Chapter Corner

Code Q&A

Posted in: Code Corner, March 2013

Insights_SpaHottub.gifOver the course of my career, I have been asked several code-related questions by both apprentices and other experienced contractors. Here I answer some of the most popular questions.

Question #1:

I would like to purchase and install a listed self-contained spa inside a spare room in my home. This unit would be on the first floor, which has a concrete slab (no basement). The room has a ceiling light, wall switch, and duplex receptacles. What are the code requirements?

Answer:

The best article to review in the National Electrical Code (NEC) is Article 680.43 (A) (2) (3), which states spas and hot tubs shall meet the following:

  • Receptacles that provide power for a spa or hot tub shall be ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protected and located no less than 1.83 m (6 ft) from and not exceeding 3.0 m (10 ft) from the inside walls of a spa or hot tub.

  • Receptacles rated 125 volts and 30 amperes or less and located within 3.0 m (10 ft) of the inside walls of a spa or hot tub shall be protected by a GFCI, which requires the existing receptacles in the room to comply.
  • Luminaries under Article 680.43 (B) (1) states lighting outlets and ceiling-suspended paddle fans located over the spa or hot tub or within 1.5 m (5 ft) from the inside walls of spa or hot tub shall comply with the clearances specified in 680.43  (B) (1) (a). With no GFCI protection provided, the mounting height shall not be less than 3.7 m (12 ft) above the maximum water level. 680.43 (B) (1) (b) protected  by a GFCI the mounting height shall not be less than 2.3 m (7 ft 6 inches) above the maximum water level.

  • Article 680.43 (B) (1) (c): Luminaries meeting the requirements of 680.43 (B) (1) (a) or (B) (1) (b) and protected by a GFCI shall be permitted to be installed less than 2.3 m (7 ft 6 inches) over the spa or hot tub as follows:

    1. Recessed luminaries with a glass or plastic lens, non-metallic or electrically isolated metal trim and suitable for use in damp locations.
    2. Surface mounted unit with a glass or plastic globe, a non-metallic body or a metallic body isolated from contact and suitable for use in damp locations.
  • Article 680.43 (C): Switches  shall be located at 1.5 m (5 ft) measured horizontally from the inside walls of spa or hot tub.
  • Article 680.43 (D) (4): Bonding all metal surfaces that are within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the inside wall of the spa or hot tub and not separated from the spa or hot tub by a permanent barrier shall be bonded with a solid #8wag copper conductor, insulated, covered, or bare. An example to use is baseboard heating or air conditioning vents or returns.

It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer's instructions and also review Article 110.3: Examination, Identification, Installation, and Use of Equipment.

Question #2:

I was given a violation notice for not stapling nonmetallic shielded cable (RX) properly coming out of the switch box. Where can I find this information in the 2011 code book since the inspector did not indicate this on the violation notice?

Answer:

Article 334.30 advises that nonmetallic sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable  ties,  straps, hangers, and similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4 1/2 feet) and within 300 m (12 inches) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting.

Marc Ramirez has been a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NEC Code Panel 17 since 1993. He currently serves on IEC National's Codes and Standards Commitee.