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How to Install a Hot Tub

Source: Flickr.

Source: Flickr.

If you’re purchasing one, then you’ll want to know how to install a hot tub. This guide is intended to provide you with the information you’ll need to complete the installation of your hot tub after it has been delivered.

Before we get started, however, a word of congratulations. Many believe that the investment into a hot tub was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. Years of relaxation and enjoyment are about to be yours. Let’s make sure the installation process goes as it should if you haven’t hired someone to do it for you.

  1. Take care of your pre-delivery needs first. The most important thing you’ll need for many hot tubs is a dedicated 50A breaker for the hot tub. If it is going to plug into a standard outlet, then this may not be necessary. You’ll also want to have a water source near the installation location, a safe place to drain the hot tub, and know that the installation point can support the weight of a full hot tub. As a final step, make sure that your hot tub can move around or through any obstacles that might be in the way. Measure doors, gates, windows, stairs, room size – everything. You don’t want any surprises during the delivery and installation process. 
  1. Take care of any permitting issues that may be required. The installation of a hot tub is sometimes considered an exterior construction effort. In some jurisdictions, this would require a homeowner to obtain a building permit to legally install the hot tub. It may take several weeks for this process to be finalized, so plan ahead by checking local laws. This is especially true for homes where the hot tub may be installed at an elevated location. 

If you use heavy equipment to install your hot tub, such as a crane for lifting it to an elevated foundation, this may also require permitting. Check with your local assessment office or similar government agency to determine what your local needs are going to be. 

  1. Plan the foundation. A hot tub needs to have a foundation that is solid and level. The foundation must also be able to handle the weight of a full tub and all of the people sitting in it. An inadequate foundation will likely fail. Any damage caused by foundation failure is not generally covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Certain building codes may be required in your community, but in general, a concrete patio must be 4 inches thick. Wood decks must have 2×10 floor joists with 4×4 or 6×6 posts. Do not place your new hot tub on stone, brick, gravel, or bare ground. 
  1. Connect the power to the hot tub. It is generally recommended that a professional electrician install a 240v hot tub. Any improper wiring will also likely void the warranty. Specific instructions for the electrician will likely be delivered with your hot tub. If your hot tub plugs into a standard outlet, however, you can just plug it in after you have it firmly placed on its foundation. Check the power to make sure it is being delivered to the hot tub as planned, but then remove the power source before going to the next step. 

If you need to connect a permanent water line, gas line, or other items to your hot tub, this is the step where you’ll need to do this. If you are using a plug and play hot tub, you will generally just need to verify that your outlet can supply and support your unit. 

If you do decide that you want to try wiring a hot tub spa on your own, make sure you have all of the unit diagrams, circuit diagrams for your home, and other specific instructions at the ready before beginning. Never work on an active circuit. We highly recommend hiring a professional electrician since you’re working with the combination of water and electricity with a hot tub. 

  1. Prepare the hot tub for use. Even though the hot tub is brand new, you’ll still want to clean its interior. You’ll also want to make sure all of the knobs and the jets for the tub are in their proper place. If not, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to resolve the situation. Then open the air valves. Fill the hot tub with water from a connected source, a garden hose, or even just with buckets of water you get from your tap. 
  1. Turn the electricity back on. Once the hot tub is filled with water, you can connect the power source to it once again. Make sure to mix in whatever hot tub chemicals that will be needed so that you have a sanitary water supply to use. This often means finding a combination of chlorine and bromide that works for you. Other non-toxic water treatments are also available. Chlorine test strips and chemical spa kits are usually the best option to use to make sure your water is the way you want it to be. 
  1. Run the hot tub without anyone in it. This will allow you to see if the hot tub is functioning as it should. Run the hot tub for a full cycle to examine it for leaks, damage, wiring issues, connection problems, and drain integrity. If everything looks good, then you will be able to use the hot tub for the next cycle. If not, then make any adjustments or repairs that may be necessary. This process may take up to an hour to complete before using it. Some hot tubs can complete a full cycle in 5 minutes and you can use them afterward. 

Knowing how to install a hot tub means being patient, preparing your site beforehand, and remembering to not take any shortcuts. Never install a hot tub on bare ground. Acquire any permits you may need to avoid litigation issues in the future and you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits a hot tub can provide you and your home.

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