How much does it cost to install a hot tub?
The health benefits of a hot tub are many, and millions of homeowners opt to install one in a convenient backyard location for use on a year round basis. They are not, however, available in only a few limited number of designs, and for the purpose of this discussion we will consider the costs associated with the installation of a "mid-range" hot tub designed to accommodate three to four persons.
According to Popular Mechanics a hot tub as the one described above would cost around $3,500 to $8,000 depending upon the total size and the number of jets and extra features. The average "footprint 1" of such a tub is around 5'x6' and 30" in depth. Should a homeowner opt for a hot tub much bigger than this they are going to have to consider the implications of the weight. A large hot tub full of water can easily weigh more than two tons, without anyone seated in it, and this is going to eliminate the standard deck or porch floor as a spot for locating the unit.
In fact, almost all hot tub installations for the size mentioned will require:
- Installation of a cement slab, gravel patio, or use of a specially designed gazebo;
- Additional electrical service; and additional options such as:
- A portable pump 2 for easy emptying - although most modern hot tubs have a built-in 3 drain that uses simple gravity to empty, the process can take a full day to complete. Using a small and portable sump pump 4 can usually complete the process in a short period of time and allow any leaks or damage to be repaired sooner;
- A set of sturdy, weatherproof stairs to gain easy access into the tub - these should be constructed of durable cedar boards and supported by a concrete pad 5. If the owner will be pouring a pad 6 for their hot tub installation the stairs should be figured into this part of the project too;
- A cover helper that lifts and manages the tub cover - this is often something that many consumers turn down at the time of purchase, but is a choice they soon regret. Handling the massive, insulated covers can be daunting, and a cover helper can often eliminate any possibilities for damage to the tub or cover at a later date and cost an average of $200. These are not going to be available, however, for tubs mounted 7 directly against a wall or other impediment; and
- A nearby water access for filling the tub - using a garden hose is going to be a suitable approach to filling the tub, but if the hose must run at extreme distances it will take a much longer period of time to complete the process. Many tub owners will have an outdoor faucet installed near the tub if it stands more than seventy feet from the home.
The costs for the cement slab (a preferred mounting 7 option) will vary according to the actual footprint 1 of the tub, but for a six inch slab at just over thirty square feet (5.5'x6.5') the homeowner will need to pour just over half of a cubic yard of concrete. Since a full cubic yard costs only $75 in materials, this is a low-cost option, and one that is entirely DIY.
Additional considerations and costs
The electrical work, on the other hand, is not to be considered DIY at all. It is going to have to be done to local building codes, and may require such things as:
- A continuous bond wire from the tub to the actual service panel;
- An electrical ground;
- A DC converter on the tub motor
- Trenching and running the appropriate wires (includes the need for PVC piping);
- A disconnect box at least five feet from the unit; and
- A GFCI break connecting the circuit.
Most electrical contractors will have a "per hour" rate, but will also price on a per-project basis too. Generally, the hourly costs for work such as this will run at $85 and materials will be extra.
Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet
Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
: The entire area of ground covered by a building, including the exterior walls and porch or patio areas
: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
4 Sump pump
: A mechanical device used to remove water from wet areas such as basements and crawlspaces in order to help prevent flooding
5 Concrete pad
: A flat area of concrete that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a patio or a driveway
: A cushion placed under a carpet to absorb impact, thus extending the life of the carpet
: A support on which something is attached or hung
Cost to install a hot tub varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.