Spa Service Disconnect and Bonding

dw886

Gold Supporter
Sep 19, 2016
267
ND
We're in the planning phases of adding a Spa. We built our pool back in 2016, and when we did, we had a bonding wire from the concrete bonding grid placed where the Spa would eventually sit. The pool equipment is all in a different location, but connected to the same bonding grid. The Spa is stand-alone, and is about 15' from the pool.

I need to put in a 60A Spa Disconnect, and the Spa has a 3-wire configuration (Hot, Hot, Ground). This is where my question comes in:
- From what I've read, stand alone Spa's don't *require* bonding, but given that I have it there, it makes sense to do it anyway for safety. The Spa Disconnects that I've seen at Home Depot or Lowe's seem to not have a bonding lug. What's the proper way to get my bonding wire from where it comes out of the ground, to the Spa service disconnect, and then inside of the conduit to the bonding lug on the Spa?

From what I've seen, it looks like the spa has two ports on the front sides for conduit to enter, one on each side. The bonding lug on the Spa is on the inside compartment near to where the power hooks up. I'm assuming that my service disconnect AND the spa should both be bonded to the grid...
 

DDGMAN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 12, 2016
26
Wadsworth/OH
Not a certified electrician, but I did read up on code before recently wiring in my spa. Bonding is mostly an issue when you have a metal pole, fence, or metal structure within 5 feet of the water in your spa. Bonding is always a good idea as far as I know, so for the spa run 8 gauge bare copper from your grid/bond lead to the "bonding lug"/ground bar in your spa. The emergency disconnect/GFCI breaker sub-panel (greater than 5 ft from your spa water) should have a ground bar in it tied your home main panel ground bar and it does not require bonding, but you will run a 8 gauge green ground wire from the GFCI panel to the spa's ground lug/bar when connecting the spa. Any electricians please correct me if I am wrong.
 

dw886

Gold Supporter
Sep 19, 2016
267
ND
Not a certified electrician, but I did read up on code before recently wiring in my spa. Bonding is mostly an issue when you have a metal pole, fence, or metal structure within 5 feet of the water in your spa. Bonding is always a good idea as far as I know, so for the spa run 8 gauge bare copper from your grid/bond lead to the "bonding lug"/ground bar in your spa. The emergency disconnect/GFCI breaker sub-panel (greater than 5 ft from your spa water) should have a ground bar in it tied your home main panel ground bar and it does not require bonding, but you will run a 8 gauge green ground wire from the GFCI panel to the spa's ground lug/bar when connecting the spa. Any electricians please correct me if I am wrong.
Since you've just gone through this, you may be able to shed some light onto a few things. The spa is going to be about 30" from our house, which has steel siding. Not sure if that makes it a steel structure or not, but nevertheless, if I can bond it I may as well since I have the bonding wire right there.

So from what the Spa guys tell me, most tubs have two entry ports for conduit, one on each side. I'm under the assumption that these holes are plugged unless you need them?

I've heard of people that have mouse problems in the winter where they chew through wires, and damage equipment - assume that they're trying to stay somewhere warm. That being said, I'd like to keep things as plugged up as I can in terms of the spa.

I have a subpanel that will have conduit that runs to a Spa Disconnect with a GFCI outside. Then there will be conduit run to one of the conduit ports on tub - this will then close that hole on the spa. The problem that I can't quite understand is that my bonding wire is outside next to the concrete, coiled up in the landscaping. I need to get that into the tub, via either the conduit run from my GFCI panel, or via the port on the other side of the Spa. I know I could use a strain relief grommet or something on the bare copper wire, but curious what the best way is to get that wire into the spa - I'm also assuming that the underside of the spa is enclosed - maybe they're not?
 

