Why Do You Need to Ground a Hot Tub? + Other Safety Tips

Hot tubs allow you the luxury of looking forward to soaking in a warm tub after a long day. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy an outdoor space either by yourself or with your friends and family. When you’re gearing up to buy a hot tub, it’s important to put research into safety features and precautions, like whether the hot tub needs to be grounded. But why do you need to do this?

Because a hot tub uses a large amount of electrical energy to operate, you have to make sure the unit is properly grounded during the installation process. If this isn’t done correctly, it’s possible for the electricity to surge, which can cause injury or even death by electrocution.

Knowing whether or not you should ground your hot tub is a great question for a professional electrician. Let’s take a detailed look at the grounding process so that you can make an informed decision about whether you should ground your hot tub or not.

What is Grounding?

Grounding with cables

Grounding is the process of feeding an electrical wire like this Copper Grounding Wire (on Amazon) into the ground through your electrical panel. The purpose of this is to allow any additional electricity to run through the ground instead of through what the wires are connected to.

In most cases, homes that were built and wired by a professional electrician should already have a circuit of wires that run through a specific grounding point. This allows other electrical items to be connected fairly easily and become grounded.

Do You Need to Ground a Hot Tub? 

Yes. Electricity is always looking for a way to get to the ground. If a unit is not grounded, the path for the currents will often use the closest way to get there, which could be through your hot tub…and you.

That means that if you or your loved ones are in the tub at the time the electric currents make their way to the ground, you can suffer from electrical shock. This is because water is one of the best conductors of electricity.

To avoid this, it’s advisable to hire a professional electrician to install the wiring for your hot tub, because they work with electricity every day. Doing the work yourself is fine if you know what you are doing, however, if you have any doubts, it is best to hire a professional.

Even when you have a professional electrician install your hot tub, they may or may not suggest grounding the wires. This may be something that you have to advocate for yourself, especially if they advise you that grounding is not necessary.

When it comes to the safety of your friends and family, you should consider the best options for anything you install in your home. A hot tub should not be any different from other electrical items in the home that you would have grounded.

It’s important to know that some electricians may suggest adding a grounding rod that connects directly to the hot tub. This usually isn’t necessary because your home should already have a central grounding system that is made specifically for anything in or around your home.

Why is it Important to Ground Your Hot Tub?

Hot tub on concrete inside of a screened in enclosure

Some might argue that it’s not necessary to ground your hot tub, but most experts agree that you should. The risk of electric shock or even death by electrocution is high in anything that conducts electricity, and a hot tub is no different.

A hot tub is not only connected to the electrical panel, but also contains a large amount of water. Water conducts electricity very well. And should the electricity happens to surge, the currents start searching for the easiest path to the ground. 

This search will often end with the electrical unit that is not connected to the grounding point, because it’s the easiest way out. When this happens, anything and anyone in its path can be at risk of electric shock.

Not only is grounding your hot tub important for preventing electric shock, but it can also prevent any power surges that can occur in your home. When a hot tub is properly grounded, any surge in electricity will push the current toward the ground, and all the electrical items in your home will be protected.

Another reason that grounding your hot tub is important is that it keeps all the electrical systems in your home safe. This is because the voltage is more evenly distributed, which means there will be less chance of a power overload when you use your hot tub.

Keep in mind that if you choose to not ground your hot tub, you are not only risking your and the lives of your loved ones, but also the health of the hot tub itself. If the power surges and the hot tub is not grounded, this can fatally damage the electrical system in your tub.

To make matters worse, there’s a high risk of a fire breaking out due to a major power surge. If this happens, you may be facing more than just your hot tub being permanently damaged, but the rest of your property as well.

Oftentimes, when a fire breaks out that is due to the electrical system, it can get away from you pretty quickly. When this happens, you may end up losing much more than you bargained for when the fire is put out.

The bottom line is that you must advocate for your hot tub to be grounded, even if the electrician does not recommend it. They may be a professional, but the health and safety of you and your family should come first.

Hot Tub Safety Tips 

While the electrical concerns surrounding your hot tub are of the utmost importance, there are also other safety matters that you should be aware of. Some of these come down to common sense, but many people do not take them seriously enough. Make sure that you, your family, and any guests using the hot tub are aware of what they need to do to protect themselves before they take a dip.

Follow the Temperature Guidelines

When it comes to choosing the right temperature for your hot tub, you must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Reaching a temperature hotter than suggested can result in burns as well as damage to your tub.

Use Chemicals as Recommended

Keep in mind that a hot tub is much like a swimming pool: it’s a lot of water exposed to open air. This means that without the proper chemicals, you may be risking the growth of certain harmful bacteria that can cause illness.

Be Mindful of Your Hygiene

It’s recommended that before you enter your hot tub, you should be clean and free of any lotions or perfumes that can damage your tub. It is equally important that after using the hot tub you should shower to remove any excess chemicals that could damage your skin.

Limit Your Soaking Time

It’s easy to revel in the decadence of soaking in your tub, especially after a long day. Regardless, it’s important that you only stay in the tub for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Doing so protects your body from overheating, which can cause you to become dehydrated and ill.

Limit Alcohol Use 

Even though many people find it relaxing to sit in the tub with a glass of wine or bottle of beer, you should limit your consumption while in the hot tub. The water is already hot, so the alcohol can further affect your body by dehydrating you much faster than usual.

Avoid Slips

The same way you would use caution when navigating around a swimming pool, it’s important to be careful when coming out of your hot tub. The surrounding area can pose a slipping risk. It can help to have water shoes near the hot tub to avoid any injuries.

Take Care When Pregnant

If you’re pregnant, you should use a hot tub after checking with your physician. Even then, it is recommended that the temperature be lowered by at least 10 F to avoid overheating.

Be Mindful of Children

The novelty of the hot tub can be enticing for most people, children included. That said, a hot tub is only appropriate for children that are age 5 or older, because the risk of overheating is greater. It’s suggested that the temperature be reduced by about 10 F to ensure their safety.

Final Thoughts on Grounding a Hot Tub

Overall, installing your hot tub correctly and safely often means hiring a professional electrician to help with the wiring. Doing this will ensure that everything is connected correctly and reduces the risk of electrical failure due to faulty wiring incidents.

It’s important to keep in mind that some electricians might not recommend grounding the hot tub, claiming that it’s unnecessary.

However, you should remember that the safety of yourself and your loved ones is of the utmost importance. You have the right to and should advocate for having the hot tub grounded to keep yourself protected.

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