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Upgrading From Existing 40 Amp Service To 50, 60 Amp?


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#1 Joe G.

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 04:01 PM

Folks,

I'm in the process of replacing my Coleman spa (which I believe used 40 amp service) to a spa that will take 50 amps.

What do I need to do in order to deliver 50 amps total to the outside fuse box next to the spa? The main panel inside my house has to paired 20 amp breakers which feed the line extending outside to the outside breaker box next to the spa area. If I remember correctly there was an additional fuse/breaker (the pull out/ twist type) next to the spa (i'm guessing it was 40 amps too).


How can deliver 50 amps to the new spa? Is it a matter of just changing the 2 paired 20amp breakers on the house panel + the inline fuse next to the spa?

I'm trying to avoid an entire new line run if possible.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joe

#2 Dr. Spa

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 04:20 PM

2 paired 20amp breakers? That supplies 20amps! You'll need a new 50amp double pole breaker, certainly new larger wiring, and almost certainly larger conduit to house the larger wires. Basically an all new electrical circuit.
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

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#3 arnspa

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 04:50 PM

Dr Spa has it right. My 50 amp service has paired 50 amp breakers. The switch from 20 to 50 will certainly require new line to the tub.
Let me add, I don't much like the pull out switches. It's easy for them be only half way in, arc, and burn up your switch box.
For a little more money you can get a box with a real switch. A box that's lockable, if you want to keep the unauthorized from the switch.
Also, a ground rod at the box may be smart too.
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#4 michelle07

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 09:11 AM

Right on, 50 amp has paired 50 amp breaker.

#5 pkillur

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 09:39 AM

QUOTE (Joe G. @ Mar 15 2010, 04:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Folks,

I'm in the process of replacing my Coleman spa (which I believe used 40 amp service) to a spa that will take 50 amps.

What do I need to do in order to deliver 50 amps total to the outside fuse box next to the spa? The main panel inside my house has to paired 20 amp breakers which feed the line extending outside to the outside breaker box next to the spa area. If I remember correctly there was an additional fuse/breaker (the pull out/ twist type) next to the spa (i'm guessing it was 40 amps too).


How can deliver 50 amps to the new spa? Is it a matter of just changing the 2 paired 20amp breakers on the house panel + the inline fuse next to the spa?

I'm trying to avoid an entire new line run if possible.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joe


New wiring is like 200 bucks, 300 max. How expensive is your house if it burns down, or how expensive are GFCI's that keep flaking out because of too much load? Furthermore, as a "do-it-yourselfer" myself, there is nothing more agravating than working on your hot tub, being in strange awkward areas working on stuff and then the freakin' thing doesn't work!

Remember, you can do it right the first time, or you can do it right the second time... smile.gif

Also - what guage is your wiring? It is conceivable that if you've got a longish run they MIGHT have run 6ga wire (but highly unlikely). Also, check your panel that it can not only take the breaker, but also the load from the hot tub. As well, make friends with your electrical inspector and find out the rules / regs for your town. State or County probably won't do it - you'll need to talk to your LOCAL guy - E.G. I live in Parker, CO. It's in Douglas County, but Parker has far stricter rules than Douglas County does.

5-10 hours of research and reading will save your wallet lots and keep you safe in the process. If you're going to do it yourself (I did the wiring, just not the hookup) there is an EXCELLENT tutorial on spadepot.com that's animated and explains how to do stuff.

Another hint - if you've got any size worth of run (50+ feet) I found it was much cheaper to buy Romex in pre-cut lengths and then strip out the wires and put it into liquitight whips. Once again - caveat emptor - make sure you're getting the right stuff at HD and ALWAYS get an electrician's buyoff. Preferably one who's a little bit scared of water and might not be the first pick from your dealer. 1/8 ounce of prevention is worth 200 pounds of electrocution in your hot tub!

OK, OK, I'm putting my soapbox away now...

#6 hot_water

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 03:35 PM

QUOTE (Joe G. @ Mar 15 2010, 04:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Folks,

I'm in the process of replacing my Coleman spa (which I believe used 40 amp service) to a spa that will take 50 amps.

