Installing a Spa Panel
Time Required: Over 1 day
While a backyard spa is a great way to relax and have fun, the installation involves specific electrical requirements. For most full-sized spas, the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires:
- Hard-wiring the spa into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected 220-240V 50- or 60-amp dedicated circuit.
- A manual disconnect device, often called a spa panel, between your home’s electrical breaker panel and the spa. The disconnect device solves the problem of false tripping that occurs if the spa is wired directly to a two-pole GFCI breaker.
This step-by-step guide will show you how to install a spa panel. Before beginning this project refer to your spa and spa panel installation instructions for essential information about wiring specifications.
As with all electrical projects, follow local codes and consult an electrician before beginning your project. In addition, you must have the wiring inspected before using your spa.
- Consult your local building code to determine the depth for laying the conduit and contact your local utility companies to ensure you don’t cut into a buried utility cable or pipe.
- Carefully remove the sod, if you have it, cutting it into manageable squares and setting it beside the trench.
- Dig the trench for your conduit to run from the electrical breaker panel to the spa panel and from the spa panel to the spa.
- Use the hole saw to drill a hole through the outside wall near the breaker panel for the conduit to exit the house.
- Measure, cut and cement the necessary conduit and fittings to run from the breaker panel down the wall, across the trench to the spa panel, and from the spa panel down to the trench and across to the spa.
- Insert an LB fitting in the hole in the wall to connect the indoor and outdoor conduit.
- Use “sweep” fittings, which make gentle curves rather than sharp 90 degree curves, whenever possible to make pulling the wires easier.
- Do not bury the conduit until after you have the wiring inspected.
- Beginning at the LB fitting, use fish tape to pull the wires from the fitting to the spa panel.
- Leave at least 6 inches of extra wire hanging from the spa panel.
- Push the wires through the LB fitting into the house and to the breaker panel, leaving at least 6 inches of extra wire hanging.
- Use fish tape to pull the wire through the conduit from the spa panel to the control panel on the spa. Leave at least 6 inches of extra wiring on either end.
- Be sure to follow your spa panel and spa instructions when wiring the panel.
- First, attach the wires that lead to the spa. Attach the red, white and black wires to the bottom of the GFCI breaker, and attach the green grounding wire to the ground bar.
- Attach the wires from the breaker panel, and attach the black and red wires to the breaker feed lugs on top of the breaker. Attach the white wire to the line neutral bar. Attach the green grounding wire to the ground bar.
- Confirm the main breaker is off and no power is present.
- Be aware that even with the main breaker off, the wires coming from the power company are still energized. Be careful when working in the breaker box.
- Attach the red and black wires to a dedicated double-pole 240V GFCI circuit breaker.
- Label the new spa circuit breaker.
- Before energizing or filling your spa, call the electrical inspector to schedule your wiring inspection.
- Once your wiring has passed inspection, bury the conduit.
- Fill your spa with water and enjoy.