Hot Tub Equipment Location & Layout

Hot tub and equipment layout

The equipment included in our standard Hot Tub system will take up an area that’s approximately 4’ Long by 2’ Wide.  If you add a gas heater, then your footprint can increase to 5’ long by 3’ wide.  If there are walls or an enclosure around the equipment, then the footprint could increase to accommodate aspects of the equipment and its accessibility and venting.

 

The Hot tub equipment can be located just about anywhere as long as you comply with local and national Code requirements. National safety codes require the equipment is minimally 6’ away from the tub.  The equipment can’t be closer to the tub unless separated by a permanent barrier.  Local codes vary and it is your responsibility to find out and comply with whatever the local code mandates.  The vast majority prefer to locate the equipment further away than 6’.

 

Ultimately where and how far away to locate the equipment from you hot tub is up to you but taking the following factors into consideration will greatly enhance your overall Hot Tub experience.

 

  • If tub and equipment are further than 6’ away from each other, the 1.5” PVC plumbing should be upsized to 2” PVC. If the distance is greater than 50’, the pump and PVC plumbing may need to be upsized again, to ensure pump performance and jet pressure are appropriate.
  • If the gas heater is more than 5’ below the water line, you may need to have a flow switch installed to keep the heater from operating when the pumps turns off.
  • If your pump is located above the water line of the hot tub, it can lose its prime causing water recirculation to stop and result in damage to the pump. Please let us know so we can ensure we can provide you the corrected special fittings to ensure losing prime will not happen.
  • If the equipment is more than 20’ away from the tub, insulating the PVC plumbing will help reduce heat loss through the pipe.
  • Gas heaters require certain combustible clearances above and around them to ensure proper safe operation and access for maintenance. If indoors, the heater may also need additional Kits for exhaust and air intake.  Please let us know if this applies to your application so we can help ensure you have the correct information and Kits for your project.
  • The filter requires minimum vertical clearance above it to allow for removal of the filter element for maintenance. Please let us know in advance if this is a problem so we can provide you with options for smaller or shorter filters requiring less vertical clearances.

 

Images of equipment and layout

Below are some pictures of different equipment and layout using electric or gas heating systems with related dimensions to help you lay out the equipment for your application.  How your equipment lays out is ultimately up to you, but please don’t forget that all equipment needs occasional maintenance or repairs which will take less time and expense if access to do so is easier.

 

Layout #1 – ACC controller with 5.5kW electric heater, Topside control, Pentair pump & 75 sqft filter, ionizer and Ball (Blue handle) or Slice (T handle) valves.  Dimensions:  4’L x 2’W x 3’H

 

Layout #2 – ACC controller with Gas Heater, Topside control, pump, filter, ionizer and Ball (Blue handle) or Slice (T handle) valves.

Dimensions:  4’L x 4’W x 3’H

Layout #2.1

Dimensions:  8’L x 2’W x 3’H

 

Layout #3ECO Tub System below – ACC controller with 5.5kW electric heater, Topside control, Rhtubs pump, 50 sqft filter, ionizer and Ball (Blue handle) or Slice (T handle) valves.

 

Dimensions:  42”L x 18”W x 24”H

Redwood No Longer an Option for Hot Tub Builders

 Redwood No Longer an Option for Quality Hot Tub Manufacturers

Few species of wood, other than “Old Growth”, have enough natural rot resistance to be acceptable for use in top quality wooden hot tubs.

“Old Growth Forests” as defined by Wikipedia, are “areas of forests that have attained great age and exhibit unique biological features.”

Old Growth Forests are also commonly referred to as Ancient Forests, Virgin Forests,
Primary Forests and Ancient Woodlands.


Forests that have not attained great age due to severe disruptions, such as clear-cut logging or wild fires, are referred to as Regenerated or Second Growth Forests.

Forests remain classified as “Regenerated” for a very long period of time and until all of the effects of the severe disruption are no longer evident. Depending on the forest, this may take anywhere from as little as a century or as long as several millennia.

As their name states, Old Growth trees grow very slowly over long periods of time. One significant reason for their slow growth is the struggle for sunlight being blocked by neighboring trees.

Slow growth can be seen and measured by looking at the growth rings of the tree, some of which can have up to 50 rings per inch, indicating that it took the tree 50 years to add 1 inch of girth. Slow growing species of wood with tighter growth rings have proven to be much more rot resistant than faster growing trees with wider growth rings.

