Balboa pack leisure bay spa melted terminal block

RDspaguy

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areas adopt different codes.
NEC stands for National Electrical Code, and applies everywhere in the USA, even in places with no inspection department. You can get away with anything there, until an accident happens and the insurance refuses to pay due to non-compliant wiring being the cause of the house fire.
A local code can require more than the national code, but never less. NEC is the minimum requirement. So local can require an emergency shutoff on residential spas, but cannot eliminate that requirement on public pools.
 

phonedave

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You are confusing a disconnect with an emergency shutoff, which is a button that shuts down any pumps in a public pool or spa. It's a stop switch, not an electrical disconnect. The disconnect is required on any outdoor residential spa.

So looking into it more, there is a change in wording, which sort of makes it vague. There is a requirement for a motor disconnect, but depending on the interpretation of the code (which varies by by code official) a disconnect may be able to be within the spa shell.

Again, I think it is a wise decision to put on in, and I believe the intent of the code is to have one. But, there has been instance where the code official did not require one.
 

phonedave

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NEC stands for National Electrical Code, and applies everywhere in the USA, even in places with no inspection department. You can get away with anything there, until an accident happens and the insurance refuses to pay due to non-compliant wiring being the cause of the house fire.
A local code can require more than the national code, but never less. NEC is the minimum requirement. So local can require an emergency shutoff on residential spas, but cannot eliminate that requirement on public pools.

The National Electric Code is written by a private trade organization (The National Fire Protection Agency). It is not some sort of official government national code. That is just the spiffy marketing name that they came up with. There is absolutely no national requirement for the NEC whatsoever.

Local agencies are free to adopt any code they wish. However in the litigation happy US, anybody and any agency can be sued, especially if they create a situation that results in damages (monetary or otherwise). In order to prevent such litigation, people and agencies follow best practices and workmanship. Since the NEC is generally accepted as a best practice, it is advantageous from a CYA standpoint for local governments to adopt the code. But it is no way required.


Insurance is a separate beast all together. The terms and legal interpretations of what is in your rider vary from company to company.
 
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RDspaguy

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There is a requirement for a motor disconnect,
A motor disconnect is for an independently wired motor, like on an inground spa or pool. A spa is not a motor, and it's motors are part of the appliance.

There is absolutely no national requirement for the code.
That's not what we were taught in the IBEW. National code is the minimum requirement, and no union electrician will fail to meet it regardless of location.
I live in Missouri, one of the states that has not adopted nec on a statewide basis, but every local code everywhere I have ever worked is NEC at minimum. So the fact that it is not "required nationally" does not mean it is not required everywhere in the US. But I am surprised to learn that it's not a Missouri code, as I've lived and worked here most of my life, and was an electrician for about 5 years before getting into the pool/spa industry, and I've never heard of anyplace that does not require NEC. But you are correct, it is not a national requirement as I was taught.

depending on the interpretation of the code
And there's the kicker! Why does this stuff have to be so vague? I operate a bbq concessions trailer and am always dealing with the health department in various locations. They all say they follow the same code, but no two of them can agree on ANYTHING. I can pass an inspection this week and fail one the next, just one county over. It's frustrating to say the least.
 

jseyfert3

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Here’s a list of NEC adoption by state, including which year they have adopted. It appears four states, including Missouri, have not adopted the NEC at the state level. The rest of the states have adopted some version of the NEC at the state level, though some are still on the 2008 version.
 

phonedave

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And there's the kicker! Why does this stuff have to be so vague? I operate a bbq concessions trailer and am always dealing with the health department in various locations. They all say they follow the same code, but no two of them can agree on ANYTHING. I can pass an inspection this week and fail one the next, just one county over. It's frustrating to say the least.

And that is the real issue, so much of it is open to interpretation and what the local building officials determine. And the health stuff too. I used to do an Oktoberfest event for my Rotary Club. The same inspector using the same code would change things year to year. I used to run the beverage operations. Dealing with the State ABC for permits is a nightmare and needed months of lead time, since my wholesaler will not sell to me unless I had the right permits (unless they risk having their alcoholic beverage wholesaler permits pulled)

Like I said, my Brother In Law is an electrician, and not some guy that barely got his license and is making a living plugging and switching new construction. He owned his own business for a while, he did lots of residential work as well as about 30% of his business being commercial accounts including large warehouses, entertainment venues, etc.

