Managing Safe Hot Tub Power [To Bury or Not]

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Hot tub, Spa, or Jacuzzi can be very soothing in cold winters. In freezing cold climates, a hot tub can be just the thing you need. All hot tubs are powered by electricity, and that’s where the warmth comes from. So proper wiring is of paramount importance for the safety of the user.

For proper safety, the wires should be connected to a dedicated outlet. Depending on the type of hot tub, you may need a separate conduit or a power outlet installed in your service panel. A GFCI box must be installed, and the wires need to be housed underground within a designated tube.

Hot tub power safety shouldn’t be taken lightly. Faulty wiring can be the cause death. Here in this article, I am going to explain the importance of proper wiring.

I will also break down the procedure step by step and shed some light on the commonly asked question – does hot tub wiring need to be buried?

Stick to the end for a detailed guideline about safely powering a hot tub. So, let’s get right to it. 

Why is Safe Hot Tub Wire Management Important?

Safe wiring of a hot tub is crucial for one reason, and you already know what it is. Yes, electrocution. You can die from electrocution, any other conditions caused by electrocution, or suffer grievous injuries.

Most of the time, the injuries are lifelong, and the victim has to suffer for the rest of his life. Sometimes a hand or leg needs to be amputated.

Electricity is the movement of millions of electrons together. Electricity can easily flow through low-resistance objects such as metal, water, etc.

The human body is a low resistance object, so it works as an excellent conductor of electricity once it reaches the water due to faulty wiring or any other reasons. Thus, electrocution occurs.

An electric shock causes paralysis of the respiratory center in the brain and paralyzes the heart muscle. Paralysis of the respiratory center causes a lack of oxygen in the body.

This can result in instant death. Twitching of heart muscle and cardiac arrest also plays a role in the pathophysiology of electrocution.

As far as the injuries are concerned, they are not very pleasant either. You can suffer from a severe burn, chest tightness, arrhythmia, and other complications.

Contracture, hypovolemic shock, sepsis is some of the other life-threatening conditions that can arise after electrocution.

How to Safely Wire a Hot Tub?

As I have already talked about the necessities of safe wiring in a hot tub, it’s time to enlighten you about safely running the wirings and power up your hot tub.

Proper wiring is very important to avoid any of the dreadful conditions above. First, take a look at the supplies you will need:

  • Wire
  • Conduit
  • Circuit Breaker
  • Extra Power Outlet
  • GFCI Box

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Basic Procedure

Now that we all know the necessary tools required for proper wiring, let’s break down the procedures step by step:

Step 1: Turn off the Power Supply

Before starting any electrical work, always turn off the main source of electricity. This is not a mere safety measure; it can save your life and your loved ones.

Electrical accidents can be life-threatening, as we’ve discussed above. Turning the power source brings the possibility of electrocution down to zero.

Step 2: Install the Circuit Breaker to Your Service Panel

Separate circuit breakers are indispensable for wired hot tubs. There are two basic types of hot tubs: wired hot tubs and plug-and-play hot tubs.

The plug-and-play hot tubs are equipped with a built-in circuit breaker. You can plug those into any power outlet and start using them. Wired hot tubs need to be wired into your house’s service panel.

They need a dedicated circuit breaker only to supply power to the hot tub. Get a circuit breaker of appropriate voltage and install it in your service panel.

The breaker should be able to handle increased power demand for your hot tub.

Step 3: Dig a Trench for Running Wires

For any outdoor installation, wires must be run underground, how deep to bury hot tub wire? There is no one depth and there are strict local laws about it that you need to understand. For further safety, the cables must be confined within a conduit.

You can use any conduit such as plastic pipes, metal conduits, etc. depending on the law. Contact your local authority for information about the depth of the trench, type of conduit, and others.

Step 4: Run the Wires and the Conduit

Run the wires and the conduit through the trench you’ve just made. Watch out for any underground structure.

If you are running the wires within 6 feet of depth, you can use non-metallic conduits. They can withstand the pressure underground up to 6 feet.

If your local law states that the wires must run more than 6 feet below the ground, you should use metallic conduits such as metallic pipes.

You can set the pipes in the trench, run the wires through it, and then directly bury the pipes underground. No additional procedures are needed to protect the pipes.

Step 5: Connect the Wires

This is the part where the GFCI box comes into play. Follow the user manual with the hot tub to properly connect the wire.

The wires are connected to the circuit breaker via the GFCI box. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. This is mandatory for wiring hot tubs according to national laws.

The GFCI box automatically shuts down if there’s any malfunction in the main power source. This ensures the consumers’ safety from electrocution.

In some states, a manual power shut-off is installed as a failsafe. The GFCI box needs to be placed within 6 feet of the tub.

And that’s how you wire a hot tub. Make sure you follow these steps one by one carefully for proper wiring and avoid any sort of contact between the wires and water. 

Is Burying Hot Tub Wire Really Necessary?

Hot tub wires are buried underground most of the time, and it is very important. It ensures that the wires are safe from your children or pet and vice versa.

Exposed wires can be accidentally cut open and electrocute anyone nearby. This also poses a risk to anyone in the tub. He can get electrocuted immediately.

So underground wiring is necessary and is mandatory in some states. Use proper conduits to house the wires, depending on your local laws. Also, make sure the GFCI box is in the light of your site. For safety purposes, avoid running the wires directly below the hot tub.

Place the tub at least 25 feet from the main power source and 5 feet from any other cords. Keep the area surrounding the hot tub properly lightened. If you are using it at night, provide sufficient battery-powered light.

You have to be very careful while doing this and you have to do this right. I’m sure by now you have a proper idea of why I’m emphasizing on this so much. 

Conclusion

On a cold winter day, a warm hot tub can relieve your stress better than anything else. Knowing that the hot tub is properly wired can be the cherry on top. However, not every owner knows the ins and outs of proper wiring. The result can be disastrous.

So, does hot tub wiring need to be buried? Yes, it does. The reason behind the indifference toward safety measures is the ignorance about how devastating electrocution can be.

That’s why I initially focused on why proper wiring of a hot tub is of utmost importance. Lastly, I added a detailed guide about safe wiring and the burial of the wires.

I hope this write-up was of help to you. Have a great day!

Keep Your Hot Tub Clean and Clear All Year Long!

Get Instant access to our easy-to-use book and video course to help you take care of your hot tub so you can spend less time cleaning and more time soaking.

Covering everything from water chemistry, to cleaning, to troubleshooting. We also show you how to create a simple schedule for water testing, filter maintenance, and cover cleaning.