If you want to know the exact reason your hot tub keeps tripping the breaker, you’ll have to go through all the probable causes first then perform a diagnosis. It could be as mild as a loose connection and an overload or something serious altogether. Short circuits, ground faults, exposure to moisture, a faulty GFCI outlet or breaker, damage due to rust and heat, and broken tub components are all likely culprits.
I’ll explain the usual signs that point to each of the causes in this entire post. I encourage you to read through them to make the proper diagnosis and, in turn, figure out the best solution.
Table of Contents
Rule Out Whether It’s Caused by an Overload or Loose Connections
While chances of an overload are slim, it’s still worth ruling out, especially if you recently added a new appliance (possibly also spa-related) to the circuit feeding the hot tub. You may have overlooked that the power deficit caused by the additional gadget goes over the intended limit of the breaker, causing it to trip.
If the hot tub trips the breaker when jets are turned on, know that some jacuzzis have jet pumps with high amp draws. If you run them all at the same time along with the heater, it may go over the limit, too.
Secondly, confirm whether it’s being caused by loose connections. I’m more confident of this one as being the probable reason than an overload.
I’m referring mostly to the electrical connections of the jacuzzi; they may detach over time, causing spikes in the power draw and leading to trips. It may even have been accidentally gotten loose by the previous user, you never know.
Thirdly, check for signs of water leaking onto the motor or the breaker box. Any trace of moisture on the tub’s engine or the breaker box that is serving it can cause it to trip frequently. Most GFCI breakers, assuming it’s the one you’re using in your setup, are sensitive to the presence of moisture.
These three problems’ solutions are pretty simple.
- For overloads, you just have to reduce the overall load on the GFCI breaker. You can do this by either transferring any appliance you added to another circuit or simply not running multiple appliances and components at the same time.
- Loose connections may or may not require professional help, but if you want to be on the safe side, don’t hesitate to call an electrician to do it for you.
- Traces of moisture near the breaker box or the hot tub’s motor should be wiped off. Keep these areas as dry as possible from this point on.
Check for These More Serious Issues
I encourage you to verify as soon as possible whether you are having any of these breaker-related problems. It’s not for nothing that they’re regarded as serious since plenty of them may result in fire and electrocution. Rest assured that not all are life-threatening, though; some are “serious” simply because they may hurt your wallet due to high replacement and maintenance costs.
1. Short Circuits and Ground Faults
Almost any appliance may encounter this issue, and it almost always requires a swift solution to prevent fires and electrocution. Your hot tub’s wires may come in contact with one another over time, causing a spike in power throughout the circuit and may even burn the wiring. This will likely trip any breaker to prevent the damage done by the burst.
A ground fault happens due to wiring problems similar to short circuits. The difference lies mostly in the direction the current goes to. In this case, it comes in contact with the ground, causing the fault then tripping the breaker.
I’ve seen people sending reports like the hot tub runs for 5 minutes then trips the breaker or the hot tub tripping the breaker after a refill. For this, I usually recommend people to do a ground fault test. You can view a neat demonstration of how to do this from the following video:
The procedure involves ruling out the specific component that’s tripping the breaker. I encourage you to take the time to do this, as I’ve found that it’s extremely reliable in solving hot tub breaker problems.
Still, if your hot tub breaker keeps tripping even after you’ve reset the breaker, you may want to err on the side of caution and consider short circuits as the main cause. I recommend you call your electrician right away to fix it for you.
2. Rust Damage
Any kind of corrosion that affects the functionality of essential components like the motor or heater may be a possible root cause of frequent breaker trips. The damage may cause the affected part to pull more power than it usually needs, leading to a trip. It may progress to a point where it will fail to run altogether.
This problem has no other remedy other than a complete replacement of the affected part.
3. Damage to the Tub’s Wiring and Other Faulty Components
Almost any part of the hot tub that needs to run on electricity can be a reason for the breaker tripping. Don’t limit your inspection on the jets, motor, and heater.
I’ve handled cases where the problem was actually due to the heat exchanger or the heating element. These parts may also cause short circuits, so don’t overlook that possibility. For more steps to fix short circuits easily, please click here.
Moreover, check all the wires connected to these components. You never know when a rat or any other pest can get to them and start chewing them. Don’t forget to inspect for any signs of burnt-out wires as that may be a clue that a short circuit has happened in the past.
Sometimes, it takes a long time to discover these issues because we rule out the most common ones first. You may need professional help with this one because you’ll have to perform a full inspection of the hot tub to discover the component that’s malfunctioning.
4. Broken GFCI Breaker or Outlet
If you’ve been using the breaker for years now, you may want to consider its age as a factor for regular breaker trips. If the hot tub breaker trips randomly, that’s usually a trickier problem to solve since we also need to look at the faulty component angle. However, it could be due to this one since it’s also a number-one sign of a breaker that’s about to go belly up.
My advice for this is the same for any kind of circuit breaker that has died: replace it as soon as possible. Whether you’ll do it yourself or have an electrician do it for you is entirely your call.
All in all, the best way to pinpoint the exact reason why your hot tub keeps tripping the breaker and, in turn, solve it, is to:
Rule out each reason your hot tub keeps tripping the breaker I mentioned here one by one.
Perform the suggested solution if it’s not too technical for you.
Reach out to your electrician for help if it’s too complicated and unsafe.
I am Andrew Wright. I established this blog after eight years of experience designing, installing, and maintaining electrical power systems. I love my job, and I have always wanted to offer others the necessary help so they can take care of their houses.