Outdoor spas, pools and the bonding of the deck.

I moved over here because we were hijacking another thread.

Paul, to answer the question about a spa on a patio (AKA lanai), Florida IAEA is leaning toward saying that if you drop a packaged spa on a paved surface it needs to have a bonding grid embedded in it. For something that has really been around for about 4 years I am not sure why they are just starting to look at it but that is sure how it reads.
I suppose if you built wood/plastic deck around the tub it would not need a bonding grid in the concrete but I haven’t actually heard this.
The IAEI boys have also received a letter from NFPA that says the regular 6 or 8 ga steel welded wire is not “bars” so it can’t be used for establishing the grid. There are some strange things coming from NFPA on this.

Paul I am taking you last question over here. In part II they are saying “permanent pool” as opposed to “storable pool”. If the equipment in your spa was labelled “storable pool” I could see how you could duck part II.


Thanks for moving it…see thats the thing with the NEC.

Personally I feel the GRID issue applies to “permanent” installed pools, outdoor spas and so on…not portable and usually WOOD cased self containted spa units.

Do you have any idea of any changes in verbage in the 2008 as I have not looked at it…

I agree 100% with the gradiant bonding as it pertains to 680.43 but I think we could have other issues when you tie a potential GRID of lets say a pool system and then have a patio where you install a portable spa which is GFCI protected for the most part ( we hope anyway )

Anyway take my SPA on my deck…it is all wood, wood bottom and all piping within is plastic except the motors which I bonded each together with a # 8 AWG to the control metal circuit case…bonding all parts together but I think it would be better served to stop their…

My question is are they considering it permenant…as thats how I read the grid requirement and involving the rebar and so on associated with it, now i can see that on a poured built in hot tub or spa situation but feel it may simply not apply to a portable DROP down unit…atleast how it is written in the verbage I am reading.

i think part III refers to storage pools, I believe part II applies to the general requirement and in regards to the grid but I think this is where the problem lies…most normal spas ( and I own a spa company : Virginia Water Systems…my brother runs it and business SUCKS…nice spas however…PDC Spa’s are nice units ) and they are all wood cased and fiberglass inside with plastic plumbing pipes…

But I totally agree 100% if the spa is custom built and had steel within it…but i think it is not correct for florida to demand portable spa and hot tub units on a patio to have the grid under it…atleast how it is written to me.

hey fella…i am not saying I am right…just how i read it…but I also hear voices as well…:wink:

Ok…I am rambling on this one…but also lets take the concept of a portable spa placed on pavers as suggested.

Why would a Equipotential plane be needed here, what are you going to actually bond the proposed grid to…the EGC for the spa itself…i hope not…lol

So I think with most outdoor spas…unless BUILD in with rebar and so on like a pool it is probably a MOOT point to get into grids and so on.

The problem is “portable spa” is not addressed in the NEC at all. There are indoor spas and outdoor spas. From a practical sense what they are really concerned with is a difference in potential between the water and the deck. A plastic tub in a wood case might actually make this worse. If you had one foot in the spa and one on the deck or you were standing on the wet deck, and reached back in the spa to get something or help someone get out, you can see the problem.

This came up a couple days ago when one of the BOs that hang out on the Fl IAEI BB pointed it out. The way it reads there is no relief for a portable spa.
This would get caught when they called for the inspection of the 50a receptacle. I suppose if you don’t want to do this you should say it is a plug for a big pressure washer and hope you neighbor doesn’t rat you out. :wink:

I think in my view it is addressed. The issue with the bonding grid refers majority with steel rebar and permanant installed pools and spa’s and not directly with portable spa’s which I feel Part IV deals more with.

Now I am not saying portable in the sense of a cord in all cases…A 50A disconnected hot tub is still not permanant in my opinion but again based on part 1 and 2…it is not a issue of steel rebar in the construction either.

Very hard in my mind to require a bonding grid under a hot tub on a patio unless it is within 5’ of a pool lets say…and require it to have a bonding grid as a statement.

