Spa GFCI Problems

Whether the spa is being installed for the first time, or a problem with constant tripping of the GFCI has occurred, understanding the purpose, the wiring and the technology behind GFCIs will help troubleshoot the condition or problem.

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Troubleshooting a tripping GFCI upon power up of the spa involves narrowing down the component or location of the problem. This is why many spa professionals will begin such troubleshooting by simply unplugging all of the spa components from the spa pack including pumps, blower, heater etc..

If the breaker can be reset with only the spa pack plugged in, then the problem is downstream to one of the components which can be found by plugging them in to the spa pack one by one until the breaker trips. Power to the spa should be off and the breaker off when making electrical adjustments inside the spa pack or near electricity within the spa.


Hot Tub GFCI

Spa Rubber DuckHot Tub GFCI

The GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a safety device required in many parts of the world to protect persons near water and electricity from electrical shock. The GFCI senses electrical current that leaks to ground which can be caused by numerous issues including the worst case short in an ungrounded hot tub component that can put the entire spa under voltage.

GFCIs are life saving safety devices and should be tested regularly with the test button they come with.

Get a quality GFCI that is suitable for spa use to avoid nuissance tripping.

Many regions also require a disconnect panel or subpanel outside near the spa (but at least 5 feet from the spa) so the spa can be shut off in an emergency. These disconnects are also handy for quickly shutting the spa off for draining instead of running to the main panel. A GFCI/disconnect is the best GFCI installation.


Hot Tubs are the next best thing to travelGFCI Tripping

A GFCI can trip for many reasons.

Nuisance tripping occurs when there are overheated wires, loose or corroded contacts, moisture build up in the control box or one of the electrical spa components, loose electrical wiring or a loose hookup of the main wires, faulty gfci or other problem.

Another little known source of nuissance tripping of GFCIs is if the distance from the GFCI to the hot tub spa pack is very far and conduit is used to contain the wiring. Moisture can build up inside the conduit and also create false trips.

Not having enough voltage at the spa because improper wire gauge was used without consideration to the fact that longer runs require thicker cable as a rule can not only cause false tripping but also wear out pump motors or cause other problems with the spa.

Although most spa electronics have a tolerance range when it comes to electrical supply voltage, the pumps need the proper voltage in order to function at capacity.


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Spa Fragrances

Simple "plug and play" hot tubmodels usually come with a GFCI - ground fault circuit interruptor (or RCD cord- residual current device) installed directly onto the plug. Usually the plug and play type of spa do not come with heaters over 2kw and are more appropriate for spas that do not have alot of water volume or are used indoors. They are designed to plug in to a dedicated household circuit. Make sure the circuit is rated higher than the spa requirements. For example if the plug and play spa requires 18 Amps, you cannot use a normal household 15A outlet, but must have installed at least a 20Amp dedicated outlet on which no other devices are run.

Troubleshooting a tripping breaker or GFCI may shine a light on a corroded or shorted out heater element, a blower that perhaps got water in it and is causing the breaker to trip, or even an ozonator that has a short circuit.

Warning: Do not work on electrical devices including spas if you do not have the required experience as you risk severe shock if you make any error. Risk of injury or even death is not worth tinkering with your own electrical unless you are qualified to do so. Contact your neighborhood electrician or spa technician for assistance with hooking up GFCIs and spa electrical. Information contained herein is for informational purposes only and does not condone or imply any individual working on electrical circuits or working on electrical devices that do not have the experience and responsibility to do so. Use the information contained in this website at your own risk.