The space between trees and the sunlight conditions for Regenerated and Second-Growth Forests are much more conducive to fast growth and in an ideal atmosphere, second growth trees can have as few as 3 growth rings per inch.

In 1996 one of the largest lumber companies in the world, The Pacific Lumber Company, entered into an agreement with the US government and the State of California known as the Headwaters Forest Act.

This agreement all but ended all large scale commercial harvesting of Old Growth Forests in general and Old Growth Redwood Forests in particular. What remains is a very small supply of “reclaimed” old growth redwood and a minuscule amount of old growth redwood being produced by some very small, privately owned mills.

The vast majority of redwood on the market today is regenerated or second-growth and is completely unacceptable for use in any hot tub and even more so for a quality Roberts Hot Tub.

The image below shows the difference between an Old Growth Western Red Cedar Hot Tub Stave and a Second Growth Redwood Hot Tub Stave.

The image to the left shows one of our typical western red cedar staves from Roberts Hot Tubs. There’s up to twenty (20) growth rings per inch.

This image on the left shows a redwood stave from one of our hot tub competitors. As you can see, there’s only two or three (2-3) growth rings per inch.

 

                                                            There’s No Substitute for Quality

Popular Species of Timber Used for Hot Tubs

Western Red Cedar
(Thuja plicata)

Western Red Cedar is one of the lightest weight commercially available softwoods. It is the largest and most abundant of all cedars and grows in managed forests in the southern coastal region of British Columbia and some of the moister interior valleys.

It also grows throughout the Pacific Northwest of the US. Western Red Cedar resists warping, twisting, checking and is renowned for its high impermeability to liquids. The heartwood is soft in texture and varies in color from a light straw shade to a dark reddish-brown.

The cellular composition of this species of cedar contains millions of tiny air-filled cells per cubic inch which provides a high degree of thermal insulation.

Its slow growth, dense fiber and natural phenol preservatives give it excellent weather-resistant properties and make it ideally suited for exterior uses such as houseboats, decks, siding, posts, fencing, shingles, shakes and of course our most popular hot tubs.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar
(Cupressus nootkatensis)

The Alaskan Yellow Cedar is found only on the western slopes of the Pacific Coast Range from Southern Oregon to Alaska.

It likes moist climates, and thus it is only found along coastal areas.

Due to the colder temperatures and high rainfall of its local climate, Alaskan Yellow Cedar grows very slowly with closely packed growth rings and very little distinction between early wood and late wood rings.

It’s exceptionally dense growth ring pattern averages 43 growth rings per inch. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is one of the most beautiful of America’s durable and less publicized softwoods and is the hardest known cedar in the world.

The density and consistent color add a high degree of stability throughout the tree. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is highly resistant to rot and insect infestation as well as being an extremely hard wood.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a clear sulfur-yellow in color, has a fine texture, a straight grain and when freshly cut, has a pungent odor frequently described as “raw potatoes.”

Prized for its strength, stability, natural resistance to weather rot and insect infestation, Alaskan Yellow Cedar is used for stadium seating, park benches, exterior cabinet work, decks, marine landscaping, building boats and some very fine hot tubs.

The consistent grain structure means Yellow Cedar is easy to work with by hand or machine. It grows slowly, but it’s common to find very large heavy Yellow Cedar timbers that produce strong and wide boards.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a prime choice for hot tubs, saunas and pool house construction, since the wood thrives in wet environments. It is commonly found in Japanese designs for gardens, architecture and Japanese Soaking Tubs.

It’s light weight and high strength allows it to be used in small and intricate construction, but the timbers are large enough to be used in large gardens, gazebos and outdoor structures.

Burmese Teak
(Tectona grandis)

One of the most valuable of all woods due to its scarcity and difficulty to harvest and transport, teak is prized for the construction of expensive boats and yachts. Because of its decay resistance, teak is used extensively as exterior decking, millwork, trim and windows.

It’s also used for garden furniture, park benches and many marine applications.
Teak is a very hard, heavy, strong wood, distinctively oily to the touch. It is resistant to insects, fungus, and termites won’t touch it! It is also resistant to rot and moisture damage.

When first cut, teak is a tawny green color, streaked with dark brown and gold. The color quickly changes to be a dark golden yellow, olive or light to dark brown.

Teak is native to India, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, including Indonesia, particularly Java. Also Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the East Indies. Although commonly grown on plantations, this type of farm grown teak is not suitable for hot tubs.

Port Orford Cedar
(Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Grown only in Southern Oregon and Northern California, Port Orford Cedar is very limited in supply. It has earned a reputation for strength, decay resistance and has an odor similar to finger and lemons.

