Power Switch for Hot Tub

ccorwin15December 23, 2011

I have a hot tub that is wired with 6 gauge/4 wire. The 50A breaker is not in a covenant location, so I want to put a simple light switch between the breaker and the hot tub to turn it on and off. What do I need to go this? I guess the first question is, Can you do this?


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Absolutely not. Whatever device you introduce into the circuit needs to also be rated for 50 amps. Ordinary wall switches are rated at 15 or 20 amps.

Are you planning on putting this switch in the house and it needs to look attractive? Or can you get away with a simple metal box, similar to, say, a disconnect for an air conditioning unit?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 7:04AM
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Ron Natalie

As Mike points out a switch will NOT handle the load. You can get outdoor rated disconnects/switches that you could use. In fact you SHOULD have one in sight of the part of the tub with the maintenance access.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:49AM
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Mike, Yes, we want it to be attractive, The hot tub is a single person tub that we put in a bathroom. I was hoping that there was a converter of sorts that could break the 240v circuit with a simple light switch.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 1:19PM
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It can be done via other means though. If you wanted to use a simple run of the mill switch to do this, it is going to be expensive.
You would need to get a contactor with a 120v coil.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Hexus, Could you explain more about how the contractor would work? Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 4:11PM
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contactor, not contractor

You would wire the contactor to make/break power feeding the hot tub. A normal run of the mill switch could be used to energize/de-energize the coil.

If you have no experience with this sort of thing you should get someone who does to help you. The only reason I brought it up is because you could do what you want by this means.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 6:57PM
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You MUST have a service disconnect with sight of the tub. Why not use that?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:22PM
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By this I mean must as in required, not must as in "probably".

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Hexus, Thanks. I will check with the electrician who install my breaker panel. Petey, Do you need a service disconnect if the tub sits empty except when its being used. What we have, is a Japanese soaking tub that has a hot tub system installed in it. So it has a drain. We found it at a yard sale. It is a one person tub and installed in the bathroom. Does it require the service panel because of the heating unit? Other then that, its the same as a jetted tub.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I'm guessing here so correct me if I'm wrong. Rather that using the existing tub controls that likely maintain a water temperature, you want to turn this hot tub "off" when not in use.

Since an ordinary wall switch isn't rated for the amperage of the circuit, you'd need to introduce a contactor into the mix. Contactors are essentially electrically controlled switches. You'd need a 2-pole contactor rated at 60 amps with a 120v coil. When you flip the wall switch the contactor would close allowing electricity to flow to the hot tub. You'd likely need some kind of enclosure and a place to mount it, keeping electrical codes in mind.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 10:08AM
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ccorwin15, a service disconnect is required for service, maintenance and safety. It has nothing to do with whether it has water or people in it.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 10:49AM
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If you were to mount the switch for the contactor within sight if would serve as the disconnecting means.
It's all the same thing, it will just look a lot nicer which is what I thought the main goal of all this was?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 12:46PM
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Thank you all for all your help!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 6:22PM
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