Hot tubs provide a luxurious retreat where you can let your problems melt away. And basements are often awkward spaces we're not particularly using for anything else. So naturally, you might think putting a spa there sounds like a great idea.
While it's sometimes possible to install a hot tub in your basement, it's vital to consider several important points first—from space and access to ventilation and drainage.
This article explains everything you need to think about before you do. That way, you can save yourself a headache, and make sure your basement is actually suitable first.
1. The available basement space
If you plan to install a hot tub in your basement, the first thing you should do is assess the space.
There are likely one or two ideal locations for your spa. So start by narrowing your choices down to those couple of options. And once you do, measure out the dimensions of those areas.
That way, you know which hot tub sizes you can choose. Plus, you'll have a better idea of what renovations might be necessary.
Also, take this time to plan the placement of furniture and appliances. For example, you might want to install your hot tub somewhere with a great view of the TV. Or keep it away from your primary electrical outlets.
2. Any necessary remodeling
Your basement will likely need some renovations to accommodate a hot tub. And it's critical to think about these potential hidden costs beforehand. Otherwise, installing your spa may cost much more than you expected.
Here are some common examples of what you should plan for:
- Flooring: If you have a carpeted basement, you should lay tiles around the spa to avoid mold and damage.
- Drainage: Without a water drain in your basement, you'll need to use hoses to empty your tub's water outside.
- Walls: Is your ideal spa a little too wide for your basement? Then knocking down and expanding walls might be necessary.
- Access: If you enter your basement through a garage door, great. Otherwise, you may have to knock down walls or be limited to something like an inflatable spa.
3. Electrical wiring
You may have plenty of available electrical outlets in your basement. But unfortunately, they're probably unable to power a spa in their current state.
The reason is that hot tubs require a large amount of electricity to operate. As a result, most standard outlets can't support them—unless you get a 110v hot tub.
Alternatively, your best option to handle this problem is to hire an electrician.
Usually, they will install a subpanel and disconnect box for your hot tub. Doing so lets your spa draw sufficient power without tripping your breakers.
Plus, having a disconnect box also keeps your spa safe thanks to their GFCI breakers. If any problems occur, these GFCI breakers will automatically shut your tub off.
4. Protecting your walls and floors
Naturally, hot tubs produce massive amounts of warm humidity. And sadly, this moisture can soak into carpets and walls, forming mold and causing damage. So to avoid that, you should consider doing some light renovations.
As for flooring, you want to remove any wood or carpet near the spa. After all, these materials are generally quite susceptible to water damage. Instead, go for tile or natural stone.
You also want to ensure that you have vapor barriers in your basement. Having them installed prevents humidity in the air from seeping into your walls. Meaning that they're a necessity to have around your spa.
Furthermore, consider replacing the walls around your hot tub with water-resistant drywall. That way, you won't have to worry about humidity control as much.
5. Ventilation for humidity
Your spa will produce massive amounts of humidity in your basement—which can pose a problem if you have poor ventilation.
But thankfully, there are several ways to remedy this issue:
- Hire a professional: HVAC technicians can help you renovate your basement and give it better ventilation. While the most expensive option, it's also the most comprehensive.
- Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers are excellent at controlling the moisture within your basement. So consider setting one up near your spa.
- Open a window: If your basement has windows, cracking them open can air out moisture in the air. However, you want to avoid doing so on hot, humid days.
- Cool it down: Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. As a result, it's a great idea to keep your AC running whenever you hop into the spa.
- Remove any plants: Believe it or not, houseplants produce quite a bit of humidity. So try to relocate any in your basement to upstairs or outside.
6. The source of water
You'll need anywhere from 200 to 600 gallons of water to fill your hot tub. However, you might not have a source readily available in your basement.
Thankfully, a simple solution for this issue is using your garden hose. If it's long enough, lead it down directly to your spa. When the tub is nearly filled, run back upstairs and turn the hose off.
That being said, you might be looking for a more elegant or streamlined solution. In that case, your best bet is to hire a professional plumber. They'll be able to give you options on the optimal way to fill and refill your spa. Generally, this will involve installing a new tap water source in your basement.
7. Maintenance and drainage
Now that you've considered all the preparation necessary, it's time to think about the long-term maintenance.
You should typically replace the water in your hot tub at least 3 or 4 times a year. However, you might not have a convenient place to drain all that liquid in your basement.
Many hot tub owners solve that dilemma by using a hose leading to their yard. That way, the old water can still get used in plenty of ways such as irrigation for your grass and plants.
But your county may have environmental regulations that require you to drain greywater into sewers. In that case, you'll need to pump that water into a drain within your home—or have a contractor install a floor drain in your basement.