The most prized type of wood for Japanese architecture, upscale boat construction and the creation of world famous Japanese Ofuro Soaking tubs is called “hinoke.”

The Japanese wouldn’t consider substituting any other type of wood for their prized hinoke, but they’ve found the characteristics of Port Orford Cedar to be very close and they now use Port Orford Cedar as a substitute whenever quality hinoke is in short supply.

Renowned for its beauty, durability, structural integrity and natural decay resistance, the heartwood of Port Orford Cedar has an in-ground life of 20-25 years which makes it ideal for timber structures and hot tubs.

Port Orford Cedar is a light colored wood with a pleasant and sweet-spicy scent. It has a fine texture and straight grain that remains smooth with absolutely no splintering or raised grain. The color can best be described as a creamy white hue.

Redwood
(Sequoia and Sequoiadendron)

The Redwood trees of California and Oregon have been harvested since the time of the first Spanish settlers, 400 years ago. It has been a highly prized lumber, renowned for several unique features.

One of the most dimensionally stable of the western softwoods, redwood is not prone to checking and splitting, and therefore is less damaged by weathering.

Redwood is more insect repellent in all-heartwood grades than other softwoods, yet it is lightweight.

Despite being one of the lightest of softwoods Redwood provides adequate strength for a wide variety of uses. It is superior in insulation values as it’s minute cell structure, with thousands of air-filled cavities, accounts for Redwood’s thermal insulation values.

It is known for its easy maintenance and beautiful color: a deep reddish brown that darkens with age. Redwood is most often used for applications where high moisture levels are a problem for other types of wood.

Unfortunately quality virgin redwood acceptable for hot tubs is no longer available, but there is still a good supply of “reclaimed” redwood available for other types of construction.

Reclaimed redwood is frequently from logs recovered from the bottoms of rivers or lakes. These are typically logs that were cut down up to 100 years ago and sank as they were being floated down stream to the mills.

Chofu Wood Burning Water Heaters & Wood-Fired Hot Tub Systems

This is the perfect heater and hot tub system for cabins, those that are off grid, or if you’re simply looking for something a little more rustic or “back to basics”.

Like our regular complete hot tub systems, our wood fired hot tub systems are available in western red cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar or teak.

The Chofu is a precision built wood-burning water heater specifically designed for heating hot tubs. It circulates water using the principal of thermo-siphon (the movement created by rising hot water)and eliminates the need for a circulating pump or electricity.

This unique feature opens up a whole new range of possibilities for alternative hot tubs. Now you can have a traditional wooden soaking hot tub without the need for pumps or electricity.

The Chofu utilizes a sophisticated heat exchange design for efficient water heating. The stainless steel stove body surrounding the firebox is a double-walled water-jacket with a 1-inch space between. This makes the entire firebox (except the front) a heat-transferring surface.

Additional heat transfer takes place in a water-filled baffle plate that runs horizontally through the firebox. The baffle deflects the path of the fire, so it gives up more heat into the water jacket before going up the chimney.

The Chofu will connect to any tub using accessories provided flexible neoprene tubes, stainless steel pipes, and thru-wall tub ports. (Thickness of the tub wall must be specified to determine the length of thru-wall ports.)
Installation requires these four basic steps:

  1. Preparing a brick or cement foundation next to the hot tub to receive the Chofu heater.
  2. Cutting 2-1/2″ holes in the side of the hot tub for thru-wall ports.
  3. Installing pipes to connect heater and tub.
  4. Installing the stove pipe (8 feet recommended).

Operation – The Chofu operates like a conventional wood stove, achieving its fastest heating rate from dry hardwoods. It uses wood up to 17″ long and has an 18″ x 14″ x 14″ firebox. The most efficient heating comes from using 17″ x 1½” x 1½”, loaded at 45 min. intervals.

The Chofu hot tub heater has a high and low speed draft control to regulate the heating rate. It operates with the draft wide open for fast heating, and closed down to maintain temperature once the water is hot.

