Winter here in Northern California is approaching and I was pondering about keeping my  portable spa filled and running or shutting it down until Spring. It rarely goes below freezing in the winter here. but it’s often really wet and rainy.

Being the techno nerd that I am, it seemed like a good time to verify the safety of the spa electrical service by checking the operation of the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). All GFCIs have a little test button, you press it and they should trip. Yes my spa GFCI has a test button, and yes it trips when I press it. It’s good to do this test on a regular basis, like every month, as water and electricity can be a fatal combination.

After pressing the test button and resetting the GFCI, I didn’t exactly feel any safer. Did this test actually prove the spa was protected from electrical ground faults? Well no, it just proved the GFCI could trip when the test button was pressed, and verified the internal operation of the GFCI. It didn’t verify the grounding to the spa or what the current setting actually was or if it worked correctly on both hot leads of split-phase 230V service.  Read the rest of this entry »

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