My cord is too short... Now what?

da_guy2

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May 26, 2013
67
Ottawa, On, Canada
We Just got our Nordic 110v hot tub and I goofed. I knew it had a 15-foot cord, so I planned out the place the tub needed to be. I knew it was going to be tight but I thought I was ok. I got the pad all ready, the tub delivered and in place. I went to plug it in and realized that because of the way the plug comes out I'm a couple of feet short!

I don't know how I messed up, but now I need a solution and I don't know what to do. I can't move the tub as it needs to be on the pad where it is. My options as I see it are
  1. Get a SHORT extension cord (12 gauge 3 feet MAX) and a weatherproof connection box. This really isn't an ideal solution and I feel like everyone will advise against it but it's the easiest fastest and cheapest to do. Maybe it might be ok as a temporary thing?
  2. Replace the cord on the tub with one like this one In-Line Auto-Reset GFCI Plug - 20' Cord – Canadian Spa Company This cord is 12 gauge vs the 14 gauge cord the tub came with so it can be 20' and still have less voltage drop than the 15' one it came with. The problem with this is it's going to take a while to get here and it's going to cost $100+.
  3. Probably the least preferred but best technically the best option is to hire an electrician and get them to run me a new line. The biggest problem with that is there really isn't any great option for mounting the outlet, it's going to take a really long time to get someone in to do the work, and it's going to cost lots of $$$.
Related to that last point I decided I'd test that outlet for voltage drop under load. Unloaded It was 114v, and with a 12A load(a kettle) it dropped to 108v! That's over a 5% drop already. If I go up to 15A and 15-20 feet more cord it'll likely drop lower, by my calculation as low as 105v or 8%. This seems bad, no? Maybe it might necessitate option 3?

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
 

cowboycasey

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No problem, there should be an electrical supply store for your town, where the contractors go to buy wire... go in and ask for 30 feet of 8/3 SOOW wire like below.. If bought below it is about 50 dollars but you would also have to pay for shipping.. it is great outdoor rated wire... for more protection you could run it through 3/4 conduit if you wanted... I use this stuff for everything, i have some that has been running 12 volt at 100 amps for over 5 years in the sun, rain, snow, and ice.... :)

 

jseyfert3

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Related to that last point I decided I'd test that outlet for voltage drop under load. Unloaded It was 114v, and with a 12A load(a kettle) it dropped to 108v! That's over a 5% drop already. If I go up to 15A and 15-20 feet more cord it'll likely drop lower, by my calculation as low as 105v or 8%. This seems bad, no? Maybe it might necessitate option 3?
In North America, nominal line voltage is 120 votls, with a tolerance of ±5%. So standard outlets should be 114-126 volts. You're already at the low end side of that, and a 12 A load dropping it to 108 seems a bit excessive to me. Is there anything else on the circuit with that outlet that's already drawing power and creating additional voltage drop? If not, I'd lean towards getting a dedicated circuit put in. And if you're having a circuit put in, look at having conduit run so that you can easily upgrade to a 240 volt spa without shelling out a lot more money in the future for electrical work. Our favorite time to use our spa is in the winter, but a 120 V spa cannot maintain temp in the winter with the lid off, so they are only usable for short periods, whereas our 240 volt spa can maintain temp indefinitely in reasonable temps (currently tested by me down to 1 °F).


go in and ask for 30 feet of 8/3 SOOW wire like below
SOOW is great stuff, we use it all the time at work. I feel obliged to point out thought that the NEC does not allow the use of SOOW when dedicated wiring is specified, only for temporary setups or when flexible wiring is needed. I am not familiar with the Canadian electric code.
 
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cowboycasey

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In this instance it is replacing a flexible cord already there with a longer and bigger one, skating the edge maybe... When I had my hot tub at 220v 60 amp it would keep the temp at 104 open at -16 F :)
 
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da_guy2

Well-known member
May 26, 2013
67
Ottawa, On, Canada
In North America, nominal line voltage is 120 votls, with a tolerance of ±5%. So standard outlets should be 114-126 volts. You're already at the low end side of that, and a 12 A load dropping it to 108 seems a bit excessive to me. Is there anything else on the circuit with that outlet that's already drawing power and creating additional voltage drop? If not, I'd lean towards getting a dedicated circuit put in. And if you're having a circuit put in, look at having conduit run so that you can easily upgrade to a 240 volt spa without shelling out a lot more money in the future for electrical work. Our favorite time to use our spa is in the winter, but a 120 V spa cannot maintain temp in the winter with the lid off, so they are only usable for short periods, whereas our 240 volt spa can maintain temp indefinitely in reasonable temps (currently tested by me down to 1 °F).



SOOW is great stuff, we use it all the time at work. I feel obliged to point out thought that the NEC does not allow the use of SOOW when dedicated wiring is specified, only for temporary setups or when flexible wiring is needed. I am not familiar with the Canadian electric code.

Ya 114v seemed odd to me too. I checked again this morning and it was back up to 119v. Maybe something weird was going on with the grid last night? Still not happy with the drop on that line. Did some quick calculation online and it would look like that corresponds to about 100ft of 14 gauge wire which seems a bit long given that it's only about 60 ft from the panel. There's nothing else on that circuit. There's one other outlet but nothing ever gets plugged in there. Depending on how this goes I may cap off that second outlet so no one plugs anything in by accident. I think it might be worth having an electrician come in and have a look and at minimum give me a quote for what it would take. My guess is it's going to be MUCH MUCH more.

Another update, I talked to my supplier and according to Nordic changing the cord (apart from hard wiring) will void the warranty regardless of how good a cord it is. I mean I guess I could just keep the old cord and swap it back if something goes wrong while under warranty but it's a bit risky.

Side question.... How bad would it be to use the short extension cord as a temporary thing maybe a (few weeks) until I can come up with a more permanent solution? I don't know how long this is going to take to get sorted out and I'd like to start getting everything setup.
 

Arizonarob

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I just went down a similar road with my tub. I don’t play around with safety when it comes to electricity and water. Do the right thing and have a dedicated 20amp GFCI outlet installed for your tub. :cheers:
 
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Mdragger88

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A very short (3ft) at least 12 gauge Cord is an ok temporary solution but definitely have a permanent outlet installed for your spa. If the outlet u intended to plug it into is already A dedicated Gfci it shouldn’t be hard or expensive to extend a pipe from it & add another outlet (using the original as a junction box w/a cover). If not running one shouldn’t be too terribly expensive . If you are A diy’er it’s not expensive at all. You’ve already made the investment of a pad & tub. This is part of that investment.
 
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