6 Reasons Not to DIY Your Hot Tub Wiring

Getting a brand-new backyard spa is exciting, but the hot tub wiring required to get your new oasis up and running is not so fun. Unless you have made the choice to buy a plug and play hot tub, you’re going to have to make some upgrades to your home’s electrical panel to use your new hot tub safely. In fact, you may even need (or want) to add an outdoor sub-panel. Yes, unfortunately, that amazing new party and relaxation station requires a hefty supply of power and a dedicated circuit to reach its full potential.

Many homeowners balk at the expense of hiring an electrician to prepare their home electrical system for a new hot tub. It’s understandable. A hot tub is already a pricey purchase without all the additional costs that come with installing it. After looking at the final bill, you may be tempted to dabble in a bit of DIY hot tub wiring to save money. As your friendly neighborhood electricians, we’re here to share a few reasons that may not be the safest, or even the most affordable, option.


1. DIY Hot Tub Wiring is Dangerous

As electricians, we are up-close and personal with the perils of electricity on a daily basis. It is no exaggeration to say that working within your home’s electrical system is incredibly dangerous for even minor projects. The dangers are only compounded the more complicated the wiring job, like adding a hot tub to the breaker panel and adding a GFCI-protected circuit outside. DIY electrical work puts you at risk of electrocution. A lack of experience working with electricity only compounds the risk to your health and safety.

The other risk factor to consider when considering DIY hot tub wiring is the safety of your hot tub after the installation is complete. Hot tubs are a precarious mix of electricity and water that must be carefully separated at all times. The minerals and particles in water are great conductors of electricity, hence why you don’t stand near a lake during a lightning storm or use a hair dryer in the shower.

That careful balance is another reason you should seriously consider leaving installation to a hot tub electrician. If improperly grounded wiring releases a current into the water, it can cause electrocution. If you fail to supply adequate power to the hot tub, equipment can degrade and break down and release a current into the water. Hot tub electrocution can cause serious injury or death. That is why the National Electrical Code (NEC), has so many strict hot tub electrical requirements for proper spa wiring.

2. Wiring Your Own Hot Tub May Void the Warranty

Hot tub manufacturers have strict warranties and wiring it yourself will likely void any warranty that comes with your system. Just take a look at this wording from the warranties of two different hot tub manufacturers:

“… incorrect use of the spa including but not limited to running the spa dry or filling the spa up incorrectly, electrical installation by a non-qualified electrician, ice in the spa, incorrect winter preparation, or commercial use.”

“Misuse includes careless handling of the spa, damages caused by improper and/or non-certified electrical hook-ups …”

These two examples are the rule, not the exception. If your hot tub breaks due to electrical failure or malfunction, your warranty holder will absolutely ask how the system was wired into your home. If you choose to go the route of DIY wiring, manufacturers will not honor the warranty because they cannot determine if the hot tub itself was defective or if your wiring caused the issue. Hiring a licensed electrician to install 220 hot tub wiring and other components protects you when it comes time to make a claim against your manufacturer warranty.

3. DIY Electrical Wiring Can Damage Your Hot Tub

If you do not wire your hot tub using standard wiring requirements, you can inadvertently cause damage. For example, failing to install a GFCI breaker can lead to serious damage to your hot tub’s electrical panel. Other hot tub wiring mistakes cause power drains that tax the system and wear down parts and components prematurely. Bad electrical connections can cause shorts that damage the pumps and lighting. In short, there is a lengthy list of ways that DIY hot tub wiring can damage your investment.

4. DIY Electrical Wiring Can Damage Your Home

Wiring a hot tub is not as simple as matching the proper colors and capping off connections. A 240v 3 wire hot tub wiring diagram can give you the schematics of wiring a hot tub. It cannot give you thousands of hours of experience in applying that diagram to houses ranging from new builds to 200-year-old farmhouses. The diagram stays the same, but every house is different.

Wiring mistakes can cause electrical fires. They can cause electrical drains that strain your appliances and damage your electronics. Dimming or flickering lights, mini-brown-outs and other difficulties may also occur. You may even end up having to hire an electrician to troubleshoot and repair the problem to prevent further damage to your home.

5. DIY Hot Tub Electrical Installation May Violate Local Codes

Does your city require permits to perform electrical work? Does hot tub wiring need to be buried? What is the minimum distance your hot tub should be from the electrical box? These are common questions related to municipal codes, which are enforced to protect you and your neighbors. A badly wired hot tub can go from your problem to a neighborhood problem fast in the event of an electrical fire.

How would the city notice the backyard of a lone citizen and pay a visit? Installing a hot tub in the backyard is not exactly a secret to your neighbors. A concerned one might just call code enforcement to check out your project. It is highly likely you will be in violation of local codes if you are found wiring your hot tub yourself. In El Paso County, that could result in a stop work order or even a lien against your property!

The last area where violating local/electrical codes can be a nuisance is in the selling of your home. Selling a house with unpermitted work is not easy and you are required to disclose it during a sale. You do not want to be scrambling to find an emergency electrician when you’re trying to close a sale.

6. Home Hot Tub Wiring Increases Your Liability

Hot tubs are generally covered under homeowners insurance, although some companies may have stricter requirements than others. Choosing to wire your hot tub on your own, however, could cause you trouble if your home is damaged by your hot tub. Unpermitted work is not covered under the majority of reputable policies There is some flexibility but it may not be worth the risk. In the event of a fire or electrical damage, your insurance company may deny your claim if they can prove the accident was due to faulty installation/your negligence.

If you own rental property or host short-term rentals like VRBO or AirBnB, the liability is even greater. Now you are responsible for the lives and safety of others beyond your family home. You also have specific requirements you must follow to comply with local regulations, as well as any requirements detailed in your rental property agreement/short-term rental agreement. In the case of rental property, it is imperative that you hire a licensed electrician for wiring and any repairs related to the power supply (a hot tub specialist or warranted provider should manage hot tub malfunctions). Don’t count on a waiver to protect you in the event of an incident. Cover yourself from day one with licensed work.

Don’t Go It Alone – Call Flow Right Today for Help with Your Hot Tub

When it comes time to make a decision about hot tub installation, DIY is not the way to go. Install it right the first time! Flow Right’s licensed electricians in Pueblo and Colorado Springs will help you safely wire your new hot tub into your home electrical system in accordance with all appropriate codes and requirements. Let us save you time and hassle so you can truly relax in your brand-new spa.