What do I need to do in order to deliver 50 amps total to the outside fuse box next to the spa? The main panel inside my house has to paired 20 amp breakers which feed the line extending outside to the outside breaker box next to the spa area. If I remember correctly there was an additional fuse/breaker (the pull out/ twist type) next to the spa (i'm guessing it was 40 amps too).


How can deliver 50 amps to the new spa? Is it a matter of just changing the 2 paired 20amp breakers on the house panel + the inline fuse next to the spa?

I'm trying to avoid an entire new line run if possible.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joe



Hmmmm.......

What you really need is an electrician. With all due respect, if you have to ask on the internet, then you aren't qualified to do a safety-critical electrical installation. It's electricity and water... it can kill you, your family, and your guests. Besides, you may need a permit and you may need to install on an equipotential grid, depending on your installation details and the local requirements.

Internet advice is anonymous advice with no accountability... I wouldn't trust it! For example, our inspectors here would never approve stripping the wire out of Romex and installing it in any conduit - the code says that the wire has to be marked with the correct type - in this case that would be most likely THWN or some other type rated for outdoor installation in wet areas. Liquidtite conduit installed in a typical spa disconnect box is still considered a wet area installation. Wire stripped from Romex isn't marked and thus shouldn't be used - the inspector can't tell where you got it. Also, NEC and most local jurisdictions restrict liquidtite whips to 6 feet or less.

Having said that, and not to help you diy the job, but just so you know what to expect from your electrician,

* You will need a 50 amp 2 pole breaker in the house panel. You can put a GFCI here but IMO it is far better to install it in the subpanel close to the spa - less potential for nuisance tripping.

* you will need a run of the correct wire, in the correct conduit. You will have to size your conduit for 40% fill, per NEC. I generally prefer a larger conduit, as it isn't a lot more money and makes the pull easier. You have to use the correct wire. In many installations, that is THWN. Almost all of the THHN available these days is actually dual rated THHN/THWN which is fine. You can't use THHN that is not dual rated, and you can't put Romex or other unapproved, unmarked stuff in the conduit. IF there are other wires in the conduit, you will have to derate ALL current carrying conductors in the conduit depending on how may wires are in it. You will also need to derate (ie., go to a larger gage wire (smaller numerically) if the run is long. Often, this is a requirement for runs longer than 100 feet but check with your inspector for the local rquirements.

* Your conduit can usually be run above ground or buried. If buried, there area generally code requirements about how deep it must be buried below grade. Generally "ridgid" conduit must be 6-12 inches and non-metallic muct be 24 inched below grade. But again you have to check with your inspector.

* You can use direct burial wire, which also has a minimum below-grade requirement, if allowed by local code. Personally I don't like direct burial wire and don't use it.

* you will need a subpanel which is essentially a small version of your house panel. This will need to be located at least 5 feet from the water, and should be in line of sight from the tub... and clearly marked. THe idea is that no one should be able to reach the box while actually IN the water. In some localities there is a maximum distance as well, usually 10 or 15 feet. You will install your 50 amp 2-pole GFCI breaker in this subpanel. You can get panels that have the correct breaker installed from a number of sources. Home Depot and Lowes both have these... if your electrician will allow you to supply your own parts you can save some money here, as they sell the complete panels for about $100. Since the subpanel will be outdoors, you need a NEMA 3R type box, which the Lowe's and H-D boxs are.

* You can't install any electrical outlets within 10 feet of the water.

* You must be sure that the ground (green) and neutral (white) wire area not connected together in the subpanel. The only place these connect together is at the main house panel. I've seen this mistake made by homeowners and electricians.

* NEC does not require a ground rod at the subpanel. They are required for subpanels servicing separate structures. There is really no good reason for one in a backyard spa that I am aware of, however again who knows what your local inspector will want.

