How to Find the Correct Wire Size for Your Hot Tub

Hot tubs will require new wires or wire repairs throughout their lifespan. Getting the correct wire size for your specific hot tub will help to guarantee they can withstand the flowing current and keep your hot tub running efficiently.

Most hot tubs require a 50-amp wire, but some require a 60-amp wire, so check your owner’s manual before you head to the store. Whether you choose a 50 or 60-amp wire, you should look for either a 4-gauge or 6-gauge, as these work best and are unlikely to suffer from problems like overheating.

Still not sure which wire size is correct for your hot tub? Let’s look at all the available wire sizes for your hot tub so you can pick the correct one for your home.

Wires For Hot Tubs Explained

Side of hot tub with panel removed to repair and complete maintenance on the recirculation pump

Every hot tub that uses jets and requires heating assistance will require wires, a conductor, and circuit breakers to offer electricity and maintain the safety of the hot tub occupants. 

The electrical wires used for hot tubs consist of three parts – a plastic sheath, conductor insulation, and the wire itself. The thickness of the conductor is the crucial element to get right, as the conductor is the part that carries the electrical current. 

To allow the current to flow, a circuit breaker allows electricity to pass through safely. Most hot tubs use 50-amp circuit breakers, though some require 60amps. Most electrical household appliances use the same size, including dishwashers, washing machines, and heaters.

Wires are typically made from aluminum or copper. For compatibility with a 50-amp circuit breaker if your circuit wiring has an aluminum conductor, you require wire that is at least 4 gauge. For copper conductors, a bigger gauge is required. 

To achieve the greatest electricity transmission, copper conductor wires will be the best choice as they can achieve 61% more transmission.

What Size Wire Do You Need for a 50 Amp Hot Tub? 

Standard hot tubs use 50-amp circuit breakers to power the jets and warm the water. The electrical system is important to master to guarantee safety and the best experience. 

For standard hot tubs, the American Wire Standard (AWS) recommends using a 6-gauge copper wire for 50-amp circuit breakers like this one (on Amazon)

Should your hot tub have longer or larger wires, a 4-gauge aluminum wire is a great option. Aluminum wires are more affordable than copper wires. Different wires and materials can withstand certain levels of heat and electricity. Therefore, it is important to invest in the correct wire size depending on the requirements of your hot tub.

Using an incorrect wire will deplete the safety and efficiency of your conductor, resulting in overheating and electrical fires. It is possible to use 8 or 10-gauge wires with your hot tub, but these could result in overheating and fire hazards. 

Before you buy, it is also essential to ensure your wires also have the correct wattage. A 50-amp circuit has a computed power of 12000 watts at 240 volts. The maximum wattage permitted on the circuit is 80%, which is 9600 watts for a 50-amp circuit. 

How Do You Wire a New Hot Tub?

Now you know about what wire size your hot tub may require (you should always check with the manufacturer’s recommendations), it will be time to wire the new hot tub. 

For the installation and wiring of a hot tub, it is essential to ask a professional. There is a huge safety hazard when dealing with water and electricity. It is not recommended to wire your hot tub on your own unless you have lots of experience as an electrician.

A professional will gather a circuit breaker, service panel, GFCI shut-off box, wire, an additional power outlet, and conduit to perform the wiring task. After that, the following steps will be performed to wire your new hot tub. 

  1. Turn off the power supply. Turning off the main power supply is essential, so there is no risk of electrocution as you wire your hot tub.

  2. Install the control panel. Every panel will have different installation steps. Check the panel to see what steps to pursue. The panel should be within five feet of your hot tub(this is a good opportunity to reposition your hot tub before you find out the cord doesn’t reach!

  3. Dig a trench. Running the wires through a conduit is the safest option. Using a shovel will help to dig a small trench where the wires can stay safely.

  4. Running the conduit and pulling the wire. With the trench and wire in place, it is time to run the conduit. It is best to drill a hole through the wall near the hot tub to do this. After that, pull the wire to connect the power to the hot tub.

  5. Connecting the wires. Once the wire is pulled through, it is time for the most complicated step – connecting the wires. A professional will know what wires to connect where.

  6. Inspecting the wires. Before turning on the power, it is essential to inspect the wires. Checking you have used the correct metals and wired them correctly will ensure no issues when the power is switched on.

  7. Turning the power on. After installing the wires to the new hot tub, it is time to switch the power back on. 

And just like that, your hot tub is wired! While you are ready to fill and enjoy your hot tub, remember to inspect the wiring regularly and seek help if you notice an issue further down the road.

Does Hot Tub Wiring Need to Be Buried?

Digging a trench for your wire is essential. It is correct to bury your hot tub wires as it allows them to stay safe from weathering and other dangerous elements. 

If your wires come into contact with water or animals, they could risk being tampered with and causing electrical fires. Loose wires can also cause electrocution, which can be serious, which is why you should always dig a trench for your wires so that you can safely use your hot tub.

How Far Can You Run a 50 Amp Wire?

It is possible to run a 50-amp wire to 188 feet. However, this isn’t always safe or efficient. Therefore, running a 50-amp wire only up to 100 feet from your hot tub is recommended. This will allow you to attain efficiency and keep you and your family safe.

Do All Hot Tubs Need Their Own Breakers?

Automatic circuit breakers

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) or MCB (mains circuit breaker), also known as a breaker, is essential for hot tubs to remain safe for use. For maximum safety, it is best that your hot tub has its own breaker, as it requires a lot of power.

A circuit breaker contains a plastic switch, which works to flip when an electrical surge occurs. The flip switch interrupts the flow of electricity, helping to prevent electricity from passing through and causing issues such as fires and electrocution. 

The GFCI or MCB should be kept within five feet of your wired hot tub to ensure to utmost safety and guaranteed support should your electricity alter unexpectedly. These are required by law for anyone that wishes to have a hot tub in their home. 

Your chosen breaker should cover the hot tub’s maximum pull, plus a further 25% to account for brake torque. Because the hot tub requires a large amount of power, you likely won’t be able to use anything else on this breaker. If you try to, it is likely a surge will occur and cut your time in the hot tub short!

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