Hot Tub and Spa Pre-installation Guide

Endless Pool Installation

A hot tub or swim spa isn’t just about the product itself, it’s about creating a haven outdoors – whether that’s for relaxation, hydrotherapy, health or entertaining. With that in mind, there are a few things to consider when making your choice, including the spa you want, where you plan to put it and how you want the environment to be. Aside from the aesthetic choices, you’ll also have to consider the practical requirements, such as what base to rest it on and getting the electrical connections installed. To make sure you don’t miss anything, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to getting your spa set up.


Marquis Spas Celebrity Broadway Hot Tub1. Choose Your Space

Once you’ve made the decision to invest in a spa, it may feel tempting to decide on the hot tub you want first. However, this goes hand in hand with the location, as the size and shape of the space you have to play with will have a bearing on the size and shape of the spa you choose, so you’ll have to consider where you’re going to put it first.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to spa placement:

  • Space: how big is the space, and are there any awkward angles that will restrict the shape of the spa? Be sure to measure it carefully, and use tape or string to mark out how it may look once the spa is in place. Depending on the kind of cover you’d like to get, don’t forget to consider clearance for that too.
  • Accessibility: the space you choose will need to be accessible for the spa to be delivered (more on that later). You should also aim to have it near an outside tap, or somewhere where a hosepipe can reach, and a drain to make emptying and refilling easier.
  • Convenience: your spa should be somewhere where you’re likely to use it. For example, it may be tempting to place it at the bottom of the garden, but will you really want to walk all the way down there in your bathing suit on a cold day before you can enjoy your spa? Or trek back every time you want to top up your drinks or snacks?
  • Privacy: do you have a secluded area to enjoy your spa or will it be right in your neighbours’ eye line?
  • The view: your spa should be a place where you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors, so make sure your view is more than just a brick wall!
  • Look and feel: Do you want your spa to be above ground or sunken? Do you plan to add cabinets or surrounds? And will you choose a standard cover or something more high-tech, such as a Covana cover?
  • Other additions: is it just the hot tub you’re planning for, or are you adding anything else to your outdoor space, such as a Bull BBQ or outdoor kitchen.

2. Choose Your Spa

When choosing a spa, be sure to do your research and speak to your dealer (you can also read our full buyer’s guide for some pointers). As mentioned, the process of picking a spa will be somewhat dictated by the size and shape of the space you have to put it, as well as your budget. Here are the main things you’ll need to consider:

  • Size: as mentioned, there are a number of reasons why size matters when it comes to a spa. From the space you have available to the number of people who’ll be using it. It’s also worth noting that in most cases a smaller spa will be cheaper to run, so be sure to factor in size as part of your budget.
  • Your ‘why’: there are many reasons why someone may decide to have a spa – from stress relief to relieving aches and pains, socialising or creating an outdoor sanctuary. Be sure to keep your why in mind when choosing yours, as this will help you to have a clear idea of your must-haves, dealbreakers and anywhere where you are willing to compromise. For example, if your primary reason for getting a spa is hydrotherapy, then the jet placement, massage styles, seating and control are going to be really important. On the other hand, if you want your spa to be a place to socialise with friends and family, then it’s likely you’ll want a spa that’s more spacious, has varied seating and possibly comes with music and lighting packages.
  • Budget: the amount you’re willing/able to spend will of course affect what make, model, size and any additional extras you can have. However, a good-quality spa doesn’t have to break the bank, and your dealer should be able to help you to find spas that include your dealbreakers and lands within your budget. If you’re worried about running costs, be sure to ask your dealer about insulation, and you may want to consider investing in an air source heat pump o cut energy usage.
  • Look and feel: when creating your ideal outdoor oasis, it’s likely you have a spa look and feel in mind, but be sure to look at a range of options and keep an open mind.

3. Liaise with Your Dealer

Welsh Hot Tubs van with Welsh hills in the backgroundYour dealer will be able to let you know what information they require, and if they need to do a site visit. They may request imagery or video of the space, and will need to be informed of any unique challenges. For example, is there uneven ground, or any narrow passageways, slopes or blockages on the way to the install site. Be honest about any potential challenges, and provide your dealer with all of the information they require, so they can be sure to deliver your spa without coming up against any unforeseen hazards. Remember: a spa is very big and very heavy, but if you give your dealer the right information, they can usually find a delivery solution. At Welsh Hot Tubs, we’ve installed hot tubs and spas everywhere from treehouses to cliff tops, so, with the right information at an early stage, your dealer can help you find a solution to installing your spa.


4. Plan the Rest of Your Space

It may be that you’re just having a hot tub delivered to an existing patio space, or it’s possible you’re having landscaping done, or even planning a whole entertaining area, complete with outdoor kitchen, barbecue and pizza oven, or a spa set up with a hot tub, chill tub and sauna. Whatever your vision, make sure you consider all of the elements before deciding where your spa should go. If you’re working with a landscape gardener or other professional, be sure to keep them and your dealer up to date on any plans and changes.

5. Lay the Groundwork

Good foundations are essential, and your spa should have a firm, flat surface – preferably a concrete base – to rest on. Hot tubs are very heavy – weighing up to half a ton when empty and even more when full, so sitting it on uneven ground can risk putting pressure on the shell and causing damage. A concrete base is ideal (minimum four inches thick), while if it’s going to be housed on a decking, then it will need to be strong enough to carry that weight. Your dealer should be able to make recommendations on requirements. Aside from the practical considerations, there are also aesthetic choices to make. Do you want to have your hot tub above ground or are you going to go for a sunken one. If so, remember to consider the view, and also ensure the panels can be accessed for any repairs.

6. Get Connected

Hot tubs need an electrical source to power the jets, and you’ll need to make sure yours is set up before installation. For a 13AMP plug and play hot tub, this is a case of having a waterproof outdoor socket, which must be installed by a qualified electrician. More powerful 32AMP hot tubs will need the energy supply to be hard wired into the tub, and an IP65 45AMP isolator switch is recommended. By law, any electrical works must be Part P compliant, meaning they don’t have any risk of electric shock or fire, and have been properly inspected and tested. Speak to your dealer and electrician for more information.

7. Delivery and Installation

A reputable dealer will always offer delivery and installation – spas are big, bulky and require proper installation from qualified professionals. Before delivery, your dealer will be in touch to make sure you have everything in place and to agree a date and time to set up your spa. In some cases, delivery will be as simple as towing it in using a spa dolly, while in others, you may need to hire a telehandler or even a crane if you’re in a particularly difficult spot. If you have difficult access, it’s likely your dealer will have done a site visit prior, and should be able to advise on the best way to get your spa in place safely.

Once delivery has been completed, your dealer’s technicians will place and connect your spa, fill it, balance the water chemicals and commission it to check everything is in working order. They will also take you through how to operate your spa and care for the water, and give you the chance to purchase any extras, such as filters or chemicals.

8. Relaxation Time

That’s all there is to it – once your spa is all set up, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your brand new hot tub.

Troubleshooting Series – My Spa Jets Aren’t Working
Everything You Need to Know about Cedar Hot Tubs