Whether you want to kick back and relax after a hard day’s work or warm-up from the winter chill, there are few better ways to do it than in a hot tub. In most cases, hot tubs have a dedicated circuit and outlet that they’re plugged into. However, if you purchase a hot tub and want to start it yourself, many people wonder if using an extension cord is acceptable.
It is acceptable to use an extension cord with a 110 volt hot tub on a temporary basis. This cord shall be able to handle the proper amperage. Extension cords should never be used with 220 volt hot tubs. It is best practice to hardware your hot tub for safety and longitivtiy of your tub.
While using an extension cord is acceptable when necessary, it isn’t recommended for long-term use. Hot tubs are very demanding in power usage, and you should never use a generic extension cord. This article will look at when it’s ok to use an extension cord with your hot tub and what safety procedures you should follow.
Can I Use an Extension Cord with My Hot Tub?
The best and safest way to operate a hot tub is by directly plugging it in if it is a plug and play model using 110 volts or hard wiring it into your breaker panel if it is a 220 volt hot tub. Extension cords are ok for short-term use, but there are many risks associated with them. As long as you use the right size and ensure the proper protection of your tub and cord, extension cords are acceptable.
What are the Risks of Using an Extension Cord with a Hot Tub?
Let’s take a look at some of the risks involved with using an extension cord for your hot tub. Like we said before, extension cords are ok as long as you take the proper precautions.
Overheating the Cord
The first and most significant risk factor of extension cords is that they’re prone to overheating with a hot tub. Hot tubs require a high amount of dedicated power to operate. If your extension cord is too small, there’s a good chance that it will overheat.
There are two types of hot tubs; Those that use 110-volt power and those that use 220. Before using an extension cord, make sure you know your hot tub’s size.
Electrocution from Water
The next biggest risk factor is that you’re inevitably going to splash around in your hot tub from time to time. If your extension cord is too close to the hot tub, there’s a chance that you’ll splash water onto the cord, and it will form a pool around the connection.
If you or someone else happens to walk through that pool of water, there’s a risk that you’ll be electrocuted.
You Could Ruin Your Hot Tub
Ruining your hot tub is a considerable risk factor, especially with plug-and-play hot tubs. Many people don’t realize that the length of an extension cord plays a role in how much power it has. The longer the extension cord, the less amperage there is at the end of it.
If your extension cord is too long, your motor and heater will overwork itself and burn out even if it’s the proper gauge. Hot tub motors are costly to repair or replace, and it’s not something you want to deal with.
What Kind of Extension Cord to Use With a Hot Tub?
If your heart is set on using an extension cord until you can devise a permanent fix, let’s look at what you should keep in mind when picking one.
Must be the Right Size
It can’t be overstated how important using the right size extension cord is. You should always use at least a 10 to 12-gauge cord, and bigger if you have a 110-volt hot tub. Anything smaller than 12-gauge runs the risk of overheating and becomes a fire hazard.
It Shouldn’t be too Long.
Once again, the longer your extension cord is, the less power it will have. The distance from where you have the cord plugged into the outlet to where it’s plugged into the hot tub should be as short as possible.
Weatherproof and GFCI Protected
If an extension cord is weatherproof, it reduces the risk of becoming an electrocution hazard. The socket end of the extension cord has protective features that minimize water hazards associated with hot tubs. You should also keep the hot tub/extension cord connection as far away from the action as possible.
GFCI protection is also essential with hot tub extension cords. If the cord is plugged into a GFCI outlet, the outlet acts as a breaker and trips if it detects imbalances in the electrical current. This helps reduce the risk of overheating and burning out the extension cord and hot tub motor.
What’s the Alternative to an Extension Cord?
The best way to permanently wire up a hot tub is with a dedicated wire or outlet. Hot tubs often come with a cord attachment that you can plug into a dedicated outlet. If your hot tub is too far away from the outlet to plug it in directly, you should invest in running an underground wire to your hot tub and hardwiring it. A dedicated circuit and wire for a hot tub is always a good idea because of the high power demand.