Like I said…I do quite a few spa installs around here as part of the company I own with my brother and as a EC and they are all wooden cased or simulated wood and plastic. The only bonding taking place is between the motors and to the metal enclosed control panel…strictly for bonding.

The rebar in the pool has nothing to do with the grid. Until the TIA you had to put a copper grid under a fiberglass pool or vinyl liner pool. You still need to bond the paving.
This is really going to get confusing when they start trying to sort out all of the variables. In a concrete pool with a concrete deck it is easy to understand, pavers added a level of confusion but when plastic gets thrown into the mix it just gets silly. I understand the 2008 draft has us bonding DIRT!
I bumped the IAEI discussion about the portable spa again. They were still arguing about steel mesh when the spa thing came up and it went undisputed. These are CBOs in several florida jurisdictions speaking.

I hear ya Greg…one good thing about VA is by the time we ADOPT something it has been BEAT to all HELL before we have to observe it.

I agree but the intent of the GRID was to comply with actual bonding to the metal rebar in the construction of a permanent installed pool as the NEC tried to define it. Just not sure it really applies to typical stand alone spa’s and hot tubs today…I see it is debated also over on Mike’s site and they kinda jump back and forth…the issue of the pool or spa and so on being BUILT into the concrete and so on is seeming to take the lead on IF their needs to be a GRID for a spa…if stand alone unit chances are it would not be a bonding to the grid issue…the way I see it…but alas you are right in who knows where it really will go…Gotta love the CODE…

Most of the hot tubs we install have no metal parts on them at all…except for the case to the motors which are bonded according to the requirement but nothing else exposed that would need bonding. I find that article 680 in regards to part 1 and 2 more defined to BUILD in style units…probably a wrong way to look at it but based on the typical construction of a hot tub or spa unit it would be a decent statement.

I suppose you don’t agree that we should be bonding the water either then :wink:
That is also a proposal for any plastic pool. They want a .5 sq/meter metal bonding electrode in the water. That is what gets bonded to the deck in your scenario.
BTW even if the pump is double insulated I doubt the heater is. That is the real potential for energizing the water. They use an immersion element that is virtually identical to a water heater element. Better hope that GFCI is working.

No I would not support that…lol…just dont like the sound of it to be honest with you.

I guess I just dont see how any of that pertains to the 2005 NEC requirement for the bonding of a spa in how I know spa’s…but I could see it in a built in spa that is designed with rebar and concrete like the pool…

Isn’t the gradient for metal parts greg…the heat itself in my spa which is metal cased is also tied to the motors via the # 8 AWG…I would think that takes care of the bonding potential.

Personally…I think they are OVER “analysis” it to all hell…lol

lol…watch it now fella…you are gonna have them wanting Water Heaters on GFCI’s next with that statement…:slight_smile:

The equipotential grid is for everything conductive and the water is conductive. If you have a plastic tub the water or the deck can still be energized relative to each other. That is what they are trying to correct.
The heater and motor may be bonded but if that is not also bonded to the deck you can have the gradient.
The “bond the water” idea was in the ROP for the 2005 but it didn’t make it to print. It is probably going to be in the 2008.

if you ask me they have a BUNCH more to fix than just that to solve the problems in that Article…lol

If they ever really “fixed” the NEC a bunch of people at NFPA would have to go find a real job. It is only “code churn” that keeps a lot of regulators, writers, printers and instructors working.
The fact remains that electric safety really hasn’t changed much since the 1881 code came out, the code just got 772 times larger.

lol…I agree greg…but they did make one change I liked:)

In my 1940 NEC they say the Gas Pipe is the main GE so go figure…they slowly EVOLVE…and I mean SLOWLY

The NEC should be on a 10 year cycle, not 3. Then we could let the dust settle on the ROP before it gets rushed through comments and the TCC.
You might actually have the majority of jurisdictions on the current code before the new one is published.