Troubleshooting a GFCI breaker that is tripping
WARNING - This article is written for people needing some help troubleshooting or repairing their hot tub. If you do not have basic knowledge of electricity, do not work on your hot tub. Water and electricity do not mix and carry the risk of electrical shock. If you are not capable of performing a repair yourself, please contact a hot tub professional or licensed electrician. The wiring and equipment described in this article represent a typical spa pack. Your pack may vary significantly from the components described below. Again, if you are in doubt as to how to properly troubleshoot or repair your specific pack, please contact a local spa professional or licensed electrician. Use any of the information contained in this article at your own risk. Hot Tub Essentials will not be held liable for any injuries that may result from the troubleshooting or installation of any electrical components in your spa.
If your GFCI breaker trips instantly when you power up your hot tub, try the following:
1) Disconnect all load from the GFCI breaker. If the breaker still trips when it is powered up, then replace the breaker. If the breaker does not trip, continue to step 2.
2) Disconnect individual components of your spa and see if the breaker can be turned on and not trip. If your components have plug / receptacle connections, unplug options like your light, blower, pump and ozonator, one at a time and try the breaker. For parts like the heater that don't plug into the spa pack, disconnect wires on each side of the load, one at a time. Use the process of elimination to find out what part is causing the problem and replace it. If the breaker still trips after you try all of the components, continue to step 3.
3) Disconnect wires, one at a time to each switch and try the GFCI breaker until you find the faulty switch.
If your GFCI breaker nuisance trips (trips at different times throughout the day), check the following:
- Look for moisture in the control box and repair the problem causing the moisture.
- Look for corrosion on all contacts and replace if needed.
- Look for overheated wire connections and repair if necessary.
- Tug at all electrical connections to check for loose spade connections or poor crimp connections.
- Ensure the GFCI breaker mounting tags are secure.
- Run your spa with all options on for 15 minutes. Shut off the power and feel for warm components, including the GFCI. Replace any hot items.
- Inspect the heater element and replace if it is corroded or has imperfections. The element is a common cause for tripping the breaker because the shielding value can change as the element heats and expands.
- If you have been unable to locate the problem, start disconnecting components one at a time (light, ozonator, blower etc.), running the hot tub and seeing if it still trips. Use the process of elimination to figure out what component needs to be replaced.