220v electrical question

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by david_larch posted 08-11-2012 01:13 AM 1870 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View david_larch's profile


102 posts in 2505 days

08-11-2012 01:13 AM

We bought our house a year ago amd I’m getting the itch to run 220 to the shop. The previous owners had a hot tub out back with a 220 line and sub panel for it. In my main box I’ve got what I think is a double 50 amp single pole breaker. I’ve heard that these are often run with double hots.

My question is: Can I pull the line from the conduit that used to run the hot tub and repurpose it to wire up an outlet in my shop? I know there are some experienced electrical guys so I’d like to hear your thoughts. Is this an odd situation?


17 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3271 days

#1 posted 08-11-2012 01:51 AM

Do you have any other 220v loads in your house (oven, clothes dryer, et)? If you’re plannng to abandon the hot tub, that 220v wire could probably be relocated to feed your garage.

If you “think” you have a double 50 amp breaker, this might not be a job you want to take on. Electrical work isn’t terribly difficult, but it can definitely bite you in the ass if you don’t know what you’re doing. An electrician would be able to do your job quickly and safely.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3433 days

#2 posted 08-11-2012 02:40 AM

A fifty amp service will power a one man woodworking shop nicely, that breaker could also be swapped out for a larger one but the wire will also need to be changed to match the larger breaker.

As Sawkerf has already said though if your not sure what your doing you should really consult an electrician, that is a small job for an electrician.

-- Mike

View Alongiron's profile


649 posts in 2896 days

#3 posted 08-11-2012 02:45 AM

Do not mess with 220!!!! Call an electrician! !!!!

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View david_larch's profile


102 posts in 2505 days

#4 posted 08-11-2012 03:53 AM

I have no intention of doing it myself, but I want to know what I’m dealing with. If its all new or I can recycle some things makes a big difference in cost. I have no other 220 in the house as its all gas.

My buddy rewired his house and wants to run this line for me. I’m sure he could do it well and safely, but I think an electrician could give me more options. Just want a base of knowledge to start with.

Thanks for the comments.


View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3254 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 03:53 AM

Go to any big box and buy a book on electrical wiring. Read it twice, and think it through. If you can follow instructions and feel comfortable with your understanding of the material, go for it. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable, call an electrician. The couple hundred bucks you try to save won’t buy you a new house or your wife a new husband. Careful,be very careful.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View klassenl's profile


191 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 08-11-2012 04:36 AM

Yes. Your hot tub wire can be re-purposed (within reason).

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View MrUnix's profile


7051 posts in 2402 days

#7 posted 08-11-2012 05:47 AM

A 50A circuit is a 50A circuit and as long as it was (originally) wired correctly, you should be able to use it without any problem.. in fact, if the run from your breaker to your shop is the same or less than the run from the breaker box to the hot tub location, you should be able to use most of what you already have saving you a lot in costs vs. having to purchase new. Like klasseni sez: within reason :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View david_larch's profile


102 posts in 2505 days

#8 posted 08-11-2012 07:16 AM

Thanks, guys. This is good news. I was unsure about it being 4 wire, having only dealt with the smaller stuff personally.


View toolie's profile


2148 posts in 2831 days

#9 posted 08-11-2012 04:08 PM

yes you can, if oyu plan on decommissioning the hot tub. if the hot tub will remain operational, i would humbly suggest not pulling any other loads off that circuit. and whay is 4 wire? a 220v ciruit is usually 2 conductors and a ground. a neutral may be included if and appliance, like a hot tub, needs 110v for certain contriols or motors. if yo were wiring a decicated 220v circuit in a shop, assuming the tool being activated has no 110v requirements, the circuit would comprise 2 conductors (both hots) and a ground.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2572 days

#10 posted 08-11-2012 04:38 PM

I wouldn’t get freaked out about 220v; a 220v curcuit is just two 110v hots that are out of phase to give 220v (each hot is 110v to ground, but 220v between the two hots) IF you are comfortable running 110v, 220 is largely the same thing. If you not comfortable running 110v, get help.

Also remember, if you decide to upgrade the breaker, you HAVE TO check the wire size. Going from 50 to 60 amps will likely kick you up to the next wire gauge, and you do not want the wire to be too small or it can overheat and you can have a fire.

-- John

View david_larch's profile


102 posts in 2505 days

#11 posted 08-11-2012 05:11 PM

Thanks guys. The hot tub is long gone so that’s no worry.

JMOS that is a great answer. Makes sense to me. Probably won’t need to upgrade amp size. The 50 is plenty big.


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2878 days

#12 posted 08-11-2012 05:20 PM

According to the code a hot tub should be GFCI protected. I usually see this at the circuit breaker for the tub. You could try this but it might trip. If this is the case you might need to change the breaker to a non GFCI breaker. GFCI tends to trip easily. Try it first and see.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3059 days

#13 posted 08-11-2012 05:30 PM

I’m upping to 440v 3 phase

I got the sparks in

I feel safer if the grand kids are around

I also have a hidden breaker. :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3201 days

#14 posted 08-11-2012 06:03 PM

Actually, I would suggest if there is a GFCI breaker, leave it. The only reason not to have every circuit a GFCI is expense. Always keep in mind that the Electrical Code is the MINIMUM safety requirements. If a functioning GFCI breaker is tripping, it means there is a problem. Electricity is going to ground somewhere. Basically, a GFCI breaker detects that the current coming back through the common and ground equals the current going in. (Generally speaking. The actual way it works is a bit more complicated.) The only place you should have electricity going to ground is through a properly grounded rod. You really don’t want some electric current finding you to be the most attractive path to ground.

BTW, I have an identical situation. Some time in the future I am going to take an abandoned hot tub circuit and run it to the shop (ok, it’s just a garage) to use for a welder/plasma cutter or any other 220v need I might drag in.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3891 days

#15 posted 08-11-2012 06:21 PM

I had an electrician wire my entire shop after he installed a separate sub-panel in my shop…keeps me from running too far to throw a breaker back on , and the other original lights , etc. , don’t go out if I trip a breaker with one of my tools. Peace of mind is priceless…hire a pro : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics