Hot Tub Planning Guide

A hot tub is a large purchase, so it’s important to ensure that you will be able to enjoy it for years to come. By using our handy guide, you can make sure that you know what to expect and are well aware of what you will need to do before you bring your new hot tub home.

When planning a location for your hot tub you should consider the following:


Prior to doing any landscaping or installing a pad for your hot tub you will want to shop for your hot tub and have a good idea of the size of your future hot tub. Many people make the mistake of landscaping and prepping the area before knowing what they are purchasing. There are so many different types of hot tubs and each one has a different size, layout and footprint. Make sure your space accommodates your new hot tub by planning the space with your tub in mind.

Wiring & Subpanel

Getting electricity to your hot tub is an important factor to consider. For hot tubs requiring 220V, a subpanel will be needed. The subpanel is an intermediate electrical connection box between your home’s electrical panel and the spa. The subpanel houses the spa’s circuit breakers, which you will need to access when draining and cleaning your spa. Typically, the subpanel needs to be 5 – 50 feet away from the spa and visible from the spa. Be sure to check local electrical codes when planning the location of your subpanel. You will need approx. 20 feet of wiring. 5 feet from box to the tub, plus the length of the hot tub x 2. to get to the front panel. DO NOT attempt to put the wiring under the hot tub, as typically it is not possible to run the electrical to the bottom of the tub.

110V Wiring – You MUST have a dedicated plug that is NOT used for anything other than your hot tub. Most plugs have multiple things wired with it, which renders the plug unusable for a hot tub.

Ground Prep

A hot tub can weigh a few tons once filled with water, so you need to make sure you have a solid pad under your hot tub to support that weight. Concrete would be the best option, packed gravel or patio blocks are also a possibility.

If planning on installing your hot tub on a deck, make sure that the deck can hold the weight of a filled hot tub. There are products available called EZ Pads, more info at You can use one BUT, you need to still do the proper ground work under it. The misconception with using an EZ Pad is that you just sit it on the ground, place your hot tub on top, then you’re ready to go. Many times they will require extra leveling and ground prep prior to putting your hot tub on them. Even with the proper ground work, sometimes EZ Pads won’t work, make sure to check with your hot tub dealer for additional details on your specific application.

Access for Repairs & Draining

In the unlikely event of internal plumbing, lighting or electrical issues, it is necessary to have access to panels. We recommend a minimum of 24 inches of clearance around the entire spa. If severe troubles do arise, the spa may need to removed from the installation site entirely for service at your local dealer. At the time of removal, you’ll be happy that you gave yourself that 24 inch barrier.

Cover Lifters

A cover lifter allows for easy opening/closing of your hot tub. It also saves on the wear and tear of you cover, helping it to last longer. A cover lifter will take approximately 18” -24” of space on whichever side you are installing the lifter. Below are some specific recommendations of spacing, using some of the cover lifters that we provide:

  • Undermount cover bar – 18” to 20” needed space
  • Covermate I cover bar – 16” to 18” needed space
  • Covermate III cover bar (displayed on swim spa) – 6” needed space
  • Caldera cover bar – 20” to 22” needed space

Recessed Spa

Safe entry is crucial in a recessed environment, as you are stepping down into the spa. Installing a handrail will assist with safe footing.

Download Our Spa Buyer’s Guide »

Considering these points will allow you to prepare and map out the important planning points of a hot tub purchase. The sooner you finish the planning portion of the process, the sooner you can get to the fun stuff — picking out your new hot tub! View our selection of hot tubs online, and then give us a call at (317) 773-3545 or visit us at our Noblesville showroom where a friendly and knowledgeable Recreation Unlimited hot tub specialists can walk you through the various features and benefits of each tub. We look forward to serving you!

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