DDGMAN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 12, 2016
26
Wadsworth/OH
I would say yes to bonding the siding. You are correct on the plugs for the entry ports. Mine had black plastic plugs on either side where the control panel and pump/heater access panel is located. I am thinking about putting some brass or stainless steel wool in the gap in the gap around the port gap to deter mice. You can probably slide the copper bonding wire in where the conduit enters the spa or the other entry port whichever gives you the shorter run. There was at least that much gap between the 3/4" flexible conduit and the spa enclosure where it enters on my spa; hence the need for metal wool to prevent mice entering. Your gap may be tighter, but you can always drill a small hole to run it next to the entry port or chisel a gap between a panel and frame too. Many options to choose from.
 

dw886

Gold Supporter
Sep 19, 2016
267
ND
I would say yes to bonding the siding. You are correct on the plugs for the entry ports. Mine had black plastic plugs on either side where the control panel and pump/heater access panel is located. I am thinking about putting some brass or stainless steel wool in the gap in the gap around the port gap to deter mice. You can probably slide the copper bonding wire in where the conduit enters the spa or the other entry port whichever gives you the shorter run. There was at least that much gap between the 3/4" flexible conduit and the spa enclosure where it enters on my spa; hence the need for metal wool to prevent mice entering. Your gap may be tighter, but you can always drill a small hole to run it next to the entry port or chisel a gap between a panel and frame too. Many options to choose from.
This makes a little more sense. I was thinking that the ports were threaded to accept 3/4" or 1" conduit. It sounds more like the conduit just slides in. I was planning on using a liquidtight end with a nut on the inside of the spa port to seal it up. Maybe that doesn't work.
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
The purpose of bonding is to make sure that people touching water cannot touch something outside the water and be shocked. Bonding does that by connecting anything that can be reached from the water and can conduct electricity to the water itself. Common items that need to be bonded are concrete pool decks, pumps, ladders and hand rails. All of these items conduct electricity and either touch water or are able to be reached from the water. Therefore the 5' rule. Anything that can conduct electricity within 5' of the water should be bonded to the water with a bonding wire. This bonding wire makes any potential voltage equal across the water and item being touched and therefore no current will pass through the person touching water and the item.

The largest risk items are a pump, light or heater malfunction introducing electric current into the water where the ladder or concrete deck becomes a ground. Or stray electric current in the ground from utility lines or underground wires introducing electric current into the ground and the water becomes the ground.

It is noteworthy to mention that bonding has nothing to do with grounding and should never be connected to the grounding of your electric panel, grounding rods or any other portion of the electric system.

More here, Bonding vs Grounding
 

dw886

Gold Supporter
Sep 19, 2016
267
ND
The purpose of bonding is to make sure that people touching water cannot touch something outside the water and be shocked. Bonding does that by connecting anything that can be reached from the water and can conduct electricity to the water itself. Common items that need to be bonded are concrete pool decks, pumps, ladders and hand rails. All of these items conduct electricity and either touch water or are able to be reached from the water. Therefore the 5' rule. Anything that can conduct electricity within 5' of the water should be bonded to the water with a bonding wire. This bonding wire makes any potential voltage equal across the water and item being touched and therefore no current will pass through the person touching water and the item.

The largest risk items are a pump, light or heater malfunction introducing electric current into the water where the ladder or concrete deck becomes a ground. Or stray electric current in the ground from utility lines or underground wires introducing electric current into the ground and the water becomes the ground.

It is noteworthy to mention that bonding has nothing to do with grounding and should never be connected to the grounding of your electric panel, grounding rods or any other portion of the electric system.

More here, Bonding vs Grounding
Perfect - thank you! It sounds like the Spa companies generally will drill a hole, or use one of the conduit ports, and then seal it back up. So you can have the bare wire entering into the Spa without it being in any sort of conduit, although it may look cleaner to encase it from the landscaping into the spa, and then seal both ends of the conduit...

My disconnect will be greater than 5' away from the spa, but not by much (6'-7'). That being said, does it make sense to buy a bonding lug for the disconnect, screw it onto the side of the disconnect, and connect the disconnect to the bonding grid as well?
 
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