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How to Install a Hottub at Home

How to Install a Hot Tub

  |   Hot Tub Tips   |   14 Comments

Hot Tub & Spa Installation [Expert Tips & Instructions]


STIL modern hot tub by Bullfrog SpasWhen installing a hot tub, choosing the right location is paramount. You want a location that is both safe and convenient; avoid overhangs, areas with too many steps, and nearby power breakers or lines. If you keep the location in mind while planning for your new spa, the process will go more smoothly, and you will be on your way to a future of health and relaxation.


These are the steps to install your new hot tub (click on a link below to jump to the relevant section):



Once you’ve installed your perfect spa, you get to begin enjoying a life of relaxation, better health, and fun. But all this is dependent on a proper installation. In this article, we’ll cover industry best practices for selecting a hot tub site, preparing for delivery, installation options, and hot tub set up instructions.


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Let’s get started.


Selecting a Site for Your Hot Tub

Selecting the perfect spot on your property for your new spa is extremely important to your overall spa experience. Where you place the spa not only effects things like longevity and durability but also your spa’s environment, your view from the spa and the overall aesthetics of your backyard. Here are a few considerations when selecting a site.


Indoors or Outdoors, Where to Install Your Hot Tub?

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re going to place your hot tub indoors or outdoors. Both options offer a unique spa experience and come with their own benefits and challenges. Both are certainly possibilities. Outdoor installations are much more common and in many ways more simple but indoor installations can be luxurious and convenient.


With an indoor spa, you benefit from privacy and super easy access. You also avoid all kinds of potential weather issues—no dashing across the yard in the cold snow in the dead of winter! In addition, indoor spas make it easy to accommodate guests, as they can simply change just down the hall. On the other hand, if installed improperly, humidity, overspill or emitted gasses could accumulate and damage your home’s woodwork, structure or wall finishes. That said, an indoor spa installation is relatively simple to accommodate, as long as you plan ahead.


Outdoor installations offer incredible views, simple installation, hard water-safe surfaces, as well as plenty of ventilation for the humidity a spa can produce. Installing your hot tub outdoors may offer a bit less privacy, but it can also be more enjoyable if you’re looking to host outdoor parties with a large group of friends and family.


The key to making this decision is to take time to think out two important factors. First, how do you plan to use your hot tub in the future? Do you envision enjoying it outdoors during summer parties and as a way to get more outdoor time during the winter months? Or do see yourself valuing the privacy and easy access of an indoor hot tub?

The second consideration involves the practical issue of installation. If you are unsure about an indoor or outdoor hot tub, just take a look at where it would go in either scenario and determine which is more practical for installation and maintenance.


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Tips for Installing a Hot Tub Indoors


Soudscape with Your Bullfrog SpaThe very first thing you must do if you plan on an indoor hot tub installation is to ensure that the area in your home where you plan to install a spa is structurally sufficient to hold the weight of a filled spa and spa users. Here are some key considerations that must be addressed prior to deciding on an indoor spa installation:


  • Ground floor installations are recommended but you may also be able to install a smaller 2 person hot tub on upper floors with adequate structural support. Always consult a licensed engineer prior to installation for structural recommendations.


  • To protect your home from potential water damage, be sure to inspect the flooring in your installation area. We highly recommend water proof flooring with a floor drain or catch basin able to accomodate a volume equivalent to the amount water in your spa. This will protect your home from any overflow, splashing or (very rare, but possible) leaks.


  • In addition, choose flooring materials that are non-slip and resilient to sanitizing chemical exposure—concrete, wood, non-slip tile, and linoleum are all potential choices.


  • Once you choose a flooring material, ensure that the area you have selected has adequate ventilation to the outside. Ventilation fans and large windows that may be opened for cross-ventilation are best.


  • Be sure to select wall and ceiling surfaces that can sufficiently accommodate higher than normal humidity, such as tiles or moisture-resistant paints. A ceiling fan or dehumidifier is also highly recommended to help disperse and control humidity while using your spa.


  • Check with an architect or home ventilation expert if you have any questions or concerns about controlling humidity in your indoor space.

Before opting for an indoor hot tub, schedule a consultation with a contractor, engineer or architect to address the above considerations. This will help you determine how feasible an indoor spa is for your home as well as what needs to be done in advance of installation.


Pro Tip: Installation of an indoor hot tub can best coincide with a remodel project. If you are planning to remodel part of your home, this is a great opportunity to add a hot tub to your plans.


Tips for Outdoor Hot Tub Installation


Best Hot Tubs in Reno, NV and Lake Tahoe - Robert Allen Pools & SpasFor outdoor installations it’s always best to carefully consider the location of your hot tub first. Begin by considering the following areas to avoid when selecting a site:


  • It’s always best to avoid areas with excessive water exposure (areas in the path of sprinklers or under roof edges without rain gutters).


  • Avoid areas of direct, prolonged sunlight where possible to avoid fading of hot tub exterior surfaces and possible damage. Also check for strong reflected light from windows and glass doors (check the area throughout the day as sun angles change) and avoid these areas.



