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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Pool and Spa
Satisfied Customers: 2954
Experience:  I have held a Class
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This is a question about pool light and spa light wiring,

Customer Question

This is a question about pool light and spa light wiring, basically my spa light shorted out about 1 year ago because lense seal went bad, water got into the light, because both pool and spa light are protected by the gfci outlet below the sub panel, I had to disconnet the spa wiring at the gfci outlet, so the pool light can continue to work. Last week I install the new spa light, connected the light cable at the junction box next to the pool. Since the white neutral wires for both pool and spa lights are connected together at the junction box, there is only one white neutral wire going into Compool control panel and subpanel, I don't remember how to connect back the way it was. Pool light works as it is connected through Gfci outlet, I changed the spa light breaker to gfi breaker, there is no white neutral wire to connect it to, if I share the white neutral wire for spa gfi breaker and pool gfic outlet, the gfi will tripped, but if I use it separately, pool or spa light works, can you advise how I should wire the white neutral wire for pool and spa lights!!
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Pool and Spa
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Is the pool circuit configured as a shared neural circuit or 2 separate circuits with 2 separate hots and 2 separate neutrals?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
2 separate circuit I think, separate hot wires for both pool and spa, separate breaker, but neutral wires are connected together at the junction box
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) If the neutrals are split, that's a shared neutral circuit and not 2 dedicated circuits which presents a challenge on keeping the GFCI's from tripping.

2) When you replaced the breaker to a GFCI breaker, did you connect the load neutral to the GFCI breaker or did you terminate the load neutral to the neutral bus bar?

A double pole GFCI breaker requires the load neutral to be terminated to the middle screw neutral terminal directly on the GFCI when configured as a shared neutral. If not terminating the shared neutral wire correctly, the GFCI will trip every time.

Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Refer to the attached GFCI diagrams for a shared neutral circuit.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks for the quick response, I don't have a double pole breaker, single 15A breaker for pool, single 15A gci breaker for spa, (the gfi breaker for spa was added 2 days ago), I only have a single gfic outlet currently connected to pool and it works, I believe the previous wiring was for both pool and spa lights protected by gfci outlet, but I lost my note, so I don't remember, but if I take the white neutral light connected to spa gfi breaker, spa lights works, but when I share the neutral white for both the spa and pool , gfci tripped
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) You have a code violation. A shared neutral that is GFCI protected requires a double pole GFCI breaker that has a common handle tie. Can't mix a regular single pole breaker with a GFCI single pole breaker on a shared neutral circuit without having tripping issues.

2) Refer to the 2 GFCI diagrams I sent in my original reply. One or the other need to be configured.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OK, I will go get a double pole gfci breaker tomorrow, so I need to wire up the 2 hot wires (one from pool, one from spa). 1 neutral wire, and the pig tail to neutral bar right? since I am getting a double pole gfci breaker, do I get a 30amp one since I currently have 15 amp for pool and 15 amp for spa?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
also since I don't have 2 outlet, can I just bypass the outlet completely since I don't really need it
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) Yes, that is correct. White load shared neutral terminates to the GFCI breaker and the curly white GFCI white neutral terminates to the neutral bus bar. .

2) The double pole GFCI breaker needs to be a 15 amp. If the branch circuit conductors are both 14 AWG copper, then the conductors are rated for a 15 amp breaker and not a 30- amp breaker.

3) Not sure what you mean with "by-passing" the outlet? Either you require the outlet or you don't. If the outlet is not required, then no need for a device or connection, right?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
when your diagram shows 2 outlets, does it mean the 2 loads (pool +spa)? I am not that familiar with electrical terminology, also I think my wires from junction box to control panel to sub panel is 12 AWG, does it make a difference?
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

1) Yes, each receptacle on the diagram is a separate load due to each receptacle having it's own dedicated hot wire. However, the neutral wire is shared.

2) 12 AWG copper was most likely installed to compensate for a voltage drop on a lengthy run. 12 AWG copper can certainly be used for a 15 amp breaker, so not a problem there.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
just check lowes and home depot, they both don't have 15amp double pole gfci breaker, can a 20 amp double pole gfci breaker works?
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

1) Yes, if the branch circuit conductors are all 12 AWG copper, a 20 amp double pole GFCI can be installed. However, the load amp rating determines the maximum size of an over current protection device. If the connected loads state that the maximum amp rating is 15 amps, then only a 15 amp breaker can be used.

2) 15 amp double pole GFCI breakers are available but are limited to only a few panel manufacturers. Thus the reason you are not able to locate them at Depot or Lowe's. I recommend to check with a a local electrical supply store as they have better inventory than the big box stores.

Siemens makes a 15 amp double pole GFCI breaker, but it may not be allowed or fit in your panel. 20 amp double pole GFCI's are more common than 15 amp double pole GFCI breakers. Breakers installed in a panel must be the same manufacturer as the panel manufacturer. Foreign breakers installed in a panel are not listed. In other words, you can't install a Siemens breaker in a GE panel even if it fits....ie... a code violation.

3) Worst case scenerio, install a 15 amp double pole breaker using (2) two separate 15 amp GFCI receptacles and wire the pool light and spa lights to the GFCI LINE side and they will be GFCI protected. Refer back to my original diagram.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks................Kevin:)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I think I am gonna go with your option 3, gonna do that tomorrow morning, thanks for your prompt response, will rate you highest tomorrow
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

No problem, glad to assist.

Take care and have a great evening and we'll catch up with you tomorrow.

Thanks...........Kevin:)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am going to home depot now getting the 15A double pole breaker and the additional gfci outlet, I just want to make sure about something on your wiring diagram, I am certain about how to connect the GFCI outlets on the line side, but on the load side, I am assuming the hot wire from Compool Line wire will be connected to the gfci Load Hot, shared neutral white wire from pool/spa lights will be splice and connected to individual gfci load neutral, right?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am 99% certain because currently my pool light is connected this way and it works
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

1) Look at the diagram, there is no termination to the GFCI LOAD side if the circuit is a shared neutral. If terminating to the GFCI LOAD side on a shared neutral, the GFCI's will trip every time. Only the LINE side gets connected on a shared neutral GFCI circuit.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
than how am I connecting my pool and spa lights?
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

1) Are the lights cord and plug connected or hard-wired?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
light wires (hot, shared neutral, shared ground) goes through junction box, end at load side of the terminal blocks in the compool 3600, the line side suppose goes to breaker or gfci/breaker
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

Then the light wires will terminate to the GFCI LINE side.

Breaker will feed to the terminal block. Out of the terminal block the individual hots and the shared neutral will connect to the GFCI LINE side.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am a little confused, let me think about this
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
i am gonna draw a wiring diagram, then send it to you
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

OK, very good

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have the white neutral wire all figure out, but if the hot wire from light are terminated at gfi outlet, how can I use compool control to turn on or off the light
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
i am more confused after drawing the wiring diagram, sorry
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am gonna go get the double pole breaker and additional gfi outlet first
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 months ago.

1) In your diagram, you are showing the double pole breaker feeding both the control panel and the GFCI's. The feed from the breaker can only be one or the other and not both.

2) I don't want to guide you in the wrong direction as I am not familiar with the connection on the control panel.

I will opt out of the question and place it back to the open board. We have another electrical expert here who has experience on pool panels and he will be better able to assist you on the terminations.

No need to reply back to me, you will be notified once an expert picks up the question.........Thanks:)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Kevin, your suggestion of using a double pole gfi breaker, even though I could not get a 15 am breaker, I got a 20 amp breaker, pool and spa lights both works, perfect thanks a lot

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