So, you're thinking about installing a hot tub? That's fantastic! Adding a high-end home spa is a great way to add some luxury to your backyard and indulge in hydrotherapy whenever you want.

But it's also essential to know all the necessary preparation steps. From choosing a suitable location and ensuring your foundation is stable to hiring a professional electrician and planning for seamless delivery, much must be done in advance.

Choose the Perfect Location

A lot hinges on the site selection when preparing for hot tub installation, including efficient operation, easy maintenance, safety, and durability.

Assess Your Space

Ensure the area you allocate for the spa can bear the load. Remember the hot tub's weight, the water, and the people it will host. You also want to consider hot tub delivery access. The equipment is bulky, so it accounts for narrow gates, sharp turns, or other obstacles. Ensure it will be close enough to a power source but that there are no overhead power lines near your chosen spot.

Check for Proper Ground Level

A significant installation requirement for a hot tub is level ground. This ensures proper drainage, the efficiency of the tub's mechanical parts, and the spa's weight evenly distributed throughout its frame. We strongly advise against placing your hot tub on unsound balconies, decks, or areas with loose soil. Consider hot tub base materials such as crushed stones or commercially available spa pads. 

Consider Privacy & View

Your hot tub area should serve as your sanctuary for hydrotherapy. In this haven, you can relax, revitalize, and enjoy inspiring views at any time of the year. Aim for a pleasant view but consider the effectiveness of your existing privacy measures. Consider installing additional privacy measures such as fences or hedges if necessary.

Select the Right Foundation

Ensure the strength, safety, and accessibility of your chosen site to extend the functionality and lifespan of your hot tub. Depending on your desired location, consider decks, concrete, or spa pads as potential options for your hot tub base.

  • Decks: For deck installations, it's of utmost importance to consult with a general contractor or a structural engineer to assess whether the deck can handle the weight. A filled 4-person hot tub could weigh as much as 4,000 pounds, or even up to 8,000 pounds for 6-person hot tubs. Is your deck ready to take that load?
  • Concrete: A concrete pad is a quick and easy solution for hot tub foundations. Strength and stability are inherent in this option. A reinforced concrete pad, at least 4 inches deep, is generally best.
  • Spa pads: These are designed to offer an easily movable foundation in temporary situations like rental properties. You can install these interlocking pads on grass or soil and level them with sand to provide a sturdy foundation.

Ensure Structural Integrity & Safety

Equally critical is ensuring structural integrity and safety, checking local building codes, researching hot tub installation permits, and hiring professional installers. From ensuring good drainage for your spa to implementing measures for safe access to and clearance around the hot tub, these factors are all equally important for a successful setup.

Review the Electrical Setup

Understanding the intricate electrical requirements of hot tubs and spas is vital if you want your tub to perform well and your guests and property to remain safe.

110V vs. 220V Connections

Hot tubs are primarily divided into two main categories: 110V and 220V connections. Spas' electrical requirements vary depending on size, jet count, and features.

A 110V spa, commonly dubbed a "plug and play" spa, primarily runs on standard 15-amp household circuits with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) integrated into the power cord. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires a 120-volt receptacle at least 5 feet and a maximum of 10 feet from the tub for these hot tubs.

On the other hand, 220V hot tubs run on hard-wired GFCI-protected circuits. Wiring these circuits requires a certified electrician to run a 240-volt line to your GFCI Load Center/Disconnect. Remember, the further away your hot tub is from the main breaker, the more wiring (and cost) will be involved. As a safety precaution, never use extension cords for either type of hot tub.

The Role of a Professional Electrician

Understanding the electrical requirements is one thing but implementing them is another. Professional electricians are experts in this relatively complex field. They can assess your setup, verify its compatibility with your hot tub model, and ensure the necessary components are in place to adhere to the NEC's tenets.

Another tip: Consult your hot tub dealer and review your spa's owner manual for the proper electrical setup. Broken warranties due to overlooked requirements can lead to significant troubles.

