How to Install a Hot Tub: Tips for Perfection

how to install a hot tub

Hot tubs are an excellent resource for relaxation and improved health through hydrotherapy. Once you decide to invest in a hot tub, you’ll want to pick the perfect location for it. This is a really important decision because the location will affect not only the longevity and durability of your hot tub, but also your view and the overall aesthetics of your backyard.  

Indoors versus Outdoors

As you begin considering where you want your hot tub, the first thing to decide is whether it will be indoors or outdoors.

With indoor installation, you will want to choose an area that is structurally sound and can handle the weight of a full hot tub and its occupants. For larger hot tubs, ground floor installations are recommended, though with the proper structural support, a smaller two-person hot tub can be installed on upper floors. Before you begin, consult with a licensed engineer to verify the area is structurally sound.

Protect your home from water damage by installing waterproof flooring, preferably with a floor drain or a catch basin to cover leakage. If you live in an area with humidity, check with an architect or home ventilation expert to make sure your house doesn’t turn into a sauna.

If you decide to go with outdoor installation, here are three things to consider:

  • Choose an area without direct sunlight, which may fade or damage your spa. Also, avoid areas prone to high volumes of dirt and debris. You don’t want your guests accidentally tracking that into your home.
  • Research local and national codes for fencing, childproof gate requirements and other safety precautions for around the outdoor spa area.
  • Protect your hot tub from excessive water exposure by installing it somewhere away from sprinklers or under roof edges lacking rain gutters.

In addition to these structural components, choose a location that makes sense for your lifestyle. If you’re looking for convenience, or live in a place with cold winters, you may want to choose a location near the entrance of your home for easy access. If you’re looking to create a feeling of escape or retreat, choose a more secluded spot for additional privacy.

Strong Foundation

Once you’ve chosen the location of your hot tub, you’ll want to make sure the area is structurally sound and reasonably level. Look for a location with less than a ½-inch slope per 8-inch run, with no dips, sags or unevenness.

If you’re not placing your hot tub on an existing patio or deck, you’ll want to place it on either a concrete foundation or a pad of concrete pavers, concrete bricks, compacted crushed rock or compacted pea gravel. If you choose a concrete foundation, it should be a minimum of 4 inches thick and reinforced with either rebar or mesh, attached to bond wire for electrical grounding purposes.

Design Considerations

Along with a strong foundation, consider the aesthetics of your backyard. Incorporate textures and colors that complement your hot tub and the surrounding landscape. Pull inspiration from your hobbies or find a more functional, yet beautiful, approach to your backyard design.

Before your hot tub is installed, invest some time in landscaping your yard. Landscape design software or a simple sketch can help you map out your yard and give you a better picture of the scale and design of your backyard retreat. Regardless of design, this is an excellent exercise to see what fits and what doesn’t as you position pieces within the diagram.

For bigger budgets, a landscape architect or garden professional can be a great asset as you turn your backyard dreams into a reality.

Delivery and Final Installation

Before your hot tub is delivered, remove any obstacles or obstructions from the path where the hot tub will be installed. This can be a little tricky if you have a small backyard or tight turns. So it’s important to create a delivery plan before installation day. Once your hot tub is safely in your backyard, it’s time for the final installation procedures—electrical wiring, filling and balancing chemicals.

If you decide to hook up the electricity yourself, you will need to install a breaker to your electrical control box. Before starting anything electrical, make sure you turn off the electricity. Water and electricity can be a deadly mixture! Instead, have a licensed electrician finish the installation due to the specific electrical and technical requirements involved.

Before you fill your hot tub, take a moment to clean its interior, open the air valves and check that all the jets and knobs are in place. To fill up your hot tub up, use house water, not secondary water from a hose. Once it’s full, turn on the heat and mix in the proper chemicals.

Now that your hot tub installation is complete, you can enjoy your hot tub! Start some music, break out some tiki lights and invite the whole neighborhood.

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