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electrifier
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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Every time I clean my spa, after draining it the gfi keeps

Customer Question

Every time I clean my spa, after draining it the gfi keeps popping. last year coincidently i thought the gfi went bad and spent 90.00 on a new one. it seamed to work. this year again i did the same thing but now the spa will not work. I know I should not have to keep buying new gfis at 90.00 every time. What is my problem for lack of circulation and cold water in California?
Thank you
Scott
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Did you turn off the breaker before you drained the hot tub?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes. I did i turned off the same breaker that keeps popping, as it did last year when I had this same problem.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Changing the GFCI breaker did not fix the problem?
What type of wiring is between the main panel in the house and the spa panel near the spa and what type of wiring between this panel and the hot tub?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
As specified by the wiring instructions when 1st installed, nothing has changed. Thats why i have the this dilemma! nothing has changed or been upgraded since it was first installed
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
What is the wiring between the house panel and the spa panel and what is the wiring between the spa panel and the hot tub?
I need you to answer the question please.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
from the main house panel i have ground black red and white going into the circuit breaker box. the ground is connected to the ground bar, the black and red are connected to the back of the box itself. the white is connected to the neutral bar.
From the box dual 50amp fuse i have the white pig tail connected to the neutral bar. the ground is connected to the ground of the spa the black is connected to the black of the spa and the red is connected as the same red to red. I also just notice that it says that 50 amp is ok 60 amp is optional, could that be a possibility to go to a higher fuse?
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
You have a breaker not a fuse.
Are your grounds bare or insulated green?
Where is the neutral from the tub connected?
50 amps is fine, that's what the GFCI breakers are and the tubs don't draw the full 50 amps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The grounds are insulated except for the portion making the actual connection.
The neutral from the tub is in a sealed water tight gray box similar to the electrical ducting for the wiring built inside the framing of the tub itself as is the rest of the wiring.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Can you please tell me where this neutral connects to the breaker or the neutral buss in this spa panel?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The neutral on the breaker is the center connection. the neutral on the spa as tagged from the factory is the one on the top. the spa show top=neutral center =black and bottom=red as is wired.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Where does the neutral from the hot tub connect in this spa panel? Don't tell me about any other wires, ONLY the white wire from the hot tub to this panel with the GFCI breaker.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I cannot tell where the wires go as they are behind a circuit board that is factory installed. Sorry I can't help you. I think that's why this is puzzling me so much. all I did was drain the spa and refill it now it wont start again. nothing else was done to change a thing. just the water.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
There is no circuit board in the panel with the GFCI breaker.
If anything in the hot tub allows ground and neutral to touch together it will trip the breaker.
In the "spa panel" with the GFCI breaker disconnect the green ground wire and see if the breaker still trips. This will determine if you have too much current or if you have a short between ground and neutral.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok sir I did disconnect the green wire in the spa, and when i turned the power back on the GFCI did not pop this time.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
This tells me there is a problem between ground and neutral in the hot tub itself. These are difficult to find at times. Connect the ground back up and then disconnect grounds to your pumps one at a time or to any other devices that have a ground wire. Pumps and the heater are the first I could check. This is a trial and error process at this point.
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience: Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
electrifier and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok I have checked what appears to be all the ground wires including the ones at the house. all appear to still be tightly connected with no loose ends. I too still have a tenancy to agree with you that something is not making a proper connection and therefore causing heat resistance causing the system to pop the circuit breaker. I have rechecked all the neutral and the black wires to insure their connectivity as well and they to seem to be all right.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
That's not it. The wires are connected just fine. Disconnect any green wires in the hot tub control box and one at a time connect them to the ground terminal. There will be one of them that causes the GFCI to trip. It's nothing to do with a bad connection or drawing too much power or even heat. It's all about neutral and ground coming into contact with each other somewhere in the hot tub wiring. Try the different ground wires one at a time to see which part of the tub is causing the problem.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If nothing has ever been changed in the hot tub factory wiring, and the spa has been running in between time with no problems, why then when I simply shut the power down at the GFCI to drain and refill the spa, does it not start back up when I put power back to the the same GFCI? Maybe my frustration of not understanding is getting the better of me. How can you go from working, turn off to now no working and no factory installation has been adjusted?
Thank you
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
I look at it as just before something stops working it works fine. Maybe draining the water had some effect on a pump or the heater. Do the troubleshooting that I outlined above and find out where it is coming from. One green ground at a time starting with only the feed from the breaker connected and then you will find out which part of the tub is causing the problem. Then look at that device and find the problem there. With an ohm meter you should be able to see something other than infinity for a resistance between ground and neutral.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Since it is dark here as well as your place I will try in the am thank you again for your assistance. I will follow up tomorrow with you.
Again I Thank You
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
I'm here to help you help yourself. That's my goal.
It's quite dark here in Michigan as it is 10:30 at night.

Edited by electrifier on 3/22/2010 at 2:41 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok Sir. one last question and I will leave you alone. I fianlly had the chance to follow up on what you told me to do.

I disconnected the Green ground to the hot tub. I went to the garage to get my Ohm meter and in the process there of the spa turned on and started operating like normal. Everything worked. Heater, Water Jets, Water Fall and Radio. What should I think now. is the ground the problem?

Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Something in the tub is leaking to ground from the neutral circuit. How many green wires are there in the tub besides the one that comes from the circuit breaker panel?
Disconnect these one at a time until you find the ONE or more wires that cause the problem. Trace this wire to what it grounds and there you will find the problem. I'll still be available to assist as you trace this ground fault.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
With the tub running now with out the ground connected will i still be able to check the ground wires?
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
You must connect the ground wire and then disconnect all the other green wires. Make sure the tub still runs OK. Then connect green grounds one at a time until one trips the breaker. Keep trying one at a time to make sure only 1 trips the breaker. The one or more that trip the breaker lead to the problem area. Whatever connects to the other end of the ground is where you find the problem.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When I connect the ground wire back from the circuit breaker the spa no longer runs.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Correct. Now you must discover where the problem is located in the tub controls. It could be a motor or some device in the panel. How many other green wires come into this control panel?
I'm going to dinner but I'll be back in a while.

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