Knowing the electrical requirements, installation, and monthly cost of running a hot tub is vital for anyone who wishes to invest in it. However, having a fully functional spa is a quality investment that is beneficial to your health in many ways.
A spa might just be what you need to improve family time and relaxation after a stressful day at work. As good as that is, it is important to know certain things about acquiring a hot tub.
Whether you are ready to make an actual purchase or you are in the decision-making stage, it is important to have a basic understanding of acquisition process. So if you are installing an hot tub for the first time and you need to know the electrical requirements, or you want to get an estimate of how much a good hot tub costs, this article explores all that and more.
Electrical requirements for running a hot tub
One of the major decisions you have to make is choosing between a 120 or 240 voltage hot tub. A glaring dissimilarity is that a 240v hot tub draws more watts than a 120v hot tub. The latter is usually called plug-n-play because they do not require an electrician to install and are relatively easier to use. All you have to do is plug it into your standard outlet and enjoy.
On the other hand, 240v hot tubs require 30, 40, 50, or 60 amperage depending on your model. They are not portable like their 120v counterpart and though they also feature better jet functioning, installation is costlier because it requires technical knowledge in setting it up. Below are some electrical services needed to power your hot tub;
Licensed Electrician: The information in this article is meant to keep you well informed as regards the process of acquiring a hot tub. You should hire a certified electrician to handle the actual process of installation.
Going at it all by yourself might save you costs but it will also expose you to the risk of shock, electrocution that may lead to death. Only attempt it if you are competent and qualified. Hire an experienced electrician to prevent bad wiring. Even qualified electricians find this part a bit tricky. Bad electrical connection can cause your GCFI to trip, necessitating a repair.
House Circuit Breaker Panel: Electrical power goes through the meter and into the main circuit breaker panel, which, in turn, distributes power into your home. Although this is not a problem in most cases, you must confirm that your electrical service can supply the amperage a 240v requires. The instructional manual usually contains information on specific requirements.
GFCI/Disconnect box: The disconnect box supplies power to a hot tub. It feeds electrical energy generated from the main circuit panel to the hot tub. A disconnect box has breakers that allow you to severe electrical energy from the hot tub if the need arises.
The disconnect panel comes with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and its main function is to shut down power in case of a ground fault usually caused by leakage.
Wiring: Hot tubs require a 3 or 4-wire system. Where you have a 4-wire system, the circuit panel must provide 2 hot wires, 1 neutral, and 1 ground wire. On the other hand, a 3-wire system requires 2 hot wires and 1 ground wire.
Instructional manual: The instructional manual contains information specifically relevant to your hot tub. Every instruction pertaining to the electrical component of your product should be adhered to strictly. And you should insist on this even if your electrician thinks otherwise. It’s simple. The manufacturer knows best.
Ten steps on installing a hot tub
Installing a hot tub is no small task and it requires the efforts of professionals. The steps below should give you an insight into the process and the role you can play.
Planning: There should be thorough planning before the actual installation process begins. This is where you decide if you can fund the maintenance costs, where the hot tub would be situated after delivery, and other necessary issues as individual cases demand.
Site Preparation: Whether you choose to place your hot tub on a patio, slab, or deck, you have to clear the pathway for the hot tub to access wherever you have chosen. After considering your hot tub size and model, prepare a leveled surface that is structurally sound enough to bear its weight. Make sure the site is elevated to allow drainage and easy access to the tub on all sides.
Read the owner’s manual: Before the electrician begins the installation process, you should intimate yourself with the product manual. This is important to ensure everything goes according to the manufacturer’s instructions and to be familiar with the safety tips stated in the manual.
Switch off power supply: Turn off power from the central circuit breaker before you attempt anything. Do not turn it on until the installation process is complete at inspection.
Fix the breaker panel: The disconnect panel eliminates issues of false tripping. Fix it on a wall 5 feet from the hot tub and within line of sight.
Trench Digging: Create a trench that would run the wiring from your main circuit to the disconnect panel and then, to the hot tub. It is advisable to use a conduit and familiarize yourself with the local code to know the required depth. Avoid passing the conduit beneath your hot tub.
The Conduit: At this stage, you have to drill a hole not too far from the disconnect box and pass the conduit through it. Be sure to channel it outside the house and use a rigid metal conduit. Fix an LB fitting into the wall that would join the conduit from both ends.
Wiring: Using a fish tape, pass the wire from the main circuit to the disconnect box. Then, fix the wire to the right connections in the disconnect box as stated in the manual. Pass the wire from the disconnect panel to the hot tub panel using a flexible waterproof conduit.
Inspection: Do not power your hot until after inspection by an electrical inspector or anyone qualified to do so.
Switch on the power supply: Finally, once it is confirmed that the installation is perfect including the wires used and that the main electrical panel can withstand the new addition, you may turn it on. Then, proceed to check if everything is running, as it should.
The kinds of hot tubs you can choose from
- Built-in hot tubs: In-ground hot tub installation would necessitate a permit and the services of a professional. They are usually customized to suit the owner’s desire and existing landscape conditions. The desired site would be excavated and a shell would be fitted in before the hot tub is installed and you can opt for a concrete hot tub. The high cost of installation and modification are the major drawbacks of built-in hot tubs.
