We bought a house with a jetted tub this fall, and one time when I was going to use it, it wouldn't turn on. I did some research and saw that the GFCI is usually the first culprit. The service panel to the tub only allowed access to the plumbing. So I looked in a closet on the opposite side of the tub in a closet, and there was an inoperable GFCI in the wall. I assumed this would be the best first place to investigate. I replaced the GFCI and the new one doesn't work either. And by doesn't work, I mean no power, no tripping, no resetting. The problem is I don't know if the original GFCI was even working in the first place. In the same bathroom, kind of far away and on a perpendicular wall is another plug and then another GFCI that has power but doesn't trip. I am wondering if these things are related. I thought about testing both the original GFCI and the new GFCI in another location to see if I just happened to get a bad unit. We have a home warranty but figured a $15 GFCI was better than a $60 warranty service fee... but that having failed, I'm open for suggestions as long as they're not more than $60 worth of time, trouble and money. Thanks! (Also, as to my level of experience, I've done lots of replacing light fixtures, switches, outlets, etc., up to a new installation of an exhaust fan and its new wiring and switch, etc. as probably my most complicated electrical DYI job.)This message has been edited. Last edited by: AlisonM,
Dec 24, 2012, 04:01 PM
let me venture a guess. Whoever installed the tub knew that it had to be protected by a gfi,rather than search out a gfi and connect to it, he took the easy way and just hooked into another outlet, not realizing that it was a protected outlet. When the protected outlet tripped its gfi it stopped all power downstream from it , including the new gfi protected outlet. So until you find the already protected outlet and reset it, you're not going to get power to the tub I think that you have to find ALL the gfi,s in the house, mark what each controls, reset them , then if you still don't have power, run a dedicated line from the panel to the tubs gfi outlet (which, I think , should have been done in the first place But as I said, it's only my guess, maybe "sparky" will weigh in on this problem Have a happy holidayThis message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
Dec 24, 2012, 04:25 PM
first question... when you look at the plumbing and motor assemblies, are they bonded with a #8 solid copper wire?
if not, whoever put the tub in probably can't get their hands on the dry side of a paint brush to win a bet. might be wired, might not be wired. it's sure as heck not done right. look at the tub manual (if they hid or burned it, get it online from the manufacturer) and read it through first. then start looking for the issue.
I have little voices in my head telling me you are going to have to run a 15 amp circuit for both tub and heater (yes, that means two separate circuits) through "switchplate GFIs" back to the entrance panel, and do your bonding so everything is at ground potential that is metal within reach of the tub.
if your home warranty covers defective installations, that $60 fee would be the best money you ever spent.This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Dec 24, 2012, 05:41 PM
Here's an update. I just switched out the gfci on that wall behind the tub with another replacement, and it doesn't work either. I put the first replacement gfci where the one that wouldn't trip was on the other side of the bathroom, and it works there. I'll go around the house to see if I can find any others that have tripped.
Ok, just checked and no other GFCIs have tripped elsewhere in the house. As for "when you look at the plumbing and motor assemblies, are they bonded with a #8 solid copper wire?" I cannot see the motor assembly. It's not accessible through the service panel. It looks like the only way to get to it will be to crack open the caulked side panel of the tub. The tub doesn't have a heater, also, by the way. I've checked the warranty fine print, and I'm guessing it won't be clear as to whether it will be covered until they find the problem. They do specify that inadequate wiring is not covered, so that would be a shame.This message has been edited. Last edited by: AlisonM,
Dec 24, 2012, 08:00 PM
Do you have a meter to check for power? Because is sounds like you are just not getting power to the GFCI that protects the tub. Painfully obvious, but have you checked all the circuit breakers in the main box? Sometimes a breaker can trip yet not hold in the middle 'tripped' position. There should be one dedicated breaker for the tub (probably a 20a). If you can find that one and verify that it's the one, then check to make sure you are getting power out of the breaker.
Other possibility is that there is a separate box in a different location with a breaker for the tub. Not very likely for a fairly new house though.
Finally is the possibility that the GFCI was hooked up incorrectly all along. Again, checking to see if you have power in to the tub GFCI will tell you a lot as to how you need to troubleshoot this.
Dec 24, 2012, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the additional ideas. I don't have a meter but had already checked each breakers individually, and nothing. Unfortunately, the breaker panel is not lableled, so without several hours to spare and a baby sitter, I haven't been able to discover which breaker goes to what. Unless it's very hidden, like in a corner of the attic, I have not seen a separate breaker. I'm guessing something is going on with the power just to the tub and GFCI at this point. I thought perhaps that it might have been incorrectly wired, but then that means the jets on the tub would never have worked... and they did up until a couple of weeks ago when all this happened. Thanks everyone. Keep any ideas coming if you can.
Dec 24, 2012, 09:48 PM
Where I'm from in California, it is required to have a dedicated 20 amp circuit for a jetted hot tub, and it is to be GFI protected. And the motor is to have a bonding wire such as what swschrad suggested. Your motor should have some kind of an access panel for it. If it were me, I'd figure to set the whole thing up properly, and, assuming you do not have a dedicated wire, I'd forget the existing wire and rewire with #12 wire. But that's easy to say while I sit here.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Dec 25, 2012, 01:57 PM
Can really add anything as what has been posted is excellent as usual. Here goes anyway. Trouble shooting is real hoot is it not? Tugging a new source of power suggested by RE-mdlr comes to mind as the problem solver. But much easier to type from here than actually do. Good luck, be safe. It is also a code violation to install such a unit and not have access to electrical connections. But that is no help to you with your problem as you can correct work of others. And a jetted tube without a heater is not the best situation to have. But that is what you have. Mainly because once you turn off the water supply the water begins to cool. This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,
"What would Curley do ?"
Dec 25, 2012, 11:04 PM
Thanks, all, for your input. We're calling the warranty people in the morning! We've done all we can without it being not worth the trouble. I searched high and low for an extra breaker and didn't find anything there either. So have a merry Christmas night, all. I'll be sure to post here when we get ready to convert our fluorescent kitchen light box into recessed plus trestle!
Dec 28, 2012, 04:54 AM
just to add my 2 cents worth it is upc mechanical and plumbing code code for a pump to be acessable for removal and maintaeince not a electrican, but i think its there code as well this code violation should sway your warranty towards paying for the fix. they will make you fight it. but if you mention that it was installed against 3 different codes they might fall in line