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3detailer 05-14-2010 02:48 PM

Whirlpool GFCI circuit info conflict.
 
Hello everyone. I have a question regarding a conflict of information on the correct way to install GFCI protection for a motor/pump under a Whirlpool bath.

Heres the deal. I am ready to install GFCI protection for this unit. I did a search on the net for installing this circuit, and what I read on
different sources, conflicts with what professional Whirlpool installer at our local highend plumbing supply house told me.

Basically, the sources on the net "implied" that a circuit for a Whirlpool unit, MUST have a DEDICATED circuit from the panel, which is protected by a 20amp GFCI breaker. Which if correct, makes this project not only difficult to wire as my panel is recessed into an exterior wall(no access to wiring from the panel), but expensive as well, as my panel is so old I've had to order "normal" replacement breakers from Portland Oregon. Yesterday, I went out to locate an "airswitch'(none exists on the tub), at my local electrical supply house. While there, I asked about a GFCI breaker for my particular panel, and 3 of the clerks busted out laughing. :eek: They told me this GFCI would cost a WHOPPING $150!!!!:furious::no::no::no: Uh...no way jose. I just can't afford that. They also recommended a second supplier for the airswitch, which I just visited. And thats where the discrepancy comes in.

As I was paying for the airswitch kit, I asked the "clerk",(who also happens to be the owner of the business, and installs Whirlpool units himself) what the deal was on GFCI's. Not only did he say a DEDICATED line was NOT required, but a wall box mounted GFCI could be installed in the bathroom, AND it could be fed from an existing 20amp(12ga wires?) circuit that feeds the bathroom outlets or a circuit from an adjacent bedroom. Well, given the choice, this method is a NO BRAINER for me! Ha. He also recommended using a GFCI that is a direct connect(switch only-no outlets), which I would feed the airswitch/motor. Which I bought and was ready to hook up. But then, I began to second question this method. I really like to do things right. Hence my posting this.

So, can anyone tell me the REAL deal here. I've done lots and lots of DIY wiring, including 3ph shops, 3ph voltage conversion from 208 to 240, etc etc. But even though it would be easier and cheaper to listen to this local guy, I NEVER go against code. So....anyone know the Code. I'm in Coos Bay Oregon. BTW, even if this method is ok, I plan on putting the GFCI on the opposite side of a wall at the end of the tub, which divides off the toilet area. Would that meet code as well? Thanks for any insight.
fitZ

HooKooDooKu 05-14-2010 03:15 PM

I believe the NEC consideres what you are talking about to be a "hydromassage Bathtub" covered by section VII of Article 680.

NEC 2008 680.71 states that "Hydromassage bathtubs ... shall be on an individual branch circuit and protected by a ... GFCI."

I'm guessing the reason is because the NEC already requires a Bathroom to be supplied by a 20 amp circuit just so you can run a modern day hair dryer and the lights... those two together can easily exceed 2,000 Watts. So if you were to add the motor of a whirlpool, you could quickly way overload even a 20 amp circuit.

680.71 does NOT say you need a particular size circuit, so that just means you have to size the circuit based on the labeling of the power requirements on the whirlpool (and its associated electrical components if there are any). It does say the circuit can't be more than 30 amps. [EDIT: Strick that very last statement. I misread the code... it says that receptacles not exceeding 30 amps located within 6ft of the tub must also be protected by a GFCI]

I would think the typical way to wire one of these (which is how my house is wired) is to use a GFCI circuit breaker which usually cost about $40 (if you only need 15 or 20 amps).

Speedy Petey 05-14-2010 03:18 PM

Well, if you can't afford to install the GFI breaker then don't bother. It's only safety, so what the hell.
Funny, you had no problem affording the tub, but now doing it right is too expensive????:mad:


OK, on a more serious note, posts like yours here REALLY bother me, but I will offer advice anyway.
The owner/installer clown at the store is only half right. YES, you certainly CAN use a blank-face GFI in the room with the tub. It CANNOT however be a GFI receptacle...unless it is a GFI receptacle under the tub where the motor is.

YES, it MUST be a dedicated circuit to the motor. If you would like code citations to support this let us know. DO NOT put a tub motor or heater on with the bath receptacle circuit. The man was a FOOL for even suggesting this!