- Inflatable hot tubs: These hot tubs are quite cheap to purchase given their newness in the hot tub industry. They can be powered with a 120v outlet and are easy to use. Inflatable hot tubs are made of polyester, which greatly affects their durability because they are susceptible to punctures.
- Rotationally Molded hot tubs: This is perfect for buyers trying to acquire quality hot tubs at a moderate cost. They offer superb hydrotherapy features and are not too bad on the durability side. Rotationally molded hot tubs are usually manufactured with plastic material. Admittedly, this makes it less attractive on the outside, yet the comfortable seat design makes it a worthy investment.
Price Range of hot tubs
No doubt, acquiring and installing a hot tub is a big project and the amount covering the entire process vary. Hot tub prices largely depend on certain factors. Read on to see a breakdown of hot tubs prices that would help you to make an informed decision.
- Entry level hot tubs – $3,000 to $5,000
- Value Priced hot tubs – $4,000 to $8,000
- Premium hot tubs – $6,000 to $10,000
- Luxury hot tubs – $9,000 to $35,000
The overall estimated price range of hot tub is between $2,500 and $35,000. Now, before you make up your mind let’s discuss what to expect from these classes of hot tubs.
1. Entry level hot tubs – ,000 to ,000
Hot tubs in this category are mostly plug-n-play. They are less demanding and easy to use. Entry-level tubs are mostly rotationally molded with high portability. In any case, this class of tubs allows you to enjoy a dip without much investment.
2. Value Priced hot tubs – ,000 to ,000
This is perfect for new users seeking to share in the fun of spa. This class of hot tubs comes in an acrylic shell which offers durability. They are also equipped with nice features that include; multiple jets, bells, whistles, and insulation. The last bit may come in handy if you are looking to reduce electrical costs.
3. Premium hot tubs – ,000 to ,000
Premium hot tubs offer better features if you look beyond the price tag. A trial will convince you that the beautiful exterior is not merely designed to please the eyes. They are equipped with advanced technology that greatly reduces maintenance requirements, especially in the energy area. It also comes with a top-notch filtration system, high jet counts, and an interior specially designed for optimum comfort.
4. Luxury – $9,000 to $35,000
Hot tubs in this category are state-of-the-art. You can expect them to last for fifteen years on average. Aside from the durable body package, they are fitted with mouth-watering features like jet systems that offer top-quality hydrotherapy massage, advanced design and control system, and high-quality entertainment options. To crown it all, luxury hot tubs offer longer warranty coverage.
Costs of installing a hot tub
This part deal with costs that are directly or indirectly related to the installation of the hot tub.
- Delivery: The distance between the manufacturer’s location to the purchaser’s site determines the delivery cost. If there is no accessible route to the chosen site, then you would have to lift it with a crane. According to supermoney.com, the average cost for delivery is $300 and an additional $200 where a crane is required.
- Certified Electrician: The amount paid to a certified electrician hinges on the amount of work needed to install the hot tub. According to homeguide.com, basic installation costs between 0 and 0 while advanced installation costs between 00 and 00 and the service package includes electrical wiring, concrete pad and delivery. Other additional services like permit and inspection might spike the cost a bit.
How much does it cost to run a hot tub?
The cost of running a hot tub depends on several factors. This may vary from season to season. Your monthly budget during winter may not be the same in other seasons. Other factors that may affect your monthly expenses are:
- Utility bills (electricity and water)
- Frequency and duration of usage
- Sales tax
- Hot tub model
- Age of the hot tub
- Maintenance, etc
Usually, companies advertise that the daily running of a hot tub may require electric bill of $1. However, the average energy cost of running a hot tub for a month is within the range of $20 – $50. But it may be more than this during winter period. It’s advisable to set a budget of $50 – $100 during winter if you use your hot tub regularly.
Moreover, there are other hidden costs no one might have told you. Apart from electric bill, you will also need to spend money to maintain the water chemistry. If you are a heavy user, you may be spending up to $50 per month on chemicals.
Then, after every 4-6 months, you may consider changing the filter. The average cost of each piece of filter is about $45. When you add all these together you will realize that you may be spending close to $100 every month to run your hot tub.
Factors to consider before buying a hot tub
In other words, what is your purchasing power? Can you afford an outright purchase or through another flexible mode of payment? Bear in mind that installation costs come after buying a 240v hot tub. Carefully consider the quality of the hot tub you desire and the amount you are willing to spend for its purchase.
After purchase and installation, hot tubs require maintenance services like filtering, sanitizing chemical, increased electricity bills, cleaning and repairs. It is wise to estimate the maintenance cost of the particular hot tub you choose before actual purchase.
Your purpose for buying
This factor should directly inform the hot tub you choose to buy. For instance, you might want to buy a hot tub that accommodates more than three people if you intend to invite friends for a soak.
The features you want
Hot tubs like other technological innovations come with different features designed for the owner’s comfort. Importantly, established brands are usually focused on equipping their products with advanced features. Some hot tub features to consider are lighting, cover, speakers, waterfalls, and massaging jets. The product warranty should also be factored in.
Investing in a hot tub is one of the best decisions a person would make in a lifetime. It allows you and your family to enjoy loads of health benefits like sound sleep and quality relaxation. However, before you finally decide, you should put some of the information above into perspective. This article dealt with electrical requirements installation and costs that should aid you in making a good decision.