By Louis-Philippe Légaré,
Everybody knows that water and electricity can be a dangerous combination. How is it, then, that a spa or hot tub can be safe, given that the controls are electric and can handle a larger amount of current?
Two things go into ensuring a spa or hot tub is safe:
The first is the way the spa and its accessories are designed. A spa is strictly designed to avoid contact between the electrical components and water. You need not worry about this aspect of the unit’s design.
However, secondly, the spa is actually connected to the electrical system of your home. And this is why a certified electrician will be required to install your spa or hot tub!
One reason for this is that the amperage of your electrical entry (in the electric panel box) has to be sufficient to allow the addition of a spa. If this is not the case, it will be necessary to increase your home’s electrical capacity. Once this is taken care of, and as the Gecko controls are designed to down-regulate power when it flows into the spa, you will not be at risk for dangerous overload on your spa.
Another thing to consider is that your spa must be connected with a GFCI-protected branch circuit. This is the same type of installation that is normally used in bathrooms where the electric current of any apparatus can be shut off if it should accidentally come into direct contact with water. This circuit breaker has to be installed outside your house - this will allow an easier access for the electrician when maintenance is needed. In addition, according to regulations in most Canadian provinces and U.S. states, this kind of circuit breaker must be installed at a certain distance from the spa to ensure easy access in case of an emergency.
When installed properly, spas are not dangerous. What is dangerous is to let your buddy or brother-in-law install the unit - unless, of course, your buddy or your brother-in law is a certified electrician!