What Is a Hot Tub Disconnect?

When buying a hot tub, you will probably come across models that have different types of electrical capacities.  There are 110-volt plug and play models and 220-volt models that require some electrical work to be carried out.  The main difference between the two is that a 110-volt model will plug into a regular electrical outlet whereas a 220-volt model will require a specialized outlet.  This specialized outlet is known as a hot tub disconnect and will allow the tub to draw more power to heat the water faster.  The extra power will also let the user run the hot tub jets on high while heating the water, something not possible with the plug and play models.  We’ve written this article to get further into the question of, “What is a hot tub disconnect?”

Hot Tub Electrical Installation

Before we get into all the fine details, it should be pointed out that this article is for information purposes only.  We don’t recommend using this article as a guide on how to work with electrical wiring and outlets.  If you purchase a hot tub, you should hire a licensed electrician or an experienced hot tub installation expert to ensure it is wired up correctly.  Failure to do so could result in equipment failure, serious injury or death.

How Does A Hot Tub Disconnect Work?

A hot tub disconnect is a secure electrical panel that provides power for a 220-volt hot tub.  It allows the tub to be easily disconnected from the power supply and provides safety from electrical shock when in or around the tub.  It will also have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) that will automatically cut the power if a ground fault occurs.  This happens when a wire carrying a current touches a ground wire or other grounded component.  It can be caused by an overloaded circuit, damaged wiring or exposure to moisture, dust or other contaminants.

What Do You Need to Know When Installing A Hot Tub Disconnect?

Because a hot tub disconnect acts as a safety measure, there are specifications on how it should be installed.  The general rules are that it must have a GFCI protection, be readily accessible to the hot tub users and within sight of the hot tub.  It must also be placed at least ten feet away from the water’s edge.  This allows users to quickly shut off the hot tub if any emergencies occur but protects them from electric shock

What Amperages Are Available?

The most common hot tub disconnects are available in a 50 or 60 amperage capacity.  For larger capacity hot tubs with multiple heaters, higher amperage models also exist, but they’re not as common.  Although a 50 amp capacity should be sufficient for most hot tubs, the higher amperage capacity may be useful for people with larger tubs or for those in colder climates who will need to run their water heater while the tub is in use.  Check with your owner’s manual to find out what is recommended for your particular model.