Installing a new hot tub in your backyard is an exciting project! The idea of finally having that warm and relaxing oasis to soak away your stress is all you can think of.
Before the soaks under the stars can happen, however, you need to get your hot tub in place, powered up, and full of hot bubbly water.
In the article below, we want to lay out the 3 obstacles, you have to overcome to install your dream hot tub. Not to worry all of these obstacles have solutions, and here at St. Cyr Pool and Spa in Middleton MA, we have seen it all and can help you all along the way, so you get the best shopping and installation experience possible.
Obstacle #1 – Space
How Much Space Do You Need to Install a Hot Tub?
Determining how much space you have to fit a hot tub is step one. However, dimensions are only part of the equation. You need a big enough space to fit your hot tub of course.
That space also needs to be perfectly flat, solid, and weight-bearing. It needs to support the entire base of the spa.
How Big Are Hot Tubs?
The most common hot tub sizes are as follows;
- 5.5’x7’ – 2 to 3-person models
- 7’x7’ – 4 to 6-person models
- 7.5’x7.5’ – 6 to 7-person models
There are a variety of different sizes and shaped hot tubs out there, but those are the most common dimensions and 90% of spas sold would fall into one of those 3 size classes.
Ready to Find Your Dream Spa?
Yet, It’s not just enough to have space for the hot tub, keep in mind space for steps and the cover.
This is where things can get tricky, people don’t think about where the cover is going to go when they are using the hot tub. The cover folds in half, but it is still as wide as the spa. 90% of all hot tubs we deliver to North shore homeowners have a cover-lifter mechanism installed.
This is an optional device that helps you easily lift the cover off of the hot tub a stow it upright behind the spa without it touching the ground. These cover lifters come in a variety of styles and generally require 14” to 18” of free space behind the hot tub.
So when thinking about the hot tub space, you have to take that into account. Is the hot tub going to be close to the house, a deck rail? Make sure your hot tub space has enough clearance to stow the cover using a lift, and you will get a lot more enjoyment and use, not having to deal with that each time you want to soak.
You will also need about 18” of space for a set of stairs in front of the spa so you can enter and exit easily. If you pour a cement pad or make a crushed stone base, it can seem simple to just make it the size of the spa.
But how will the steps set sturdy on the ground in front of the spa to make for a safe step in and out?
With all this in mind, if you are thinking about a 4 to 6-person spa, plan on utilizing around 10’x10’ of space for your new hot tub.
Obstacle #2 – Access
It’s one thing to have space, but you also have to get the spa to space. How will the hot tub get from the trailer in the driveway to the backyard onto your patio or deck?
How much access is required to move a spa into your backyard?
2 simple measurements to keep in mind. You either need:
- 8’ if the hot tub is going to be brought in flat – the easiest way to move it.
- 40” of clearance if the hot tub is tipped on end.
Now there are some hot tubs that are 40” deep or more even, but a majority are 34” to 36” deep which is the measurement that counts when it comes to carting the spa through a gate or narrow pass to the backyard.
Other Hot Tub Access Considerations
Is the route flat, uphill, are there stairs the spa will need to be pushed up or down?
Have space but don’t have access? Sometimes a crane is needed to hoist your hot tub into place. This can add anywhere from $600 to $1500 to the cost of your hot tub installation.
Thinking of Installing a Spa Inside?
Most standard-size doors are 32” wide, so a 30” deep spa would be needed. Sliding doors can vary in width and be taken out to slide a hot tub in a flat. There also must be a flat landing leading into the door, so the hot tub is not entering the door at an angle.
Space and access are 2 of the things that make in-home consultations and pre-delivery visits from your local hot tub dealer extremely important.
Obstacle #3 – Power
What Type of Electrical Power do You Need for a Hot Tub?
Electrical is the most involved part of the spa installation process. Do you have enough power for a hot tub? A majority of hot tubs run off of a 240v 50amp electrical breaker. This takes up a large amount of real estate in your breaker panel.
In Massachusetts, we have a lot of old houses that only have 100amp panels. Be sure to check into this before shopping for your hot tub. We have had hot tub installations completely halted after the customer has already ordered their spa due to insufficient power in their house.
Be sure to check to see if you have a 100amp electrical service or 200amp. Upgrading electric service from 100amp to 200amp can cost upwards of $2,000 to $3000…. rough estimates, of course. (we are not electricians) The added expense can really put the brakes on your hot tub installation, so it is good to know what type of power you are dealing with before you start hot tub shopping.
If you do not have a 200amp panel, that does not mean you have to throw out the idea of owning a spa. There are plenty of models that will run off 120v power and 15 to 20amps. While there are pros and cons of 120v vs. 240v that is a topic for another blog post. But ask your local hot tub dealer about your options, as there are many.
Electrical Run and Trenching
The other important factor in the cost of your hot tub installation is the length of the electrical run. How far is the breaker panel in the basement from the space where you are installing it? The longer the run and the more trenching needed, the more expensive the electrical installation will be.
Another cost to consider is if your basement is finished or unfinished. Obviously, an unfinished basement makes it much easier to run electrical lines. The standard electrical installation can run from $700 – $1600. Again rough estimates.
There are many decisions to make when choosing to install a new hot tub at your home, but figuring out the big 3; Space, Access, and Power before you start shopping will really help the whole process run smoothly.