*If on a concrete pad or directly on the dirt (some tubs allow this, some don't) , you MAY be required by your local authority to set the spa on an equipotential grid to address stray voltage hazards. Some localities ignore this requirement in the NEC, some enforce it. Electrically bonding the rebar in the concrete to the equipment ground at the spa will do it. Some areas will allow you to satisfy the requirement with a buried perimeter wire. Or, you can lay decking between the spa and the concrete - if on "wood", no equipotential grid is needed. Or of there is no rebar in the concrete. Again, be sure to get the story from the inspector. Thre area more requirements for this grid than I can reproduce here, but you need to know something in case your electrician says you need it.

* you have the same issues with conduit and wiring from the disconnect/GFI box to the spa. Liquidtite runs per NEC are limited to 6 feet or less.

Do check out the per foot cost of the wire at Home Depot or Lowe's to keep your electrician honest. It's not cheap.

#7 arnspa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:10 AM

WOW, hotwater has really given you your money's worth (while discounting internet advice!).
My comment: A ground to rebar in your concrete pad is REALLY smart. This is far superior to that ground rod at your main service box. If your upgrade includes a new pad, be sure to get this tie installed by the concrete guys.
In my case, I don't have the ground to rebar, and the main service panel is 60' away. Just like it's smart to have that GFCI in the subpanel close to the spa rather than back in your main panel, it's smart to have an effective ground there also. Ground rods are cheap, lightning is not.

[NOW, I hope hotwater has some suggestions for the timer I want for my 50amp spa -- see my Topic also here. Thanks!]
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#8 Dr. Spa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:26 AM

The issue here though is that the ground rod at your panel is NOT intended to, nor provides an actual ground for your home's electrical system. DIRT is a poor conductor of electricity (even though dirt is also called "ground"). The reason a main electrical panel is grounded through a grounding rod is to limit the voltage imposed on the entire electrical system (the incoming municipal electrical system) by lightning, unintentional contact with higher-voltage lines, or line surges.

Additionally, grounding through a grounding rod has its limitations. Grounding (earthing) of electrical equipment doesn't provide a low-impedance fault-current path to clear ground faults (translation: "lower" voltages don't travel well, or freely, through the surface of the earth). In fact, according to the NEC, code prohibits the use of the earth (a grounding rod) as the sole return path because it's a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V [250.4(A)(5) and 250.45( cool.gif (4)]. In reality, a second grounding rod could potentially electrify the ground around it, and have the potential of ELECTROCUTING you.

hot water, you're post is absolutely PERFECT. Would you mind if a repost just the first two paragraphs, and "pin" it to the top of the forum?
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

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If you can't sell it on ebay, it may not even qualify as landfill.

#9 arnspa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:52 AM

QUOTE (Dr. Spa @ Mar 17 2010, 08:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The issue here though is that the ground rod at your panel is NOT intended to, nor provides an actual ground for your home's electrical system. DIRT is a poor conductor of electricity (even though dirt is also called "ground"). The reason a main electrical panel is grounded through a grounding rod is to limit the voltage imposed on the entire electrical system (the incoming municipal electrical system) by lightning, unintentional contact with higher-voltage lines, or line surges.

Additionally, grounding through a grounding rod has its limitations. Grounding (earthing) of electrical equipment doesn't provide a low-impedance fault-current path to clear ground faults (translation: "lower" voltages don't travel well, or freely, through the surface of the earth). In fact, according to the NEC, code prohibits the use of the earth (a grounding rod) as the sole return path because it's a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V [250.4(A)(5) and 250.45( cool.gif (4)]. In reality, a second grounding rod could potentially electrify the ground around it, and have the potential of ELECTROCUTING you.

hot water, you're post is absolutely PERFECT. Would you mind if a repost just the first two paragraphs, and "pin" it to the top of the forum?


