Why Does a Hot Tub Trip a Breaker?

We love our hot tubs and spas, and we love it when they work perfectly every time.

A well-maintained spa or hot tub has many moving parts, including a heater, blowers, pumps, filtration system, and electrical circuits among others. The electrical system runs all the others, so it can be frustrating when it stops working. If your hot tub trips the breaker and shuts off, you can do some simple troubleshooting to identify the problem, but be very careful when working with your hot tub’s electrical system. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination, so if you are not familiar with electrical systems and troubleshooting, please contact a professional to assist you.

To start with, your hot tub is probably plugged in to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker or outlet. This kind of outlet has test and reset buttons and is usually found in areas where water may come in contact with the circuit that can shut itself off in case of electrocution. This outlet can sense when an electrical current passes to the ground, as it would through a human being if someone was being electrocuted, and shuts itself off.

There are many reasons your hot tub could be tripping the breaker, because even well-kept hot tubs and spas can develop small issues that will turn into bigger issues if left unattended. Because the main element of a hot tub is of course water, the electrical components need to be kept dry and clean. Checking connections and wires as part of regular maintenance will help keep your hot tub from tripping the breaker.

These are some of the most common potential threats to keep an eye out for while taking care of your spa:

•  Moisture in the control box
•  Corrosion on all contacts
•  Faulty heat element
•  Overheated wire connections
•  Loose spade connections or poor crimp connections
•  Secure GFCI breaker mounting tags

If you find that your hot tub trips the GFCI breaker at seemingly random times, use a process of elimination to determine what is causing the power outage. Check your outlet and make sure the plug is firmly inserted.

First, disconnect everything from the GFCI breaker. If it still trips that tells you the problem in with the breaker itself.

Second, disconnect one component at a time from the breaker until you can recreate the trip: light, blower, pump, filter, etc. The culprit component will be the one that trips the break during this test.

Third, if step two didn’t reveal any issues, disconnect one wire at a time to isolate the source of the problem.

If you have some experience with wiring, you may be able to fix the problem once it’s identified, but it’s always a good idea to have a local electrical professional on hand to help.

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