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Old 05-03-2019, 08:20 PM   #1
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120V Hot Tub Install Options


Hey all! First post. Go easy? lol

So I recently grabbed a 120V, assumed still 15A (the guy I bought it from replaced the pump and did a few "DIY" modifications, like a "new", apparently 14 AWG - although it's rather thick? - weatherproof cord), hot tub for a steal and am debating my (limited) power install options. I know where I want/am going to place it, but unfortunately, that's not (currently) anywhere near an outlet.

So here are my options... and while I've read a few pros, and cons, and "requirements", of each, I guess I'm just looking for second, more educated, opinions on the "best" one?

1) My one current outdoor outlet is a standard one in a weatherproof enclosure on a 20A GFCI breaker, with 2 other (rarely used) indoor GFCI outlets on the circuit, and possibly a bathroom fan. Reaching it would likely require a 50' extension cord (considering 10/3) in addition to the length of the currently installed 14 AWG plug. Not "recommended", but I've calculated the voltage drop to be minimal? And with a 50' cord, I could always replace the tub cord with a shorter/thicker one, possibly with an inline GFCI as well.

2) I have an indoor plug just under 15 feet away from the install location, but it's obviously... indoors (although I do run a cord through the sliding glass door on occasion for my electric smoker, air compressor, etc.), and on a standard 15A breaker, thus possibly a lesser gauge wire than the 20A GFCI? Considering adding an outdoor, weather/tamper-proof GFCI outlet directly opposite this standard indoor one on the outside wall, through the wall, which would allow me to reach it with the currently installed cord... or possibly, eventually, an upgraded replacement (likely also with inline GFCI). But I'm not sure (yet) what else is drawing on the circuit inside the house, which ultimately might cause more issues than option #1 on an all but dedicated circuit?

3)
Have a pro run a dedicated line from wherever, which is obviously the most costly, but also "best", option... although I'm trying to avoid this until I'm even sure the thing even runs, and give it a thorough "test run" to make sure it's my "thing"? Then again, I obviously don't want to spend multiple times if at all possible, either.

Anyway. Analyze... suggest... roast... flame... whatever? And thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:43 PM   #2
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


No roast or flame, probably a good question.

But, I'm sure your problem/guess depends on both the operation of this bargain hot tub and then it's amp requirements.

I'd drop it where you want it.... unless it's easy to move in which case drop it closer to your 20 amp circuit and test it.... first for it's operation and whether you want to keep it, and second use a 12 g extension cord and test it's draw under max.... throw an amp meter on it under max draw.... when heating and circulating...

that should tell you what you need to do if you want to keep it.

Good luck
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:07 AM   #3
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


Thanks for the (quick) reply. And I just added "those" because just about everyone out there, manufacturers included, will recommend against any sort of extension cord... but some have, or so they've said, personally used a decent gauge one without issue. "DIY", right? lol

And don't get me wrong; it's a decent little tub, especially for the price (practically free), assuming no issues... and the guy seemed honest enough; just upgraded, and needed it gone. Not some inflatable soft side, but an older, round, hard plastic model with basic options. I can dead lift and roll it around on it's side by myself, but since I already have it on the deck, I really don't want to roll it completely back off, onto my trailer, and tote it over to the 20A breaker (which is a 15A outlet anyway; not sure on the wire size to it, but the outlet needs to be replaced anyway). I do have a 12 ga cord on hand, but pretty sure it's 100 ft., so not sure about the possible voltage drop at that length and gauge, and don't want to underpower any electronics. Also don't want to plug it into the inside outlet to test withno GFCI outlet there, or inline on the installed cord.

In fact, while your advice IS probably the best way to go about it overall to test, the other catch 22 is I don't really want to fill it (already spent the better majority of a day scrubbing it) to put it under load until I can sort out a cover, which was all but shot. One reason for the dirt cheap price? Then again, also don't want to spend $200+ on a new cover until I... test it? Grrrrr! Could fill and drain it, I suppose, but guess I was kinda hoping for a "theoretical" answer before going that route.

