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Thread: Hot tub internal gfci protection

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletis View Post
    I'm siding with the heating element also. It seems like thats it about 80% of time I tell them to call hot tub guy and I call to check and that seems always it. Here is another thing about these calls. First he called "hot tub" guy so he goes out and says he can't check because breaker kicks off and he needs power to check so he tells HO to call electrician. So off I went and I tell him I'll try a new breaker another day and see if that's it. So when I go back it may or may not hold so I'll tell him to call hot tub guy back which means I may have to go out and put in a 2 pole non gfci so he can "test" then once he test I have to go back again maybe to put the gfci back in. So probably 3-5 trips for me and 2-3 trips for hot tub guy. Thats gotta be agitating for the HO. Why can't the "hot tub" guy test for continuity on hot tub parts with no power anyways ??
    that's absurd, I wonder if you can find a real hot tub guy to recommend when that happens

    but when I get those calls, I explain before going that if the tub is tripping the breaker, I won't be able to fix it

    and like others have said, its usually the heater. the ones I've seen lately have modular plugs for other components, so its easy to unplug one at a time until breaker quits tripping, and take that nut off electrical connection to the heater itself, etc. so I can usually tell HO what the hot tub guy needs to replace
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletis View Post
    I'm siding with the heating element also. It seems like thats it about 80% of time I tell them to call hot tub guy and I call to check and that seems always it. Here is another thing about these calls. First he called "hot tub" guy so he goes out and says he can't check because breaker kicks off and he needs power to check so he tells HO to call electrician. So off I went and I tell him I'll try a new breaker another day and see if that's it. So when I go back it may or may not hold so I'll tell him to call hot tub guy back which means I may have to go out and put in a 2 pole non gfci so he can "test" then once he test I have to go back again maybe to put the gfci back in. So probably 3-5 trips for me and 2-3 trips for hot tub guy. Thats gotta be agitating for the HO. Why can't the "hot tub" guy test for continuity on hot tub parts with no power anyways ??
    If it were my service call, I would be first disconnecting heater from the board, if it holds tell customer it is heater (or I may offer to replace it, but if you don't want to that is fine - but you found the problem). If it still trips with heater disconnected next things to disconnect are pump motors and see if it holds. One can even meg heaters or pump motors while they are disconnected.

    Majority of tripping GFCI's I encountered is usually a failing heater. Last one I was called to, actually it was moved from one family member to another family member and I hooked it up, when they filled it and started it up it wouldn't hold the GFCI. Previous location hadn't used it in a while, what I eventually found was a leaking seal in some piping was dripping into one of the pump motors. We took that motor apart, cleaned it out and dried it out and it worked fine - of course we also replaced the leaking seal.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  3. #13
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    Are electricians even supposed to be messing with spa’s internal stuff ???


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletis View Post
    Are electricians even supposed to be messing with spa’s internal stuff ???


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think many are more qualified than many of the spa repair guys. Might not be as knowledgeable of what is all out there for products, but much more qualified at troubleshooting electrical issues. Take that for whatever you think it is worth.

    You as an electrician should know what makes a GFCI trip. You should be confirming there is/is not a ground fault and not just throwing parts at it. GFCI's don't typically fail with random tripping, they either won't trip at all or won't reset at all. First thing on any GFCI that won't hold is disconnect the load, if it holds then, the load likely is what has the problem.

    Many appliance repair guys, pool and spa guys included, have no clue how a GFCI works or what makes them trip. That is a big troubleshooting disadvantage especially for the pool and spa repair guys.

    If the spa is new and still under warranty, maybe for warranty's sake you don't mess with it unless you are authorized to make warranty repairs. Otherwise anybody can mess with them. I doubt there are any licensing authorities that have a spa technician license or similar, or if there is there are many out there doing this work that aren't licensed. Might be a little stricter on built in pools/spas, but other than initial construction of them, how would an AHJ ever be able to successfully keep up with service work on them?
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  5. #15
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    Update

    Here is latest today hopefully you can all help me solve the mystery.

    Here is setup. Main panel Breaker feeds a sub panel under deck. Out of the deck sub panel that feeds #6 Cu to a 60 amp AC disconnect. Out of a pullout AC disconnect #6 to the Spa. Here are findings

    In main outdoor load center sub panel under deck phase B is pretty well corroded if not welded together (screw would not even turn). Also the screw was in significantly more than phase A which was perfectly normal.

    In AC disconnect near spa the phase B pullout was pretty well melted. This was approx 50 ft away from outdoor sub panel

    We took 50 amp GFCI breaker out and tested with 2 pole non gfci breaker. Everything worked fine and held for a while all numbers were on spec. We disabled and returning next week to put a new GFCI back in. We also replaced guts of AC disconnect with new today.

    Thinking were gonna side feed the sub panel next week since the lug is probably melted onto the bus bar.

    The question is did the high resistance connection at sub panel or the AC melted phase B cause the problem ??

    Also, the 50 amp GFCI breaker even not connected is really difficult to lock in on position. Takes a handful of tries and it will finally lock on and stay on powered or not.

  6. #16
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    Your GFCI breaker sounds suspect but replacing with a standard breaker proves only that the hot tub is not passing in excess of the 50 amp or greater of the new CB. Do you have meters that are capable of detecting the 4-6 ma trip level of the GFCI?

    Was the GFCI installed in the outdoor panel with the lug problem? The heat would not help. Did the breaker look like it had heat damage?
    Tom
    TBLO

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    Your GFCI breaker sounds suspect but replacing with a standard breaker proves only that the hot tub is not passing in excess of the 50 amp or greater of the new CB. Do you have meters that are capable of detecting the 4-6 ma trip level of the GFCI?

    No, I do not. What kind do you recommend? I just have normal meters (wiggy's, misc fluke, ideal, etc...testers)

    Was the GFCI installed in the outdoor panel with the lug problem? The heat would not help. Did the breaker look like it had heat damage?
    Yes it was. It was on bottom left of panel but no sign at all of any heat damage.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    Your GFCI breaker sounds suspect but replacing with a standard breaker proves only that the hot tub is not passing in excess of the 50 amp or greater of the new CB. Do you have meters that are capable of detecting the 4-6 ma trip level of the GFCI?

    Was the GFCI installed in the outdoor panel with the lug problem? The heat would not help. Did the breaker look like it had heat damage?
    I agree, putting in a non GFCI doesn't prove much when it comes to potential GFCI trip issues though the GFCI he has does sounds like it maybe has physical/mechanical issues anyhow.

    Even though the things mentioned probably do need replaced, one doesn't look so professional if they replace all that and then still have GFCI tripping issues. A person needs to know how to check for ground faults - like using a megger and know ahead of time whether there is more issues or not and mention them upfront, instead of just making it appear you are throwing random parts at it until it finally works.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  9. #19
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    Yup. It also a PIA to work in those spaces. Easier to replace at disco instead of crawling sometimes on your belly under a deck where a spa is set
    Other posts mentioned heating element. Usually go bad frequently (usually bad water chemistry). Common replacement part.


    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Good question, but I'll bet if they did, it would be $100 to replace one in a disco or panel, and $300 to replace the one in the tub.

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