I certainly agree that hot water's post is worth saving for all. Thanks, hot water!
But I'm troubled by Dr Spa's 'warning' that a ground rod at the subpanel endangers us. If so, why does NEC allow, in some cases codes require, a ground to rebar in the concrete pad under a spa? And as hot water says, a ground is required at a separate structure.
My 12' x 8', 1300 gallon swimspa (as big as many separate structures) is next to a tree and much closer to a chimney and utility pole than is the main service panel over 60' from the tub. Certainly standing next to any ground rod during a strike or spike can endanger you. That's one reason to put the subpanel away from the tub. And in my case the rod is 8' from the tub and on the opposite side of a block wall from the subpanel itself.
As Dr Spa says, the point is to protect the equipment [and your property and selves]. When solar panels were put on my roof, codes required a second ground rod near my main service. The system is both a big aluminum grid (lightning rod) up there and it's generating electricity. With two rods my main panel etc. is better protected than with one. More so with three, and in this case a rod at the subpanel serves to limit trouble coming to or from the spa.
Though I'd be happy to learn otherwise.
My best interpretation of Dr Spa's warning is "Don't stand next to a ground rod during a lightning storm" smile.gif
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#10 Dr. Spa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 09:28 AM

A "ground to rebar" in the pad is NOT what's called for. What's called for is BONDING the rebar to the spas system. Grounding and bonding are two different things entirely!

Grounding is giving stray voltage a place to go, safely....if there's a short, the electricity simply flows away from the system through the ground wire.

Bonding is about equal potential, or equalizing voltage between metal components....so you can't touch one metal object with one hand, and another with the other (or a foot, as in the case of the pad) and receive a shock as there's more voltage in one than the other.

As said earlier, "dirt" is a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V. Imagine you're standing near the ground rod of your spa, your hand on a piece of metal that's "properly" grounded. A short causes electricity to flow through the ground rod. Dirt, being a poor conductor of current under 600V, doesn't transmit all the voltage to the earth. The ground around you is now electrified, and as you're touching something properly grounded, you get shocked.

Ok, now, moving to the front of your house :-) A lightening bold hits a telephone pole down the street from you sending 600,000 volts of electricity screaming through the wires towards your house. The ground rod by your main panel will reduce any damage that might be caused to the electrical companies system, and hopefully prevent the wiring in your house from causing a fire.
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

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If you can't sell it on ebay, it may not even qualify as landfill.

#11 Dr. Spa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 09:34 AM

Here's a dozen web page article on it :-)

http://ecmweb.com/gr...ing_vs_bonding/
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

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If you can't sell it on ebay, it may not even qualify as landfill.

#12 hot_water

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 10:14 AM

QUOTE (Dr. Spa @ Mar 17 2010, 08:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The issue here though is that the ground rod at your panel is NOT intended to, nor provides an actual ground for your home's electrical system. DIRT is a poor conductor of electricity (even though dirt is also called "ground"). The reason a main electrical panel is grounded through a grounding rod is to limit the voltage imposed on the entire electrical system (the incoming municipal electrical system) by lightning, unintentional contact with higher-voltage lines, or line surges.

Additionally, grounding through a grounding rod has its limitations. Grounding (earthing) of electrical equipment doesn't provide a low-impedance fault-current path to clear ground faults (translation: "lower" voltages don't travel well, or freely, through the surface of the earth). In fact, according to the NEC, code prohibits the use of the earth (a grounding rod) as the sole return path because it's a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V [250.4(A)(5) and 250.45( cool.gif (4)]. In reality, a second grounding rod could potentially electrify the ground around it, and have the potential of ELECTROCUTING you.

hot water, you're post is absolutely PERFECT. Would you mind if a repost just the first two paragraphs, and "pin" it to the top of the forum?


Sure, if you think it would be helpful, go ahead and put my post where it works best.

As for the grounding business.... Dr. Spa is right about the purpose of the earthing rod.

Ground fault currents (i.e., those that find their way into the green wire under a "something's wrong" condition) are taken back to the service entrance point (main house panel) where they tie to the neutral (white wire) bus. The white is the center tap of the power company transformer and thus the fault currents get back "home". This is the ONLY place the two (green and white)should connect. If you connect green to white anywhere else, you have just defeated the safety ground system and made the green effectively just another neutral in parallel. Not so good.

The separate structure does need that earthing rod per code. And it isn't a safety hazard as long as you still don't connect the green to the white at the subpanel... you still have to carry it back separately to the service entrance/main house panel.