But this particular model is "rated" for 15A. Then again, the guy I bought it from (small construction/remodel business owner) said he'd swapped the pump at some point with a spare he had left over from a torn out jacuzzi bathroom unit, so no idea how that might factor into/change things.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:53 AM   #4
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


I would just use the cord for a few goes and see how the whole idea works out,
If your happy with it and decide to keep it ?
Then get an electrician to instal a dedicated circuit with GFCI


do you know what the power requiremants for the tub are ?
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:33 PM   #5
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


Sorry. Got sidetracked... on other projects! lol

The serial plate on it actually lists it as 120V and 12A (not 15; my bad), on a recommended 15A breaker. So I would assume even if the pump were "upgraded", I'd still probably have some leeway, especially on a 20A breaker (albeit a 15A GFCI wall plug)? And the 'ol online calculator shows I'd have about a 3.8V drop on my existing 100' 12 ga cord, leaving me 116.2?


Likely safe (enough) to "test"?
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:05 PM   #6
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I am shocked that it is rated at under 15 amps. You do mean hot tub, not whirlpool tub? It has a water heater, right?
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:38 AM   #7
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


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Originally Posted by Wiredindallas View Post
I am shocked that it is rated at under 15 amps. You do mean hot tub, not whirlpool tub? It has a water heater, right?

Good thought. Yes, please confirm that it is for sure a 120v setup.


By the way I have an inflatable hot tub that runs on 120v and a bit under 15amps for the heater. It takes a long time to heat up initially when first set up but once it does it stays warm.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


It's definitely a (portable, hard-side) "hot tub"/spa (with jets, a heater, and even a couple lights and a "waterfall"!), is 120V, and all I know is the metal plate on it says it's (or was, originally, before the guy I bought it from swapped the pump?) rated at 12A? Don't hold me to it, though...

Here's (exactly) what it is... or the same model (snagged the pic); an old Dreammaker Eclipse. Pretty basic, but hoping it'll do the job.





Regardless... the plot thickens, and it might be a BIT more complicated than originally thought?

So my one outside outlet/pair. I thought it was on the 20A GFCI breaker in my panel, but it's not; that goes to my master bath whirlpool tub (no heater on THAT one! lol). It's actually on a circuit with a single 30A breaker in the panel, where all the others are paired 15/15 and 20/20. It's also on the same circuit as my spare/master bath outlets, with a GFCI outlet in the spare bath... which I used to purposely trip on occasion to turn off the Christmas lights without going outside. lol

However, it's also on the same (30A, overall) circuit as my living room entertainment center (2 separate outlets), and apparently the lights in the spare bathroom and one bedroom. However, tripping the spare bath GFCI outlet will kill all the bathroom outlets along with the outdoor one, but not the living room outlets or any of the lights? Flipping the breaker obviously kills them all, though.

But here's the issue. I'm not sure the outdoor outlet is going to provide the necessary amps (even AT only 12?), simply because it's the ONE outlet that won't FULLY kick on my little 1-gallon air compressor. It will try to if the tank is partially full, but just won't give it full power. I figured it was just the outlet, as it used to do the job fine years ago on a bigger 5-gallon compressor, and the bathroom ones will kick the 1-gallon on at full power, but I just replaced the outlet with a 20A GFCI and a new waterproof box/cover, but still have the same issue?

So what gives? I'm getting right at 122.8 volts at both hot/neutral and hot/ground, and identified hot beforehand to make sure the outlet's wired properly (not so sure about the spare bath GFCI yet, as I replaced it several years ago? lol). Then again, it's just a single 3-pair wire pair going to the outdoor outlet, with no other wire running off the other side to somewhere else in the circuit. As such, is it possible the issue is at the other end of said wire strand, in the panel, since all the other outlets in the circuit seem to be doing the same - compressor - job just fine (or else I'd be looking at the amp draw on the overall circuit)? Grrrr...

