Hot Tub Installation Guidelines and Requirements

hot tub installation

A hot tub is an excellent investment for your home. What could be better than coming home after a long day to your own relaxing spa, filled with warm water. Most hot tubs are located outdoors, making them a great place to relax, even in the wintertime. However, some models can also be installed inside.

Many people hire professionals to do their hot tub installation, but you’ve got the tools and know how, you can do it yourself. Unless you’re experienced, you’ll probably need to have a professional run any gas lines required for the heater, and install the electrical circuit needed for the pump. However, you should be able to perform all other aspects of hot tub installation on your own.

There are a few things you should pay attention to when installing your own hot tub. The first part of any hot tub installation is appropriate planning. Most people use their hot tub more frequently when it’s placed close to the house, or, if inside the house, close to the bedroom. You’ll need to have adequate support, wherever you choose to locate your hot tub. The average filled tub weights over five thousand pounds. This means that it might be hard to install a hot tub on your existing deck, since most aren’t engineered for this kind of weight.

Your hot tub must sit on a solid surface. A concrete pad is common for outdoor hot tub installations. Be sure that it’s thick enough to prevent settling, which could cause the hot tub to develop leaks. If your hot tub is very tall, you may want to sink it into the ground slightly, by digging an appropriately sized pit for the concrete pad to rest in. If you sink your tub, it will have to be assembled above ground, then placed in the hole.

For indoor hot tub installations, there are different considerations. The biggest one is how to deal with moisture accumulation. When you remove the insulating cover of the hot tub to use it, a large amount of steam can accumulate in the room. Potentially, moisture retention in rooms can lead to mildew and other problems. Therefore, you should make certain the room for your hot tub installation is one with good ventilation.

If your hot tub is inside, you should also take chemical use into account. If you use chlorine or bromine to sanitize your tub regularly, there can be a fairly large amount of off-gassing. Instead, try using an ionizer or other less dangerous sanitizer. The good news is that since indoor hot tub installations usually are exposed to less dirt and debris, you won’t have to sanitize them as often.

Once you have a location for your hot tub, you’ll need to consider the equipment. National code required that you locate this equipment at least five feet away from the tub, unless you separate the two with a permanent solid barrier. Many people locate it much further away, since one of the advantages of a hot tub over portable spas is not having to sit on top of the noisy equipment.

If you’re going to located the pump and piping more than fifty feet from your hot tub, be sure to up-size them to prevent loss of pressure in the jets. Likewise, if you locate your heater more than five feet below the tub’s water level, you’ll have to adjust it. Heaters located more than ten feet below this level will need a special flow switch. Try to install your pump below the water level of the tub. Pumps located higher up can lose their prime, ceasing circulation of water and damaging the pump.

 

Some Basics About Hot Tub Chemicals

hot tub chemicals

Maintenance is important for any big investment, and a hot tub is no exception. Special chemicals are needed to keep your hot tub sanitary and to make sure that the water chemistry is properly balanced. Without them, bacteria growth and mineral buildup could damage your hot tub’s water heater and pipes, as well as promoting possible illness in hot tub users. However, it can be difficult to decide which hot tub chemicals to use in your spa. Here’s a short guide to some of the most common options and how they work.

Chlorine: You’re probably familiar with this chemical as a pool sanitizer. It’s used in a different concentration in your hot tub, so be sure to buy the right kind. You can purchase granules and tablets formulated specifically for use in hot tubs. Chlorine can also be used to shock a tub where the sanitizers have failed, or the upkeep of which has been poor. To do this, use a larger concentration of chlorine, and stay away from the hot tub for a day or so.

Bromine: This hot tub chemical comes in the form of granules, tablets, or nuggets. It also comes in a few forms. One is sodium bromide. This needs to be activated with an oxidizer. Chlorine is one. Potassium Monopersulfate, also called non-chlorine shock, is another. If you’d prefer not to have to activate your bromine, you can purchase BCDMH, a self-activating combination of chlorine and bromine. Many people prefer bromine for their hot tubs over chlorine since it’s less likely to off gas harmfully. Bromine can also work in a wide range of pH levels, so it’s less likely to stop functioning entirely if your water chemistry is off. Generally, bromine is distributed via a cartridge system or a floating feeder.

Biguanide: These sanitizers contain neither chlorine or bromine. Instead, they kill bacteria by attacking their cell walls. A hydrogen peroxide based oxidizer is used to burn off any organic matter, keeping the water clear. The benefit of biguanide sanitizers is that they produce less smell than either bromine or chlorine, and don’t off gas at the temperatures used in a hot tub.

Ozone: This is technically an oxidizer, not a sanitizer. However, it reduces the amount of work that you need to perform with sanitizers, lowering the level of hot tub chemicals you’ll need. To use ozone in your hot tub, you’ll need to have a type of equipment called an ozonator. Even with this device, you’ll still need to use a little chlorine or bromine, just not as much. Some say that ozone alone will sanitize a hot tub, but this is a myth. Ozone is compatible with almost all sanitizers.

Mineral Spa Care: Mineral systems can replace your sanitizers, but they can assist them. Generally, you’ll place a mineral cartridge inside your filter cartridge, or in a floating dispenser. Sanitizing minerals will then slowly disperse through the water, lowering the amount of chemicals you’ll need to keep your hot tub clean.