Hot tubs are wonderful in the cooler months. But the chilly dash from the back door to the inviting water may leave you wishing for a different way. Let’s address the question you may already be considering: should you move your hot tub to the basement?
It’s certainly possible to install a hot tub in your basement, but it’s more complicated than simply moving the spa, wiring it up, and filling it. It will likely require some light remodeling of your basement to avoid serious problems down the road. It could end up being a large-scale project. Ultimately, it’s not something you want to do yourself. It is absolutely a job for a licensed building contractor because there are important risks and variables to consider. But having a hot tub in your basement certainly can open the door to a peaceful and private at-home spa experience.
THE ADVANTAGES OF PUTTING A HOT TUB IN YOUR BASEMENT
You can have a wonderful basement hot tub retreat when you take the time to plan and install the spa correctly. An indoor hot tub, as compared to an outdoor one, also creates privacy that most backyard spa setups can’t match. And it’s a great place to make the most of a high-tech spa entertainment system for relaxing or for enjoying with friends and family.
Installing a hot tub in your basement can be a large project—one that you don’t want to rush. Be sure to consult your local dealer for advice about an indoor hot tub strategy that is appropriate for your area and seasons. If you have a solid plan for dealing with drainage and moisture, and if you have a budget for a finished indoor spa space, you can enjoy your basement spa retreat for years to come.
DRAINING AND REFILLING A HOT TUB IN A BASEMENT
The first consideration when putting a hot tub in the basement is how you’re going to manage the water. A small, two- to three-person hot tub—such as the Hot Spring® Spas Jetsetter® and Jetsetter® LX from the Highlife® Collection—holds around 210 gallons (800 liters) of water. It’s larger brother, the seven-seat Grandee® spa, holds 450 gallons (1,700 liters).
No matter what size spa you choose, you’ll need a strategy for moving a significant amount of water when it’s time to periodically drain your hot tub and refill it. This is an important maintenance task that most hot tubs need three or four times a year depending on the water care system and the frequency of use and bather load. An experienced contractor will be able to identify a safe strategy and your next steps.
DISPOSING OF YOUR HOT TUB WATER
A basement hot tub needs a drain that ties into a wastewater disposal system that complies with your local city code requirements. Hot tub water is considered grey water—a type of wastewater. Some cities allow for a hot tub’s grey water to be drained into the yard, and others require that it go into the sewer system for treatment. If your location doesn’t allow the use of grey water for irrigation, then you will need a drain to the sewer.
Homes may have one of a few different basement drainage systems: sewer drains, sewer pit drains, and sump pits. It is not recommended to rely on a sump pit for your hot tub draining purposes because this may be a greater volume of water than it can handle at once, leading to bigger problems.
Sewer connections work better, but the sewer connections you already have in your basement might not be the sort you can run a hose into to drain a hot tub. It is important to consult with a plumber regarding the viability of your existing sewer setup. If necessary, the plumber can install a usable drain that ties in to your existing sewer connection.
If your home isn’t already connected to the sewer, this is where putting a hot tub in the basement may turn into a much bigger job. It may cost several thousand dollars, depending on how big your home is and where it is, for professionals to connect you to a public sewer line.
If you live in a city that allows greywater to be used for irrigation, then you can avoid some of these complications. A submersible pump and a garden hose can pump the water from the spa up your stairs or through a basement window to the outdoors.
HANDLING HUMIDITY FROM A HOT TUB IN A BASEMENT
When water is heated, it evaporates in the form of steam. Outdoors, the water vapor from a hot tub simply integrates with the surrounding air. But in a basement, eventually, it condenses back into water that settles on surfaces, including the walls, ceiling, floors, furniture, and fixtures. Over time, this condensation can create significant problems.
Moisture encourages the growth of mold and mildew on surfaces. Many basement ceilings consist of timber joists and the bottom of the wood floor above. Water collecting on those surfaces can cause rot over time and serious structural issues. Ventilation of any indoor space with a hot tub is critical to prevent moisture problems from developing.
It can be as simple as installing a fan in a basement window, but a better option is installing a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan directly above your spa and running ducting to an exit point. You may also want to place a dehumidifier in your basement and use absorbent salts to keep things dry.
A basement renovation or finishing that includes installing a vapor barrier between masonry walls and drywall will help to prevent moisture damage. Better still, you can install concrete board that is proof against moisture instead of drywall to prevent water from penetrating your walls and damaging the structural elements behind them. Sealing the floor and covering it with water-safe, slip-resistant flooring will help to preserve your foundation and increase bather safety. In any case, your contractor can assess and install the best ventilation solutions to keep your basement hot tub space comfortable and functional.
GET THE FULL BENEFIT OF A BASEMENT HOT TUB
The advantages of having a hot tub in your basement are many. But so are the risks: accidents or mishaps during the move downstairs, leaks if not set up properly, liability if the drainage is not up to code, and water damage and safety issues if the space is not adequately ventilated. Don’t miss out on the immense benefit of having a hot tub in your basement by running into these problems. Seek the expert assistance of a licensed building contractor. In fact, you can start by reaching out to your local dealer for a professional recommendation. Before long, you could be resting in your private spa retreat.
Hot Spring® spas are recognized for high quality and dependability. When looking for a hot tub to install indoors or outdoors, choose a brand with a network of dealerships that back their products with great customer service. Find a local Hot Spring® dealer to experience quality spas first hand.