Having an indoor hot tub is an amazing experience, especially in the winter when you want to relax and unwind without having to head outside in the cold weather. That said, there are some things you have to consider before installing an indoor hot tub to make sure you get the most out of it without causing damage to your home. It’s a pretty significant project that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
1. Choose the right type of hot tub.
Traditional hot tubs are a substantial financial investment. They’re gorgeous and last a long time, but they are more complicated to install as they often require their own plumbing hookup and a 220V powerline. This type of hot tub is also very heavy, which can cause additional problems.
There are multiple other options to choose from if you are looking for an indoor hot tub that’s a little easier to install. One of the easiest to set up is an inflatable hot tub. They’re available in a wide range of sizes and are very easy to install and maintain. That said, inflatable hot tubs are the least durable of all the options available. They inflate, so there’s always a chance that they can puncture and leak, which would be a disaster if it happened inside your home.
Plug n play and rotomolded hot tubs are both a little more stable than inflatable options and are also really easy to set up. Some of the high-end models are quite impressive, and they’re available in a range of sizes.
2. Protect the room from heat and humidity.
Ventilation is one of the most important parts of setting up an indoor hot tub. The heat and humidity that hot tubs produce can cause a lot of damage if the ventilation is not sufficient. Mold and mildew can grow on the walls, and if the moisture is allowed to collect on these surfaces, it can lead to rot and structural damage over time.
Opening a window can help, but to do it right, you need to install a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan that goes into your home’s duct system. If you have proper ventilation and you still see water beading on surfaces or moisture of any kind, running a dehumidifier will help but note that a dehumidifier itself is not enough to deal with the moisture from an indoor hot tub.
Another thing you can do to protect your room against damage is to put a moisture barrier behind the drywall or use a concrete board instead of drywall to prevent water from seeping through and damaging the structural elements of your home. This can be quite an involved process, though, so be prepared to invest a little more into it.
Properly heating the room can also help to reduce condensation. When the room temperature is the same as the water temperature, it prevents the cooling that leads to condensation in the first place. Like a dehumidifier, this is not a permanent fix, but it can help if you experience problems with moisture even with adequate ventilation in place.
3. Consider how you will fill and drain the tub.
Even small two to three-person hot tubs hold between 200 and 500 gallons of water, so filling and draining your hot tub has to be taken into consideration when installing an indoor hot tub. To perform hot tub maintenance, you have to drain it at least a few times a year. How are you going to do that?
Basements are a good place to consider installing an indoor hot tub because most of them are already fitting with drains that lead directly into your home’s sewer system. Hot tub water is considered wastewater, so you have to check with your municipality as to how you are supposed to dispose of it. Some places allow you to drain hot tub water into your yard, but most require that you drain it into the sewer system.
Sewer connections are preferred as pumps can be overwhelmed by the volume of water in a hot tub. Your home’s current system may be able to handle it, but there is a chance you may need to upgrade.
4. Don’t forget about the flooring.
When you get out of the hot tub, you bring a lot of water with you. It soaks into your bathing suit and water drips down onto the floor. Some flooring gets exceptionally slippery when wet, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries.
Wood and carpet are not the best options. Both of these materials absorb water and, in time, will rot or grow mold and mildew. Plastic astroturf-like carpet is commonly used outside, but it’s a poor choice for an indoor hot tub. While the carpet itself is waterproof, it’s easy for water to seep below it and rot whatever flooring is underneath.
If you’re preparing a space specifically for your indoor hot tub, the best flooring to install is non-slip tile. That said, a basement or garage with a textured concrete floor and a drain is the ideal place to install an indoor hot tub. Sealing the floor with a water-resistant and slip-resistant coating is also a good idea and might be the only option if you’re stuck with a wood floor.
It’s also a good idea to place bath mats around the hot tub, especially near the entrance. This gives you a place where you can stand and dry off without spreading water all over the floor.
5. Monitor the water carefully.
It’s always important to monitor the water quality in your hot tub, but it’s especially important indoors. If there is too much chlorine in the water, the smell will overtake the room, and the water will turn your eyes red and may irritate the skin. As we mentioned, the water needs to be drained periodically to clean the hot tub thoroughly, so keeping a close eye on the water quality is key.
6. Make sure the floor provides adequate support.
Basement floors are probably your best bet when setting up an indoor hot tub. They’re stronger than the framed floors with beams that are likely used in the other floors of your home, though they may still require an overbuild for more support and to prevent cracking or any other damage.
That said, if you want one on a higher floor, understand that you may need to reinforce the flooring. Hot tubs are very heavy; so heavy that most floors are not strong enough to support the weight of one. The average hot tub weighs between 700 and 800 pounds and 100 gallons of water weighs about 840 pounds. That’s not even considering the weight of the people sitting in the hot tub. Once it’s full of water and people, the weight could exceed 4,000 pounds. Obviously, if the flooring gave way, it would be a nightmare and cause significant damage to your home and potentially life-threatening injuries.
7. Hire professionals.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when installing an indoor hot tub. It may seem like an easy enough project, but it’s not one that we recommend you tackle on your own. This is a case in which there are so many factors to consider, it’s essential to hire a contractor to make sure the job is done properly and safely.
Consult with a plumber regarding your existing sewer system and whether it’s about to handle it when it’s time to drain the hot tub. If your home isn’t directly connected to the existing sewer system, you’ll have to hire a professional to install a drain into the public sewer line. This can be pricey, but if you have a large hot tub, it’s likely the only way you will be able to install it indoors.
It’s unlikely that the floors on any upper level of your home will be able to support the weight of a hot tub without reinforcement, and you should not attempt to install one without consulting with a professional. If you’re planning to put the hot tub in your basement, you should still have a contractor involved to determine whether or not you need an overbuild to provide more support.
Finally, a contractor can help you determine if your current ventilation system is adequate for handling the moisture and humidity that comes with an indoor hot tub. If it’s not, they can help you get the room where it needs to be.
Hiring a contractor for indoor hot tub installation may cost more than you anticipated, but it’s very important to do it right. If you don’t, you risk significant damage to your home and, in the end, may end up spending even more money to correct a significant problem that could have been avoided.