Features

  • High grade stainless steel stove body
  • 1/8-inch steel stove front
  • Heavy cast iron door and grates
  • Hot Tub Connection kit
  • Generous size firebox, 18″L x 14″W x 10″H
  • Vented smoke-outlet for secondary combustion.
  • ¾” drain for freeze protection.
  • An ash drawer for easy removal of ashes.
  • A long handled ash rake

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16″ wide x 23″ long x 18″ high
  • Weight: 59-lbs.
  • Stove body: Grade 316 stainless steel, inner wall 20-gauge, outer wall 22-gauge
  • Stove Front: 1/8-inch steel
  • Firebox door and grates: cast iron
  • Firebox dimensions: 18″L x 14″W x 10″H
  • Heat exchange surface area: 9 sq. ft.
  • Smoke outlet: 4 5/8-inch (reduced to 4-inch)
  • Circulating pipes: 1¾” O.D.
  • Drain: ¾” I.D.

Heating Rate Information – Although the heating rate is variable depending on dryness and type of wood, frequency of loading, etc., the average heat output of the wood burning Chofu hot tub heater is 32,000 BTU’s (an 11kW electric heater is about 30,000 BTU’s). A 200 gallon hot tub can be heated at approx. 20ºF per hour.

Note: The heat output of the Chofu increases after an initial 45-min. warm-up period that heats the stove body and establishes a bed of coals.

Heating Rate

Hot tub size…
diameter x height
Gallonstemp. rise per hour
4×430014°
5×2½30014°
5×337511°
5×4500
5×5*610
6×3600
6×4*725
*We don’t recommend this large a hot tub due to the extended heat-up time

Most Requested Upgrades & Accessories

Stainless Steel Stovepipe – Made of grade 304 stainless steel. 8ft of pipe is necessary to produce the optimum air-draw through the stove for a fast, efficient heating rate; a shorter length will produce a slower heating time.

Using more than 8ft of pipe produces a hotter fire but will reduce fuel efficiency because more of the flame is drawn up into the chimney. Remedy this by installing a stove damper. If more than 8ft of pipe is used, it must be supported to insure stability.

Sheet metal screws and a cobalt drill bit are provided with the Chofu Wood-fired Heater for fastening stove pipe connections.

Stainless Steel Chimney Cap – Made of grade 304 stainless. Maybe necessary where danger of fire is extreme, however, secondary combustion in Chofu prevents most sparks from escaping chimney.

Adding a chimney cap reduces draw through stove, slowing the heating rate. 10ft or more of pipe is necessary when using a chimney cap, to maintain maximum heat rate. Stovepipe with a chimney cap must always be supported to provide stability.

Filtration/Circulation System – This high performance pump/filter skid pack is rated at 2400 gallons per hour and consists of an energy efficient 120v Hayward Power-Flo pump and Micro Star-Clear filter, all pre-plumbed and mounted to a molded base. Designed for outdoor applications, simply plug it into a GFCI protected outlet and add a timer if desired.

 

 

 

Port Orford Cedar

Port Orford Cedar
(
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Grown only in Southern Oregon and Northern California, Port Orford Cedar is very limited in supply.

It has earned a reputation for strength, decay resistance and has an odor similar to ginger and lemons.

The most prized type of wood for Japanese architecture, upscale boat construction and the creation of world famous Japanese Ofuro Soaking tubs is called “hinoke.”

The Japanese wouldn’t consider substituting any other type of wood for their prized hinoke until they discovered Port Orford Cedar.

The characteristics of Port Orford Cedar is so close to those of hinoke that the Japanese now use Port Orford Cedar as a substitute whenever quality hinoke is in short supply.

Renowned for its beauty, durability, structural integrity and natural decay resistance, the heartwood of Port Orford Cedar has an in-ground life of 20-25 years which makes it ideal for timber structures and hot tubs.

Port Orford Cedar is a light colored wood with a pleasant and sweet-spicy scent. It has a fine texture and straight grain that remains smooth with absolutely no splintering or raised grain. The color can best be described as a creamy white hue.

Teak

Burmese Teak
(Tectona grandis)

One of the most valuable of all woods due to it’s scarcity and difficulty to harvest and transport, teak is prized for the construction of expensive boats and yachts.

Because of its decay resistance, teak is used extensively as exterior decking, mill-work, trim and windows. It’s also used for garden furniture, park benches and many marine applications.

Teak is a very hard, heavy, strong wood, distinctively oily to the touch. It is resistant to insects, fungus, and termites won’t touch it! It is also resistant to rot and moisture damage.

When first cut, teak is a tawny green color, streaked with dark brown and gold. The color quickly changes to be a dark golden yellow, olive or light to dark brown.

Teak is native to India, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, including Indonesia, particularly Java. Also Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the East Indies. Although commonly grown on plantations, this type of farm grown teak is not suitable for hot tubs.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar

Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)

The Alaskan Yellow Cedar is found only on the western slopes of the Pacific Coast Range from Southern Oregon to Alaska. It likes moist climates, and thus it is only found along coastal areas.

