For many Canadian homeowners, a hot tub is the ultimate in luxury. The opportunity to bask in warmth on a cold, cold night seems like a dream. Or a dip in the whirlpool after a refreshing swim with friends, margarita in hand, could be the epitome of summer backyard fun.
But there’s a lot to think about before you make a decision to purchase and install a hot tub. Budget, of course, is a major consideration, and you’ll want to ponder size, style, and other aesthetics as well. But there are also lots of logistical questions to be answered, too. All of these should be considered before moving ahead with a purchase.
Here are some examples of things you should think about and discuss while you’re still in the planning stages.
What size hot tub is right for me/us?
Why are you purchasing a hot tub? Is it just for you and your spouse/partner or will it be a party hot tub for you and your friends or family? Once you make that decision, you’ll be able to decide whether a small two person tub is right for you or if you need something larger. The size of the hot tub will have an impact or where you place it and what it takes to install it.
Where should it be located?
Considering where to put the hot tub is obviously important. You want to have easy access to it from your home, if you plan to use it in the winter months, and/or from the backyard if you plan to use it other times of the year.
One thing you’ll need to remember is that the hot tub MUST be on level ground. This may mean that you’ll be required to install a concrete pad in the area where you wish it to sit. Or, if you want to put it on your deck, you’ll likely need to reinforce that in some way. If the hot tub is small and fairly light, you may be able to place it on stone pavers or composite slabs.
Is there a spigot nearby?
Of course, you’ll need to be able to fill up your hot tub when it arrives and at other times during the year, so close proximity to a spigot and hose are essential. While you can always purchase a long hose, it’s better if you can find a spot that’s not so far from the spigot, which will make things a lot easier when it’s time to fill or refill the tub.
Are there additional electrical requirements?
The majority of hot tubs on the market run on 240 volts of electricity and will require the use of a 50-60 AMP GFCI breaker. You’ll also require a 50 AMP GFCI disconnect box, which will need to be mounted 6 or more feet away from the hot tub. These are essential components for using the hot tub safely. If these components are not currently present in your electrical system, you’ll need to bring in a certified, licensed electrician to make additions or changes that adhere to code compliance. You should not attempt to do this yourself.
And, of course, if you want to install some additional mood lighting for a little ambience, you can talk to your electrician about adding to your landscape lighting or including other fixtures in the area of the hot tub. A certified electrician can suggest lighting options and knows how to install them safely and properly.
What about energy-saving features?
If you really want to install a hot tub but don’t want to be an energy hog, there are some things you can do to cut down your energy use.
First, look for a hot tub with good insulation. When your tub is well-insulated, water will stay hot longer and you can lower your operating costs because you won’t need to run the heater as often. Look for a style/brand with full foam insulation when you’re shopping for your hot tub.
In addition, a good cover made of dense foam will allow less heat to escape and will also keep out leaves and other debris, which means you don’t have to clean it or empty the water and refill it as often.
Finally, talk to your electrician about a 24-hour circulation pump, which offers continuous flow. These require less energy than other options and are quiet as well.
At Stapleton Electric, we’ve installed dozens of hot tubs and are eager to help you determine what you need to add one to your backyard. For a consultation or more details on installation, call us at 778-985-9395 or contact us.