A question: If you can't afford a project like this why bother starting it? Wouldn't you look into all this BEFORE you went ahead and purchased and installed the tub??? :whistling2:

brric 05-14-2010 03:18 PM

As a professional electrician I would never connect such a unit to other than a dedicated circuit. If your unit is a cord and plug manufactured unit then a standard GFCI or a deadfront GFCI is sufficient per the NEC. Local regulations could supercede the NEC.

sparks1up 05-14-2010 03:42 PM

Speedy pretty much covered it like it is however you also need to have a piece of #8 solid bare or insulated copper wiring from the pump motor casing (there is a lug on the casing) to a the cold water pipe (put the clamp on a pipe fitting not the pipe) and if you install a GFCI receptacle under the tub it has to be accessible. That means you have to put it near the access panel for the pump and facing in a direction that allows access to remove and replace it!

Jim Port 05-14-2010 03:47 PM

Sounds like the owner of the shop never bothers to read the installation instructions or the electrical requirements. The last whirlpool tub I wired called for 12 amps just for the blower in addition to another circuit just for the heater.

Yoyizit 05-14-2010 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Speedy Petey (Post 441957)
. . .look into all this BEFORE you went ahead and purchased and installed the tub??? :whistling2:

Hardly anybody does it

"Game trees that describe sequential-move games also let you "look forward and reason backward." This allows you see what your strategy should be now for the best chance of success in the future. This is also known as backward induction."

yet almost everyone can profit from it.

HooKooDooKu 05-14-2010 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3detailer (Post 441949)
I asked about a GFCI breaker for my particular panel, and 3 of the clerks busted out laughing. :eek: They told me this GFCI would cost a WHOPPING $150!!!!:furious::no::no::no: Uh...no way jose.

Sorry, for some reason I didn't read that correctly... that you already priced a GFCI breaker for YOUR panel. I guess I had a total disconnect when you quoted a price of $150 when I know I can get one for MY panel for only $40 at the local big-box retailers.

Now 680.71 does NOT specify that a GFCI breaker be used... just that the circuit be GFCI protected and be an individual branch circuit. To me, that means you could spend about $20 for one of these:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_245866-334-V...ductId=1238561
It's basically a GFCI receptical... without the plugs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3detailer (Post 441949)
I NEVER go against code.

So if you want that claim to remain valid, you WILL have to bit the bullet and find a way to fish some wire for a dedicated circuit for the tub. But it looks like you can save yourself more than $100 and just us a regular circuit breaker and insert one of these blank-faced GFCI recepticals between the breaker and the tub.

[Assumes this is less than a 1-1/2hp motor... as that receptical lists that as a max]


[Edit: Ahh... I see this is the "blank face" GFCI receptical others are recommending.]

3detailer 05-14-2010 05:32 PM

Quote:

"Hydromassage bathtubs ... shall be on an individual branch circuit and protected by a ... GFCI."
That is EXACTLY what I wanted to know. Thank you. I could have looked for this, but interpretation is another matter. Thats why I asked for someone to quote the code. Again, thank you.

Quote:

Well, if you can't afford to install the GFI breaker then don't bother. It's only safety, so what the hell.
Excuse me?:eek: Why do you think I posted my questions. Just to waste your time?:furious: Saftey WAS the concern, not saving money or time.

Quote:

Funny, you had no problem affording the tub, but now doing it right is too expensive????:mad:
Wait a minute pal. How the hell do you know what I could afford? Not that I have to explain ANYTHING to you, but for your information, this tub was GIVEN to me by a friend who had just installed it and had a fire the following week. The tub was not damaged, but they had to remodel the entire bathroom. That was SEVEN years ago, and its been in storage ever since, as I never had the budget to remodel my bath till now, and even this is on a shoestring. Otherwise I wouldn't have asked for DIY help. I'd just PAY a pro electrician. But I'm on a limited disability income, and had a small finaciall windfall this month.

However, IF, a dedicated circuit doesn't REQUIRE a GFCI BREAKER...then I believe your assessment of my fiscal resources as the defining factor vs safety is...lets just say I believe you've placed your foot in your mouth.


Quote:

OK, on a more serious note, posts like yours here REALLY bother me, but I will offer advice anyway.
Bother you? I simply asked for a correct method for installing GFCI protection. And THAT bothers you? Well, I apologize for antagonizing you. On a more serious note, I suggest you take chill pill pal. I was under the assumption this forum is for exactly what I was asking about...electrical questions. I guess my definition of ELECTRICAL is in need of updating though.

Quote:

The owner/installer clown at the store is only half right. YES, you certainly CAN use a blank-face GFI in the room with the tub.It CANNOT however be a GFI receptacle...unless it is a GFI receptacle under the tub where the motor is.
Ok, I'll tell him. And suggest he look up the code. Afterall, he is an owner of a high end Plumbing supply and installs these, according to what he told me. This is the SECOND reason I asked here. I like more than the word of a self claimed "expert".