I was in the middle of my hot tub install, and I had a bond halo around it (still exposed) and the conduit and disconnect in place (which was actually placed by an other electrician I hired - yes, I have an electrician in the family but I hire out electrical work to other people, its a long story). He looked at it and said "You know, you don't need that bond halo or that disconnect". I said I know about the halo, but the disconnect is in the NEC, which my town uses. He said nope, they are interpreting that differently now, and as long as there is any way to disconnect power, you are good. It does not have to be line of sight.

We talked a little about it, and my argument was it is for serviceability - a technician can be working on the tub and they can see if somebody is going to energize it. He said, so if I put this disconnect inside a shed 45 feet away where you can see it through the window, does that meet the code. If the technician is under the tub, working on the unit, how is he going to see if somebody in the shed turns the power on. If it is for service safety it should have a LOTO on it instead. That is why they are interpreting the code differently now.

So, that is what he said. I can't say it does not make some sense. I don't know if it is just this area, or more widespread. I have a friend who is the retired lead electrician for Giants Stadium, and he is now the township inspector for about 6 towns in the Bergen / Hudson County area. A lot of towns around here do that - use the same person, so I can see that if he changes his mind on something, then a lot of towns all of a sudden change their interpretation.

I still put the disconnect in because to me, it makes sense, it was cheap (It's cheaper to buy the enclosure with a GFCI breaker, than it is to buy just a GFCI breaker by itself for the panel) and I use it when I am draining and refilling the tub.

I did not realize that you live in Missouri. Not only does Missouri not adopt the NEC as a state code, but they also have no licensing for electricians. Most States have some sort of State level licensing board for electricians, but not Missouri. You want to call yourself a electrician in Missouri? *poof* you are an electrician. It's crazy.

Licensing and certifications are a strange thing. I looked into them when I was thinking about actually getting my PE (I went as far as an EIT and then changed job duties).
If you want to be a Registered Contractor in NJ you need to fill out a form certifying you have liability insurance, know some rules (about written contracts and displaying your name), and pay $110. Then you become a Registered Contractor. What does that mean? It means you can do any sort of contracting work you want (that does not need a separate license like electrical or plumbing) but you cannot offer financing.

Oh, you want to offer financing (of more than 90 days) to your customers - then you need to be a Licensed Contractor. How do you do that you ask? You get a licenses, from the Department of BANKING AND FINANACE. Nothing to do with the actual contracting work you do, just that you know how to put together a loan.

Ah, that was a rant about licensing, permitting, and general government confusion in general. Sorry for the long winded post, it's an annoying subject. If you really want to get into something, we can talk about trying to register a trailer in NJ with the DMV when the trailer was not previously registered. That makes you want to put your head through the wall.
 