  • Avoid positioning the spa in an area where dirt and debris would be tracked into the spa. Wherever possible, provide a stone, concrete, or paver path to the spa site.


Once you’ve determined the areas of your yard to avoid, next consider the areas that have characteristics that will enhance your spa experience. Depending on your personal preferences, you may want your spa to be near an entrance to your house for convenience, or you may prefer that your spa is set away from your home for the feeling of escape to a special retreat.


You will want to consider both the privacy and the view of scenery and the sky from your hot tub site to make the most of your spa experience. Sometimes the area with the most privacy, like a covered patio or under a deck, may not provide the best views. This is where pergolas and gazebos are often very nice compromises. These types of structures offer some protection and privacy but don’t inhibit your views too much. They can be set off in an area of your yard that is quiet and make a great decorative addition to your landscape.


When selecting your installation location it’s also important to consider electrical wiring logistics. Most hot tubs are hard wired by an electrician and the longer the run of wire to the spa the more it can cost in materials and labor.


Key Takeaway: It is a good idea to envision your new hot tub in a certain location before having it installed. Think about how enjoyable it will be in a given location as well as what installation would be like. You can ask the advice of a contractor in this scenario as well to get an idea of any logistical issues that might arise.



Spa Foundation


Once you’ve determined whether your spa will go indoors or outdoors, it’s time to address the spa’s foundation. For both indoor and outdoor spas, you will need a structurally sound flat surface that is reasonably level. What does “reasonably level” mean? While it’s okay to have a slightly sloped pad (most patios are built to slope away from the house), there should be no dips, sags, or unevenness in the pad; particularly for above ground hot tubs. We recommend that there should be no more than a ½” to 1″ slope per 8′ run.


When looking for a level surface area, also consider the weight requirements for the space. A filled hot tub can weigh as much as 6,000 pounds, not including the weight of the occupants. If you’re looking to install your spa on a deck or other elevated structure, consult with a qualified structural engineer or contractor before installation.


If you’re not placing your spa on an existing patio or deck, one of several other foundation or flooring options are recommended: concrete pads, concrete pavers, concrete bricks, compacted pea gravel, or compacted crushed rock. Please note that concrete foundations should be a minimum of 4” thick and should be reinforced with either rebar or mesh, and attached to bond wire for electrical grounding purposes.


Key Takeaway: One benefit of placing your hot tub on a new foundation is that you can make sure that it meets all of the necessary structural requirements. You can get a quote on the foundation at the same time you get advice from a contractor on locations, if you go that route.


Utility Requirements and Access


Make sure to select a location within reach of power and with access to a proper drain or outdoor drainage area. Make sure that you have the proper wiring in place prior to installation. Check with both local and national wiring rules and a licensed electrician for logistical advice and requirements specific to your area. Also, as you’re finalizing your spa’s location, be sure that the spa is positioned so that access to the equipment compartment will not be blocked.


Pro Tip: When measuring the location for your spa, be sure to add the space necessary for accessing utilities and equipment to your measurements.


Design Considerations


Backyard Landscape with Pool and Hot TubWhile it’s important to consider the structural requirements when selecting a hot tub site, it’s also equally important to consider the aesthetics of your chosen installation location.


When choosing base materials, consider textures and colors that will complement your spa and your surrounding landscaping. Adding planters and garden landscaping nearby can soften the hard edges of your spa and add a touch of color. A landscape architect can offer great insight into incorporating your hot tub into your overall backyard design.


Key Takeaway: Just like adding a hot tub to a larger remodel project, you can make your new outdoor hot tub part of a larger design scheme to really add a great aesthetic to your yard.


Preparing for Delivery


Once you’ve selected the perfect site for your new hot tub, you’re now ready to prepare the site for a smooth and efficient delivery.


The first step is to clear the delivery path so that it’s clear of obstacles and obstructions, such as overhanging tree limbs, awnings, gas and water meters, and A/C units. In order to get the spa to its desired location, it may be necessary to remove a gate or part of the fence. If your delivery path involves more than six consecutive steps without a landing or turns that are too tight, you may need to choose a different delivery path. Before your delivery date, check the measurements on 90-degree turns to make sure the spa will fit through.


A crane may occasionally be required to lift the spa over your house to its final installation location. While it may sound extreme, it’s actually a common practice and is sometimes the easiest and safest delivery method, particularly if you otherwise risk property damage.


Pro Tip: You may need to take into account some damage to your yard during installation. Doing so can help you avoid unpleasant surprises during the process. This also makes adding some landscaping to the process a potentially helpful consideration.



Final Installation of Your Hot Tub


Once your spa is safely delivered, it’s time for the final installation procedures like electrical wiring, filling, and start up chemicals. Because of the specific electrical and technical requirements involved in installing a spa, Bullfrog Spas recommends that you always have a licensed electrician perform the electrical installation. Detailed electrical installation instructions can be found in your hot tub’s owner’s manual.


