How Much Clearance Do You Need Around A Hot Tub?

How Much Clearance Do You Need Around A Hot Tub?

Are you thinking of getting a new hot tub for yourself? Before you do, try and create enough space and clearance to install the hot tub. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. The same goes for your probably newly acquired hot tub, if it is worth buying, then it is worth installing right and properly.

Around a hot tub, you will need a clearance of about a foot, something above 14 inches, on all sides. Some might require more space of 18 inches above, and some less, depending on the hot tub size, dimensions, and model. When installing a hot tub, you will need space for easy movement to all sides of it before accessing it for use, cleaning, or maintenance activities.

Nobody would prefer to have something as relaxing as a hot tub meant to ease away your stress and offer you comfort, bring up some new problems and headaches in the process of using it.

Hot tub placement rules

Installing your hot tub? And you are wondering if there are some rules to it. Well, if you want to experience such luxury in full, then you should know the basics of hot tub placement.

  • First thing first, consider the location. Are you installing indoors or outdoors? The indoor installation comes with limited space and ventilation. So adequate ventilation has to be provided around the hot tub to control humidity. Steam from the heated water in the tub increases the humidity of the room and too much moisture over time can damage walls and flooring especially if they are wooden. Exhaust fans or humidistat can be used to regulate this and keep your wall and floor covering in good condition. Outdoor installation is open to the atmosphere and thus does not have much of a ventilation issue. But they should never be placed on bare ground or grass, rather on a solid uniform, level surface.
  • There should be enough space around the hot tub for easy movement getting in and out of it and also for easy maintenance access.
  • A dedicated power supply source having no other loads on it, like appliances or lights, should be used to power the hot tub.
  • Consider privacy when installing hot tubs outdoors. Put a kind of barrier against the view of surrounding homes. Hedges usually do the trick.
  • Depending on the safety laws of your location, you will need to install fencing around your hot tub or lockable hot tub covers to keep kids and other smaller beings from wandering in unsupervised.

Do you need access to all sides of a hot tub?

Aside from the space where the hot tub is going to be decked, you are going to need extra space around the hot tub if you are ever going to use it. The question of having access to all sides of a hot tub is dependent on the hot tub brand and model.

Some manufacturers produce hot tub models that have all its mechanical parts and equipment, like the heater and pumps, all on the front side of the tub. While some designed theirs to have the pieces of equipment installed on other parts of the hot tub aside from the front. Like some models with more pumps have pumps on all three sides of the hot tub.

So if your hot tub is such that has its mechanical parts on the front, then access to all sides of the tub is not necessary as access to the front and the side where your cover lifter is installed would be enough to allow for reach during maintenance processes. But access is needed on all or almost all sides for hot tub models with the mechanical parts installed on other parts other than the front.

How far does a hot tub have to be from a fence?

If you are wondering if it is necessary to have a fence, then the answer is yes. A fence or a barrier is needed around a hot tub to prevent persons, especially little children from being able to access it without any form of supervision which might lead to injury or drowning. There are laws for this and it varies from one location to another.

Some laws approve locking hot tub cover that meets the ASTM F 1346 standard, while some locations make a safety fence around hot tubs mandatory. But since a fence around a hot tub, offers more mental peace and fewer worries when it comes to keeping kids safe and keeping out the unwanted from the tub.

Another added advantage to having a fence around your hot tub is that it provides privacy as regards the line of sight directed towards where your tub is located.

How far away does a GFCI have to be from a hot tub?

Installing a hot tub is not just placing it and powering it. Some precautions have to be observed when it comes to electrical power combining with a tub filled with water, a good conductor of electricity.

One of such precautions is the installation of a GFCI breaker in a hot tub to cut of the electrical power supply to the hot tub when potential electrical faults are detected and therefore reduce electrical hazards. 

The national electrical code requires that the GFCI (short for ground-fault circuit interrupter) of a hot tub should be at least 5 feet away from the tub itself. This is enough distance for it to function 

Can a hot tub fit through a gate?

Hot tubs can fit through a gate and even doors, it is just a matter of the size of the gate and the size of the hot tub. Gates are normally wide enough for hot tubs to fit through, but not all doors. This can pose an issue if the hot tub is to be installed indoors.

Looking at a normal average hot tub size, if it is to be installed indoors, a door frame with a minimum width of 34 inches and a height of about 80 inches would be okay for the hot tub to fit through to where it is needed.

