Many first time hot tub buyer’s have a problem. They have no idea how to prepare for their new hot tub. Some end up making basic mistakes make delivery difficult or that will cost them down the road. In this article we will discuss ways to avoid this and give our top hot tub delivery tips to help you get ready for delivery day, and beyond!
Choosing The Right Location
The first problem faced by new hot tub owners is where to place their new hot tub. Finding the right spot for your hot tub will improve your hot tubbing experience and save you some headaches down the road. Here’s how to do it:
Hot tubs can be installed both indoors or outdoors. While installing a hot tub indoors might seem like a great idea at first, indoor hot tub installation pose a few problems. These problems include:
- Doorways. Most hot tubs are wider than a standard doorway. Getting a hot tub inside therefore usually involves opening up (and then fixing) a section of wall.
- Moisture. Hot tubs generate a lot of steam. This steam can make the room the hot tub is in very humid; leading to mould, drywall damage and warping of wooden flooring in the room. To avoid this requires installing a ventilation system.
- Splash. When people get in a hot tub, especially children, there will always be some water that splashes out on to the floor. When choosing the flooring for you room, make sure that it can properly handle water, while also not getting too slippery.
- Drainage. In the unlikely event that your new hot tub springs a leak you need a plan for where the water will go. Without proper drainage being put in place you can end up with over 1000 litres of water in your house!
- Smell. Ever been in a hotel with a pool? You can smell it as soon as you walk in the building. Even with proper ventilation, it can be very tricky to stop your whole house smelling like hot tub chemicals.
The cheapest, easiest, and in most cases best place to install your hot tub is outdoors. Not only do you eliminate all of the problems associated with indoor installs, you also get to sit out under the stars and enjoy some fresh air!
When installing a hot tub outdoors, keep the following points in mind:
- Place your hot tub as close a door as possible. The closer your hot tub is to a door, the shorter your run to the hot tub is. The shorter your run is the more you will use it in the winter.
- Consider which way to face your hot tub. Figure out which way which way you’ll be sitting and position the hot tub in a way that gives you the best view. You should also factor in where the hot tub cover lifter will be placed and ensure that it isn’t blocking your view. Cover lifters can also be used as a privacy wall or wind break if you have close neighbours or high winds in your backyard.
- Leave space for service. In the event that your hot tub ends up having an issue, you want to make sure that it can be easily serviced. If the service panel is blocked, the hot tub will need to be drained, moved and refilled before it can be properly diagnosed and fixed. This adds a lot of time and expense to the hot tub repair, expenses that won’t be covered by your manufacturer’s warranty!
If you’re planning on a partially sunk or in-ground install, make sure to leave at least 3ft open in front of the service panel to allow a service technician to work. This area can be then be filled in with a “trap door” style cover.
Make Sure That Your Hot Tub Is Properly Supported
When filled with water a hot tub can easily weigh over 1 ton! Ensuring that your new hot tub will be properly supported is the most important thing that needs to be done before the hot tub arrives. Common hot tub bases include a level concrete pad, a combination of crushed gravel topped with patio stones or a properly reinforced deck.
The best base for your new hot tub is a poured concrete pad that is 4-6″ thick with 8-12″ of crushed gravel underneath. The crushed gravel underneath the concrete pad allows water to move freely. This prevents the earth under the hot tub from washing away and causing the concrete to shift; ensuring that your new hot tub stays level and supported for years to come.
Crushed Gravel & Patio Stones
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a poured concrete pad, simply lay down the same layer of 8-12″ of levelled crushed gravel and place patio stones on top. While not as strong as a poured concrete pad, patio stones on a crushed gravel base should still provide enough strength and support to last the lifespan of your hot tub.
Do you want to install your hot tub on an existing deck, or build a new deck for your new hot tub to sit on? If so you’ll want to make sure that it can properly support the weight of a full hot tub. We recommend using 8″ x 8″ posts with 2″ x 10″ joists spaced 12″ apart or less.
Note: If you’re looking to build the hot tub into a deck you should try to make sure that the top of the hot tub sits at least 8″-12″ above the deck. This will make it much easier to get in and out of, and allow you to lock your cover when not in use; which will increase it’s energy efficiency. You should also remember to keep the service area accessible in case you ever need work done on the hot tub. A simple “trap door” design usually works best.
Why not simply put your hot tub directly on the ground? Hot tubs installed directly on the ground will eventually shift, especially in the winter. This causes water levels in the hot tub to fluctuate from one side to the other, creating a less than ideal bathing experience and potentially starving your pump of water. If the shifting gets bad enough it can even damage the hot tub shell.
Preparing For Delivery
Now that you have your spot picked out, your base ready and have ensured easy service access, it’s time to get ready for delivery! There are 4 things you can do to prepare for your hot tub delivery:
Access To The Backyard
Hot tubs are generally delivered standing up on their sides using a specially designed 4 wheeled cart. These carts require a minimum clearance width of at least 42″ and a minimum clearance height of 8 feet from your front driveway all the way to where the hot tub will end up.
If you don’t have the required clearance room, call your retailer to work out a plan of attack. Most retailers will do free pre-delivery site inspections and can give you advice for how best to deal with clearance issues.
Clearing The Delivery Path
On the morning of your hot tub delivery, walk the delivery path and ensure that there are no obstacles in the way (e.g. rocks/boulders, gates, fence sections, lawn furniture, barbecues, plants, flower pots, etc). If you have any pets, please also clean up any pet waste prior to the delivery.
Once your hot tub is in place it will need to be wired into your home’s electrical panel by an electrician. Have your electrician come ahead of time to install the GFCI and run the wire. This way, once the hot tub is in place they will only need to do a simple electrical hookup. The faster they can hook it up, the faster you can use the hot tub!
If your source water is from a well bring a sample of it to your local retailer for analysis prior to the hot tub delivery. They will then be able to test it and provide a customized prescription of initial chemical treatment based on your specific needs.
What To Do After Your Hot Tub Is Delivered
- Once the hot tub has been wired by your electrician, start filling it up with water. Once it has been completely filled you can turn on the power to the hot tub by turning on the GFCI. It will then begin circulating and heating the water.
- Once the hot tub reaches a minimum temperature of 75°F, begin adding the required start-up chemicals. Your retailer will be able to tell you which chemicals to add, and how much of each chemical you should add. Once the hot tub is up to temperature, you’re ready to get in!
- Within the first few days of having your hot tub, review the owner’s manual. It will help you with the basic functions of your hot tub. (i.e. setting the desired temperature, setting filtration times, turning on your jets and lights, etc…).
- After around 1 week it is also recommended to bring a water sample into your retailer for testing. They will provide you with a list of recommendations for how to keep your water well balanced and safe to use. Keeping your hot tub water “balanced” is the best way to ensure that your new hot tub enjoys a long, maintenance free life.