RDspaguy

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my argument was it is for serviceability
I was told it's for emergency responders to be able to find a means of turning it off quickly in the event of an accident. And from my understanding, you can't even put it around the corner, much less in a shed. But the last code book I read was in 1995.
I once had a customer turn the spa on while my hands were in it's guts. One of the 22 times in my life I've taken voltage not from a gfci. It gave me a new appreciation for lockout procedures.
You want to call yourself a electrician in Missouri? *poof* you are an electrician. It's crazy.
Well, I wish it were that easy. On a state level, correct, but find a local that does not require 8000 hours or so, verifiable, working as an electrician to pull a permit. I'd have made tons of money wiring spas if I could "poof" myself into being an electrician. I can call myself one if I want to, but I can't actually do any work without someone else pulling a permit for it. On an appliance, which a spa or pool equipment is considered to be, I can work on the branch circuit for that appliance back to the first disconnect without a permit. So technically I can replace the breaker but not the box it's in. If no disconnect were required outside, I could go all the way back to the main panel. In rural areas, like where I live now, if there is no county or municipal inspector, it's easy to get away with whatever you want. But in St. Louis, where I'm from, they are so tight assed they need the jaws of life to squeeze a turd. There is a limited scope of things that can be done without a permit and the inspections that come with it. But then StL is home to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local #1, so it was the first IBEW anywhere. Ever. And they have some influence, to say the least, on how it's done. And they make life hard for non-union guys. We were taught to card everyone new on a jobsite, from any trade.
For those who don't know, on a union site when you introduce yourself you show your union card. Like a cop showing his badge. If you don't see a union card from the other guy, you start making him regret being there. Flat tires, extension cords constantly being unplugged or the breaker "trips", his work gets messed up as soon as he leaves, all kinds of ruthless BS. And the unions back each other, so the carpenters, plumbers, teamsters (truck drivers), laborers, etc. are all doing the same. They make it tough for a non-union guy to make it.
In my defense, I was young and dumb and was being told that I had to fight for my job or someone else would take it for less. There was alot of what I would now call propoganda, and I was being indoctrinated one day a week at the union training center, my time paid by my employer. I have since become a capitalist business owner and can imagine being forced to hire the next guy on the list, even though I just fired him last week.
But I digress... Sorry.
 

phonedave

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I was told it's for emergency responders to be able to find a means of turning it off quickly in the event of an accident. And from my understanding, you can't even put it around the corner, much less in a shed. But the last code book I read was in 1995.
I once had a customer turn the spa on while my hands were in it's guts. One of the 22 times in my life I've taken voltage not from a gfci. It gave me a new appreciation for lockout procedures.

Well, I wish it were that easy. On a state level, correct, but find a local that does not require 8000 hours or so, verifiable, working as an electrician to pull a permit. I'd have made tons of money wiring spas if I could "poof" myself into being an electrician. I can call myself one if I want to, but I can't actually do any work without someone else pulling a permit for it. On an appliance, which a spa or pool equipment is considered to be, I can work on the branch circuit for that appliance back to the first disconnect without a permit. So technically I can replace the breaker but not the box it's in. If no disconnect were required outside, I could go all the way back to the main panel. In rural areas, like where I live now, if there is no county or municipal inspector, it's easy to get away with whatever you want. But in St. Louis, where I'm from, they are so tight assed they need the jaws of life to squeeze a turd. There is a limited scope of things that can be done without a permit and the inspections that come with it. But then StL is home to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local #1, so it was the first IBEW anywhere. Ever. And they have some influence, to say the least, on how it's done. And they make life hard for non-union guys. We were taught to card everyone new on a jobsite, from any trade.
For those who don't know, on a union site when you introduce yourself you show your union card. Like a cop showing his badge. If you don't see a union card from the other guy, you start making him regret being there. Flat tires, extension cords constantly being unplugged or the breaker "trips", his work gets messed up as soon as he leaves, all kinds of ruthless BS. And the unions back each other, so the carpenters, plumbers, teamsters (truck drivers), laborers, etc. are all doing the same. They make it tough for a non-union guy to make it.
In my defense, I was young and dumb and was being told that I had to fight for my job or someone else would take it for less. There was alot of what I would now call propoganda, and I was being indoctrinated one day a week at the union training center, my time paid by my employer. I have since become a capitalist business owner and can imagine being forced to hire the next guy on the list, even though I just fired him last week.
But I digress... Sorry.

I guess it could be for emergency services too. That does make sense. Although from what I have been told (my brother is a paid firefighter), they just shut down the entire building if they have to.

I'm very familiar with unions. When I was a field foreman, my techs were all IBEW (in NJ IBEW has telecom workers too, as opposed to CWA in most areas). At different times I was also a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the NY State Public Employees Federation.

I used to work heavy construction as a geotechnical engineer. Every so often you would be on a non-union site, and all of a sudden it would go quiet. All of the heavy equipment would stop. It was because the union rep had come around, and all the union operating engineers who were working the site to make some extra bucks had run off to hide in the woods. If the union rep had caught them, he would have pulled their books.
 