Toss 'em out there? And thanks for ALL the help.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:23 AM   #9
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


"Thickens" is right (or rather, NOT "thick" enough... wire)??

Upon further research, it seems that 30A shouldn't even be IN the panel, let alone on household outlets (per code)? Frankly not sure how it got there (and it definitely looks newer than the rest), but seems like the first thing to do would be to replace it with a proper, 15A/15A one, and maybe I'll uncover/remedy the issue while I'm in there (as it certainly seems to me like there are somehow 2 circuits tied into one... but not entirely given the spare bath GFCI only trips half the outlets)? Then again, would replacing it with a 15A/15A mean the tub would likely trip the breaker at 80% load, which is the tub's rated 12A (and possibly a bit more)? And while I'm sure the wall wiring is likely standard 14 GA, would considering replacing it with another 20A GFCI be a bad idea given the bathroom outlets (and possibly, eventually, tub) are on it?

Gotta scratch my head on this one for a while. Any (likely) chance the previous owner might have done this to run higher amp power tools on the outdoor outlet? Regardless, seems like a BAD idea... and still doesn't explain why just that one outlet is having issues with the compressor. Worst case, guess I ight have to re-run the wire from the panel to the outlet... although luckily, it's just on the opposite side of the wall, and seems like a single wire (although I already installed and sealed up the new outlet/box, with some marine adhesive/sealant I had on hand). :/

Last edited by Dzignr_Tastz; 05-25-2019 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


You can test that tub by using any exterior receptacle you have. I'd just make sure that any other devices on that circuit which are plugged in, are turned off or unplugged.

You haven't mentioned a GFCI on the cord plug. It's supposed to have one.

As far using that tub on a more permanent basis, the MFG calls for a 15 amp dedicated circuit.

If you don't have an instruction manual for that tub you should get one. Here's an online source for download.
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/68...pa.html#manual

Getting that 30 amp breaker out of the panel is a separate problem. IMO, it needs taking care of, as soon as possible.. It should save you a little money if you had the electrician handle both the breaker problem and the dedicated circuit at the same time, vs two separate jobs.

You may find that your panel may not accept a tandem breaker in that panel position. It could be one possible explanation of why someone combined 2 circuits on a 30 amp breaker, which is a code violation.
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Old 05-25-2019, 12:11 PM   #11
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


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You can test that tub by using any exterior receptacle you have. I'd just make sure that any other devices on that circuit which are plugged in, are turned off or unplugged.

You haven't mentioned a GFCI on the cord plug. It's supposed to have one.

As far using that tub on a more permanent basis, the MFG calls for a 15 amp dedicated circuit.

If you don't have an instruction manual for that tub you should get one. Here's an online source for download.
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/68...pa.html#manual

Getting that 30 amp breaker out of the panel is a separate problem. IMO, it needs taking care of, as soon as possible.. It should save you a little money if you had the electrician handle both the breaker problem and the dedicated circuit at the same time, vs two separate jobs.

You may find that your panel may not accept a tandem breaker in that panel position. It could be one possible explanation of why someone combined 2 circuits on a 30 amp breaker, which is a code violation.
I realize I can test it on any outlet (in or outdoor, and I'd probably go with my spare bath GFCI outlet, if I had to choose ATM), but I'm not going to bother filling it until I actually have an outdoor outlet that will do the job (as I currently don't, which is a separate problem in itself). And no; it doesn't have an inline GFCI on the cord, but that's one reason I (very recently) replaced the one outdoor one I do have with a GFCI outlet... but it still has the apparent amperage issue? And once I do test it all out (and it hopefully works after all this? lol), I'll likely replace the installed cord with one with an inline GFCI before permanent setup, especially since the - now GFCI - outlet isn't on the 20A GFCI breaker like I thought. But one step at a time?

