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Wiring a Hot Spring Bengal Spa / Hot Tub

January 2, 2008

Hot Spring Bengal Spa / Hot TubI wired a Hot Spring Bengal spa / hot tub the day after Christmas. I don’t usually work the day after Christmas, but this was a favor for a friend. This was a “quick and easy” installation, it took me approximately 2 1/2 hours.

I took advantage of the opportunity and took pictures to share with you on how to wire a 240 volt hot tub. Because of the potential danger of electrocution in a hot tub, all hot tubs are required to be GFCI protected. If you are going to wire your hot tub yourself, I highly recommend having an electrical inspector or licensed / qualified electrician look at the installation upon completion and before you use it. That being said, let’s get on with the installation.

So, the first thing I did was show up and assess the project. As you can see in the image it is snowing. This is just one of the challenges of working in the mountains in Montana. Click on any of the images below to see a larger view in a new window.

Hot Spring Bengal Spa Installation

So, the hot tub is in place and the electrician that wired these condos already pre-wired for a future hot tub. This hot tub requires 50 amps at 240 volts to the disconnect. Something that Hot Spring spas does different than other spa manufacturers is they separate the pump and heater loads.

The previous electrician left a 6/3 NM cable (romex) with ground. According to the National Electrical Code® (NEC®), this cable has a maximum ampacity rating of 55 amps @ 240 volts.

Hot Tub Power

The first thing that I did was remove the PVC junction box…

Hot Tub Power 1

and install the disconnect that was included with this hot tub.

Hot Tub Disconnect

The next step is to install the conduit. For this installation, I used 3/4 inch EMT with steel compression fittings. You are required to support EMT within 3 feet of a connector, coupling or box and every 10 feet thereafter.

Hot Tub conduit installation

After the conduit is in place, I pulled my wires. I installed 3 – #10 THHN stranded copper wires and 3 – #12 THHN copper wires. Another point that I should mention is the flexible conduit that I used. In the image below, you will see an odd connection and then the flexible conduit connection to the spa junction box. This is used to absorb the vibration that the hot tub causes when running and it makes the connection to the hot tub junction box easier.

Hot Tub wires

After the wires are pulled, I made my connections at the hot tub first. When working with electricity, you always need to think safety first so you don’t get hurt or electrocuted. I’ve had too many people turn on the power when I’m working on something. Now we use strict “lock out tag out” procedures to ensure no one gets hurt. As a homeowner or DIYer, I recommend working back towards the power source when making your connections. If you connect your power source last, then no one can turn it on while you are working on it. You should also connect your ground first, then the neutral and finally the hot wires.

Hot Tub Connections

Finally, I made my connections at the hot tub disconnect.

Hot Tub Disconnect connections

Before you turn on the disconnect, make sure there is water in the hot tub or you will ruin the heating elements. Typically, the hot tub supplier will start the tub and add the chemicals.

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15 Responses to “Wiring a Hot Spring Bengal Spa / Hot Tub”

  1. JR Betts on February 28th, 2008 10:29 pm

    Your pictures are great! What model tube do you have. I have a 2007 Bengal Modal M. I had a 1999 bengal tub using the wiring diagram which is like the old one I keep triping the 30A breaker the 20A works fine. In looking at your pictures you have 6 wires including the ground, i only have 5 including the ground. What am I duing wrong??

  2. travis on February 29th, 2008 1:06 pm

    Wayne – why are there 6 wires running from the disconnect to the hot tub? I see two hot (black wires), a neutral (white) and a ground (green), but what do the red and blue wires do?

  3. Wayne Gilchrist on March 5th, 2008 8:23 am

    @ JR Betts,
    I’m not sure what you are doing wrong. The tub that I wired required a neutral on the 20 amp circuit. This is typically for a 120 volt control circuit or lighting. I believe that the 30 amp breaker is for the heating elements. If this breaker keeps tripping, I recommend contacting an electrician to see if the tub is wired properly or to see if you have a bad GFCI breaker. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then contact the tub supplier to see if there is a warranty issue.

