When most people are considering buying and installing a hot tub or spa one of the things they invariably ask is – do hot tubs require plumbing? Fortunately, the answer is that there are very few external requirements, including plumbing, so it is surprisingly easy to install a hot tub.
Hot tubs are almost completely self-contained so a hot tub installation requires no plumbing. To install your hot tub you will only need a method of filling it with water, which can be as simple as using a hose, and a suitable electrical supply.
If you read the rest of this post you will understand what is involved as far as the installation of hot tubs and spas are concerned.
Do I need to install plumbing with my new hot tub?
A hot tub or spa can be considered a completely self-sufficient unit when it comes to hot tub plumbing requirements. There is no need to permanently connect your hot tub to your water supply when filling it and it doesn’t need to be connected to your drainage system to empty it either (although you could – more on that below). This makes hot tub installation easy in most instances.
Most people with a hot tub located outside will simply use a hose to fill their hot tub. This will only take perhaps 30 minutes until filled for most average size hot tubs, which normally hold around 500 gallons of water.
When it comes to emptying your hot tub there are a number methods you can do this. Probably the most common method is to use a submersible pump. Another method is to use a hose or some other pipe to create a syphon which will slowly empty the hot tub water to an adjacent drain or another part of the backyard.
Many hot tubs have a drain outlet which you can open to allow the water to run out. The one reason you may want to engage the services of a plumber is if you want to connect the drain outlet directly to the drainage system and you cannot make the proper connections yourself.
My second hot tub was installed on the top sun terrace of my apartment so just letting the water out wasn’t an option as it would have flooded the terrace so it was connected directly to the drains.
You can read my post that includes the various methods for emptying a hot tub in my post – How often should you change a hot tub’s water
Do you need an outside tap for a hot tub?
Fortunately, provided you take good care of the spa, then you will not need to empty and refill the hot tub too often – certainly no more than once per month and often significantly less frequently than that.
In theory, you do not need an outside tap/faucet in order to be able to fill a hot tub with water, although, assuming your hot tub is located outside in your backyard/garden, having an outside tap will make things easier.
To fill a hot tub without an outside tap you could even go as low tech as using buckets. Of course, that would take lots of time but on the plus side it would certainly keep you fit.
Another option would be to use an adapter on your kitchen faucet and attach a hose to that to fill your hot tub. This is the method I used for my first hot tub which was located inside not outdoor.
Do you need an electrician to install a hot tub?
Some hot tubs, most inflatable versions for example, can just be plugged into a regular outlet and just run using 110v electricity.
However, most permanent hot tubs and spas need a 220/240v power supply. Consult the owner’s manual to check what are the electrical requirements of your hot tub model.
In the US or Canada this will almost certainly mean that you will need the services of a certified electrician to run the proper electrical wiring.
In the UK, although your supply will be 220/240v, you will still need to have a dedicated electrical supply to the hot tub.
Whichever country you are in then it will be essential that the hot tub will need to be on a separate supply to your main power board, with a separate higher rated breaker (usually 50 amps) than most of your domestic circuits.
Unless you are locating the hot tub on a site a great distance from your house then the costs for this should not be too high.
This is the electrical installation for my ArcticSpas hot tub as an example.
Do I need a permit for a hot tub?
Fortunately, in most states and cities in the US, and anywhere in the UK, a permit is not required if you need to install a standalone hot tub or spa on your property, whether you are installing an inside or outdoor hot tub. You may wish to contact you local authority in order to get the definitive answer for area you live.
Installations of a built-in hot tub, perhaps as part of a swimming pool installation, may need a permit but this will probably fall within the building permit for the entire pool complex.
How close can a hot tub be to a house?
Your new hot tub can be located pretty much anywhere you wish, that is provided the ground it will be sitting on is strong enough to hold the hot tub and it’s water, which will weigh a considerable amount when filled. This can be on a concrete foundation, on a deck, a floor indoors or even a rooftop terrace.
The hot tub installation can also be up against a house wall if that suits your particular situation.
My current hot tub is set right up against the back wall of my house and has been for the past 8 years. Prior to that this same hot tub was on the sun terrace of my apartment right up against a wall. Previously, my first hot tub was in a location inside my conservatory/sun room and again was set up right next to a wall. None of these installations led to any problems at all with either the spas themselves or the walls they were/are set against.
If it is located directly up against a house wall then you need to make sure that it is orientated with the side that is least likely to need to be opened to gain access to repair any problems. If you do not and, for example, you placed the side with the controls, pump, heater and other components next to a wall then having even a minor issue might prove a real headache as the hot tub will probably need to be drained and moved to gain proper access.
In a few states in the US it seems that a hot tub cannot be installed in a location that is any closer than 5 feet from the property line, not the actual house.