some questions on hot tub / spa wiring in Canada

rcolbeckJanuary 7, 2010

Hi:

I live in Ottawa, Canada, and am with the help of an electrician friend wiring up a 240V hot tub. Although an electrician though he doesn't seem to know the answers to these questions. Our plan is to use Teck-90 6 AWG (3 conductor + ground) wire throughout:

1) About 3 ft from main panel (2 50A cartridge fues) out through wall up to exterior GFCI 50A box.

2) About 20 ft from exterior GFCI box along wall, under deck, drop below ground under hot tub and back through a hole on bottom of hot-tub enclosure (it has a solid thick plastic bottom), another 10ft inside hot-tub enclosure to hot-tub wiring connectors.

My questions are:

1) My understanding is that in Ottawa, the GFCI and box outside must be at least 15ft from the water. Correct? Now does it have to be line-of-sight from the hot-tub? I sure hope not as this will make my install more difficult and I'll need more wire than I just ordered. It seems like in the US one might need it to be line-of-sight but here in a 2006 code book I read that this wasn't required if installing the hot tub "at a dwelling".

2) Can I use cheaper connectors (i.e. not the Teck waterproof ones) for the inside connection to my main panel and for the inside connection within the hot tub enclosure? I will use the Teck connectors outside going to and from the GFCI box.

3) In my inside panel there is not a 3/4" knockout available on the eft side of the panel where the 50A fuses are. There is however a 3/4" hole available on the right side where the main 100A (?) massive fuses are. The panel sort of has two compartments for incoming and outgoing stuff. Am I allowed to bring the teck wire in on this right side compartment,strip to individual wires, and then route the individual wires through an available gap in the compartment wall to the left side where the 50A fuses (and other fuses) reside? I guess my other option is to enlarge the 1/2" (?) knockouts available on the left side of panel.

4) Can the Teck wire just be routed through the cement wall (and plastic hot tub bottom) without any conduit (or LB - what is that?)? Then I can just fill the holes with that expansion foam?

5) Anything I've missed?

Thanks, ..Roger

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Ron Natalie

I'm not up on the Canadian codes but the following is per the US NEC.

There are two things that are required for spas. I believe you are getting them confused (happens often).

The first is the maintenance disconnect. The disconnect box can be located as close as you like. It needs to be within sight of the person who might be working on the mechanicals of the thing. For instance, in my case, the tub is mounted in the deck, the disconnect is under the deck which is where you get at all the machinery.

This disconnect you MUST have.

The second is the emergency stop switch. This needs to be located in sight of the spa occupants but not closer than five feet. This is the thing that is NOT REQUIRED for single family residences.

If you have teck armored cable, you have to use the fittings. That's the only way cable is listed to be used. If you don't do this you are not assured of either water proofness nor ground bonding.

There's nothing wrong with either option for the connection to the panel you describe in #3.

Yes Teck doesn't need conduit. "LB" is a conduit fitting which you don't need either.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 5:03PM
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rcolbeck

Thanks for the quic response.

What is this "maintenance disconnect"? Does this have to be a switch? Can't it just be the wiring box ("pack") that is in the hot tub enclosure itself? I certainly don't see any picture of another maintenance disconnect box or switch in the wiring diagram that came with the spa. My GFCI box has an on/off switch, as this is the on/off switch on the breaker itself, but you are saying this is different than the "maintenance disconnect"? I wonder if it is different for Canada, as I don't see mention of this in the CSA Standards C22.1-06A Section 68 document that I happened to find online.

Interesting that you say I must use Teck fittings even if I use the Teck inside as I thought I saw something contrary that somewhere else on this forum. I would have thought I could use cheaper non water-proof fittings inside but maybe not, as maybe this wouldn't provide correct mechanical integrity.

Thx, ..Roger

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 5:19PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Roger,

Does your local building code folks have any information? Around here (U.S.) the local authorities have a web site with code information and pools/spas are a pretty common topic.

Ron,

Wouldn't the GFCI serve as the equipment disconnect for the spa (assuming it's line-of-site or whatever else the code calls for)?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:11PM
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Ron Natalie

A disconnect is something that kills power to the equipment. If you have the breaker/GFCI in one of those "spa boxes" mounted out by the spa, yes that can serve as the disconnect.

As far as I know (admittedly Teck is a Canadian thing) you have to use the matching fittings. It's just not a water proof thing, they also provide the bonding of the metal parts of the armor to the panel.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 7:11AM
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bigbird_1

You've got a lot of questions that need clarification. I would suggest you get your city's electrical inspector down (It's free) for a consultation on what will be allowed. That way, you will be good for inspection. Get your inspection on this, as hot tubs and spas are on the list of being the most potentially lethal electrical appliances.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:30AM
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