As to the location of the GFCI, ok, if I understand your statement correctly in regards to the CODE, then I presume this means I do NOT have to have a GFCI breaker, IF I run a DEDICATED circuit on a standard breaker, and a GFCI receptical, either blankface or outlet type, feeds the airswitch/motor, and is mounted UNDER the tub. By "blankface", I assume you mean a GFCI with ONLY a reset switch and no outlets. Is that correct? That is what I bought, but I can exchange it for one with outlets if I am not allowed to cut the plug off the airswitch, and wire it direct. Like I said, I only bought the "blankface" type as I planned on placing it in the opposite side of the end wall for EASY access should the GFCI get tripped for some reason. That is why I planned on wiring the airswitch direct instead of plugging it in to an outlet type. Although, I still don't understand why the GFCI is required to be "under" the tub vs in a wall box where no one can reach it while in the tub. But, if thats what is required by Code...well, thats why I asked.

Quote:

YES, it MUST be a dedicated circuit to the motor.
Got it.
Quote:

If you would like code citations to support this let us know.
The previous reply was enough. Although, I will research the local code to see if it supercedes the NEC. In hindsight, I should have done this in the first place. It may have kept your blood pressure from increasing.
Quote:

DO NOT put a tub motor or heater on with the bath receptacle circuit. The man was a FOOL for even suggesting this!
You can be sure I will pass this on to him. And only for others safety sake.

Quote:

A question: If you can't afford a project like this why bother starting it?
Since you know so much about what my finacial resources allow, I submit you already know why? But just for others information should they not own a crystal ball, lets put it this way.
1.got the tub free. .
2.I AM a professional cabinet maker and designer with 20 years of CAD design/detailing for a high end Storefixture manufacturer. I have my own complete shop with most tools to do anything around a home. Hence, I do NOT need a designer, nor cabinetmaker
3. I have a large collection of high end materials saved from my last job as a cabinet maker. Including White melamine interiors, Maple Armorcore ply for ultramodern Eurostyle cabinetry, highend pulls bought from Contractor yardsale for $10, drawer guides( a box of 20 pair at same show for $15)
Hence my budget needs for 9' of cabinetry... zilch. NONE. I don't need a cabnet maker. Plus, I'm a great finish person and have a complete Laquer spray rig. AND, I am certified in Solid surface and specialty Laminate fabrication.
4. I already installed a tile floor.
5. I already plumbed copper/drains for the tub.
6. I already plumbed copper/drains for a new shower and installed the shower pan.
7. I already purchase a 9' Granite countertop at a Contractors yardsale, prebullnosed, polished and only requires 2 Vessel sink drain/faucet holes and one end cut, BOTH of which I can do myself. Total cost. A whopping $135 vs a quoted price for custom made at $75sq ft.
8. Having tiled many projects, the tub surround/access panel and shower are childs play.
9. Already framed said shower, installed Hardibacker/greenboard and faucets valves, of which I found both BRAND new high end American Standard with Stainless steel Trim kits...for a whopping $8 each at a local
Habitat for humanity store. vs...$276 PER faucet at local plumbing store.
10. Already installed toilet, which I found BRAND NEW, at a yard sale for a whopping $15.
11. Already purchased 2 nice 5/8" thick Blue glass rectangular
Vessle sinks from ebay..with faucets/drain kits. Total cost..A whopping $190. Installation/plumbing...easy.

12. I am fully equiped and experienced for drywall/texture work. Compressor/texture gun etc.

13. Already own 2 large high end Chrome Transparency frames from leftover fixture contract with Macys to be used as Mirror frames. Total cost. Zilch. Nothing. Free.

14. Large 1/4" 3'x7' mirror bought at yardsale for whopping $5. Cut glass for years as journeyman Millworker at store fixture manufacturer. No brainer.

15. Tile surround for counter. Whopping $7 at yardsale. Installation childs play.

16. 2 bags thinset, 3 bags grout bought at Contractor yardsale. Whopping $20

17. 2 gallons latex primer, 1 gallon Ben Moore paint at same sale. Whopping $12. With current airless sprayer rig..painting is less than easy.

18. Purchased high end 1/2" clear glass door 28"x80" with built in brushed nickel hinges and pull. Total cost. A whopping $35 at yardsale. Installation. How hard is it to drill 6 holes in tile and fasten 6 screws.

19. Miscellaneous stuff. Door latch set, new window, glass block for tub/shower, about $45
and NOW...an Airswitch ...$63
and GFCI + wire/boxes......$24

Perhaps this satisfies your curiosity into my financial resources having anything to do with STARTING this project.


Quote:

Wouldn't you look into all this BEFORE you went ahead and purchased and installed the tub??? :whistling2:
Shouldn't you have looked iin your crystal ball before you stuck your foot in your mouth.:whistling2:

Just the same, thanks for your "serious" answers.

