A hot tub is an excellent option that allows people to relax in peace at the end of a hectic day. Research has found hot tubs are helpful in a lot of ways. Spending time in a hot tub allows one to improve both mental and physical health. The best part is installing a hot tub in your garden or porch isn’t difficult.
If you have a leveled surface, electricity supply and a garden hose nearby, you are good to go. The only problem that people face is connecting the power cord with the nearest wall outlet. Usually, hot tub cords aren’t long enough and not many people have a power source in the garden area. In such cases, the only solution is to use an extension cord.
If you too have faced a similar issue, you must have been tempted to use an extension cord and solve the matter. Doing that is extremely risky. This guide discusses how dangerous it is to connect a hot tub with an extension cord and how to make it a safe practice. To know more, continue reading below.
Can I Plug A Hot Tub Into An Extension Cord?
No, one shouldn’t plug a hot tub into an extension cord, because it’s extremely risky. We wouldn’t advise homeowners to try powering their hot tubs through an extension cord. Hot tubs require huge amounts of current, which extension cords usually cannot handle. As a result, it leads to unforeseen accidents like overloading, meltdown, electrocution and electrical fires.
However, If it’s a plug-and-play hot tub, you can plug it into a heavy-duty extension cord. Make sure it’s a 10 or 12 gauge extension cord. The length of the extension cord must also be short for minimum resistance. Don’t forget to pick a weatherproof, waterproof, grounded extension cord for this purpose.
Apart from all these important features, the extension cord must have GFCI protection. If you plug your hot tub into an extension cord that fulfills all the above-mentioned criteria, the chances of accidents are reduced.
If you have to use an extension cord with a plug-and-play hot tub, you also need a ground fault circuit interrupter. This will prevent ground faults from electrocuting any metal body or any person or start a fire if the hot tub malfunctions.
What Happens If You Plug a Hot Tub Into An Extension Cord?
Before using an extension cord for a regular hot tub, you must be aware of the dangers. We have discussed how an extension cord can be unsafe in this case.
Hot tub damage
Usually, homeowners think of using extension cords when the wall outlet is too far away from the hot tub. But if you use an extension cord in that case, the cord’s length has to be more, to connect the wall outlet and the hot tub.
The more the length of the cord, the more is the resistance. When using an extension cord for any electrical appliance, you must go for cords of a shorter length. Increased resistance is unwanted and rather harmful because it produces more heat, which can overheat and melt the extension cord. Sometimes the cord can even catch fire.
A longer extension cord not only means increased resistance, but it also means increased voltage drops. Frequent voltage drops damage the hot tub gradually. Even if you have connected the extension cord to a grounded GFCI receptacle, it can still overheat the cord and cause a major accident.
Needless to say, hot tubs require endless amounts of electricity. They are heavy-duty items that draw a lot of power for their functioning. If the wattage rating of the extension cord doesn’t match that of the hot tub, it can overheat and cause electrical fires.
Never keep the extension cord anywhere around the hot tub. Water will definitely splash around the hot tub and if it comes in contact with the extension cord, people can receive severe shocks. In case you do not know, water is a decent conductor of electricity. If anyone steps on the water surrounding the hot tub, which is already charged by the extension cord, the person can suffer severe shocks.
These are some serious reasons that should be enough to stop one from running a hot tub on an extension cord. However, if you have to do it, you must pick an extension cord that’s rated for outdoor uses. Do a thorough research on the various kinds of extension cords and pick the one that’s best suited for a hot tub.
Is It Safe To Plug A Hot Tub Into An Extension Cord?
No, it’s not safe to connect the hot tub to an extension cord. Though a lot of people do not pay heed to the advice of experts and manufacturers and continue to use a hot tub with an extension cord, they mustn’t make it a habit.
If yours is a plug and play hot tub running at 110V, you can plug it into a heavy duty extension cord. The extension cord must be either 12 gauge or 14 gauge. The longer the extension cord, the thicker it must be, to handle the flow of electricity required by the hot tub. Since the hot tub would be used outside, the extension cord must be waterproof and weatherproof.
However, we would advise homeowners to position the hot tub in such a way, so that there’s no need for an extension cord. If you have no other option but to use an extension cord, you must keep a few other safety measures in mind. We have discussed some of them below.
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Safety Tips: Things To Know Before Plugging A Hot Tub Into An Extension Cord
Since using an extension cord for a hot tub is extremely dangerous, you must take extra precautions while using it. We have discussed some important tips that you must remember while using an extension cord.
Check the gauge
Before using the extension cord, cross check and ensure it’s a 10 or 12 gauge extension cord. The lesser the gauge, the more the diameter. This means more is the cord’s capacity to carry electricity. If the gauge is high, it means the cord’s capacity is extremely less and it will overload easily.
Go for a shorter length
Even if you have to use an extension cord, you must adjust the position of the hot tub so that the cord doesn’t have to be too long. We have already discussed how increase in length increases the resistance and voltage drops, both of which are extremely harmful.
Use extension cord with RCD protection
While looking for extension cords to power a hot tub, you must pick ones with RCD protection. RCD units regulate the amount of current flowing through the neutral and live conductors. Whenever there’s a power spike or an imbalance, they cut the flow of current. RCDs are also called GFCIs.
Check if it’s weatherproof
Since this extension cord is used for outdoor purposes, it’s important that you choose one that’s weatherproof. Also, you must place the cord at least two meters away from the hot tub. Even if it’s waterproof and weatherproof, it’s better to keep it away from water and prevent chances of electrocution.
Pick an extension cord with a higher amperage rating and wattage rating
Any regular hot tub runs on 220 or 240 Volts and draws around 30 to 60 amps of current. That’s why one shouldn’t ever connect such appliances to an extension cord. It’s too risky.
However, if you have a smaller hot tub that runs on 110 / 120 volts, it will draw a lesser amount of current. Smaller plug-and-play hot tubs draw around 15 amps or more. One can safely run them on a 20 amp extension cord or wall outlet.
While picking an extension cord, you must ensure that the extension cord has an equivalent or higher amperage rating than that of the hot tub.
Pick a grounded extension cord
Needless to say, the extension cord must be three-prong and you must plug it into a three-prong socket. Keep this in mind whenever you are running any electrical appliance. The grounding wire is the most important one as it transfers excess electricity to the ground, preventing a possible fire hazard or electrocution, in case there’s overloading or the hot tub malfunctions.
Without the grounding wire, the electricity would be transferred to the metal body and charge up the entire hot tub. If anyone touches that charged tub unknowingly, one can receive shocks to death!
Do not plug multiple devices
We have already mentioned how unsafe and risky it’s to run a plug-and-play hot tub on an extension cord. On top of that, if you run multiple devices on one extension cord at the same time, the chances of accidents increase.
Even if you connect the hot tub with a wall socket, you mustn’t run other appliances on the same socket. Since these are heavy-duty appliances that draw huge amounts of power, keep a dedicated circuit for them.
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The Bottom Line
You must be extremely excited to get into your hot tub and get rid of your tension and stress and just relax. As exciting as it sounds, it’s important to ensure certain things to make the hot tub safe and well functioning.
If you are thinking of running the hot tub through an extension cord, you are taking serious risks. You must be fully cautious while doing so and remember the safety tips we have talked about earlier.
To ensure optimum safety of yourself and others, we would advise homeowners to call an electrician and make the necessary connection to a power outlet close to the hot tub.