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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Spa Panel vs GFI Breaker?
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Spa Panel vs GFI Breaker?

I have priced the two options and they are within $5 of each other if you factor in the NEMA 14-30P power cable, NEMA 14-30R receptacle, and miscellaneous 10AWG THHN stranded wire and hardware. Other than the cost, what are the benefits of using the spa panel vs gfi breaker?

For the price comparison I used the following:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...h=UG412RMW250P

http://www.appliancerepair.homedepot...5510955/959343

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...&storeId=10051

vs

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...1#.UD0sjaDaGYJ

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
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We are discussing a similar matter at work in regard to GFCI breakers.

The GFCI breaker has the advantage of protecting the entire circuit past the load center and sports a solid ground connection for reference; but the disadvantage of a local reset provided by a spa panel.

The spa panel protects the circuits plugged into it but not the cabling routed to it from the load center; but has the advantage of a local reset.
(keep in mind you will need to buy a 2P normal breaker for your load center to feed it if you don't already have one, could add another $20)

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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That spa panel is fifty amps. You will have to feed it with 6 gauge nm-b or 8 THHN wire which is expensive and very stiff to work with. Just keep that in mind.

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WroxBrew
That spa panel does not come with a breaker. I'm assuming you would put a 30 amp gfci in it and not a 50 amp.
The spa panel comes with a 50 amp gfci breaker.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:25 PM   #5
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I use a spa panel because I get my 240 volt power from a 3-wire dryer outlet. When I'm using the dryer, I don't want GFCI protection because I think (haven't actually tried it) that the dryer would trip the GFCI.

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Old 08-28-2012, 11:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeafSmith
I use a spa panel because I get my 240 volt power from a 3-wire dryer outlet. When I'm using the dryer, I don't want GFCI protection because I think (haven't actually tried it) that the dryer would trip the GFCI.
I will be adding the gfci to my 4 wire dryer circuit. Why would a dryer trip the gfci?
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rack04

I will be adding the gfci to my 4 wire dryer circuit. Why would a dryer trip the gfci?
GFCIs sometimes don't like motors, especially older ones. There can be currant leakage that doesn't affect anything as far as function is concerned, but a GFCI could pick up.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WroxBrew
That spa panel is fifty amps. You will have to feed it with 6 gauge nm-b or 8 THHN wire which is expensive and very stiff to work with. Just keep that in mind.
You don't have to feed the spa panel with #6 as long as the upstream breaker is sized correctly. In my area #10 is good for 30A, so you could tap off your dryer circuit with #10, and feed the spa panel with that. Even if the 50A spa breaker is oversized, the gfci function will still work fine. Then you don't have to worry about your dryer tripping a gfci breaker.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:41 AM   #9
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The Spa Panel can provide several benefits.

1) You are not modifying the wiring within your home. This means that you do not have to pull a permit and have it inspected when completed.

2) The GFCI breaker can be located much closer to your brew area. This provides security for situations that 'might' seem wrong. With the breaker close to your brewery there is no hesitation in hitting it. The alternative is running a flight of stairs to the mains panel? You would never do it until smoke appeared. No?

3) Using the Spa Panel allows you to use an existing 3 wire outlet (Dryer or Range) to provide 240V and 120V power (with ground) to your brewery without rewiring your house.

Now: consider the expense for the various situations and then you need to decide. If the house/wiring is pre 2002 NEC code, the decision is really simple for me to recommend. Spa Panel every time. This way the house wiring is not being modified in any way and remains within code as is... Plug in devices do not alter the building wiring or the code.

P-J

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Old 08-29-2012, 03:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Now: consider the expense for the various situations and then you need to decide. If the house/wiring is pre 2002 NEC code, the decision is really simple for me to recommend. Spa Panel every time. This way the house wiring is not being modified in any way and remains within code as is... Plug in devices do not alter the building wiring or the code.
While I understand your point about being code compliant, with the new work, there's something I've never understood. My house was built in the 1920's. When we had an addition installed we had a bunch of knob and tube replaced, but there was still Romex in many spots. Code in my area requires metal conduit. The inspector looked at the new work, but said nothing about the Romex that was already in place and clearly visible.

Not trying to jack your thread, but it's hard to understand how/why code compliance works in an older house that often has a mix of wiring in it.
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