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jseyfert3

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I was in the middle of my hot tub install, and I had a bond halo around it (still exposed) and the conduit and disconnect in place (which was actually placed by an other electrician I hired - yes, I have an electrician in the family but I hire out electrical work to other people, its a long story). He looked at it and said "You know, you don't need that bond halo or that disconnect". I said I know about the halo, but the disconnect is in the NEC, which my town uses. He said nope, they are interpreting that differently now, and as long as there is any way to disconnect power, you are good. It does not have to be line of sight.

We talked a little about it, and my argument was it is for serviceability - a technician can be working on the tub and they can see if somebody is going to energize it. He said, so if I put this disconnect inside a shed 45 feet away where you can see it through the window, does that meet the code. If the technician is under the tub, working on the unit, how is he going to see if somebody in the shed turns the power on. If it is for service safety it should have a LOTO on it instead. That is why they are interpreting the code differently now.
I'll say I find that an odd interpretation, as the 2017 NEC specifically says a means of disconnecting must be readily accessible and within sight of the equipment (no maximum distance though):
1640209752536.png

But, that said, the AHJ has the final say for what they require, so 🤷‍♂️

Like you said though, I use my disconnect when draining the tub (or doing my own service work), and even if one wasn't required I'd install one. And though I don't LOTO when working on my spa* since it's just my wife and I and she isn't going to flip anything, the disconnect also makes it really easy to LOTO if you want to do that, as it has a spot to put a lock on when powered off.

*This is not a recommendation to NOT LOTO. If you have anyone (kids/whoever) who may ever possibly flip something that would power on what you're working on I'd recommend locking out the power source. I'm very familiar with LOTO as I do it at work most days, but that's a different scenario.
 

Wire4money

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I'll say I find that an odd interpretation, as the 2017 NEC specifically says a means of disconnecting must be readily accessible and within sight of the equipment (no maximum distance though):
View attachment 385769

But, that said, the AHJ has the final say for what they require, so 🤷‍♂️

Like you said though, I use my disconnect when draining the tub (or doing my own service work), and even if one wasn't required I'd install one. And though I don't LOTO when working on my spa* since it's just my wife and I and she isn't going to flip anything, the disconnect also makes it really easy to LOTO if you want to do that, as it has a spot to put a lock on when powered off.

*This is not a recommendation to NOT LOTO. If you have anyone (kids/whoever) who may ever possibly flip something that would power on what you're working on I'd recommend locking out the power source. I'm very familiar with LOTO as I do it at work most days, but that's a different scenario.
Within sight is in the definitions section. It is visible and not more than 50 feet away.
 

phonedave

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I'll say I find that an odd interpretation, as the 2017 NEC specifically says a means of disconnecting must be readily accessible and within sight of the equipment (no maximum distance though):
View attachment 385769

But, that said, the AHJ has the final say for what they require, so 🤷‍♂️

Like you said though, I use my disconnect when draining the tub (or doing my own service work), and even if one wasn't required I'd install one. And though I don't LOTO when working on my spa* since it's just my wife and I and she isn't going to flip anything, the disconnect also makes it really easy to LOTO if you want to do that, as it has a spot to put a lock on when powered off.

*This is not a recommendation to NOT LOTO. If you have anyone (kids/whoever) who may ever possibly flip something that would power on what you're working on I'd recommend locking out the power source. I'm very familiar with LOTO as I do it at work most days, but that's a different scenario.


I did some more digging and found the following discussion

Location of disconnect for spas and hot tubs

Q: In the 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code there was a requirement for the disconnecting means for pools, spas and hot tubs to be located at least 5 feet from the inside walls of a pool, spa or hot tub. This requirement appeared in 680-12 of the 1999 NEC. The 2002 edition does not have any dimensions for the location of this switch. Does this omission allow a disconnect behind the skirt of a hot tub or allow the switch to be located less than 5 feet from a spa or hot tub?

A: You are correct in your statement that 680.12 no longer includes a specific location for the disconnecting means. This is the way 680.12 reads: “Maintenance Disconnecting Means. One or more means to disconnect all ungrounded conductors shall be provided for all utilization equipment other than lighting. Each means shall be accessible and within sight from its equipment.”

Although a maintenance disconnect switch may be located behind the skirt of a spa or hot tub, and may be required by the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer, at least one other disconnecting means is required by other parts of the Code.

