GFI - Hot tub safety question

Our house, built around 1980, has an indoor hot tub that I recently got running.
There are no outlets in the room, so one cannot use a stereo or boom box, which would be a lot of fun. So, I have a couple questions regarding Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) safety.

1)The bathroom next to the hot tub room has a GFI outlet. Would it be safe to run an extension cord from this outlet to a stereo/boombox in the hot tub room? I have a system with a remote control, so I wouldn’t be submersed in the water while pushing buttons on a live electrical appliance, but out of curiousity, would that also be safe?

  1. In the future, I plan on installing a GFI outlet directly in the room. I guess I want to know just how safe are these things. It didn’t seem like a big deal, but then I realized I’d be putting my whole family’s life at stake. If I install an outlet, I can’t be sure in the future how people would use it, so what are the safety limitations? If someone plugged in a stereo and it fell in the tub, what would the outcome be, tripped circuit :), or funeral :mad: ?

I’ll certainly do research beyond the Dope, but I always appreciate the advice here.


GFI should trip before damage is done.

But’s it not a 100% guarantee and I personally wouldn’t risk my life on it.

Pressing the buttons on the front of a stereo while you are wet should not be problematic as long as the stereo is well built and the power cord isn’t contacting the case somewhere wire to metal. But if it were, you wouldn’t have to be wet.

Think I’d be more inclined to mount a couple of speakers in the hot tub room, and run the music in from outside. Or maybe use a battery operated player.

The GFI will work with the extension cord if: the GFI receptacle is properly wired, and the extension cord and stereo plugs are polarized properly.

Installing a GFI receptacle is simple enough. Hit the test button after you have it installed to make sure everything’s OK.

Use the remote control anyway. I wouldn’t fiddle with knobs on a live stereo while sitting in water, GFI or not.

The extension cord plan should be fine. GFCIs are required in wet areas for that very reason. The safety issues involved aren’t much different than using a hair dryer, curling iron, electric shaver, etc.

Installing it to replace an existing outlet is simple but the OP says that there are no outlets in the room. That means that he would have to tap into an existing circuit or create a new one. Running from the existing circuit would mean evaluating the load, knowing how to cable a middle-of-run vs. end-of-run (if he uses the circuit with the GFCI then he could just wire a standard outlet instead of another GFCI). To do either of these would require a certain amount of knowledge about how to do wiring and the question in the OP suggests that he hasn’t done it before.

Safer than doing so with it plugged into a non-GFCI outlet, but I wouldn’t exactly call it safe. You don’t want to trust your life that your GFCI won’t pick that moment to fail. But the GFCI should work just as well with your radio plugged into it through an extension cord, as it does plugged in directly, which i think is the gist of your question.

Another vote for GFI as a backup device, not as a thing with which to taunt the grim reaper. I recommend keeping wall-powered electronics at a comfortable distance from the tub, i.e. far enough away so that they can’t possibly fall in on their own, and far enough away so you won’t be inclined to touch them while you’re in the tub

Using a battery-powered remote control in the tub is not hazardous to your health. For the safety and health of the remote control, I recommend keeping it in a zip-loc bag; if you don’t, eventually water from your fingertips will seep past the buttons and wreck the innards. The bag will also give you a second chance if (actually, when) you happen to drop the remote in the water.

My parents have had a hot tub for the past 20 years, and the above has been their policy. The remote for the TV is still functional, thanks to the zip-loc bag.

Thanks for the responses. I wasn’t going to tempt fate and hold a live appliance while waist deep in water. As for adding the outlet, there is a light switch, so I could tap off of that. My concern with the outlet is that at some point in the future when I’m not around, someone might do something stupid.
I’m thinking of putting a shelf with a remote stereo that can’t be reached from the tub, making sure it’s GFI protected. Sounds like that’s the safer bet.

The extension cord deal will be temporary. It looks bad, and it looks dangerous!

Thanks again everyone.

The GFI is good but one can be cooked like a hotdog on spikes. If your plumbing is all plastic you can lower a running hair dryer into the tub and the GFCI will not trip.
So keep things back!