Installing Your Hot Tub

In part one, we answered the question “Does a hot tub increase the value of my home?” and landed on the less-than-definitive with the not-so-definitive answer of “it depends.” We shared some hot tub health benefits (turns out they’re relaxing) and finally estimated roughly how much a hot tub will cost you. Spoiler alert: it averages between $3,500 and $8,000.

For part two, let’s assume we’re installing a “typical” hot tub. That means it seats four, isn’t customized, and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. A hot tub like this will almost always fall inside the $3,500 to 8,000 price range.

There are a couple/three nice bonuses you get when you install your own hot tub. First, most stores will deliver it themselves. If you already have an old tub, they’ll even remove it for you. You literally don’t have to do the heavy lifting. Next, you don’t have to worry about going back in time – that was just a movie. Finally, after you install your hot tub, you can get in and relax your weary muscles.

Weary muscles? Is Installing this tub going to be a lot of work?

Installing a hot tub is definitely more physically demanding than installing a videogame, but it’s not exactly not building the pyramids, either. You can do it! We’re here to help, step by step:

Step 1: Determine where you’re putting the hot tub

The essential first step of THIS first step is to see if you need a building permit. Many cities require building permits to install a hot tub. Figure out if you need one online. If you do, get one before you start.

Alright, now that you have a building permit (if you need one), let’s move on. Now you need to actually choose where you’re going to put your hot tub. Here are a couple considerations:

  • The area obviously has to be large enough for the hot tub. Don’t forget the extra room you’ll need to get in and out and for maintaining the tub.
  • Some building codes require at least 5 feet between the tub and your home. You may also need to keep the tub at least 5 feet from property line.
  • The hot tub should also be at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and 5 feet from the spa panel.

You should also be careful about installing your hot tub on a normal deck or porch. A regular hot tub can weigh over 4,000 pounds when you add water and four people. Make sure your deck can withstand that weight before you put it in.

Placement Options

Concrete slab
If you’re afraid your deck can’t take the weight, consider investing in a cement slab. It’s relatively cheap to pour a 3-4 inch slab of concrete into a hole in your yard. You could even do it yourself with the right permissions. A concrete slab is the perfect resting place for a hot tub.

On the other hand, you’re not going to see cement slabs featured in Better Homes and Gardens. Sure, they’re butt ugly but at least they’re permanent so it won’t be easy to move.

Spa pads
If concrete doesn’t do it for you, you could try spa pads. Spa pads have interlocking grids, so they’re easy to install and move. They’re are not as supportive as concrete, but they should still do the trick if you have a solid base. Regardless, if you go with spa pads, make sure you buy the strongest ones possible.

Build a specialized deck
Your third and most expensive option is to build a deck designed for your hot tub. Experts could install a specialized, reinforced deck designed to handle your hot tubs’ weight and look good doing it. This deck won’t be cheap, however.

Once you know where you’re putting your hot tub, the next step is hooking it up the power.‌

Step 2: Connecting the hot tub to electricity

Now that you know where your hot tub is going, you have to get power to it. Chances are your city has codes that require certain conduits, so check with your local building department. After that, figure out if you want the conduit to run under or above ground. Underground conduits require digging, but above-ground conduits can look tacky and get in the way.

Whatever you choose, you’ll need a hard-wired circuit dedicated to the tub. To achieve that, you’ll have to install a new breaker in your electrical control box. A 240V, 50-amp Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter should work. If your tub has several pumps, you might also need a 60-amp circuit.

To be honest, you really need to know what you’re doing when you hard wire circuits and add new breaker. For this part of the job, you should probably call an experienced electrician.

Step 3: Assembly

Once you’ve installed the breaker and established the conduit, you’re ready to assemble the hot tub and connect it. Before they deliver the thing, make sure there’s a way to get it to your slab, pad or deck. Even without the water, that tub can weigh 800 pounds. Plus, it’s big and cumbersome. Make sure the tub will fit through any gates, foliage, or structures. If it doesn’t, you may need to cut a branch or remove part of a fence. Sounds drastic, but what else can you do?

Now that your hot tub is in place, follow the product directions and assemble that puppy. Once that’s done, hook up the electricity.

You’re getting so close! To complete the installation, you’ll want to:

  • Turn off the electricity.
  • Clean the interior of the hot tub and make sure all jets and knobs are in place.
  • Open the air valves.
  • Use a garden hose to fill the hot tub with water.
  • Turn the electricity back on and start heating the tub.
  • Mix in the proper chemicals to ensure sanitation.

Once the tub is really a hot tub, climb in and relax those weary muscles. Congratulations, you just saved a lot of money and have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.