Ground Fault Circuit Breakers, GFCI's, 230 Volt 115V GFCI's
Safety Warnings!
Remove Power from the spa/hot tub and circuit breaker panel BEFORE working on electrical equipment!  Failure to comply with this requirement, can lead to electrical shock and/or electrocution!

This is a GENERAL GUIDE ONLY!  USE this information at your OWN RISK!  Consult with or hire a licensed electrician before beginning any work of this type!

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Troubleshooting GFCI's
to 115V GFCI's

GFCI's, (also referred to as GFI's), come in all shapes and sizes, and are required these days on all spa installations. One thing to remember about them is that they provide an added measure of protection and safety not offered by anything else available on the market today.
230 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) spa light.

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 requirements.


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 the obvious....


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. 

Monthly Tests

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:

1. You've got a problem with your spa, or
2. You've got a problem with the wiring between the GFCI and the spa, or
3. You've got a defective GFCI.

To determine troubleshooting methods, click here

115 Volt GFCI's