My 120v Hot Tub started burning/melting the power cord last night.

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,410
Northern NJ
The spa data plate says it will pull 32amps if wired for 240V. That indicates the pump and heater will operate very differently if wired for 240V. The spa operation is throttled to allow it to operate at 120V.
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,334
Hernando, Ms
Most residential receptacle circuits are supplied w/ 12 gauge wire & fed w/a 20 amp breaker. Check that 1st. If that’s the case & there’s nothing else on the circuit you should be able to just get a 20a gfci instead of the 15a & upgrade the cord to a 12 gauge. & also scoot the hot tub over a bit.
In some places lighting circuits are allowed to be run with 14 gauge wire & fed w/ a 15a breaker but not usually receptacles.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,375
Tucson, AZ
I wouldn’t bank on “maybe’s”. Unless an electrician can confirm the wire gauge from the breaker panel or the wall outlet and that the circuit run doesn’t have other loads on it, then you don’t want to just upgrade the breaker/outlet to 20amps. Even if the wiring is the correct size, you are putting a VERY SUBSTANTIAL inductive (motor) and resistive (heater) load on wiring that was not intended to handle that kind of continuous power draw. Only a dedicated circuit run can ensure safe operation of that tub. Anything else is just guessing and relying on luck.
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
I'm going to check the gage and amps.

Plan B (since it isn't my house) is to find a spa that's 15amp? I can always sell this one and buy another one.

Are there hot tubs that can work with what I have already? I have a 7x7 but can go power maybe a 7x5 since it's just me my girlfriend that use it.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
921
Cabool, Mo
Yes, dedicated circuit. Even for a 15 amp unit you will still need a circuit ran.
There are advantages to 230v operation, the main one being 4x the heat output.
Code says the gfci disconnect (plug, in your case) must be at least 5ft, no more than 25ft, and in a direct line of sight, from the spa.
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
Well, good news. It's a 20amp.

Now I gotta find out what else is connected to it. Seems like it's only my daughter's room. She has a ceiling fan and it's light and a bathroom light.

IF that's there is, should it be OK to use the tub assuming that I:
1. Move it to 5ft away
2. Get a 6ft 12 Guage plug
3. Change the 15amp gfci wall unit that I just purchased and get a 20amp
4. Take the projector and use plug it in to another outlet via extension cord

Would this be enough?
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
Yes, dedicated circuit. Even for a 15 amp unit you will still need a circuit ran.
There are advantages to 230v operation, the main one being 4x the heat output.
Code says the gfci disconnect (plug, in your case) must be at least 5ft, no more than 25ft, and in a direct line of sight, from the spa.
The landlords would never go for it even if we paid. Otherwise I'd love a 240v hot tub. I've actually picked upsome really nice ones that we ended up selling (from spa removals) and would have kept them if I could use them. The cost of the 240 set up would be nothing since those 240v spas were paid or free removals. But making changes to the house isn't possible with this landlord
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
Just checked and the fan and light are on a different circuit. So nothing other that a two other outlets that are not being used and that I can tape over/block out are sharing that line.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
The reason that they're calling for a dedicated outlet and breaker is because it's not safe to setup up a scenario that relies on everyone remembering not to use a particular outlet or appliance. A dedicated line eliminates that issue. Taping them up is a very risky kludge. And the chances of there only being three outlets on a breaker are very slim. Which is a perfect example of what I'm saying. You think there are only three, you tape two up, and tub away. Meanwhile the other six outlets you didn't realize are on the same breaker are all plugged into something and the wiring in the wall melts and catches fire. Pretty sure your landlord is going to be even less happy about that.

As a landlord, I wouldn't have even allowed a tub in the first place. Does he know you have one? Did you get his permission? I made tenants get rid of a 1' deep kiddie pool. It's a huge liability for the owner of the house. The parents of the drunk teenagers that sneak into your tub and get hurt (or worse) while you're gone are not going to sue you, they'll take the owner's house. Sorry to be rude about it, just expressing a point of view. You're being irresponsible about the electrical, and probably about the tub, too, if that landlord doesn't know about it. And that's not at all fair to the landlord/owner, who is not the bad guy in this tale.

If your landlord knows about the tub, then I'll apologize in advance.
 
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jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
The reason that they're calling for a dedicated outlet and breaker is because it's not safe to setup up a scenario that relies on everyone remembering not to use a particular outlet or appliance. A dedicated line eliminates that issue. Taping them up is a very risky kludge. And the chances of there only being three outlets on a breaker are very slim. Which is a perfect example of what I'm saying. You think there are only three, you tape two up, and tub away. Meanwhile the other six outlets you didn't realize are on the same breaker are all plugged into something and the wiring in the wall melts and catches fire. Pretty sure your landlord is going to be even less happy about that.

As a landlord, I wouldn't have even allowed a tub in the first place. Does he know you have one? Did you get his permission? I made tenants get rid of a 1' deep kiddie pool. It's a huge liability for the owner of the house. The parents of the drunk teenagers that sneak into your tub and get hurt (or worse) while you're gone are not going to sue you, they'll take the owner's house. Sorry to be rude about it, just expressing a point of view. You're being irresponsible about the electrical, and probably about the tub, too, if that landlord doesn't know about it. And that's not at all fair to the landlord/owner, who is not the bad guy in this tale.

If your landlord knows about the tub, then I'll apologize in advance.
The landlord knows I have a tub and have seen it when working on the AC recently. I'll double check, but that side of the house doesn't have many plugs. There are 4 outlets total that I've found. I can eminate the human error by using those blank/covers that won't allow anything to be plugged in.

