Why You Can’t Use An Extension Cord On A Hot Tub

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Have you just purchased a brand spanking new hot tub and can’t wait to get it hooked up so you can relax?

We completely understand how excited you must be but before you dive in and enjoy the bubbles, you must think about safety and functionality.

Yes, it’s a little boring but if you fail to use your hot tub safely, the risk of accidents and injuries are very real. 

Hot tub & extension cord explained in details
Hot tub & extension cord

Your hot tub needs to be connected to power in order to work. But not all gardens have easy access to a power source. So what do you do? An extension cord, of course!

While this might seem like the obvious solution, it’s an incredibly dangerous one and not something that you should ever use with your hot tub.

In this guide, we will detail the risks of using an extension cord with your hot tub and what to do if there’s absolutely no other way. 

Caution – Always seek professional advice when installing electrical items or pay someone to install it for you.

Do You Plug A Hot Tub Into A Normal Power Outlet?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of whether you can use an extension cable with your hot tub, it’s important to understand how your hot tub is powered. 

Inflatable hot tubs and 110 volt hot tubs can be used with the regular power outlets in your home.

Types of hot tubs and power outlets
Normal power outlet only for Inflatable hot tubs

You’ll usually hear these being called a plug and play hot tub and are considered by many to be much more convenient. 

However, if you have a full hot tub then this doesn’t get connected to the main sockets in the home.

Instead, these are connected directly to mains power so there wouldn’t even be an option to use them with an extension cord.

Can You Use An Extension Cord With A Hot Tub?

For the purposes of this article, we will be referring to a 110v hot tub that can be plugged into a regular socket.

As many other appliances around your home can be connected to the main socket using an extension, most people would assume that a hot tub is no different. 

Hot tub backyard
Hot tub in a backyard

However, there are several problems and risks associated with using an extension cord to plug in your hot tub and once you’re aware of these it’s unlikely you’d even want to.

Moreover, you will find that most hot tub manufacturers provide you with a long enough power cable that you won’t need to use an extension anyway:

  • Most of the extension cords that you can buy for domestic use simply do not have capacity to cope with the current that your hot tub needs. 
  • These domestic extension cables are not designed for use in extreme environments and that includes prolonged outdoor use. Typically speaking, they will not operate safely or functionally if they are consistently exposed to temperatures below 41ºf.
  • All electrical equipment should be fitted with a residual current device and while your hot tub may have one, the extension cable you’re using probably doesn’t. This means that the power will not automatically cut off in the case of an emergency or power surge. 
  • The socket you plug your extension cable into likely won’t be weatherproof and it goes without saying that is a danger in itself. 
  • Pretty much all domestic extension cables are very long. This means that the power has further to travel and once it reaches your hot tub, much of it will have dispersed, this means that you won’t get the power required to properly operate the tub. This could cause the hot tub to overheat which could result in permanent damage.  Let’s not forget that long length can also pose as a tripping hazard. 

What Happens If I Really Need To Use An Extension Cord?

Read your manufacturers guide and it is almost certain that they will advise against using any sort of extension cable.

Extension cord for a hot tube what to expect
Using an extension cord for a hot tub

However, if you have absolutely no other way of connecting your tub to power then you may have to. 

In This Case – You need to have at least a 14 gauge cable, if not thicker. Your extension cord should also be waterproof and weather resistant.

Moreover, you should make sure that you opt for the shortest length possible as this will limit how far the power has to travel. 

All of this aside, it is far more preferable to employ the services of a qualified electrician who will be able to come to your home and install an outlet closer to your hot tub, therefore eliminating any need to use an extension cable. 

Conclusion

You’re probably eager to get into your hot tub as soon as possible but it’s essential to make sure that it is functioning safely before you do.

You could be forgiven for thinking that you could connect your hot tub to power with an extension cord but this could be very dangerous both for you and your tub. 

If the cable that comes with your hot tub is too short to reach the nearest power outlet, the best option is to have an electrician come and fit a new outlet.

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