Hot Tub Buying Guide

Step-by-Step Planning Guide

Shopping for a new hot tub? Thinking about a hot tub installation in your home or yard? Whether you are considering purchasing a hot tub by Master Spas, or yours is already on the way, this guide will provide you with important information about choosing a location and preparing for installation.

Every Master Spas hot tub is completely self-contained, making it quick and easy to install. All that’s required is a solid, level surface that can handle the weight of the spa (when filled with water), GFCI electrical hook-up completed by a licensed electrician, and a garden hose to fill it up. In less than a day, you will be enjoying the warm, swirling water of your own spa.

outdoor hot tub installation
Customer-submitted photo.

Step 1: Where Do You Want To Install Your Hot Tub?

Inside or Outside? Above Ground or Recessed? The Choice is Yours.

Master Spas hot tubs are designed for inside or outside, year-round enjoyment and can be installed above ground, partially recessed or fully recessed. When choosing the location for your hot tub, consider how you will use it and what location will make it the most accessible and enjoyable for you and your family.

Hot Tub Installation Location Planning

There are a lot of considerations for your hot tub installation. Choosing and planning the best location for your hot tub installation should include:

  • How the hot tub will complement the landscaping and vice versa.
  • Consider the view from inside the hot tub as well as the view of the hot tub from inside the home.
  • Privacy: Will you be overlooked when in the hot tub? Gazebos, pergolas, lattice and landscaping are all ways you can increase your privacy.
  • Exposure to sunlight and shading from trees: Are there trees or shrubs that might drop debris onto or into the hot tub? Will the bathers in the hot tub or swim spa be exposed to direct sunlight? Debris in or on top of the water may increase hot tub maintenance. Direct unfiltered sunlight may be uncomfortable or unsafe for bathers. If you plan on using the hot tub/swim spa often in the day time, look for natural shading on your yard. There are also many options on the market from umbrellas to sun sails. 
  • Getting to and from the hot tub from the house: Will you be able to clear a path to the hot tub in the winter? How far will you walk before you can slide into that warm soothing water?
  • Proximity to dressing rooms and bathrooms, especially with an indoor installation.
  • Storage for accessories. Would you like somewhere to hang up your robe? What about any toys or workout equipment you will use in your hot tub or swim spa?
  • Storage for water treatment accessories: Chemicals for water treatment should be kept in a clean dry storage location free from flooding and humidity and at temperatures approximately 50-75 degrees F, or 10-24 degrees C
  • Local building codes (if applicable) and/or home association requirements.
  • Access for routine maintenance or future repair:. Hot tub and swim spa installations must allow for a 2-3 foot wide space all around the hot tub/swim spa for service access. 
  • Power source: Hot tubs are required to be hard-wired with a GFCI-protected 220 volt 40 or 50 amp circuit, connected by a 6/3 teck cable The National Electric code in Canada specifies that the GFCI must be installed at least 10 feet away, and within sight line from the spa for safety. A certified electrician is required to make the final electrical connection to the spa. Your electrician should be well versed in the requirements for connecting a hot tub.
  • Foundation: a level continuous surface is required for hot tub installation. Crusher dust and 2’ x 2’ paver stones are commonly used, especially in our climate as concrete pads, if not well made and reinforced, can crack. A concrete surface must be level and plumb and not have brushed/slanted  edges on any portion that the hot tub will be resting on. Decks are sometimes used as a spa installation surface. Any deck that is going to have a hot tub installed on it needs to be approved by an engineer for the load it will carry. A hot tub can weigh 700 lbs or more. That weight could triple once water is added.

When selecting the location for your spa, think of who will be using it. A tucked away spot might be ideal for couples, while a more spacious patio would benefit families who entertain. Cozy spaces and quiet corners are perfect for a three-person hot tub.

Take Measurements

Once you know where you want your spa to go, you should take exact measurements of your chosen space so you can be sure you are looking at spas that are within those parameters. Remember to make sure there’s at least 2-3 ft space left on all sides of the hot tub for regular maintenance or service needs. Also, consider the space you’ll need for any additional spa features you want, such as steps or cover lifters. Most cover lifters require 18-24 inches behind the spa and up to 18 inches on the sides.

