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Thread: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

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    Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    First off , I did read the other thread about this (the guy with the Hot Tub down in Mexico). My issue is similar. I noticed today that when my finger touched the surface of the water, I received a slight shock. I was standing in a puddle in flip flops. I did some trouble shooting and will cut to the chase. The Tub has a 30amp and a 20amp GFCI. The "shock" only occurs if the 20amp GFCI is closed. My multimeter only reads .2-.8 volts continuous (I forgot to check the current). It looks to me like it is my problem alone (not voltage leak from the utility).

    My question is..
    Why the 2 GFCIs of different amperage's ? Why wouldn't they have installed one 50amp or 2-25amp ones. Is there two electrical systems in this thing. I would assume that whatever the 20amp is supplying has a component that is leaking voltage to the water or maybe the GFCI needs replacement.

    I bought this house 1.5 years ago and the Hot Tub came with it (so I have no intimate knowledge of it's installation. It is a Hot Springs (I think it's about 6-8 years old) and otherwise (except it needs a new cover) is in great condition.

    Any help is most appreciated.
    Jeremy

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Welcome to TFP!

    If you are getting a shock without tripping the GFI, the GFI is broken. Something else is also broken, since current shouldn't be leaking into the water regardless of what is going on with the GFI.

    The two separate GFIs are probably for two different pumps. Many tubs have separate circulation and jet pumps.
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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Thanks for the reply. Next step will be to tear into it I guess. I have to figure out what system/equipment is supplied by each GFI and go from there.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Several of the smaller Hot Spring tubs are convertible from 120V operation to 240V operation. Typically these tubs have heaters that output 1.5KW at 120 or 6 KW at 240, however the jet pump and circulation pumps are 120V only, so if you convert to 240V operation for faster heating times, and so the heater and jet pump will both run at the same time then you need a set up like you describe with 2 breakers, a 30 amp 2 pole 240V GFCI breaker, and a 20 amp 1 pole 120V GFCI breaker. Typically these should both be fed by a 50 amp 2 pole breaker in the main breaker box. Before assuming it is a bad GFCI breaker I would check for corrosion on the neutral and ground connections, including the bonding connections between the circulation pump, the jet pump and the grounding / bonding bar under the access cover. Remember even if it is a bad GFCI letting you feel the current, there is still the source of the problem to deal with. One possible thought to source of the problem, if your tub is has an Ozonator make sure the small inline check valve has not failed allowing water to back up into the ozonator, be careful handling this tubing and the check valve as a byproduct of the ozonator operating is a small amount of nitric acid is generated that tends to get stuck in the check valve.
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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Thank you very much. It is indeed hooked up on 240 with a 50 amp main. You answered my other questions perfectly. I don't think the GFI has an issue. I have the main CB open. I will tear into it and trouble shoot some more later.

    Thanks again

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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Had a chance to check it out and I think I figured it out. Coming out of the conduit to the spa there are 2 red, 2 black, and one white wire but no ground wire. Next I will open up the GFI box to see if there is a ground bus and see if they even ran a ground wire to the GFI.

    So I'll need to ground the spa It's about 12 feet back to the GFI but I doubt there is anywhere to ground in there. The base of the spa is about 1.5 from dirt. Could I drive in a grounding rod there and wire up the ground? I don't see why I need to go back to the house.

    What say you?

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    Re: Getting a slight shock when sticking my finger in the Hot Tub

    Oh, and I disconnected pumps, and ozonator 1 at a time and the circ pump seems to be the culprit. But remember that I'm only talking about .8 volts. The only piece of equipment that has a ground wire is the heater (of course that's doing absolutely nothing since the whole thing is not grounded anyway).

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