And thanks for the link, but I did already find the manual... on ManualsLib. Love that site!

I also plan on replacing the breaker myself... today (or maybe in the morning, when I don't need the A/C! lol)? Already scoped out the proper Siemens QT 2-pole/tandem 1-pole at Lowe's for the 1" slot. And once I separate (again?) the two seemingly combined circuits, I'll all but effectively have a "dedicated" circuit in the sense that none of the outlets on the spare bath GFCI outlet circuit are ever really used (single guy in a 3 bedroom), and if I ever do need to use one, I can always step out on the deck and unplug the tub from the extension cord temporarily... or let the breaker trip remind me to? lol

All that noted... any idea on the amp draw issue from the outlet (which is the biggest obstacle at the moment)? Seriously wondering if the previous owner (my Dad) didn't "DIY" swap it himself, possibly because his table saw kept tripping the breaker (only thing I can think of)? Wish I could ask, but unfortunately, I can't. :/ But if he did, it's been like that for almost 20 years... and if he didn't, someone wants me to burn my house down? But at this point, it is what it is; at best, a bad idea, that I want to fix (right).

But thanks for the quick reply. Hoping to possibly resolve (all) this over the weekend?
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Old 05-25-2019, 12:19 PM   #12
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


-You have to get the 15a circuits onto 15a breakers.
-High amperage tools aren't performing due to voltage drop. The voltage you read at an outlet isn't the same when under load.

-If a previous owner engaged in dicey or suspect electrical "fixes" I recommend you get those sorted.
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Old 05-25-2019, 12:49 PM   #13
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
-You have to get the 15a circuits onto 15a breakers.
First thing on the agenda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
-High amperage tools aren't performing due to voltage drop. The voltage you read at an outlet isn't the same when under load.
So... any advice as to what might/would be causing voltage drop on a single (new) outlet in a circuit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
-If a previous owner engaged in dicey or suspect electrical "fixes" I recommend you get those sorted.
I've noted the only apparent "fixes", and/or issues, I've run into/am aware of? Everything else in the panel looks "stock"/original, other than the one 20A GFCI I replaced myself several years ago.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:30 PM   #14
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
-High amperage tools aren't performing due to voltage drop. The voltage you read at an outlet isn't the same when under load.
Actually, I just ran across a thread/one of your comments on "that pro site" that addressed "splices and voltage drop" in more detail. So I'm assuming since my outlet is fed by only a single wire in the box, it's also likely the last outlet in a/the circuit... and thus my issue would be somewhere between the prior outlet (which, regardless of which it is, seems to work fine for the compressor) and this one?

And in your personal experience, does the wire from the panel usually run to the furthest outlet, and then back... for in my situation, it surely doesn't seem to go to the closest (which is the outdoor one on the other side of the wall from the panel) and then out from it to the others?


EDIT:
And IS it at all possible that the spare bath GFCI I replaced years ago is the 2nd to last outlet in the circuit, before the outdoor one (despite it being furthest away from it, which could mean the panel likely runs to the closest indoor outlet, down the line through the house, and then back to the outdoor one as the final one?), and I simply wired it wrong, with hot on neutral or something? Could this potentially cause the issue... which would be an easy fix?

Thing is, as stated above, I'm pretty sure the outdoor outlet used to (years ago) kick on a 5-gallon air compressor just fine... but at some point (frankly not sure when?) lost it's ability to do the same for a much smaller 1-gallon?

Last edited by Dzignr_Tastz; 05-25-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:52 PM   #15
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Re: 120V Hot Tub Install Options


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzignr_Tastz View Post
First thing on the agenda.

So... any advice as to what might/would be causing voltage drop on a single (new) outlet in a circuit?

The length of the 14 awg wire and the connections.

Quote:
I've noted the only apparent "fixes", and/or issues, I've run into/am aware of? Everything else in the panel looks "stock"/original, other than the one 20A GFCI I replaced myself several years ago.
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