I have a concrete slab which can fit a hot tub approximately at a distance of 8 feet from the main breaker panel (located outside on my porch). I assume that I will still need a separate disconnect for the hot tub (minimum of 5 ft from the tub). Can I just pop the disconnect box (with GFCI breaker and 120V outlet) directly next to the main breaker box and then run my #6 cables from there to the hot tub (~20 ft total)? Or does the disconnect need to be separated from the main for some reason? Thanks!


5 Answers 5


The pertinent parts of Article 680 I have quoted here:

680.12 Maintenance Disconnecting Means One or more means to simultaneously disconnect all un-grounded conductors shall be provided for all utilization equipment other than lighting. Each means shall be readily accessible and within sight from its equipment and shall be located at least 1.5 m (5 ft) horizontally from the inside walls of a pool, spa, or hot tub unless separated from the open water by a permanently installed barrier that provides a 1.5 m (5 ft) reach path or greater. This horizontal distance is to be measured from the water’s edge along the shortest path required to reach the disconnect.

680 Part IV. Spas and Hot Tubs 680.40 General Electrical installations at spas and hot tubs shall comply with the provisions of Part I and Part IV of this article.

680.40 refers to Part I and the requirement for a disconnect is in Part I (630.12).

This commentary is from the 2011 NEC Handbook:

A readily accessible disconnecting means is required to be located within sight of pool, spa, and hot tub equipment in order to provide service personnel with the ability to safely disconnect power while servicing equipment such as motors, heaters, and control panels. Underwater luminaires are not subject to this requirement. The proximity of the disconnecting means to the pool must be not less than 5 ft unless the disconnecting means is separated from the water by a permanent barrier.

Notice here it says unless the disconnect is separated from the water by a "permanent barrier". If you have a permanent barrier such as a partition between the tub and the disconnect it can be closer than 5 feet. Otherwise 5' is your minimum distance.

So, you were reading the code correctly you need a disconnect in-sight of the spa and mounting next to the main panel will work just fine. Or using a breaker in the panel will work as you and Speedy Petey were discussing.


The disconnect should be mounted outside. One of the main purposes that disconnect panel serves is a lockout/tagout for anyone working on the tub. Other than that, the only other requirement normally was 5 feet from the spa. We normally kept it as close as possible since romex inside the house is normally cheaper than the wiring from the panel to the tub. Also, I've seen inspectors be concerned about the length of flexible conduit (i.e. Carflex), but never had any issue. However, it's always best to ask a real licensed electrician. I only play one on TV.

  • No idea why this was downvoted. My electrician (while installing my hot tub) said the same.
    – ssaltman
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:59
  • No idea either. I sold, delivered, and service hot tubs for 7 years. Somewhere above 500 delivery/start ups that I did myself. Just speaking from the experience I picked up over the years of talking to different electricians. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 19:02

You can mount your disconect next to the main. Are you putting your cables in schedule 80PVC? that is what I use in most cases arround pools / spas.

  • Yes. I plan on schedule 80 pvc with #6 THHN wires inside from the disconnect to the hot tub.
    – Phil B
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 17:35
  • @PhilB - not going to use THWN? Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 22:41
  • @batsplatsterson - Actually, I might just use #6-3 UF-B /w ground for the run.
    – Phil B
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 23:37
  • 1
    @batsplatsterson, when was the last time you saw THHN that was not dual rated THWN?? ...... Point being, your comment is moot in today's world. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 2:45
  • 1
    @PhilB, UF cable IS NOT legal or compliant for any portion of the wiring that is outside the structure for a spa or hot tub. And insulated ground is mandatory, which typically means conductors in conduit. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 2:47

Here in CA the disconnect must also be line-of-sight from the equipment, readily accessible and less than 50 ft from the equipment. Readily accessible means no gates or obstructions between the tub and the disconnect.

  • 2
    Do you think you could find a link to the CA electrical code on a different site, and maybe quote the relevant parts here? That one's triggering a bunch of spam filters.
    – Jason C
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:47

A breaker in the main panel would suffice as the means of disconnect. NO separate enclosure is needed or required.

8' is a prime location since the minimum is 5'. You can just drop a convenience receptacle right from the main panels as well.

Your idea of placing a disconnect panel right next to the main is also fine. It can be as close to the main as you need/want.

  • Is there any source that states that using the main breaker box + a 50A GFCI breaker is acceptable (if within line of sight and >5ft <50ft) over adding a separate disconnect?
    – Phil B
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 23:32
  • @PhilB, the correct way to put that is is there anything that prohibits it. Nothing that I know of. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 0:04
  • not that I am aware of but that was not the original question as long as it can be locked is +5' <50' and within site. Any wiring method requires conduit from the box to below grade depending on the type used. Schedule 80 can be run along the foundation to the tub , less digging that way
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 0:05
  • 1
    @EdBeal, where do you see a requirement that the disconnect needs to be lockable? Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 0:13
  • @SpeedyPetey -- I suspect he's applying 422.31(B) to this installation (which I personally suspect isn't quite right, as 422 is basically a "catchall" for appliances that aren't covered by other Code sections). Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 1:15

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