Quote:

If your unit is a cord and plug manufactured unit then a standard GFCI or a deadfront GFCI is sufficient per the NEC.
It is. So is the airswitch, which I want to cut off the plug and wire direct. Any problem with this in regards to code? The motor will simply plug into the Airswitch assembly. However, I'm left wondering what the NEC states regarding placing the GFCI under the tub vs in the end wall. Can you quote any relative code that defines under the tub location?

Thank you.

3detailer 05-14-2010 06:18 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Btw, heres a few Sketchups of the "plan". :) Actually, these aren't finished, but you get the idea. And no, I didn't include "outlets' or lights or many other things in the sketchups. These are just basic, mostly for planning the cabinetry and the shower framing. Oh, the reason I wanted the GFCI in the wall, was the alternative(under the tub) means it would have to be behind an "access" panel which would have to be removed or opened if hinged to reset should the need arise. No big deal. So be it. Thanks.
http://httpics.com//is.php?i=1211&img=7963Bath_1.jpg

http://httpics.com//is.php?i=1215&img=Cabinet_2.jpg


http://httpics.com//is.php?i=1214&img=Cabinet_1.jpg

Yoyizit 05-14-2010 08:13 PM

Dunno' the NEC, but. . .

Normally putting one GFCI downstream of another makes for problems troubleshooting.

But if each GFCI has 1 chance in 1000 of not tripping on dangerous leakage current, then one downstream of the other would give you aircraft level reliability-1 chance in 1M of not tripping on dangerous leakage current.

The CPSC might know req'd initial reliability levels for GFCIs in the US. For CO detectors it's 99% reliability, 1 chance in 100 of not working.

I'd do it, fer' sure. Running duplicate ground wires wouldn't hurt, either.

Sparky8370 05-15-2010 10:40 AM

You can't run duplicate (read as parallel) equipment grounding conductors unless you want to follow all the requirements and run all the conductors at 1/0 or larger, and also in parallel. But you can upsize the ground, but you will have to follow 250.122 (I think that's the one) and upsize all the conductors.

The idea of feeding off the bathroom is moot because the only time a bathroom circuit gets shared is with another bathroom.

brric 05-15-2010 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sparky8370 (Post 442220)
You can't run duplicate (read as parallel) equipment grounding conductors unless you want to follow all the requirements and run all the conductors at 1/0 or larger, and also in parallel. But you can upsize the ground, but you will have to follow 250.122 (I think that's the one) and upsize all the conductors.

The idea of feeding off the bathroom is moot because the only time a bathroom circuit gets shared is with another bathroom.

Where does it say upsizing an equipment ground requires upsizing the other conductors?

3detailer 05-15-2010 11:17 AM

Sparky8370 says:

Quote:

The idea of feeding off the bathroom is moot because the only time a bathroom circuit gets shared is with another bathroom.

Hello Sparky8370. Just so DIY layman like myself fully understand the implication, could you please elaborate on that please. What makes it "moot", and how does this apply to the method, incorrect or not, of feeding the GFCI from an existing circuit in the bathroom? Sometimes, concepts that seem a no brainer to electrical experts may not be apparent to those who do not understand the nature of electricity. For instance.

Not long ago, on another bbs forum, a fellow recording enthusiast posted a grounding question regarding connecting a grounding rod to the ground bus bar on a Sub Panel. Boy did the fur fly.:eek::laughing: It evolved into a 20 page dialog regarding neutral current, theory, all the way to the Newman Machine....holy moly. What a mindf...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Newman_(inventor)

http://www.josephnewman.com/


Nikola Tesla once wrote:


"The day when we shall know exactly what electricity is,
will chronicle an event probably greater than any other
recorded in the human race."

No wonder electricity is mindboggling.

What may appear as common sense to DIY'ers unfamiliar with electrical "potential" can get them in trouble, if not kill them. I am no different. Thats why I posted this thread. If I created conditions whereby my wife might be electricuted...well, she'd kill me.:laughing: Self preservation is the actual motive.:wink:
fitZ

Speedy Petey 05-15-2010 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3detailer (Post 442232)
Sparky8370 says:
Hello Sparky8370. Just so DIY layman like myself fully understand the implication, could you please elaborate on that please. What makes it "moot", and how does this apply to the method, incorrect or not, of feeding the GFCI from an existing circuit in the bathroom?

201.11(C)(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.

It is also very much common sense to not have a tub on with the bathroom receptacle considering the typical use these receptacles get.

I will not regress and comment further on prior discussion other than to say I hardly put my foot in my mouth sir.


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