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Old 07-18-2005, 01:20 PM   #1
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


I have a house that was built in two stages - The "old" part of the house was built around 1860, and the "new" addition was built sometime about 20-30 years ago. Anyway, the house has a 200A service coming into the main FuseBox which services the rooms in the older part, Plus the 220V for the Electric Dryer and the 220 for the kitchen stove. (Electric Water heater is on its own service with its own meter and everything).

Off the Main Fuse Box there is a 100A cable to a Wadsworth Subpanel (circuit breakers, not fuses) which services the rooms in the newer part of the house.

We have decided to get a Hot Tub which requries a 220V/50A feed. When we had an electrician out to give us an estimate, he said he could not tie it into either box, and wanted to replace both boxes with Siemens panels ($550 each + $800 for wires + 2k Labor = approx. $4k total). This of course was if we did some of the grunt work ourselves - like digging the trench for running the cables outside, etc)

I have a couple of questions:

1 - Do I NEED to tie this into an additional breaker at all? Because of specific SPA regulations, I already have to have a 50A Breaker/GFCI in a box outside. Do I need to have the supply for this go through another breaker in the main box and/or subpanel?

2. If I DO need to tie it into a breaker, the obvious choice is the "new" Wadsworth subpanel instead of the fuse box. It appears they are no longer making this box and I would have to special order the 50 A double pole breaker from some online supply company. Is there a problem with Wadsworth boxes? Are there any known problems with the designs that would require me to upgrade right now? I took a peek at it yesterday and the only thing I saw that looked different from newer boxes I have seen is that the ground connections and the neutrals were all tied together on the same bar.

3. If I need to replace the Wadsworth box, (or for that matter if I decide to use it) I need to be sure that the 100A feed into it is enough to add the Hot Tub to it. I think it most likely is, because at the moment it only services 4 rooms (kitchen, living room, bedroom, and office) plus some basement lights. It does NOT have any major appliances on it (dryer, stove, water heater). Is there a recommended method for doing load calculations?

Thanks.

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Old 08-26-2005, 11:14 PM   #2
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


I just bought a spa and ran into the same thing. An electrician quoted me $850.00 to hook up my spa. (most SPA mfg's require you have licensed electrician hook it up or warrantee is void). So I ran the wire and conduit myself, leaving the wires unhooked and plenty of slack. This is about $200 in parts. Go to home depot and get the SPA GFCI box, you have to have it. My city will not allow a Breaker GFCI. After I put the wires in, had the electrician come out and do the final wiring $100.00. Warrantee is intact and saved a ton of money. Although it killed me to pay the $100.00 for literally 30 minutes of work. :D

My box does not have a seperate Neut. and Ground, just 1 bar which is ok. Tested my system after it was hooked up. GFCI works great. Be careful wiring the GFCI, read the instructions IF you do it yourself. The nuetral is wired into the bar, NOT the breaker.

Hope this helps,

Jim
jmcfall@socal.rr.com



Quote:
Originally Posted by BigA
I have a house that was built in two stages - The "old" part of the house was built around 1860, and the "new" addition was built sometime about 20-30 years ago. Anyway, the house has a 200A service coming into the main FuseBox which services the rooms in the older part, Plus the 220V for the Electric Dryer and the 220 for the kitchen stove. (Electric Water heater is on its own service with its own meter and everything).

Off the Main Fuse Box there is a 100A cable to a Wadsworth Subpanel (circuit breakers, not fuses) which services the rooms in the newer part of the house.

We have decided to get a Hot Tub which requries a 220V/50A feed. When we had an electrician out to give us an estimate, he said he could not tie it into either box, and wanted to replace both boxes with Siemens panels ($550 each + $800 for wires + 2k Labor = approx. $4k total). This of course was if we did some of the grunt work ourselves - like digging the trench for running the cables outside, etc)

I have a couple of questions:

1 - Do I NEED to tie this into an additional breaker at all? Because of specific SPA regulations, I already have to have a 50A Breaker/GFCI in a box outside. Do I need to have the supply for this go through another breaker in the main box and/or subpanel?

