Volt Spas These days, somes
spas of this design will provide for a built in GFCI, called a
"High-Current GFCI", that will protect all parts of the spa control
system. Just be careful though.
There is virtually
no difference in the appearance of a newer high current gfci, and a standard
flat face gfci that only protects 115 volt components.... oh yes, spas have
been made this way for years, with integrated 115 volt gfci's to protect only a
component or two. But unfortunately it was necessary to at least provide some
measure of protection to the most critically exposed (those that could be most
easily exposed to water and create a hazardous situation) components, sometimes
as a response to UL/NEC recommendations/regulations, reduce product liability,
and yet in others, as a way to offer an easy way to switch the spa on and off
at the spa control panel. Many of you that have been around for a while will
recall some spa control packs that show this as an On/Off switch. Even if it
only protects 115 volt components, some protection is better than nothing!
Specifically, if you've got a spa that has 230 Volt pump motors, a 230 Volt
heater, and a 115 Volt blower motor, with a 12 volt (reduced via a transformer)
I suspect that the
latter is the real reason why most control packs had them in the first place...
was to meet NEC Code regarding pool lighting & electrical safety
Even if you have an
integral high current GFCI built into the spa, I still recommend installing one
at the main breaker box or at the remote disconnect. Why? Well, my experience
shows that integral types of GFCI's will not last as long as one that is built
to "industrial strength" standards to be mounted in its' own breaker
box.... also, why leave it to question anyway? These things are for your
safety, and having the additional backup protection is rather cheap compared to
To test one of these
types of GFCI's, simply open the breaker box and press the "Test"
button. If the circuit breaker trips, then it is working properly. Please note
that this only tests the GFCI functionality as a test of the breaker itself. It
will NOT tell you whether or not your spa is properly grounded!
To reset it,
simply switch it off, (the breaker), and then back on again. Power should be
restored to the spa.
A homeowner SHOULD
perform at least monthly tests on the GFCI to ensure proper operation. GFCI's
of the 220 Volt variety will come with a sheet that can be attached to the
interior of the circuit breaker panel door, to log monthly test results. Be
sure that one is there, and if not, make one of your own so that you can keep
track of your test results.
If at any time,
the GFCI will not pass this test, then:
got a problem with your spa, or
got a problem with the wiring between the GFCI and the spa, or
got a defective GFCI.
115 Volt GFCI's