There is a difference in the Code between the words "grounded", "grounding" and "bonded". Suffice it to say that it's all about safety and if you aren't *deadly* sure you understand the differences in these words and what they mean... don't attempt to do electrical work. On ANYTHING other than perhaps replacing a switch or outlet. Hire someone that knows. It's not about making it work... any number of hazardous practices will "work". That is, until some condition or fault occurs that you didn't understand or recognize - and you end up on the 11 oclock news.

#13 arnspa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE (Dr. Spa @ Mar 17 2010, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A "ground to rebar" in the pad is NOT what's called for. What's called for is BONDING the rebar to the spas system. Grounding and bonding are two different things entirely!

Grounding is giving stray voltage a place to go, safely....if there's a short, the electricity simply flows away from the system through the ground wire.

Bonding is about equal potential, or equalizing voltage between metal components....so you can't touch one metal object with one hand, and another with the other (or a foot, as in the case of the pad) and receive a shock as there's more voltage in one than the other.

As said earlier, "dirt" is a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V. Imagine you're standing near the ground rod of your spa, your hand on a piece of metal that's "properly" grounded. A short causes electricity to flow through the ground rod. Dirt, being a poor conductor of current under 600V, doesn't transmit all the voltage to the earth. The ground around you is now electrified, and as you're touching something properly grounded, you get shocked.

Ok, now, moving to the front of your house :-) A lightening bold hits a telephone pole down the street from you sending 600,000 volts of electricity screaming through the wires towards your house. The ground rod by your main panel will reduce any damage that might be caused to the electrical companies system, and hopefully prevent the wiring in your house from causing a fire.


Sorry to get your dander up, Dr Spa. Still. what you say here is opaque to me. Except maybe I shouldn't stand next to a ground rod?
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#14 arnspa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:07 PM

QUOTE (Dr. Spa @ Mar 17 2010, 10:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here's a dozen web page article on it :-)

http://ecmweb.com/gr...ing_vs_bonding/


Again, sorry to exercise you, Dr Spa, but when I click on this, I get a registration page. What is it in plain English?
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#15 arnspa

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:15 PM

QUOTE (hot_water @ Mar 17 2010, 11:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Dr. Spa @ Mar 17 2010, 08:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The issue here though is that the ground rod at your panel is NOT intended to, nor provides an actual ground for your home's electrical system. DIRT is a poor conductor of electricity (even though dirt is also called "ground"). The reason a main electrical panel is grounded through a grounding rod is to limit the voltage imposed on the entire electrical system (the incoming municipal electrical system) by lightning, unintentional contact with higher-voltage lines, or line surges.

Additionally, grounding through a grounding rod has its limitations. Grounding (earthing) of electrical equipment doesn't provide a low-impedance fault-current path to clear ground faults (translation: "lower" voltages don't travel well, or freely, through the surface of the earth). In fact, according to the NEC, code prohibits the use of the earth (a grounding rod) as the sole return path because it's a poor conductor of current at voltage levels below 600V [250.4(A)(5) and 250.45( cool.gif (4)]. In reality, a second grounding rod could potentially electrify the ground around it, and have the potential of ELECTROCUTING you.

hot water, you're post is absolutely PERFECT. Would you mind if a repost just the first two paragraphs, and "pin" it to the top of the forum?


Sure, if you think it would be helpful, go ahead and put my post where it works best.

As for the grounding business.... Dr. Spa is right about the purpose of the earthing rod.

Ground fault currents (i.e., those that find their way into the green wire under a "something's wrong" condition) are taken back to the service entrance point (main house panel) where they tie to the neutral (white wire) bus. The white is the center tap of the power company transformer and thus the fault currents get back "home". This is the ONLY place the two (green and white)should connect. If you connect green to white anywhere else, you have just defeated the safety ground system and made the green effectively just another neutral in parallel. Not so good.

The separate structure does need that earthing rod per code. And it isn't a safety hazard as long as you still don't connect the green to the white at the subpanel... you still have to carry it back separately to the service entrance/main house panel.

