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Hot Tub Installation
By Mike Holmes
Friday, June 15th, 2018 @ 1:36pm
Having a hot tub is fun, maybe even therapeutic, but it’s a big project. Buying the tub is only the first step, and it’s usually the easiest. Installing one is whole other ballgame. That’s why for most homeowners, hiring a contractor experienced in hot tub installations is the smartest choice they can make when it comes to getting one.
Whether you are buying a new hot tub or a used one, you will spend money on its installation and how much that is depends on how much you plan ahead.
Things to consider before getting a hot tub:
- You may need permits
- There must be enough accessible space on your property to safely install and support the hot tub
- Hot tubs must be supported by a proper concrete foundation with stable footings
- You will need a licensed electrical contractor to do some electrical work, as well as a plumber
- You may need to build a new deck or reinforce an existing one
- You may need to hire an engineer or architect to properly design the placement of the hot tub, the structure that will support it, and how it all ties into your home
Nine times out of ten, adding a hot tub to a backyard or deck requires making structural changes to the home. In most cases, proper permits will be required, which changes depending on the province and municipality you live in.
For example, in Ontario hot tubs fall under the “new structure, addition or renovation” category, which means permits need to be applied for and approved by a city’s municipality before any work can start. If codes aren’t followed a homeowner risks having to remove the hot tub, making the entire project a waste of time and money.
Just Say ‘NO’ to Indoor
Your home’s No. 1 enemy is water. Not only do hot tubs have water, they have hot water, which means a lot of vapour and moisture – an open invitation for mould. It’s too easy for this moisture to get into the structure of your home and cause major problems. Installing a hot tub outdoors protects your home, plus it’s also cheaper.
The Right Support
Hot tubs are heavy. Add water and people and you’ve got a major load – about 5,000 pounds. Homeowners need to make sure the right structures are in place to properly support this weight. Do you need to build a deck? If you have a deck, is it strong enough? How strong does it have to be? The best way to figure this out is by bringing in the pros.
Professionals like a structural engineer or architect can tell you the load capacity per square foot of a supporting structure, like a deck. They can also make the appropriate designs for reinforcing these structures to ensure they can safely support the appropriate weight.
Professionals are an absolute must when installing a hot tub on a pre-existing deck, because if the proper structural upgrades aren’t made the chances of the deck collapsing under the weight of a hot tub is much too high.
You will need a licenced electrician to install and wire a dedicated GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), and it must be dedicated. How far it should be installed away from the tub depends on the province you live in. In most cases, it’s a minimum of 5 feet but always check provincial codes.
A licensed electrical contractor might also need to trench a PVC conduit from the junction box and install a dedicated 30-50 AMP main breaker box, if there isn’t one already. They should also make sure the shut-off is located outside and close to the tub so that it’s accessible to someone who might need to check it when no one’s home.