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Hot tubs captured the fascination of the American people around the 1940s, and since then they have been a rage in our gardens and backyards. Be it for hydrotherapy, enjoyment, or just plain relaxation, nothing compares to the joy of having a hot tub within the boundaries of your own property that you can enjoy in any weather, at any time you feel like.

So if you’re considering purchasing a hot tub yourself, here’s an easy guide to hot tub installation to help you get started.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hot Tub?

Hot Tub Installation

A standard hot tub for two people costs around $4,000. A mid-range hot tub — for three to four persons — would cost you approximately $3,500 to $8,000, while a six-person tub will set you back by $8,000, or even more.

The amount would depend upon the total size and features such as the number of jets, automatic shut-off, locking cover, etc.

The ideal size we feel is mid-range, i.e, 5’x6′ and 30′ deep. If you want to opt for a bigger hot tub, be aware that when full of water, it will weigh more than two tons. That, without anyone seated in it!

Whichever model you choose, we strongly recommend professional hot tub installation. Generally, dealers provide installation service at 5 or 10% of the product cost.

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Total Hot Tub Installation Costs Include

  • Product cost
  • Site preparation cost (you must hire a qualified contractor or structural engineer to make certain that the support structure is sufficient to carry the spa’s load size)
  • Cost of maintenance — If supplying the correct amount of chlorine/bromine, or treating the water to maintain the right pH level is not too difficult for you, you can choose to do it yourself. Do read up on the difference between saltwater and chlorine water for a DIY project.
hot tub

Types of Hot Tubs

There are two main types of hot tubs or jacuzzis as they’re popularly called. Here are some key points that you need to know about both of them.

Portable Hot Tubs

  • On average, a portable hot tub can fit between two to eight adults, depending on shape and size. For example, an 8-foot square hot tub can hold around 8 people, while a circular hot tub with a diameter of 6 or seven feet can hold around 3 or 4 people.
  • They are made of a variety of materials, including inflatable vinyl or latex, acrylic, polyethylene, fiberglass, or wood. Recycled wood and metal are also used to make portable hot tubs.
  • The cost of a portable hot tub can vary from as little as $500 to $7000, depending on the size and material.
  • Portable hot tubs are very easy to maintain.
  • You could install one of these yourself. We’ll discuss that a little later.

In-Ground or Custom Design Hot Tubs

  • They are often installed right next to a backyard swimming pool to aid in hydrotherapy.
  • They are installed on raised platforms or in the ground and may have a gazebo or some sort of overhead roofing.
  • Popular construction materials used to build spas include stainless steel, tiles, concrete, copper, and fiberglass.
  • In-ground hot tubs are more expensive in comparison, costing between $6,000 to $15,000 including installation.
  • These will require professional attention to install.
hot tub
Photo by Dave Stone on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

So Which One Should You Buy?

Portable hot tubs seem to be a more popular choice than in-ground ones. Let’s take a look at why.

  1. Portable hot tubs can be placed anywhere in your backyard, even right outside your back door. This makes using them more convenient.
  2. The jets on portable hot tubs are more powerful than those fitted on in-ground tubs.
  3. In-ground tubs normally come with bench seating, which isn’t always the most comfortable. In comparison, portable hot tubs have multiple seating options that you can choose from.
  4. Portable tubs are more energy-efficient than ground hot tubs.

The Installation Process

Hot Tub Installation
Photo by Dave Stone on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The average cost of hiring professionals to install a hot tub is between $150 and $512, so you might as well hire professionals to do the heavy lifting for you. However, even if you do choose to do it yourself, the process remains the same. 

Codes and Permits

To start with, consult a local building code expert. Find out if your building codes and electrical codes require you to apply for any building permits before you buy your hot tub.

For example, local codes in some areas specify that if your tub is over 5000 gallons of capacity, you will most likely need a permit.

Choose an Accessible Location

Choose an accessible location for your hot tub in your garden or backyard. By accessible, we mean an area that allows you easy access from your home, as well as an area that your hot tub can be wheeled into on a trolley when it gets delivered. 

Ideally, you need to have an entryway to your backyard that is as wide as your hot tub is tall, so it can be brought in easily. Clearing the pathway of any pots, plants, pets and anything else that might get in the way of a smooth delivery is advisable. Make sure you have sufficient space overhead as well.

In case your tub cannot be delivered the easy way, your dealer will be able to get a crane to lift it over your roof and set it down in your backyard.

Build a Spa Pad

Hot tubs require a solid and stable mounting surface to be installed on. While reinforced decks and concrete pads are fairly popular hot tub mounts, a level pad made of wood and gravel, heavy-duty plastic, or stone pavers will work just as well.

Your hot tub dealer will be able to tell you what the best spa pad for your hot tub will be based on the model and type you buy.

Setting Up the Electricals

Most hot tubs have one of two specific electrical requirements. They either run on 110 volts or 220 volts.

The 110 volts models are usually plug and play. This means that you can plug your hot tub into an electrical outlet and you’re good to go.

The 220 volts ones are more expensive because they heat your water faster and are better suited for use in colder climates. Setting them up is a lot more complicated. So unless you have enough experience with electricals and circuit breaker boxes to make sure your wiring setup meets the standards that your city codes require, we’d suggest you hire a licensed electrician to set it up for you.

Fill It Up

Your portable hot tub does not require any extra plumbing, so that ought to be a relief. 

Filling your hot tub up with water only requires access to a garden hose and a tap. Most hot tub models come with their own plumbing and filtration systems, so draining your pool is not going to be a problem either.

Using Your Hot Tub

Once you have your hot tub installed, sired, and set up, open the air valves and fill it up with water. Next, turn on the power and give the tub time to heat up. 

Add the chemicals necessary to balance the water in the hot tub, test the water, and soak in! Your hot tub is ready for you to enjoy your hydrotherapy. All you need to do now is to plan your backyard landscaping to complement it.

Pro Tips

  1. Make sure your hot tub equipment panel and spa controls are easily accessible without being close enough to the water to cause any accidents.
  2. Don’t forget that your spa base needs to be strong enough to hold the tub as well as its occupants. Double-check to make sure that is strong enough.
  3. Make sure there are no overhead power lines anywhere within a 10-foot radius of your hot tub.
Hot Tub Installation: Important Things You Need To Know was last modified: September 11th, 2020 by Ramona Sinha

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