There is a difference in the Code between the words "grounded", "grounding" and "bonded". Suffice it to say that it's all about safety and if you aren't *deadly* sure you understand the differences in these words and what they mean... don't attempt to do electrical work. On ANYTHING other than perhaps replacing a switch or outlet. Hire someone that knows. It's not about making it work... any number of hazardous practices will "work". That is, until some condition or fault occurs that you didn't understand or recognize - and you end up on the 11 oclock news.

Thank you for your response, hot water. But for all that, I don't see that you've weighed in on the question of a ground rod at the subpanel. Dr Spa says (it seems to me), that it's dangerous. A ground rod here might shock us? What say you? I say it's a judgment call. But I can learn.

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#16 hot_water

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 03:08 PM

QUOTE (arnspa @ Mar 17 2010, 02:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you for your response, hot water. But for all that, I don't see that you've weighed in on the question of a ground rod at the subpanel. Dr Spa says (it seems to me), that it's dangerous. A ground rod here might shock us? What say you? I say it's a judgment call. But I can learn.


Was your original installation permitted and inspected? That should be the gate, not what anyone says on the internet.

However, I think my comments do weigh in on this. I will be more explicit. The rod at the spa subpanel is unnecessary for typical deck or pad installations. But, IMO, the rod at the sub panel per se is not dangerous, as long as the green wire system is connected to the rod but NOT to the white wire *at the subpanel*. If the green and white are connected at the subpanel then yes it is dangerous, as you have effectively defeated the safety grounding system. This should be rectified immediately and before turning the breaker on, putting power to the spa. Green and white must remain separate all the way back to the main house panel. The ground-to-neutral jumper, if present on your subpanel box, should *not* be connected. When wiring the subpanel, I test continuity from neutral bus at the house panel to the unconnected green wire coming from the spa panel BEFORE connecting the green to the ground bus in the main house panel. If there's continuity, there's something wrong that needs fixin'.

If you have a stray voltage issue in the area of the subpanel/spa, then you are at risk for a shock, ground rod or no. In this case, you are unlikely to know about the stray voltage unless you went looking for it.... and if it's there, you need an equipotential grid bonded to the spa equipment, which is itself bonded to the water and to the to the green wire.... but again, NONE of it connected to the white neutral, except at the main house panel.

If you are learning anything from this post, great - knowledge is always helpful. But all the more reason to make 100% sure your electrical installation is permitted and inspected. If I misstated, or you misread, or any other circumstances apply to your installation that we can't possibly know about... bzzzzzt...... film at eleven. That's why the inspector comes out in person to look it over, and why the NEC is over an inch thick.

#17 arnspa

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:01 AM

Dr Spa, Are you blowing smoke at us? When I go to the link you offer, after passing through the ads, registering with passwords, my company info, and saying I don't want their magazine, I find nothing to counter my argument for putting a ground rod at the subpanel.
Their article on 'bonding, grounding, and earthing' wisely says that a ground rod shouldn't serve as the neutral ground for your equipment, and they tell that some computer controlled machinery manufacturers have prescribed exactly that in their installation manuals, contrary to NEC. But I never advocated substituting a ground rod for the return neutral ground wire to the main service panel. Indeed, I did not suppose that any fool would attempt or advocate that. (But as hot water says, not all electricians know code)
The article describes and diagrams a situation in which absence of neutral grounding wire and presence of a ground rod substitute at the equipment creates a hazard potential between that ground rod and the ground rod at the main service panel. Not what I advocated, and not what I took you to be warning against. I took you to say that even in the presence of a neutral grounding wire that a second grounding rod created a hazard.
There may be other articles that would counter my suggestion for a grounding rod at the subpanel (for longer runs), but I did not find them at this site. If you know of such, I would like to see them. (Anyone who shows me my errors is my friend)
NOTE: I DO think that the effort to use different terms to distinguish 'bonding, grounding, and earthing' which was once all called 'grounding' to be very smart.
We should start talking of 'earthing rods' -- sounds clumsy, but may help limit some confusion. Of course, some confusion respects no limits.
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#18 hot_water

