0

White wire connect in main panel …Have 3 wires - 2 hot (red, black) and green (ground) from spa to gfci protected spa disconnect. (No 120 v so no white needed). In the disconnect I have properly connected all, including the white pigtail to to neutral bar. The disconnect runs to the main breaker (4 wire), where red and black wires are each connected to separate poles of the 2 pole breaker. Question … the electrician roughed in for this spa and connected the white wire (from the disconnect) to another pole of the 2 pole breaker. Is this correct? … I thought it needed to connect to the neutral bar in the main panel.

I understand, mostly. I'm still a little unclear on my circumstances. I have the spa connected to the disconnect properly (no neutral), 100% confident. I have the wires in the disconnect wired properly (with neutral pigtail and ground), 100% confident. The disconnect is a gfci, the breaker at the main panel is not. So, the wires from the disconnect to the main breaker ... does the white get connected to one of the poles (along with the red and black) or does it get connected to the main panel neutral bar?

7
  • 3
    Can you post a picture?
    – longneck
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:16
  • 1
    Definitely needs a clear, focused picture of the wiring in whatever panel your question is about. Take the cover off the panel so we can see the connections.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:19
  • 1
    Will need more information plus pictures. Quite a few 240v devices do not need a neutral wire, so most people just a cable with just a black and white wire plus ground. The white wire can be used as a second hot if no red wire, but should be marked black or red.
    – crip659
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:25
  • Pic from phone is too large to add. In the main breaker panel, the red, black, and white are all connected to the poles of the 2 pole breaker slot, the ground is connected to the ground bar. The spa disconnect the wires are coming from is a gfci. The white pigtail in the disconnect is attached to the neutral bar within the disconnect. From the disconnect to the spa, there is no white, just black, red, and ground, as the 240v spa does not have a 120v line.
    – BM E
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:34
  • 1
    @BME sorry about the pic size, use any method to reduce it.
    – Traveler
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:46

2 Answers 2

1

First, neutral and ground must be separated at the subpanel. This requires removing a bond strap or screw in most cases. It may also require obtaining a separate accessory ground bar.

If you have 120V loads at the subpanel, or if you are using GFCI breakers at the subpanel, then it must be fed with a 4-wire (hot, hot, neutral, ground) feeder from the main panel. All 4 wires must be properly connected and fully functional to serve 120V loads.

If you're thinking "Well, all the loads powered off my subpanel are 240V/no neutral, therefore I do not need neutral in the subpanel feeder" -- well, you're on the right track generally, but the monkey-wrench here is the GFCI(s). GFCIs in North America require neutral to power themselves so you will not be using a GFCI without running a neutral to it.

If you stuck 3-wire feeder in the walls and it's not feasible to replace it, then you will need to change the hot tub GFCI to a plain breaker, and install a GFCI breaker at the main panel end of the feeder to protect all of it.

Note that breakers are NOT interchangeable across brands, even though they seem to physically fit. The bus stabs are slightly different shapes and they don't make reliable contact.

2
  • 2
    Thank you for the reply. I understand, mostly. I'm still a little unclear on my circumstances. I have the spa connected to the disconnect properly (no neutral), 100% confident. I have the wires in the disconnect wired properly (with neutral pigtail and ground), 100% confident. The disconnect is a gfci, the breaker at the main panel is not. So, the wires from the disconnect to the main breaker ... does the white get connected to one of the poles (along with the red and black) or does it get connected to the main panel neutral bar?
    – BM E
    Dec 16, 2022 at 21:49
  • White to the neutral bar. Dec 18, 2022 at 6:12
0

The only time white goes to a hot connection on a breaker is if it is being used as an actual hot and not neutral. That only happens in 2-wire (plus ground) cables. That never happens with individual wires in conduit (green ground implies conduit, as standard /2 and /3 cables generally use a bare ground). It can happen in non-breaker situations (switch loop, 3-way switches) but that is not the case here.

In addition, if a white is ever used as hot, it must be marked with colored (and not green) tape to indicate it is actually a hot wire.

With black, red and white wires in a breaker panel, white is always neutral and must be connected to a neutral bar, not to a hot connection on a breaker.

The only exception is if that white wire is not going to a hot connection but to a neutral connection for a GFCI or AFCI breaker. If that's the case then the electrician actually did the right thing.

1
  • 2
    Thank you for the reply. "The only exception is if that white wire is not going to a hot connection but to a neutral connection for a GFCI or AFCI breaker. If that's the case then the electrician actually did the right thing." The wires from the main breaker are of course routed to the disconnect which is gfci (and the white pigtail in the disconnect is connected to the neutral bar). Does this qualify for the scenario exception you noted?
    – BM E
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.