    @ Travis,
    Hot Springs Spas separates the heating elements and pump in their tubs. You typically install 240 volts @ 50 amps to the disconnect and then run a 240 volt @ 30 amps and a 240 volt at 20 amps circuit to the tub. If you click on the bottom picture of the disconnect to enlarge it, you will see that I installed black and blue # 10 AWG wires for the heating element circuit. I also installed black, red and white # 12 AWG wires for the pump and control circuit; plus a # 10 AWG ground.

  4. Susie on April 7th, 2008 12:11 pm

    GREAT tips and pictures, we put a hot tub in about 4 years ago.. you know, I thought ya just plugged the sucker in and 20 minutes later it was up and running.. standing joke in our house “20 minutes” my husband runs!

    I got my first experience pulling wire.. and those bends in the pipe are a bit tough.

    Wish I had this article back then, great job!

  5. DR on April 9th, 2008 7:06 pm

    Hi Wayne, we just purchased a 5 year-old spa. We plan to use it outdoors where the came-with-the-house 50 amp (240 volt) hot tub box resides. The previous spa owner gave us the wire that was connected to the spa and I am trying to figure out NEC (our local code defaults to NEC) for this wire. It’s looks industrial, is round and has 4 wires. It’s sort of in its own flexible conduit. I’ve seen similar wire at fairs for the rides. It’s labled: Carol 8/4 Type SOOW 90C P-7K 123033 MSHA 600 volt. Would it be legal and wise to use this?

    I appreciate your work on this page. It will be helpful as we set things up. Thanks!

  6. Jim Higgins on June 10th, 2008 8:48 pm

    Hi Everyone . My Wife And I Are Having A Four Season Sunroom Built With A Hot Tub Built Into The Floor . What Type Of Ventilation Fan Should We Install For Moisture . Would A Humidity Setting Fan Be Ok . All Our Window Will Have Screens Also. Thanks For Your Time . Jim And Lynda Higgins . Lindsay, Ontario.

  7. Kyle Caldwell on November 1st, 2008 9:56 pm

    I just purchased my Bengal MM and had an electrician come and attempt to install it. He was having all sorts of trouble and even installed an extra 50am breaker in my sub panel. That didn’t look right so when he left I went on line and found your site. I just copied what you did and guess what happened? My spa is now operational after two days of this electrcian playing around. Well he did run the wires under my house……

    Thanks for sharing something that even a novice could follow.

  8. Rich on November 9th, 2008 10:34 pm

    I have a question about hooking up a sub panel breaker the main box has a 20 and a 30 amp switches I installed a sub panel to match but I am a little confused on how to make it work. Please Help.

  9. Jerimiah on June 20th, 2009 9:58 am

    Nice article. 🙂 This looks like it is in Big Sky, MT perhaps? Was curious since you mentioned Montana mountains, and I recognize the Gilchrist name. 🙂

    Did your friend let you use the hot tub after you helped wire it? I certainly hope so!!

  10. joe on June 1st, 2010 7:54 pm

    can i place the breakers into my 200 amp panel

  11. Mike Brown on March 16th, 2011 11:12 am

    Turned hot tub on by mistake looking for AC breaker. NO water in hot tub at the time!!!! Put water in tub. threw breaker, controls light up – jets work fine. But no heat to water. Did I major damage tub or is there a RESET button inside the access door???

  12. John Tasker on March 28th, 2011 10:46 am

    I am preparing to wire a hot tub and have found your info very helpful. The tub requires a 50 amp gcfi.
    What are the requirements at the panel in the house. I have available room in the panel to add a 50 amp. breaker.
    Do I use 6/3 wire from the panel to the gcfi?

  13. scott paszko on July 4th, 2011 9:03 am

    what kind of sub panel is it you used for hooking up hot tub.if you know part number that would be great.

  14. Tom K. on October 17th, 2011 6:21 pm

    @Wayne: “….. you will see that I installed black and blue # 10 AWG wires for the heating element circuit.”

    Where did you get the blue #10 AWG wire? I need a replacement and am having difficulty finding anything.

    Thank you.

  15. Warren on December 16th, 2011 5:10 pm

    I have a Hot Springs Grande model G. The heater relay board had a catostraphic meltdown/failure. I have a replacement board but can’t figure out how to disconnect the wiring from the old terminal block or how the terminals work. They appear to be some sort of spring loaded terminals as there are no screws. Can you advise on how the terminals operate?
    Thank you.