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 09:45 AM

QUOTE (arnspa @ Mar 18 2010, 09:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dr Spa, It seems to me you may be blowing smoke at us. When I go to the link you offer, after passing through the ads, registering with passwords, my company info, and saying I don't want their magazine, I find nothing to counter my argument for putting a ground rod at the subpanel.
Their article on 'bonding, grounding, and earthing' wisely says that a ground rod shouldn't serve as the neutral ground for your equipment, and they tell that some computer controlled machinery manufacturers have prescribed exactly that in their installation manuals, contrary to NEC. But I never advocated substituting a ground rod for the return neutral ground wire to the main service panel. Indeed, I did not suppose that any fool would attempt or advocate that. (But as hot water says, not all electricians know code)
The article describes and diagrams a situation in which absence of neutral grounding wire and presence of a ground rod substitute at the equipment creates a hazard potential between that ground rod and the ground rod at the main service panel. Not what I advocated, and not what I took you to be warning against. I took you to say that even in the presence of a neutral grounding wire that a second grounding rod created a hazard.
There may be other articles that would counter my suggestion for a grounding rod at the subpanel (for longer runs), but I did not find them at this site. If you know of such, I would like to see them. (Anyone who shows me my errors is my friend)
NOTE: I DO think that the effort to use different terms to distinguish 'bonding, grounding, and earthing' which was once all called 'grounding' to be very smart.
We should start talking of 'earthing rods' -- sounds clumsy, but may help limit some confusion. Of course, some confusion respects no limits.


Whoa! "blowing smoke" is a pretty accusatory comment to throw at someone that is taking his time to try to help others. I don't share his view that the second rod will pose an electrocution hazard (unless wired wrong), but ok, that's why we're here talking it over.

If you, your electrician or your inspector believes a rod at the subpanel adds safety to your installation, then that's what you should do. In general, I personally wouldn't recommend a subpanel rod for typical installations. It's not a code requirement and I don't see that it buys anything. But who knows what future versions of the code will incorporate -- one never knows what hazards the NFPA will consider in future revisions.

#19 arnspa

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 10:57 AM

OK, maybe I was a little peeved to be sent to a site that after registrations, etc, had nothing to say about the situation I was talking about.
I take it that you agree with me that Dr Spa is wrong to say or imply that a ground rod at the subpanel is dangerous and represents a potential hazard (UNLESS one has installed the grounding rod as a substitute for for the neutral ground wire return to the main service panel). cool.gif
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#20 Mikey_in_NY

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 03:03 PM

To the OP - ask yourself if it's really worth saving a couple hundred or so bucks by doing this job yourself, especially when you're probably gonna spend thousands on your new tub. If you get it badly wrong you could kill yourself, or even worse one or more of your family.

Just pay a qualified electrician, including getting a permit if that's what's required in your area, followed up by an inspection.

#21 hot_water

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE (arnspa @ Mar 18 2010, 11:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
OK, maybe I was a little peeved to be sent to a site that after registrations, etc, had nothing to say about the situation I was talking about.
I take it that you agree with me that Dr Spa is wrong to say or imply that a ground rod at the subpanel is dangerous and represents a potential hazard (UNLESS one has installed the grounding rod as a substitute for for the neutral ground wire return to the main service panel). cool.gif


This is exactly what scares me. You are either not reading or not understanding correctly. The issue is not just "install (ing) the grounding rod as a substitute for the neutral ground wire return to the main service panel". If you were to do what you just said, the 120VAC services in your spa (most spas use both 240VAC and 120VAC) would in all likelylihood not work at all since the earth has high resistance and in most cases would just look like an open circuit. It is also true that it could be an electrocution hazard and that may well be what Dr. Spa was saying. But there are other ways to create a hazard. As I've been saying, connecting the green and white together in the subpanel - even if you run them both back to the main panel - is a large error and sadly, not uncommon. This doesn't use the rod as a subsitute for the neutral, it makes the green effectively a parallelled neutral. In other words, you would no longer have a safety ground. In a fault condition, you could be killed.

