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Hot Tub Installation

The skills necessary installing a hot tub are not all that advanced. If you're ever put in a new dishwasher and worked on a deck then you're qualified to install your own hot tub.

You can design your new hot tub installation using several software package or you can consult a professional designer. No matter which method you choose this will provide you with measurements and often times can even provide you with local building codes that apply to your project. You also may be able to get a materials list with your design. Hot tub design vary from a simple gravel and sand area to an inlaid, in deck installation.

Once you have an idea of how you want your tub to be installed you need to begin gathering measurements. Measure the base of your hot tub adding two feet on all four sides to allow for easy access. Take the and multiply it by the width to get the total square footage that the unit will occupy.

The next step is do determine your needs for the support platform; namely, it's load bearing capacity. You can either look for the total amount of water that the tub holds in the manufacturer's specifications or you can calculate it yourself. To calculate the water volume yourself multiply the width of the water area by the length. Next multiple the product of that calculation by the height of the area that holds the water. Take this figure and multiply it by 3.6 pounds; the approximate weight of one gallon of water. You will also want to take the estimated weight of four people and add that to the water weight. This value is the total approximate weight that must be supported by the platform that your hot tub will be on.

If the surface you chose to install your tub on is the ground, preparation is simple. Level the ground using a rake or other yard tool in tandem with a long board. Ensure that any rocks or items that could damage your hot tub are removed from the area. You also will want to lay down weed cloth over the area to keep weeds from growing under the tub.

When using a raised wooden platform it's also fairly simple and straightforward. Build a frame using a series of 2" x 6" boards. Attach this frame to several 4" x 4" posts that have been buried in the ground and you have the makings for a strong and reliable hot tub platform. The only major problem that exists with building a support platform from wood is the potential for moisture buildup. You may wish to use pressure-treated lumber to cut down on the damage done by moisture.

Poured concrete also makes an excellent choice for a hot tub platform. You just need to build a wood box, anchor to the ground and then fill with concrete mixed per the instructions on the package. Once it's poured level it off using a long 2" x 6" board and then let it cure for several days. Be sure to follow building codes for your area when constructing a platform for a hot tub or anything else that must support a large amount of weight.

Once the platform is built and checked against building codes you will most likely require the help of several friends. The average hot tub weighs several hundred, or in some cases for larger tubs, several thousand pounds. Be careful to lift properly and wear protective shoes to avoid injury.

As hot tubs require wiring and are around water it's probably best to have a licensed electrician do the installation; however, if you have sufficient electrical knowledge you can install it yourself.

Dig a trench and run conduit at least eighteen inches deep in a trench from the tub to your electrical junction box. Once the conduit is laid you can use an electrician's fish tape to pull the wires through and connect the wiring to your equipment according to the manuals.

Before filling the hot tub and enjoying it you should have the platform and wiring inspected. You would not want to have to drain your hot tub and redo any of the installation steps because of non-compliance with building codes; not to mention the money lost in heating and and filling your hot tub.

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