2. If I DO need to tie it into a breaker, the obvious choice is the "new" Wadsworth subpanel instead of the fuse box. It appears they are no longer making this box and I would have to special order the 50 A double pole breaker from some online supply company. Is there a problem with Wadsworth boxes? Are there any known problems with the designs that would require me to upgrade right now? I took a peek at it yesterday and the only thing I saw that looked different from newer boxes I have seen is that the ground connections and the neutrals were all tied together on the same bar.

3. If I need to replace the Wadsworth box, (or for that matter if I decide to use it) I need to be sure that the 100A feed into it is enough to add the Hot Tub to it. I think it most likely is, because at the moment it only services 4 rooms (kitchen, living room, bedroom, and office) plus some basement lights. It does NOT have any major appliances on it (dryer, stove, water heater). Is there a recommended method for doing load calculations?

Thanks.

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Old 08-28-2005, 07:55 PM   #3
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


You can find a 2p50 Wadsworth breaker somewhere. If there is room you should be fine feeding the tub off that.

Why does this guy want to replace both boxes with two more panels? Why not just replace the whole thing with a new 200 amp panel?
Also, what "wires" is he charging you $800 for????




jmcfall -
Please be careful giving advice which may be dangerously wrong.
If you have a load connected to a GFI breaker, and the load requires a neutral, the neutral of that load MUST be connected to the GFCB's neutral connection. There are NO other options.
I am not exactly sure how you have your spa setup so I will not comment if your particular installation is incorrect or not.
I'm curious, what do you mean by your city does not allow GFI breakers?? How do you GFI protect a 50 amp,125/250v circuit then?

Also, I'm sorry that it killed you to pay $100 for a service call. I guess his travel time, van, insurance, tools, fuel, etc., are superfluous items which do not need to be paid for.
Besides, if all you did was run the cable and conduit I'm sure it took longer than 30 minutes to tie in the GFI disconnect, panel and tub. :confused:
I myself do not indulge in the " I'll do all the work and the electrician can do all the "hookups" " mentality. If I don't do the job, I don't sign my name to it.
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Old 08-31-2005, 01:37 PM   #4
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


Thanks for the info guys - although I've had it hooked up for over a month. My main concern was whether or not there was a problem with the wadsworth box. It's nice to know I did the right thing, though.

The spa box I got from Home Depot had seperate Neutral and ground Bars, so I kept them seperate - although it probably didn't matter because the SPA does not use the Neutral, and the Neutral and GND are conncected together back at the breaker box.

My dealer told me that as long as the electrical hookup meets the local codes they would still honor the warranty, so I did the whole thing myself. If I had been quoted $850, I probably would have considered that pretty reasonable - as I ended up spending $300-$400 in parts and most of a Saturday doing the labor. However, when I was quoted $4000 I thought that was a little much.
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:03 PM   #5
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


Kraze.... I know your not happy with electricians but you pulled up a two year old post to continue making a fool of yourself. Do you realize this guy has several potentially lethal electrical violations? For instance the Wadsworth he fed the hot tub panel from is a sub-panel and the poster explains away the seperated neutral and ground at the spa panel as not necessary because all the neutrals and grounds are connected at the sub......qouted below

"The spa box I got from Home Depot had seperate Neutral and ground Bars, so I kept them seperate - although it probably didn't matter because the SPA does not use the Neutral, and the Neutral and GND are connected together back at the breaker box."

Under the right conditions this can kill you and your hot tub friends, family whoever is in that tub with you. It's those right conditions that we wire to keep from happening in pool and hot tub installations.