Plan for a Smooth Delivery

Delivering a hot tub, especially a luxurious one, often requires an intricate process. When preparing the route and entry points, check that all paths are broad, clear, and free from obstruction. Specific common barriers, such as fences or walls, may need temporary removal. 

For hot tubs with large dimensions, ensure that your gated entrances, sidewalks, and doors can accommodate the size. Also, consider the height of overhanging obstacles, such as power lines or tree branches, which could cause serious delivery problems if they're too low. Try to schedule the delivery during favorable weather, avoiding periods of heavy rain or snow, which can complicate delivery and installation.

While hot tubs are designed to be sturdy and resilient, they are also bulky and quite heavy. It's always wise to draft assistance for the delivery and on-site relocation. Hiring professional installers will save you time and minimize the risk of damage during the delivery process.

Whether you decide to DIY or enlist professional help, remember to prioritize safety—heavy lifting gear may be required. And, of course, keep children and pets clear of the delivery area to prevent accidents.

Fill & Start Up Your Hot Tub

There is nothing like filling up and starting your hot tub for the first time. To be fully prepared, it is a good idea to review what those processes entail before your spa's arrival.

Rinse & Drain the Spa

Start by rinsing and draining the lingering antifreeze in your tub's plumbing. Fill the bottom of your tub with hot water and run the pump for several minutes to flush out any antifreeze thoroughly. Then drain the water.

Next, fill up the tub again with new, clean water. Use a high-quality jet and drain cleaner for a thorough cleaning, followed by another drain. After your tub is clean, refill it with new water, possibly using a hose filter to filter out any impurities in your water source, including harmful minerals, calcium, and metals. Ensure the water comes up to above the jets. Next, prime the pump to ensure all the air is out of your spa's lines.

Remember, each hot tub is different, and thus, the filling and draining processes may vary. Checking your owner's manual for specific steps is imperative.

Treat the Water & Heat the Tub

To start a brand-new hot tub, first ensure it is correctly installed with secure electrical and plumbing connections. Begin by filling the hot tub to the recommended level using a garden hose, then balance the water by adjusting the pH to 7.4 and 7.6 and the total alkalinity to 80 and 120 ppm using appropriate chemicals. Sanitize the water with chlorine or bromine to maintain a 1-3 ppm for chlorine or 2-4 ppm for bromine. Alternatively, add a mineral cleaner to reduce the chemical load. 

Please turn on the hot tub's power, set the thermostat to your desired temperature (typically between 100°F and 102°F), and allow it to heat, which may take several hours. Ensure the pump and filtration system are functioning to circulate and filter the water, maintaining clear and clean conditions. After the hot tub reaches the set temperature and the chemicals are well-distributed, retest the water to confirm that all chemical levels are within safe ranges and make any necessary adjustments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put my hot tub on the grass?

Placing a hot tub directly on grass or soil isn't recommended due to potential damage from insects, moisture, and the tub's inability to support its weight. A solid platform is necessary to provide proper support.

What is the best base to put under a hot tub?

The best base for a hot tub is a concrete slab, which should be at least 4 inches thick and reinforced for stability and durability. Alternatives include:

  • Pavers on compacted sand or gravel for an aesthetic appeal.
  • Prefabricated spa pads for easy installation and portability.
  • Compacted crushed gravel for good drainage and support.

If placing a hot tub on a deck, ensure it is structurally reinforced to handle the weight. This will likely require a consultation with a structural engineer.

How far does a hot tub need to be from the house?

A hot tub should be 5 feet from any structure to protect the home against flooding. For wintertime use, it's beneficial to ensure it's close to a house door or has a changing area nearby.

How do you prepare the ground for a hot tub?

Ground preparation involves leveling the ground, removing rocks or large earth pieces, and straightening any noticeable inclines. After achieving a flat surface, you must lay a compact layer of gravel or other suitable material to act as the tub's foundation.

May 09, 2024 — andrei newman