Installing your own hot tub is doable with the right knowledge, tools and experience, but it can also be highly dangerous for the unprepared. Any system that places water and electricity in such close proximity has the potential to be hazardous, particularly if it is not wired to code, and a single mistake can be fatal. While it is recommended that new hot tub owners take advantage of the electrical services offered by professionals, there are several important mistakes to avoid should you decide to install the tub on your own.
Running Wires Beneath a Hot Tub
Underground wires are generally not allowed within five feet horizontally from a hot tub. This is to prevent any leaks from seeping down into the wiring, where it can ruin the wires and even conduct electric shocks. If you have no other option but to run wires underneath your hot tub, they must be encased in metal conduit, PVC or concrete to protect them from water.
Drawing Too Much Power From Your Panel
Before you purchase a hot tub and begin installation, make sure that your electrical system can handle the added burden. Most homes built within the last few decades should be able to cover the amperage of a 220V/240V hot tub system, but older homes were designed with lower power needs in mind. Hot tubs require their own circuit, and you may need to install a new breaker or upgrade your electrical service if your system cannot handle the additional load.
Improperly Placing an Emergency Shut-Off Switch
Hot tubs require an immediate shut-off switch, which can be used to turn off electricity in case of emergencies. This switch, however, cannot be within five feet of the hot tub, and it must be water-tight. Place it on a wall or fence nearby, where it can easily be seen from the hot tub. Installing the switch too close to the tub creates the same risk of electric shock as any other wiring, but you should still be able to reach it quickly.
Placing The Hot Tub Under Power Lines
Despite the warning labels on nearly all hot tub installation guides, many people still make the mistake of installing their hot tub beneath power lines. This will likely land you in trouble with local building codes, but it can also be dangerous and put you at risk of electrocution. Whenever you are uncertain about coding and electrical installation, consult with an electrician for experienced guidance and the ease of mind that comes with a professional installation.