If you don't know or are indifferent why this condition is dangerous and deadly then you just threw that caring nature for others, you have been telling us about, right out the window. You have just given this guy a pat on the back for ignoring safety because of cost and lack of knowledge.... and further he had no inspection done. How careless to risk the safety of your family over costs and then not even pay the 50 bucks to have a codes inspecter make sure it is right. He simply doesnt know what he has done and "thinks" he has the tub wired correctly because everthing is "working"..... this attitude has killed many many people.

You have had a bad experience with one electrician now you want to blame all electricians for it. You come on this forum bashing electricians expecting to get a kiss for it. How disrespectful is that? How naive is that?

Your analogy between yourself and electrical contractors doesn't serve much good. Your profession takes a great deal of skill as does electrical work and deserves the same respect. However, nails and wood and plumbing pipes don't kill people or burn houses down.

BTW I've seen some extraordinarily shoddy work in your profession also.... but I don't blame the entire industry for it.

Stubbie

Last edited by Stubbie; 08-23-2007 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:37 AM   #6
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


Kraze... I'll just say one last thing as this is getting way to far out of hand. If you have been in the industry as long as you seem to imply, you would have to know a good reliable electrical contractor or master electrician. Please don't tell me there aren't any. Ask them for a bid or maybe some advice or maybe even help you with this mess. I'm not quite following how you think you can learn how to fix that panel and service without the correct skills. Asking a DIY forum to explain wire size for a 200 amp service and how to correct a very messed up service panel in a multifamily dwelling is a very risky liablity for yourself. This is not something to learn as you go. Besides you can't legally sign this work off and pull the electrical permit without the correct licensing. At the very least you need to working under the supervision of a master electrician. We are all very well aware of the "facts of life" that work like this goes on without pulling permits and is completed by remodelers or others that aren't licensed electricians. However, we generally will give advice if we feel the job does not require a professional with the appropriate skill level for the task at hand. This job is not one of them, surely you can see that. Get a professional you trust to help you with this job, you have to know someone if your in the building trade as a legit contractor. There is simply no way I or anyone is going to shoot from the hip with advice for that screwed up mess that you are faced with at that dwelling. We would have to be there and look at it !!
I do agree with you in that your trying to find out the right answers and I hope for the right reasons I just don't think it is possible to give those answers in this case.

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Old 03-11-2010, 09:12 PM   #7
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Hot Tub/Spa Installation


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
You can find a 2p50 Wadsworth breaker somewhere. If there is room you should be fine feeding the tub off that.

Why does this guy want to replace both boxes with two more panels? Why not just replace the whole thing with a new 200 amp panel?
Also, what "wires" is he charging you $800 for????




jmcfall -
Please be careful giving advice which may be dangerously wrong.
If you have a load connected to a GFI breaker, and the load requires a neutral, the neutral of that load MUST be connected to the GFCB's neutral connection. There are NO other options.
I am not exactly sure how you have your spa setup so I will not comment if your particular installation is incorrect or not.
I'm curious, what do you mean by your city does not allow GFI breakers?? How do you GFI protect a 50 amp,125/250v circuit then?

Also, I'm sorry that it killed you to pay $100 for a service call. I guess his travel time, van, insurance, tools, fuel, etc., are superfluous items which do not need to be paid for.
Besides, if all you did was run the cable and conduit I'm sure it took longer than 30 minutes to tie in the GFI disconnect, panel and tub. :confused:
I myself do not indulge in the " I'll do all the work and the electrician can do all the "hookups" " mentality. If I don't do the job, I don't sign my name to it.
$100 was OK with me, what killed me was I could have done it just fine. Actually took him 20 minutes to cut and install 8 wires (SPA panel already wired, he wired GFI and snapped it in), and SPA had quick screw connectors, was nothing else for him to do. My city does not allow a SPA/Pool GFI breakers at the panel for safety reasons. Must have a seperate Sub-Panel (SPA box) within 12' of SPA, with quick disconnect, within eyesight, signage, fencing around spa and locking cover. City Inspector physically inspects all connections and fencing.

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