Switching devices are required to be located at least 5 feet horizontally from the inside walls of a pool unless separated by a permanent barrier. In my opinion, the skirt of a hot tub or spa is a permanent barrier even though it can be removed for servicing the equipment.

Maybe some of the areas are on an older code.

Either way, I still think it is a bit of a stretch. But then I know how things can be interpreted (I used to write Electric, Water, and Gas Tariffs at one point in time)

I have not played around in the guts of my hot tub enough to determine conclusively if there is a disconnect under there, but I don't think there is. It is a bit of a stretch to call the skirt a permanent barrier in my opinion, but if an AHJ allows it, then so be it.

I am still of the opinion that a readily accessible disconnect located at least 5 horizontal feet from the tub, and directly visible from the tub is a good idea.

But I also wonder what kind of barrier a person could put (aside from the tub skirting) that would make sense. I guess if your wall is 4' from the tub, and you really wanted to put the disconnect there, you could put a barrier in front of it. But the barrier would have to be clear (so you could see the switch while working on the tub) and it would still have to allow access to the disconnect somehow. It makes me wonder why that provision is in the code at all unless it is there specifically to exempt disconnects behind the skirt of the tub.
 

RDspaguy

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the barrier would have to be clear
Right? That part makes no sense to me. How can it be in sight and behind a barrier unless the barrier is clear? Perhaps it's an allowance for a fence?
What I do know is, if you put a disconnect in sight between 5-25ft from the spa it will pass an inspection in St. Louis, Boulder, and Lake Tahoe every time. That's good enough for me. I hated code class when it was my job, I'm not sure why I'm even involved in this discussion. 😉🤣
 

phonedave

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Probably less of a fence and more like a patio table / AC unit / etc ‘in the way’ but not causing the switch to be inaccessible.

It has to be a permanent barrier (so no table) and it has to extend the distance of the horizontal reach to more than 5' feet. So something like an AC unit would likely not help, unless the disconnect is lower than the AC unit.

The disconnect has to be 5 feet from the hot tub. Unless it is installed closer, with a permanent barrier that results in the reach distance being more than 5 feet. Since it still has to remain in sight, the barrier must be clear. I guess you could make and argument for something like a chain link fence, but who is going to have a set up where there is a chain link fence closer to the hot tub than five feet with a disconnect right behind it? It seems like a very corner case type thing. It just seems like a crazy addendum to the rule.
 
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phonedave

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Right? That part makes no sense to me. How can it be in sight and behind a barrier unless the barrier is clear? Perhaps it's an allowance for a fence?
What I do know is, if you put a disconnect in sight between 5-25ft from the spa it will pass an inspection in St. Louis, Boulder, and Lake Tahoe every time. That's good enough for me. I hated code class when it was my job, I'm not sure why I'm even involved in this discussion. 😉🤣
I work in telecom, and our own requirements for our facilities far exceed local codes. Trying to go back and forth between my budget people, my contractors, and the building engineering who wants me to install a whole new lightning system because I need to upgrade a timing shelf makes me want to bang my head against the wall. "Well, technically I should make you install a Ufer ground". Just how am I supposed to do that AFTER the building is built.
 

Newdude

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+1. Also work in telcom and have bonded/grounded far more than my share of things. Had NO idea some areas weren’t ground rod friendly. We just smack em in and cal it a day without thinking about what they do, say, in the desert, or with a different soil consistency . Thanks for the learn. (y)

The whole not having a basement concept is also weird to me. :ROFLMAO:
 

phonedave

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+1. Also work in telcom and have bonded/grounded far more than my share of things. Had NO idea some areas weren’t ground rod friendly. We just smack em in and cal it a day without thinking about what they do, say, in the desert, or with a different soil consistency . Thanks for the learn. (y)

The whole not having a basement concept is also weird to me. :ROFLMAO:


We have basements (cable vaults) but our lightning protecting engineering requires something like 3 ground rods, so many feet apart, with less than a certain potential difference between them. I can't remember the exact specs off the top of my head. I don't have that team anymore.
 
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