With the warm weather approaching, you may be considering the use of an outdoor spa or swimming pool. Proper outdoor wiring and procedures of swimming pools and hot tubs will be crucial to your family's safety and those using the equipment. Rather than leaving it to chance, hire a licensed electrician for electrical wiring, installation and inspection. Here are six aspects your electrician will oversee:
1. Following National Electric Code Regulations Regarding Power Lines
According to the National Electric Code (NEC), you must not install your hot tub or spa directly under outdoor power lines. The same rule applies for swimming pools and water fountains. Your licensed electrician will be knowledgeable on these codes, as well as your state and local codes. A hot tub, spa or swimming pool that is closer than 25 feet in any direction will be considered a safety risk.
2. The Use of a Correct Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter for Your Hot Tub
This is the power supply your hot tub or spa will connect to. Depending upon the size of the spa, your electrician may recommend a small 120 volt model or a more powerful 240 volt feed for a larger hot tub. Using inadequate voltage may result in a safety hazard or fire.
3. Installation of a Disconnect Switch on Your Hot Tub
A disconnect switch is another safety feature. This allows you to switch off your hot tub power in the event of an emergency. For convenience, it's best to wire a switch that will automatically shut down hot tub power after a designated amount of time, such as 15-30 minutes.
Your licensed electrician will install the shut off switch several feet away from your spa or hot tub. This will prevent electrocution from contact of the wired circuit while in the hot tub. In addition, your electrician or electrical inspector will take note of city or township permit regulations for such installations.
4. Installation of Safe Underground Wiring
An electrician may install your underground wiring as needed. The professional will know the correct distance to install underground wiring, typically no less than five feet from the edge of the spa or pool.
5. The Use of Low Voltage Swimming Pool Lighting Systems
Electrical lighting for your swimming pool is another area of concern. For safety reasons, have a licensed electrician install your swimming pool lighting system. While a professional may install the higher 120 voltage lights, it's best to err on the side of caution and go with the lower 12 volt system.
The electrician will most likely recommend that all cables be installed in conduits. For the novice, a conduit is some type of protective cover, in the form of a tube that will encase the wiring. To minimize the risk of electrocution, no wires should be exposed. Equally important, your licensed electrician will use up to date equipment when installing your lighting and fixtures.
6. A Thorough Inspection of Your Swimming Pool or Hot Tub
Last but not least, when hiring a licensed electrician for swimming pool or hot tub tasks, ask for an inspection. The professional will inspect all electrical components to ensure everything is in accordance with safety regulations. For instance, if swimming pool lights are flickering, the electrician may recommend you replace them. If faulty parts or hazards are noted, it will be documented, so you may have them repaired at once.
Your electrician will check to see that suction outlets in your swimming pool or spa are covered. Cracks or tears will be noted, so these may be replaced. Outlet covers should not be loose, therefore your electrician will check the fittings as well.