I've already said a couple of times that I don't share his view about a correctly wired rod being a hazard. But, and no disrespect intended, from your comments (and irespective of ANY comments you make or have made) I can't tell if you have yours wired correctly. No one can without INSPECTING your installation So I have no way to know if you have a safety issue or not. What I can say, as I said in my first post in the thread..... if you are searching for information on the internet (for cryin' out loud) about WIRING, you have no business doing wiring. And you sure as hell should not be doing anything without a permit. I am sorry of this statement offends.... I am less concerned with being politically correct than I am with you, and everyone else, staying alive. Hot tubs should be fun, not lethal.

So my last words on this subject are... everything up to this point has been "information only". The bottom line is that you really do need to get your installation inspected. There is one way to do it right and a jillion ways to do it wrong. Of the jillion, a few of them will enable the spa to work. But under a fault condition, you may be killed. It is nothing to suppose about, and you really don't want to learn electrical wiring learn by trial and error.... you often just get one error.

#22 arnspa

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:27 AM

QUOTE (Mikey_in_NY @ Mar 18 2010, 04:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just pay a qualified electrician, including getting a permit if that's what's required in your area, followed up by an inspection.


Let me mention that I got 3 bids, $1700, $2600, and $3900 for my 50amp run of 80 ft, in conduit, some above and some below ground, and GFCI subpanel. (And the high bidder charged me $29 for the bid!) We are in a high cost neighborhood, I'm sure the low bid would be half of that elsewhere)

If you don't already have an electrician whose rates you trust, you might shop around. The bids I got helped me find someone I've used with confidence since.
About the older 20 amp system? Maybe you can get a little salvage credit on it?
smile.gif
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#23 arnspa

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:46 AM

Hot Water, I'm happy to have your last word on this. Let me clarify what I have said here. I never intended to suggest that anyone do their own wiring. Plus I never imagined that anyone would join white and green wires at any place except the at the busbar in the main service panel (as you say). But your focus on that possibility here may be useful for others. smile.gif



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#24 Mikey_in_NY

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 08:48 AM

QUOTE (arnspa @ Mar 19 2010, 11:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Mikey_in_NY @ Mar 18 2010, 04:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just pay a qualified electrician, including getting a permit if that's what's required in your area, followed up by an inspection.


Let me mention that I got 3 bids, $1700, $2600, and $3900 for my 50amp run of 80 ft, in conduit, some above and some below ground, and GFCI subpanel. (And the high bidder charged me $29 for the bid!) We are in a high cost neighborhood, I'm sure the low bid would be half of that elsewhere)

If you don't already have an electrician whose rates you trust, you might shop around. The bids I got helped me find someone I've used with confidence since.
About the older 20 amp system? Maybe you can get a little salvage credit on it?
smile.gif


Those prices seem VERY high to me. I paid my contractor $850 for a 60 foot, 60amp circuit (using #4 THWN in conduit), including 60A GFCI, outside disconnent, waterproof whip, and the local permit and inspection. Plus I'm in NY where nothing comes cheap. Maybe your need for a subpanel is adding a lost of the cost?

#25 arnspa

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 04:17 PM

Sorry, Mikey, not to confuse, but by 'subpanel', I only meant the required service disconnect near the tub. YES, these quotes seemed high to me also. We had recently moved from Cincinnati where we knew several neighborhood plumbers. electricians, roofers. We also lived in an 1890 Queen Anne brick mansion built by the president of the Stockyard Bank, well maintained, which we couldn't sell for $300,000. When our realtor in Menlo Park saw it, she said she could sell it in 5 minutes for 2 million and in 3 weeks for 3m. Our same size city lot here (forget the house) is at least 4 times the value of that home in Cincinnati. We pay more in property taxes here than our mortgage cost in Cincinnati.
I saw also the same surprising disparity when I got 3 bids for a 9' x 20' concrete pad for the spa. The cheapest was twice what I could expect to pay in Cincinnati, and the highest was twice the cheapest.
My guess is that the recession has hurt here less than many other areas. There's still new building and remodeling going strong, plus a boom in solar electric. Location.......(I want to forget the rest)
Our 'after purchase' costs for our MasterSpa H2X were close to $5 thousand (electric, concrete pad, fence, steps etc). Anyone thinking spa should investigate such 'incidentals' And in some neighborhoods it will be much more than others. cool.gif

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