Sleep better by soaking in a hot tub before bedThe installation of all spas must be in accordance with national and local wiring rules. Each Bullfrog Spa is manufactured and tested to a standard that provides maximum protection against electrical shock, and it is critical that your spa be installed correctly to protect against dangerous malfunction.


Operation of your new hot tub will vary according to model. Your Authorized Hot Tub Dealer can help you get the basic operations down in no time. Hot tub sanitation procedures can also vary according to the water type in your location. Your dealer will be a valuable resource in setting up your spa with the right chemicals for your area. Contact your dealer at any time for questions on operation or hot tub water care. For specifics on filling your hot tub, starting and setting up your control panel, you may also reference your owner’s manual.


Pro Tip: To make the installation process as smooth as possible, and to help avoid future problems or issues, plan on incorporating professional experts in the planning and installation processes. Consulting a contractor prior to installation and getting an electrician to do the wiring can save you a lot of trouble down the road.


Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy


Once your hot tub has been professionally installed, you’re ready to enjoy the fun and relaxation that comes with years of happy hot tub ownership. Check out our tips on how to clean a hot tub to keep your hot tub fresh, clean, and ready for fun all year round.


Like many of the big payoffs in life, a little extra thought and planning beforehand can make the whole thing that much better. Follow these tips, and your hot tub can be even better than you imagined.



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AUTHOR - Bullfrog Spas

Bullfrog Spas is a premier brand of personalized premium hot tubs. With proprietary hydromassage technology and an eye for contemporary design, Bullfrog Spas is revolutionizing the concept of the portable hot tub and providing a relaxation experience unlike any other. Discover the award winning spa of the future today.

  • Bill Renter | Jul 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    These are extremely helpful instructions and suggestions for planning the installation of a hot tub.

  • Adrian Duvenhage | Oct 7, 2015 at 2:07 am

    What is the size of the pocket i need to create for the 8AL spa, in a concrete slab?

  • Brad Coates | Mar 6, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I just purchased a model A5L, and am working on getting the wiring all set up. Rather than installing a 50AMP GFCI inside my main breaker box, I purchased a hot tub panel box with the breaker already installed… it is a Cutler Hammer brand breaker, but I figured you could just run power to the box and it would have no issue matching up with my GE panel, but I was told I had to have the very same brand in the secondary box. Is that true?

    • Bullfrog Spas | Mar 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Congratulations. You’ll love your spa. It’s best to refer wiring questions to a local certified electrician and your local codes.

  • Brad Coates | Mar 6, 2016 at 1:06 am

    I purchased the Model A5L and it came with the spa cover lift kit. When I assembled it and it doesn’t fit correctly. The crossbar is supposed to go across the seam, but it is 3-4″ too long (as if the lifter is made for a wider hot tub than mine). I slid the pipe all the way until it hit the foam wrapping the corners. Any ideas why this doesn’t fit?

    • Bullfrog Spas | Mar 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

      From our service team: On the smaller A5 you have to mount the bracket at the bottom of the cabinet. This will create more space for the lifter. This is a different cover lifter but shows the mounting of the bracket on the lower section of the spa.small spa cover lifter

  • 63 Hot Tub Deck Ideas: Secrets of Pro Installers & Designers | Mar 23, 2016 at 9:01 am

    […] key to creating this perfect backyard escape is to optimize your space. You will want to install your hot tub for maximum accessibility, the best views and for optimal usability. When evaluating the various […]

  • Mike Salisbury | Apr 2, 2019 at 7:57 am

    Is #8 wire heavey enough on a 45 foot run from the sub panel

    • Bullfrog Spas | Apr 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Sorry but you’ll want to consult a certified electrician on this to be sure.

  • Bruce A Buchanan | Feb 15, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Are the bullfrog spas
    built with built-in GFI breaker in the spa pack

    • Lance Hansen | Feb 20, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Great question Bruce. The neutral wire from our spas to the breaker box must be wired into the breaker itself and not the bus bar. This is because it is not a dedicated 240v spa. If the neutral is wired to the bus bar, the breaker will instantly trip at power up.

  • Michael Treanor | Aug 2, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Your article states, “We recommend that there should be no more than a ½” slope per 8” run.” I’m sure you mean per 8′ run, but mine has been slowly shifting and has one side that has a 1″ drop over 48″ (2″/8’run). Am I risking damage to my hot tub, or is this a problem mostly because the low side spills early? It will be expensive, I believe, to fix the slope but if I’m risking an even more expensive problem then I will go ahead. Thank you.

    • Bullfrog Spas | Aug 3, 2020 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for pointing out that error. Yes, it’s recommended that there is no more than a 1/2 to 1-inch slope over 8 feet of distance (typical large hot tub size). This is mostly to ensure level skimming, proper filtration, proper cover fit, and proper jet performance. With more of a slope you’re not really risking much damage to the spa structure but you may run into problems with water care, spilling, uneven cover wear, and/or jets that shoot above the water. Some of this also depends on the orientation of your spa, which end is low, etc. If your spa is oriented such that everything seems to function properly you may be ok.

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