Installing a new hot tub

Answered by Brett ~ January 21, 2011 ~ Comments

I want to put a new hot tub on my back deck, but don't know what plumbing and wiring are needed. Also the deck is several feet off the ground, so should I reinforce it to hold the extra weight?

Ryan T. ~ Lander, WY

Brett Kulina

Ryan, let's first start with the plumbing and electrical needs for your new hot tub. As far as plumbing requirements, there shouldn't be any, because most hot tubs are self contained units that are not plumbed directly to any water supply or waste lines. You simply fill the tub with a garden hose, and then unscrew the drain cap on the drain hose when you need to empty it.

The electrical requirements for a hot tub are much more specific, and you should hire a licensed electrician to complete all the necessary wiring for you. It is imperative that you have a safe and code compliant electrical set up. In general, hot tubs require a dedicated circuit that begins with a double pole breaker in the panel box that matches the requirements of the specific tub (such as a 50 amp/240 volt). From the panel box, correctly rated and sized wire is run in approved electrical conduit to an outside service disconnect. The service disconnect must be at least 10 feet away from the tub, and in an obvious location so that it can be tripped when repairs and cleaning are being performed. The hot tub's electrical panel is then wired directly into the service disconnect. As I previously said, hire a licensed electrician to do this work for you.

As far as reinforcing your deck to support the extra weight of your hot tub, smart idea. A full hot tub can weigh several thousand pounds and definitely requires some extra support. If you can not place your tub directly on a concrete pad, then I would install several concrete footings under your deck on which you can put some 6-by-6 posts to carry the additional weight of the tub. Another option would be to cut a hole in your deck, and set the tub into the hole, allowing it to sit directly on a concrete pad on the ground. One advantage to this solution is that you may be able to position the tub so that the top of it is just a few inches above the deck, which would allow you to step into the tub, as opposed to climbing into it.

Good luck with the project, and I hope you enjoy soaking in the new tub!

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