The first part of any hot tub installation is planning. There are
a tremendous variety of locations and configurations that one may use to incorporate a hot
tub into their home or landscape. Whether indoors or out, a hot tub can bring immense
enjoyment all year long. While an outdoor hot tub can cost a bit more to heat in the
winter, there's nothing like soaking in hot steaming water while snow is falling all
around. For a few ideas, and perhaps a bit of motivation, please don't miss the picture gallery.
LOCATION OF THE TUB:
The first two consideration in planning should be the location of the hot tub and
the support equipment. As for locating the hot tub, we've learned that the closer it is to
the house (or bedroom) the more frequently it will be used. Installations on existing
decks are not uncommon but be aware that most decks are not designed to support the weight
of a filled hot tub and and the advise of an engineer is highly recommended. Remember, the
average filled hot tub weight in excess of 5000 pounds.
There are perhaps an infinante number of ways an outdoor tub can be installed.
There are some things to consider though, that may influence your design. The tub itself
must sit on a single solid surface. Concrete! The reason for this is stability and
setteling. Over time everything settles slightly, and if a concrete pad settles, it will
remain flat. If a tub is set in gravel or on piers, posibly just one corner will settle
putting undo stress on a single area of the tub and causing a leak.
Because the tub sits on joists (provided by us) rather than directly on the
concrete pad, the pad size can be 6 inches smaller than the tub (a 6' diameter tub only
requires a 5-1/2' square pad). Besides being less concrete to pour, the pad won't protrude
as far out from the tub. The typical thickness of the pad is 3-1/2" with
reinforcement wire. Depending the the stability of your soil, and expansion and
contraction due to ground freezing, footing may be required. Consulting with a local
concrete contractor is abvisable.
The overall height of the tub is also a consideration. A 4' tall tub stands a
total of 49-3/4" off the top of the concrete pad (Timber Tubs stand 50-5/8" high) .
Due to this height you may want to
"sink" the tub partially in the ground. To do this a special "pit"
will need to be constructed. The pit will need to have retaining walls to keep any dirt
from eroding and comming in contact with the tub. We also recomend that there be a minimum
of 12" (twelve inches) of clearance between the walls of the pit and the tub (a 5'
diameter tub will need a 7' diameter pit). One thing to keep in mind if considering a pit,
the tub requires a minimum of 24" (36" preferable) of clearance all the way
around it to assemble and the tub will have to be assembled above the pit and then lowered
Next, Locating the Equipment.
Indoor installations are also quite common but require some considerations of
their own. The main consideration with indoor installations is moisture. When the hot
tub's insulating cover is removed for use, quite a bit of steam can accumulate in the room
so good ventilation will be desired. While on the subject of 'evaporation', there's also
the issue of chemical use. With regular use of either chlorine or bromine as a sanitizer,
off gassing can occur which can fill a room with their odor. Ozone also should not be used
indoors. High concentrations of ozone can accumulate in the room which can irritate one's
throat and be corrosive to plastics and printed electronic circuitry. We feel the best
sanitizer to use indoors (and outdoors) is an ionizer, along with
periodic treatments of a non-chlorine shock. One advantage to indoor installations is that
there tends to be less dirt and debris getting into the tub, therefore less sanitizer is
The second 'moisture' consideration is leaks. Much as everyone hate to hear it,
eventually something may break. Years down the line, a seal or gasket could give out
causing anything from a small drip to a big flood. Hot tubs and equipment installed
indoors on the floor should have that floor constructed with a waterproof membrane and a
floor-drain. If the equipment is install in the garage or basement, you may want to set it
in a pan with a drain so that any possible leaks won't damage surrounding items.