Four Electrical Questions to Consider Before Buying a Used Hot Tub

12 September 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

If you've found a great deal on a used hot tub, you may be wondering what you need to get the hot tub working. In most cases, you will need a special electrical outlet, but there are exceptions and other things you need to consider as well. Here are some questions you should answer before buying it:

1. Can the hot tub be heated with natural gas or propane?

Many hot tubs run solely on electricity, but some of them are powered by natural gas or propane. If the hot tub you are looking at works with natural gas or propane, you typically don't need to worry about what type of outlets you have available. Instead, you can just buy a few cans of propane or natural gas to power it. However, you may need to have an outlet for the lights or the pump of the hot tub. Luckily, in most cases, a standard size outlet can work for that.

2. Do you have an outlet with a GFCI?

Even if you are just using an outlet to power the lights in your hot tub, you need to ensure the outlet has a GFCI. A GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter, is a safety device. It detects when the current on either side of an outlet is uneven, and it stops the current if that happens.

This is especially important when you are using electricity around water. The GFCI can stop you from getting electrocuted.

3. Does the hot tub come with a manual?

When acquiring an electric used hot tub, you should ask the previous owner if he or she has the manual. In most cases, the manual gives you detailed information about what types of electrical support the hot tub needs. For example, the manual may say how many volts the hot tub uses, the required amperage of the circuit, the number of wires needed for the hook up, and the gauge and material of the best wire.

If the current owner doesn't have a manual, look at the hot tub. It may have an sticker with information. In lieu of that, you may want to consult with an electrician. These professionals can typically tell what you need just by looking at the hot tub's plug or assessing the number of volts it draws with a special sensor.

4. Can you afford to add a new outlet?

Regardless of the specifics, most electric hot tubs require a special outlet from which they can draw the power they need. This is similar to how you plug a dryer or a stove into a special outlet. Before buying the hot tub, you may want to get a quote from an electrician. That way, you can consider the cost of rewiring or adding an outlet in your purchase price.