my home closer to the hot tub) are connected to one another via the 6ga ground wire that services the Spa Disconnect GFCI from the 60amp breaker in my main panel...Then don't the two grounding rods essentially behave as one?
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:34 PM   #9
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Exactly. The added ground rod is perfectly fine, albeit superfluous, as long as it is bonded to the other grounding electrodes in the system.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:54 PM   #10
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


OK, Great! Thanks!!

My dad will be able to try out the hot tub w/o fear then, thanks!!

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Old 09-13-2007, 04:06 PM   #11
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Connecting the ground rod to the spa panel ground bar I don't believe would be acceptable since the spa panel is in the same structure as the service main panel. This would utilize the equipment ground of the spa feeder as the bond to the main service panels GEC. I don't believe code allows this. Personally I would just abandon the ground rod and not use it. If the feeder ground opened along with an event of a voltage gradient in the area of the spa (like a neighbors service neutral having a fault to earth) current may backfeed the ground rod and travel to the spa via the equipment ground. It would be much better to not have this possibilty however remote it may be. If you must have that ground rod to have peace of mind with your dad then do not bond it to the spa panel ground bar but run a bare #6 to the main services ground rod add a clamp to it and bond it there. My read of the GEC system is that in the same structure the grounding electrodes are to be bonded to each other and the service panel via a grounding electrode conductor not an equipment ground as you are suggesting.

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Last edited by Stubbie; 09-13-2007 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:15 PM   #12
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Actually stubbie is correct. I misread that post.
You would have to use a dedicated GEC to bond the rods, not the EGC from the spa feed.
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:22 PM   #13
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Actually I read it the first time just as Speedy did and thought nothing of it... but the second time through I caught the fact you were going to the spa panel with the ground rod. The #6 ground you qouted is what threw me off. That is usually the gec size for the main panel and I thought you were running that to the main panel ground bar not the spa panel.

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Old 09-13-2007, 07:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The #6 ground you qouted is what threw me off.
Yeah, that's what got me. I must have been using my man-vision.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:24 PM   #15
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Hot Tub Install--Grounding Rod Question


Agian, my thanks for your focused advice!! Here's a copy of the instructions that came with the GFCI that was included in my Spa Disconnect:



And here is my drawing of how I planned on wiring this all up:



Are you saying that this plan is improper (dangerous)? I don't quite understand the part about "havingto use a dedicated GEC to bond the rods, not the EGC from the spa feed."

I don't follow the lingo here?? Is my plan alright now that you see the above pictures, or do I need to so something different??

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