What does a hot tub need to sit on?

It is never a good idea when installing hot tubs to place them on bare ground. Over time, because some hot tubs can hold up to 320 – 475 gallons of water and weigh between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds, they will sink into the ground unevenly, tilting to a point and therefore not leveled.

So hot tubs, whether it is in-ground or above ground installed, need to sit on a stable, leveled surface, usually reinforced concrete of up to 4 inches thick, to support the weight density per square foot of the hot tub. However, from experience so far, a base made with pea gravel is the best for your hot tub.

Hot tubs can also sit on wooden decks depending on the location. But they have to be checked by a professional to ensure they can support the weight of the hot tub.

Is it OK to put a hot tub on pavers?

The pavers in your yard cannot only serve as an attractive pathway, driveway, or solid covering over the soil but can also be used as a base for your hot tub. So it is perfectly okay to put your hot tub on pavers, but you just have to do it properly.

The pavers should be smooth enough not to negatively impact the hot tub shell. They can be placed on a concrete base preferably, or on soil reinforced with gravel to be able to support the weight of the hot tub and its users.

Does hot tub wiring need to be buried?

Like earlier said, when it comes to supplying electrical power supply to the hot tub for its energy needs, adequate precaution has to be taken to prevent electrical hazards. Though it is quite safe to bury hot tub wiring, if there is enough space around the hot tub that is enough for all wirings to be 5 feet away from the tub, it can be left above.

However, if the wiring is to be buried, maybe due to space constraints or other factors, the underground wiring should be placed in conduits before burying. The depth of the underground wiring depends on the type of conduit used for the hot tub wires.

Metallic conduits can stand the pressure on all sides, so a minimum depth of 6 inches is okay as the conduit will be able to withstand the weight and pressure from above the ground. Nonmetallic conduits on the other hand, according to the National Electric Code (NEC), require a depth of about 18 inches to stay unaffected by weight and pressure from above the ground or to remain unsevered or disturbed by normal digging.

Electrical requirements for running a hot tub

How much electricity does a hot tub use?

Soaking and relaxing in a hot tub of your own does not just bring you added comfort but also add to your monthly energy bill. The energy cost, however, of using a hot tub would depend on the energy cost per kilowatt-hour of your local power climate. But how it builds up, depends on:

  • The capacity of your hot tub. How much water it can hold, influences how much heat is needed to heat quickly to the desired temperature.
  • The weather condition. Is it the cold time of the year or the hottest time of the year? If it is cold, then it will require more electrical energy to keep up the heat.
  • The thermostatic settings of the hot tub. How frequently does the hot tub heater comes on and how heat conserving the hot tub is.

A hot tub can use between 3,000 and 7,500 watts of electricity while in use. This is dependent mainly on the type and size of the heater the hot tub uses. The hot tub heater is the primary energy-consuming component, running from time to time and for longer, and sometimes even constantly to keep the water temperature at the desired level.

A smaller heater, say a 120 volt rated heater, will consume about 3,000 watts of electrical energy while in use. Bigger hot tub heaters, on the other hand, would mean bigger energy consumption. Some can consume up to 7,500 watts of electrical energy depending on their electrical rating.

Another energy-consuming component to look out for aside from the heater in the hot tub pumps. Constantly running its motor to circulate water flow through the hot tub, the pump can consume about 1,500 watts of electrical energy or more.

How much space does a hot tub cover need?

When it comes to hot tub covers, there two basic designs: the ones that are attached directly to the hot tub, and then there are ones that stand on their own like a separate unit behind the hot tub. Knowing the type and cover size will help you determine the amount of space needed behind the tub for the cover to rest or stay when the hot is opened and in use.

On average, 18 inches of space is needed behind the hot tub for a majority of hot tub covers to be opened and closed freely without much stress. Considering that hot tub covers attached to the tub are attached by their lifting arms by the side of the hot tub, a few inches of space is also needed by the left and right sides of the tub.

For some hot tub cover lifters come as a separately installed unit from the hot tub. They do not need to be attached to the hot tub. They require about 16 – 20 inches of space. This is sometimes more space requirement at the back than typical hot tub cover lifters, and less or no space is required by the sides for the cover. So it is advisable to check and consider the space available when choosing your cover lifter.

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