Indoor Hot Tub Installation

corner hot tub indoors
A corner two-person hot tub completes this sunroom design

For an indoor installation into an existing space, it’s best to consult with us to determine the exact size of the opening needed to move the hot tub into the room, as this will vary based on the model you’ve selected.

Ventilation and humidity control are very important to plan for when installing a hot tub inside. When the hot tub is in use, considerable amounts of moisture are produced. This moisture can damage walls and ceiling surfaces over time. Check to 

make sure that your paint, wallpaper, and woodwork can withstand increased humidity levels. In most cases, a ventilation system is recommended. We recommend you consult a contractor with specific knowledge in this area.

Because water may accumulate around the hot tub, it is recommended that a floor drain be installed. For safety reasons, proper floor materials should be installed that are slip resistant when wet.

Outdoor Hot Tub Installation

Every Master Spas hot tub is insulated with environmentally-friendly full foam, and the bottom is finished with a high-density polymer base, which helps keep heat in and the elements out. These features coupled with insulated covers make Master Spas hot tubs one of the most energy-efficient in the industry, year-round.

Above Ground

The majority of homeowners choose to install their hot tub fully above ground on a patio or deck. The recommended foundation is a level surface of crusher dust and patio stones. Swim spas are recommended to have a concrete base. Consult your owners manual and your dealer for more information.

Step 2: How Many People Will Use Your Hot Tub?

twilight hot tub installation
Hot Tub and Outdoor Fire Pit

It’s important to consider the number of people that you expect will be using it and keep this number in mind when looking at seating options.

Large hot tubs have anywhere between 8-9 seats. These are very popular and best for large families or people who want to frequently have friends over for backyard events and parties. If you are hoping to have more than 10 people use your spa, you’ll probably want to look into swim spas which are more spacious.

Medium sized spas are in the 5-7 seat range. This is also a popular size hot tub so you’ll find lots of hot tub models in this range.

If a lounger seat is something you want in your hot tub, remember that a lounger seat takes up one side of the spa, which results in 1 or 2 fewer seats in the spa.

We also suggest you check not just the recommended number of bathers in a spa, but the size of the footwell. If you have room for 7 people to sit, is there really room for 7 sets of feet?

Smaller hot tubs will usually have 2-4 seats and a great for singles, couples, or small families.

Step 3: Why Buy a Hot Tub?

What is the main purpose for which you are buying your hot tub? For some, it’s intended as a place where family and friends relax together and strengthen relationship bonds. Others intend for their spa to be a place where they can escape into quiet thought and unwind. Still others will make the purchase for the medical benefits, including massage therapy.

Read more about hot tub hydrotherapy here.

Step 4: Hot Tub Installation Investment

At Hot Tub Universe our hot tub prices include the hot tub cover, steps and starter chemicals. Swim spa purchases include start up chemicals and standard covers. Special cover systems are available for swim spas and steps may vary in price depending on the size and type of step. Consider also, that the total cost of your hot tub/swim spa does not end at installation. Electrical running costs & water care are ongoing costs.

Step 5: Try Before You Buy

It’s a great idea to do your research into the different models, features and specifications online. It’s also a great idea to make a list of a few models that meet your needs on paper, and then come visit our Showroom to try them out. Just sitting in the dry hot tub will still give you an idea of how it actually feels.

You might want a tub with different seating levels because not everyone is the same height; consider the kids, smaller, or large adults when trying the seating in the hot tubs. For therapy, the placement of the jets is also an important factor.

Hot Tub Universe is the only hot tub supplier in the HRM that almost always has running spas available for wet testing. Would you buy a car without a test drive? Maybe you should test your hot tub first too!

NOTE: As there is turn over and we are always striving to have a variety of models to view, please call ahead to confirm if we currently have running models for you to try..

Step 6: Additional Features and Accessories

Keep in mind how much sun your outdoor hot tub will get, falling leaves, and more – which can affect the water quality. Our hot tubs come with a standard 5-3’ insulated cover. You might also consider structural elements that can offer shade and decoration.

For outdoor spas, there are unique landscaping ideas to provide privacy and accessibility to the spa year-round. Through the use of natural landscapes, fences, decks and patios, you can create a design that is both practical and aesthetic. If you’ve decided on an indoor installation there are options ranging from specialty hot tub enclosures and sunrooms to choosing a small hot tub that can be placed in an existing room.

Remember our team at Hot Tub Universe is happy to help! Get in touch with us today.

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