Due to the colder temperatures and high rainfall of its local climate, Alaskan Yellow Cedar grows very slowly with closely packed growth rings and very little distinction between early wood and late wood rings.

It’s exceptionally dense growth ring pattern averages 43 growth rings per inch. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is one of the most beautiful of America’s durable and less publicized softwoods and is the hardest known cedar in the world.

The density and consistent color add a high degree of stability throughout the tree. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is highly resistant to rot and insect infestation as well as being an extremely hard wood.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a clear sulfur-yellow in color, has a fine texture, a straight grain and when freshly cut, has a pungent odor frequently described as “raw potatoes.”

Prized for its strength, stability, natural resistance to weather rot and insect infestation, Alaskan Yellow Cedar is used for stadium seating, park benches, exterior cabinet work, decks, marine landscaping, building boats and some very fine hot tubs.

The consistent grain structure means Yellow Cedar is easy to work with by hand or machine. It grows slowly, but it’s common to find very large heavy Yellow Cedar timbers that produce strong and wide boards.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a prime choice for hot tubs, saunas and pool house construction, since the wood thrives in wet environments. It is commonly found in Japanese designs for gardens, architecture and Japanese Soaking Tubs.

It’s light weight and high strength allows it to be used in small and intricate construction, but the timbers are large enough to be used in large gardens, gazebos and outdoor structures.

 

Western Red Cedar

One of the lightest in weight of the commercially available softwoods, Western Red Cedar is the giant of the cedars and is the largest and most abundant of all cedars.

It grows in managed forests in the southern coastal region of British Columbia and some of the moister interior valleys.

It also grows throughout the Pacific Northwest of the US.   Western Red Cedar resists warping, twisting, checking and is renowned for its high impermeability to liquids. The heartwood is soft in texture and varies in color from a light straw shade to a dark reddish-brown.

The cellular composition of this species of cedar, millions of tiny air-filled cells per cubic inch, provides a high degree of thermal insulation. Its slow growth, dense fiber, natural phenol preservatives give it excellent weather-resistant properties and make it ideally suited for exterior uses such as houseboats, decks, siding, posts, fencing, shingles, shakes and of course our most popular hot tubs.

Teak Hot Tubs

True Burmese teak is one of the outstanding timbers of the world . It has been used in high quality yacht construction and furniture building for many years because of its beauty, durability, stability, strength, appearance and resistance to damage from water and numerous chemicals and acids. Along with these characteristics, it contains more natural oils than other woods, which gives it the ability to rejuvenate to its original color and beauty from a weathered condition. All these characteristics make it a perfect choice for use in a hot tub.

The hardness of true teak makes it much more difficult to mill and shape, but when finished the wood takes on a beautiful luster. Because of these valuable properties and its superior rot resistance and weathering ability, it is the choice of those who want the very best. Teak has proven to be the best choice of wood for hot tubs.

Perfectly clear (no knots), the finished thickness of our teak hot tubs is 1-1/4″. Each hot tub is individually crafted from the finest burmese teak available. The tubs come unassembled and are shipped, and installed in any location by following our comprehensive, yet simple, step by step assembly guide.

The teak hot tubs are constructed of a tongue and groove method and are frequently conical in shape. The conical design allows for what many feel is a more comfortable sitting position and contains less water then the standard straight sided tubs. Straight sided teak tubs are also available.

Like all our hot tubs, the teak tubs are held together by 1\2″ steel bands, roll threaded at each end, and come with a cast iron coupler, two stainless steel nuts and most importantly a polyethylene sheathing which protects the band from rusting. The conical shaped hot tubs are a bit unique in that the staves (side boards) are notched to prevent the bands from sliding downwards.

The bench, made from the same thickness of wood as the rest of the hot tub, has 8 sections and is supported by 2 x 4’s which are attached to the sides of the tub. We call the bench a ‘full circle’ and no part of it touches the floor, thereby allowing your feet complete freedom underneath. Less than a full circle may be installed to allow for a standing area, and the bench can be installed at split levels to allow for people of different heights. All benches come complete with stainless steel screws for fastening to the tub.

Our hot tubs are available individually, with or without benches, or as complete systems. The complete systems contain virtually everything necessary to put you into bubbling hot water (except for the water). We offer a wide variety of sizes (and prices) and if desired, are more than happy to make custom sizes.