Just trying to think of ways that would meet the requirements, so far I see a small chance of that happening without having to sell, move and buy another tub (assuming there are some that require less powerl)
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,375
Tucson, AZ
You can convert that outdoor receptacle to an industrial grade, single 20A plug. That way, at least, there’s no chance anyone can plug something else into it. As for the house you can only really remove the faceplates and cover the outlets with a blank plate. I would also make sure the feed wiring into the spa controls can handle the amperage you need.

You’re still at risk for a wall fire if any of the internal wiring in the house goes sideways so you’ll have to assess that risk on your own. No way I wound leave that tub running unattended at 102F. I’d set the standby temp a lot lower and then just plan to ramp up for use while being around to monitor the wiring.
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
You can convert that outdoor receptacle to an industrial grade, single 20A plug. That way, at least, there’s no chance anyone can plug something else into it. As for the house you can only really remove the faceplates and cover the outlets with a blank plate. I would also make sure the feed wiring into the spa controls can handle the amperage you need.

You’re still at risk for a wall fire if any of the internal wiring in the house goes sideways so you’ll have to assess that risk on your own. No way I wound leave that tub running unattended at 102F. I’d set the standby temp a lot lower and then just plan to ramp up for use while being around to monitor the wiring.
Crud I just realized that the 12 gauge cord that I purchased is only 15 amp. I'm going back to purchase that's 20 amp 3 prong plug that has one of the prong sideways.
 

jiuchessu

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
76
Los Angeles
You can convert that outdoor receptacle to an industrial grade, single 20A plug. That way, at least, there’s no chance anyone can plug something else into it. As for the house you can only really remove the faceplates and cover the outlets with a blank plate. I would also make sure the feed wiring into the spa controls can handle the amperage you need.

You’re still at risk for a wall fire if any of the internal wiring in the house goes sideways so you’ll have to assess that risk on your own. No way I wound leave that tub running unattended at 102F. I’d set the standby temp a lot lower and then just plan to ramp up for use while being around to monitor the wiring.
I gotta read about the settings and what ec, St and one other mode mean/do.

Gonna have to make the cable/plug for a 20amp.

Also, they didn't have a single receptical WITH a built in trip (gfci?)

So I'm going to lave the 2 piece on and adding an angle plug so that no other plugs can be added
 

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poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
479
Seminole, FL
I gotta read about the settings and what ec, St and one other mode mean/do.

Gonna have to make the cable/plug for a 20amp.

Also, they didn't have a single receptical WITH a built in trip (gfci?)

So I'm going to lave the 2 piece on and adding an angle plug so that no other plugs can be added
Hubby is an electrical engineer, and we are experienced DIYers.. but we call the professionals when we need to. Please call a licensed electrician. Your family's safety is at stake.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
921
Cabool, Mo
all plugged into something and the wiring in the wall melts and catches fire.
That's what breakers are for. Literally, the only thing they are for. The size of the breaker is determined by the size of the wire, and vice-versa. Wires melt and catch fire due to bad connections (like the plug) or wire that is too small to handle the current (like the extension cord) or breakers that fail to trip. Now there is a chance that there is a bad connection in the wiring that has not had high amp draw on the circuit before and could overheat under full load conditions. But as you have had that circuit under load for a while now, I would suspect it would have revealed itself already, just like your extension cord did. The real risk is tripping the breaker every time you hit the jet button.
Code says "dedicated circuit", and if you do blank off all other receptacles or lights on that circuit you have technically met the requirements of a dedicated circuit. Although you will have created other code violations by eliminating those receptacles. And, depending on local requirements, you may have to have that done by an electrician too.
Insurance liability is a very real concern, people die in spas every year, and your rates (or the owners rates) will go up if the insurance company knows. Without listing it with insurance, they will have grounds to deny any claim related to it including electrical fires.
As far as the landlord goes, I would ask him about having the circuit ran. If done by a licensed electrician he has no risk, certainly less than with it improperly wired. And he already passed an inspection to get your occupancy permit, so there shouldn't be any surprise required upgrades. If he wouldn't approve an electrician to run a circuit, then I seriously doubt he would approve of your plan.
Ec (economy mode) simply keeps it from running the pump to heat, only allowing it to heat when the pump is already running for filtration cycles. St (standard mode) allows the pump to run any time the thermostat calls for heat, and is the setting you want.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,375
Tucson, AZ
This is some of the current statistics into the causes of home and electrical fires -



Of all homes fires in the US, around 10% are caused by electrical equipment issues (the vast majority are cooking fires). Of all electrical fires, 51% are caused by equipment failure and the other 49% are caused by short-circuit arcing in wiring and equipment. Unfortunately, standard breakers and GFCI breakers do not protect against arcs, only AFCI breakers can stop dangerous arcing from occurring. Most recent electrical code has all "living area" (bedrooms & living rooms) circuits on AFCI breakers and all "wet area" (kitchens and bathrooms) circuits on GFCI breakers. Because most homes have wiring that is either very old (even aluminum wiring can still be found in some homes) OR have wiring that is mostly run as exposed cabling (not in a conduit), arcing is the biggest issue with wall fires. Arcing can occur even when insulation is intact and occurs more frequently nowadays because modern homes are full of equipment that can cause dangerous high voltage transients to occur. Pool pumps are an excellent example of highly reactive loads that can cause very high currents and voltages to occur when they switch on and off.