Hot Tub Buyers Guide - Part 3 - Planning for your Hot Tub Installation
Welcome back, hopefully by this point we’ve assisted you in finding the right hot tub to buy! Now it is time to plan for the delivery and installation. For the purposes of this article, I am not going to go into the fine details of how you can install specific hot tub brands, both manufacturers and dealers will have specifics for their products. This is a general overview of what to expect and consider with a basic hot tub installation.
Step 1: Placement:
Where do you want your new hot tub to go? Seems simple enough but putting some extra thought into this can really make your hot tub much more enjoyable to use. Here are the things we recommend you consider:
- Distance to the house: The last thing you want to do if you live in a cold climate is have your new hot tub 100’ from your house. The main reason being that you don’t want to shovel a 100’ path every time you want to use it! Also, remember that you are likely in a bathing suit, going that extra distance can be chilly. We recommend placing your hot tub within 20’ of the entry point to your home. This will cut down on electrical costs, as well as making it easier to get to and from the hot tub.
- Ambiance: When you place your hot tub, you want to consider what you will be looking at while you soak. Do you want to be able to see the stars? Is there a lake or other landscape feature nearby you want to see? Plan to place your hot tub, so the seats you will use the most are facing the view you want to see.
- Wind: If you are in a windy spot, you may want to consider building a windbreak or tucking the tub into a sheltered area. This will cut down on the wind blowing on you while soaking, as well as the wear and tear on your hot tub cover and cover lifter.
- Leave enough space for your cover-assist (if applicable,) and your step. Most cover lifters require 16”-24” of space to hang. Steps generally require an additional 24”-30” of pad on the entry-side of the hot tub.
Step 2: Pad:
There are many suitable surfaces to put a hot tub on, but a few things you need to watch out for as well. Consider the material underneath as not only supporting the hot tub, but also in how easy the hot tub will be to access. These are the generally acceptable pads for underneath a hot tub:
- Concrete slabs: Poured concrete surfaces that are level and durable. Often more expensive than other methods, these pads usually last the longest and are best if you know you want the hot tub to sit there for the next 20 years.
- Patio stones: Our company’s most common installation type is on a simple patio pad. That’s 3-4” of level, tamped crushed stone, with interlocking patio blocks sitting level on top. It’s usually the cheapest method for making a pad and supports a tub well, while still being removeable down the road.
- Wooden decks: Yes, you can put a hot tub on a deck, but only once it has been reinforced. Very important, you need to have someone with the proper qualifications assess the structure and sign off on it being able handle the load. Most hot tubs filled, are between 3,000-5,000 pounds.
- If you want to sit a hot tub on another pad type and deck around, we recommend reaching out to your installer as there are many considerations for this type of installation. Remember, when placing a tub on a deck that is elevated, additional equipment like a boom-truck or crane may be required to get it into place.
The last thing we want to look at is the size of the pad. In my opinion, for a smaller hot tub, you want to do an 8’x8’ pad and for larger tubs, a 10’x10’ surface. This gives you enough room to have a cover remover properly mounted, as well as accommodating for a step. Of course, there are many tub sizes out there, so It’s best to speak to someone on the right size for your model.
Step 3: Electrical:
If you have a plug and play hot tub, you are working with a 115v plug that plugs into a standard outside receptacle. However, most hot tubs are 230V hardwire, meaning you need a licensed electrician to run wiring from the main or sub-panel in your home, to an outdoor GFCI (shut off box.) Then wire from the GFCI to where the tub will go, with some extra wire to spare.
I don’t want to go into too much detail here, as this should be handled properly based on the electrical requirements from the tub manufacturer. Here are some general points for hot tub electrical:
- Most hot tubs are between 40-60 AMPS, meaning you will need to have space in your house’s electrical supply to accommodate this, or be willing to upgrade.
- There are electrical codes that govern where the GFCI must be placed in relation to the hot tub. This is different in different areas. Please check with an electrician to know the requirements for your area.
- The cable used to supply your hot tub with power can be expensive. Consider placing your tub in a spot that doesn’t require large amounts of cable to connect the unit.
- You need to have enough wire to get into the hot tub as well. If your tub is 15’ from the GFCI, you likely need around 20’ or more wire. That extra wire is needed to hook inside the hot tub and connect to the spa pack.
- Make sure you get the specifics from your hot tub dealer, or the manufacturer. Many brands have specific electrical requirements and it’s very important to follow them to avoid losing your warranty and/or damaging the equipment in the tub.
Congratulations on your new hot tub! No matter whether you bought your hot tub from Holland Home Leisure or not, we are here to help. Happy soaking!