28-600 * Disconnecting means for spas and hot tubs

Question: Is disconnecting means complying with Section 28 required to be field installed for spas and hot tubs?

Background: Some manufacturers of hot tubs utilize feed through type GFCI protectors in their control panel rather than GFCI circuit breakers. A consistency issue has been raised as to whether a local disconnecting means is required at these types of spas.

Answer: Yes, unless Code compliant disconnecting means are provided by the hot tub/spa manufacturer.


Rule 28-600 requires a disconnecting means for each motor branch circuit, each motor, and each controller. The Rule also permits a single disconnecting means to serve all three functions.

Rule 28-602 specifies permissible types of disconnecting means for motors and controllers. A feed thru type GFCI protector does not comply as a disconnecting means under Rule 28-604(4) "Disconnecting means shall not be of a type which is electrically operated either automatically or by remote control". This means another type of disconnecting means complying with 28-602 is required for the motor and controller.

Rule 28-604 deals with the location of the disconnecting means. Paraphrased the Rule states "The disconnecting means for a motor and its controller shall be located within 9 m and within sight of both the motor and controller; or, shall be capable of being locked in the open position by a lock off device approved for the purpose."


A feed thru type GFCI protector is not acceptable as the disconnecting means for a hot tub motor and controller. A circuit breaker in a panel is not acceptable as a lockable disconnecting means unless fitted with an approved permanently mounted lock off device, or it is within 9 m and within sight of the spa motor and controller.

A disconnecting means complying with Rule 28-602 shall be field installed and located in accordance with Rule 28-604 for all hot tub/spa installations where code compliant disconnecting means is not provided by the manufacturer as part of an approved assembly.

It should be noted some hot tub pump motors are equipped by the manufacturer with an attachment receptacle and connector at the control panel. Rule 28-602(3) permits the use of an attachment receptacle and connector for isolation of the pump motor. However, Rule 28-600 still requires a disconnecting means for the motor controller.

Tony Moscioni
Electrical Inspector
Electrical Safety Authority