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Old 11-13-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
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Whirlpool Tub & Electricity


Hi Everyone,

I don't know if I'm a victim of Murphy's Law, or if I'm doing something wrong.

I installed a whirlpool tub and am now working on the electric side of things. The tub came with a motor and I added the heater accessory. Directions said to install seperate outlets with GFCI protection for the pump and heater.

Here's my setup. I have two 15A GFCI breakers in my panel on seperate busses. Black wire is run to upper breaker, red to lower. White wire is run to upper breaker, with a pigtail to the lower. Both pigtails from breakers are tied into the neutral bus.

I've run 12/3 with ground to the tub. I installed one commercial grade outlet. I broke off the tab connecting the two hot side screws. Black went to upper, red to lower. White is connected to neutral, ground to ground.

PS - There is nothing plugged into the outlet, and this is the only outlet on the circuit.

Now, here's my problem. I bought the two breakers at the same time. One works, the other doesn't. It stays in the tripped position. I swapped wires. I moved the breakers. The non working one stayed non working while the working one works on both hot lines, in both slots.

So, I figure the breaker is defective. I exchange it. Same problem with new one. No matter what position, it will not reset.

Please help.

Thanks,
Tim

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #2
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You installed two GFI breakers for the tub using a shared neutral?

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Not going to work.
You need a double pole gfci breaker to make this work.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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Yes, shared neutral for both.

I'm getting the feeling I can't do a shared neutral for two different breakers. Can I do that with the double pole?
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
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Yes, that should work.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by myowneq View Post
Yes, shared neutral for both.

I'm getting the feeling I can't do a shared neutral for two different breakers. Can I do that with the double pole?
Exactly. GFCI's work by sensing the difference in current between the hot and neutral conductors. So if current flows out on the hot conductor and does not return through the neutral, it trips. That's how it detects ground faults. The way you have it set up, all current leaving one breaker returns through the other. It will trip instantly. You need either two separate neutral runs (too late for that now), or a double pole GFCI breaker that senses the net current balance on BOTH hots plus the neutral.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help everyone. I might have figured that one out myself, if not for the fact that two different breakers, even by themselves with the known good breaker completely removed, wouldn't work.

However, finding such a 2 pole breaker is not proving easy. Three different electrical supply companies do not carry them in stock.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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They are hard to find and quite expensive. I would be surprised if no supply house in your area has one though. But you might get a better price online.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Last time I checked online for a 2P 20 GFI breaker it was about 80 bucks. You'd almost be better replacing the split duplex receptacle with two separate GFI receptacles and using one regular 2P breaker.

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