So you’ve just bought a hot tub, now what? For some new hot tub owners, delivery day can be stressful. Where is the best place to put it? Can you put the hot tub on a deck or does it need to sit on a concrete pad? Can hot tubs be installed indoors? How do you prepare for delivery?
In this article we will answer all of these questions and more as we explore how to plan for your new hot tub’s arrival.
Choosing The Right Location
Hot tubs can be installed both indoors or outdoors. While installing a hot tub indoors might seem like a great idea, indoor hot tub installation pose a few problems:
- Doorways. Most exterior doors are 30”-32” wide while most hot tubs are a 34”-39” tall. Getting a hot tub inside therefore usually involves opening up and then fixing a section of wall.
- Moisture. Hot tubs generate a lot of steam. This can make the room the hot tub is in very humid. Over time this can lead to mould, damage to drywall and warping of wooden flooring in the room. Proper ventilation must be installed to avoid this.
- Splash. When people get in a hot tub, especially children, there will always be some water that splashes out on to the floor. Care needs to be taken when choosing flooring to make sure that it can handle water sitting on it on a regular basis without damage. You should also make sure that it won’t get too slippery when wet or you may have a safety hazard.
- Drainage. In the unlikely event that your new hot tub springs a leak you need a plan for where the water will go. Without proper drainage being put in place you can end up with over 1000 litres of water in your house!
- Chemical Smell. Ever been in a hotel with a pool? You can smell it as soon as you walk in the building. Even with proper ventilation it can be tricky to stop your house smelling like hot tub chemicals.
The easiest, and usually best, place for a hot tub to be installed is outside. Not only do you avoid all of the problems we just listed, you also get to sit out under the stars and enjoy some fresh air!
Your hot tub should be placed as close to a door as possible. The closer your hot tub is to a door, the shorter your run to the hot tub is in the dead of winter! The shorter your run is the more you will use it in the colder months (which are, in our opinion, the most enjoyable months to be in a hot tub).
When deciding where to place your hot tub, you should also consider which way to face your hot tub. Take note of which way you will be facing and place the hot tub in a way that optimizes your view based on the layout of the seats. Covers installed on cover lifters can be used as a privacy wall or a wind break.
How you install your hot tub is completely up to you. You can install your new hot tub on a deck, partially sink it into a deck, sunk fully into the ground, or simply place it on a concrete pad. No matter what your final design is, you should always leave space for service.
No hot tub manufacturer is perfect. In the event that your hot tub ends up having an issue, you want to make sure that it can be easily serviced. If the hot tub is installed in such a way the service panel is blocked, the hot tub will need to be drained, moved and refilled before it can be properly diagnosed and fixed. This adds a lot of time and expense to the hot tub repair, expenses that won’t be covered by your manufacturer’s warranty!
Before making any final design decisions, consult with your salesperson to see where the service panel is located on your hot tub. If you’re planning on a partially sunk or in-ground install, make sure to leave at least 3ft open in front of the service panel to allow a service technician to work. This area can be then be filled in with a “trap door” style cover.
What Sort Of Base Should A Hot Tub Sit On?
Hot tubs should always be installed on a strong, level base to evenly distribute the weight of the hot tub and ensure a long life. The ideal base for a hot tub is a 4”-6” concrete pad installed on a base of 4”-6” of crushed gravel. To maximize the strength and stability of the base, make sure that it extends beyond the hot tub by 6” on all sides.
If pouring a new concrete pad is out of the budget, a base of patio stones on top of 4”-6” of crushed gravel makes for a solid, and much more budget friendly, alternative.
If you plan on installing your hot tub onto a deck, make sure that it can hold the weight. When full of water, hot tubs can easily weigh over 5000lbs. Most decks cannot simply support this kind of weight without some kind of reinforcement. We strongly recommend talking to a contractor before installing a hot tub on a deck to ensure that the deck can properly support the weight of the hot tub.
Special Considerations For In-Ground Hot Tub Installs
As we previously mentioned, hot tubs can be installed in-ground. Before designing an in-ground hot tub install however, there are a few things you should consider.
- Base and Walls. If you’re planning on installing a hot tub in-ground you will need to surround it in a concrete “bunker”. This is commonly made up of concrete block walls sitting on a poured concrete base. As we previously mentioned, keep serviceability in mind and make sure the bunker includes a 3ft wide “service area” in front of the service panel.
- Drainage. Ensure that you install a proper drainage system to protect your hot tub’s electronics from groundwater and flooding. This is most commonly done with either a sump pump or a French drain.
- Underground Lines. If you are doing any excavating contact your local gas, electric, and cable company to make sure that there are no underground lines present where you want to dig.
Delivering Your New Hot Tub
What To Do Before Delivery
- Measure out the path your hot tub will need to travel from the road to its final location. Hot tubs are delivered on their side using a specialized cart. To ensure a smooth, trouble-free delivery, you should therefore make sure that you have at least a 42” wide path throughout with a clearance of at least 8’.
- Any gates, trees, large stones or other obstacles within that 42” x 8’ pathway must be removed before delivery day. If you have any concerns contact your salesperson. They will be able to schedule a free site inspection to assess the situation.
- Make sure that you have your base prepared and ready to go prior to delivery day.
- Once you have a delivery date set, schedule an electrician to come and wire the hot tub as per municipal codes. Have them place the GFCI in an easy to access location near the hot tub.
What To Do On Delivery Day
- Check the hot tub’s delivery path and remove any obstacles (gates, rocks, furniture, barbecues, flower pots etc.).
- If you would like the hot tub running as soon as possible, schedule your electrician 1-2 hrs after the delivery crew arrives to complete the electrical hook up.
- Have a garden hose ready to fill the hot tub. If you’re on a well and don’t want to fill the hot tub with well water, schedule a water truck to arrive 2-3hrs after the delivery crew arrives.
- Review your owner’s manual. It will help you figure out the basic functions of your hot tub. (setting the desired temperature, setting filtration times, turning on your jets and lights etc.). Consult your salesperson with any questions.
- Fill the hot tub with water through the filter area to prevent air locks in the pumps. Once it has completely filled, turn on the hot tub by flipping the breaker on its GFCI. Wait for the hot tub water to reach 70F-75F, then add in the amount of bromine (or chlorine) powder recommended to your by your salesperson. Wait until the water has fully heated and enjoy!
- Bring a water sample in to your local hot tub store 1-2 days after the hot tub has been delivered. Balancing the water with regular water testing is the best way to extend the life of your new hot tub and ensure your own comfort.