The Ultimate Hot Tub Installation Guide for New Owners
Are you a new hot tub owner and wondering how to get started? The following 7 steps have been written to assist you in properly setting up your tub. By following these, you will ensure your tub is set up correctly and is safe to enjoy.
Read the User Manual
First, please take the time to read the user manual. There’s some valuable information on how your hot tub works and how to prevent any accidents or damage before installing your new hot tub.
Each hot tub has different electrical requirements. Refer to the user’s manual to find out what voltage your hot tub requires.
120V hot tubs are often referred to as plug and play. They are lightweight, portable hot tubs that use standard household voltages of 110-120V. Many work in a standard 15 amp home circuit. These have a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) plug at the end of the wire and the plug right to the outlet. Special circuits are needed to prevent overloads.
240V hot tubs are typically full size, acrylic hot tubs. They are designed (in most cases) to work on 220-240V, 50 amp circuits, GFCI protection. These hot tubs must be wired by qualified electricians. The National Electrical Code states that for safety reasons, manual disconnections must be installed at least 5 feet away.
The heating time of a 120V hot tub is longer than that of a 240V hot tub. Some 120V hot tubs can be converted to 240V to reduce heating time. However, conversion requires a built-up hardwire breaker, which can be expensive.
3. Prepare for Fill Up
Most hot tubs are shipped with a small amount of antifreeze to protect the pipes from possible freezing. To avoid water balance problems, add water to the bottom of the hot tub and drain it out before filling the entire tub.
- Turn off the spa at the breaker, or unplug it
- Remove the access panel (equipment door).
- Make sure your gate valve is open, which will allow water to flow through pumps, heaters, and into your hot tub.
- Check again that the drain valve is closed. You don’t want to lose all the water you pump in!
- Spray and wipe the hot tub inner shell with an appropriate mild, foam-free, friction-free cleaner such as ecoTUB Clean All. General household cleaners should be avoided. They can cause damage to the shell, create bubbles, and change the pH balance.
4. Fill It Up
How to fill a hot tub:
- Install the filter element.
- Place a garden hose in the filter area (this will help prevent air clogging). Also, it’s a good idea to use a hose-end filter like PreFresh, which makes the water more balanced and reduces the amount of impurities that contaminate your water.
- Fill with water according to the recommended water level specified in the owner’s manual. Low water levels can cause damage to pump and heater elements.
- Open the equipment door and check whether there is a leak in the pipeline. It’s not unusual for parts to get lost in transit. If you find any small leaks, you should immediately tighten them by hand. (The nut can be easily broken with a wrench, exacerbating the leak).
5. Power up the Hot tub
After checking that all the fittings are tight and you are sure that no leaks have occurred, replace the cabinet door and restart the power at the breaker.
Review the operation of your new hot tub control system and how to turn on the hot tub in your user’s manual.
It takes about 7 to 24 hours for a hot tub’s temperature to rise. The heating time depends on the size of the hot tub, voltage, and other factors such as the external temperature. The heating time of a 120V hot tub is longer than that of a 240V hot tub.
Press all the buttons on the upper control panel to ensure that all components are working properly. Turn on the jets, blower, or other settings to ensure that the water is flowing.
If water does not flow out of the jets while the pump is running, there may be an air pocket in the pipe. You will know this has happened when the pump does not work after filling and attempting to start the hot tub. If you need to start the pump, follow the steps in the user’s manual.
6. Balance Your Water
Test and balance your hot water before using any sanitizers. Balance before adding any disinfectant to avoid turbidity, discoloration, or odorous water. In addition, maintaining your water balance is essential to promote long term equipment life, healthy, clean, and clear water.
The water you fill the hot tub with is likely to stay the same, so once the system is set up, balancing the water is easy. Keep a record of the items used, the cleanliness of the filter, and the weekly chemical level to help your routine. For your convenience, we have created a hot tub log that records up to 2 years of records.
The first chemical added to a hot tub depends on the disinfectant of your choice.
7. Sanitizer System
Unlike baths, hot tubs do not fill up with fresh water every time they are used. Hot tubs require a disinfection system to purify, disinfect, and kill any bacteria and unhealthy microorganisms.
Even if you have an ozonator, you will need to use smaller quantities of chemicals. Hot spa Depot’s ozone plus antibacterial filters will purify the water to the next level.
Here are some of the chemicals we recommend when setting up a hot tub:
Clean Water Blue System
An easy to use, healthy alternative to mineral water purifier in liquid form. One bottle can be stored for 4-6 months. Clear water blue is odorless and will not cause red eyes or skin irritation. This disinfection system frees you from the hassle of maintenance because it requires only two tests and dosages a month.
Brominated tablets disinfect hot tubs very well and hardly smell of chlorine. Bromine tablets dissolve slowly and are suitable for use in warm water. These tablets are placed in a floating dispenser, which releases measured doses of treatment to your hot tub as the water circulates. A weekly test is required.
Nature2 Hot tub Purifier is inside your hot tub filter. The unit is disinfected by releasing a small amount of minerals into hot water during the circulation and lasts for four months. Nature2 is an olfactory system when used in conjunction with oxidizer such as Dichloro granular chlorine.
Chlorine is the most common pool disinfectant. Although many owners of hot tubs also use chlorine, we do not recommend it as the only disinfectant (although its effects are shocking). Chlorine is depleted quickly and requires routine maintenance. If you do use chlorine, use it with a mineral purifier such as spa Frog or Nature2.
Salt Water System
Saline hot tub systems are actually chlorine generators. In addition to those listed above, there are other sanitizers to choose from. For more information, or if you’re still unsure which disinfectant to use, visit our hot tub sanitizer Comparison guide.
Get All the Startup Essentials
We offer professional kits that provide you with all the basic products you need to get your hot tub up and running. This is more cost-effective than buying each item individually.
Time to Enjoy!
Once your hot tub has been heated up and you’ve had the chemicals circulating for at least 30 minutes, it’s time to put on your suit and jump in!
For more information about the operation, maintenance, and care of your hot tub, see our how to guides.
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Thanks - Andi
Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.
Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi