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

Round Wooden Hot Tub Assembly Instructions

 

Unlike others, our hot tubs are manufactured with perfect computerized accuracy and require absolutely no on-site milling or cutting of the final stave. Each tub fits together perfectly and assembles quite easily in an average time of 1 hour give or take.

 

*Please note, the following assembly procedure is a slightly condensed version of the actual included instructions. Various size hot tubs of various types of wood may have slightly different instructions and ONLY the actual instructions included with the hot tub should be followed.

 

Important Note – Please read through the entire procedure of the manual that comes with your tub carefully before beginning the first step.*

Round Wooden Hot Tub Assembly Instructions

To assure a long-lived and structurally safe tub, a properly designed foundation is essential! To withstand the weight of the tub and water we recommend a minimum 4″ thick reinforced concrete pad. If you have any questions, please contact us for proper and adequate site preparation.*

 

Step 1: Installing the Suctions

 

Place the chine joists on the concrete pad so that they are 5½” tall and arranged as shown in Figure 1. Check the chine joists with a level and make any necessary adjustments. Next, put the three dowel pins in one half of the bottom and place the bottom-half on top of the chine joists. Be sure the side of the bottom that is nicely sanded is the side that faces up.

 

On average, both suctions fittings are located on the stave wall of the tub (3’ apart) after tub assembly.

If you plan to put one or two suctions in the floor of the tub, it is easiest done before the tub is assembled. If BOTH suctions are being installed in the floor (Figure 1), they should be separated by at least 3′.

 

Be sure the location of the suctions does not interfere with the chine joists and be sure the holes are drilled wholly on one board. The suctions require a 2½” hole. If you use a hole saw you will have to drill from both sides of the board. This will eliminate any tear out from the bottom side.

 

To install the suctions, first slide the gasket on to the through-wall fitting. Then apply five wraps to Teflon tape to the ½ inch end thread of the thru-wall(s). DO NOT apply silicone to the thru wall flange with gasket. Next, slip the male threaded thru-wall fitting into one of the holes.

 

Apply a bead of silicone to the flange of the straight nut.  Screw the female threaded nut onto the thru-wall body. Be careful not to over tighten the nut; snug hand tightening should suffice. (If the nut is screwed onto the through-wall too tightly, the swelling of the wood when it gets saturated may crack the flange, leading to leakage. Repeat these assembly steps for the other suction. At this point it is advisable to complete any other plumbing that occurs underneath the tub with a street 90 PVC fitting and an 8 – 10” – 1.5” rigid PVC pipe length.

STEP 2: Assembling the Base

Put the other half of the bottom on the chine joists and then slide the two bottom halves together, pushing them together as tightly as possible. Note that the bottom boards are placed perpendicular to the chine joists as shown in Figure 1.

 

After the bottom is in place the two plywood strips supplied with the hot tub must be screwed down across the seam of the bottom halves. Place the strips about 3″ in from either end of the perimeter of the tub. Use four 1″ screws to secure each strip. Remove these strips after the hot tub is fully assembled.

 

*Please Note: Failure to use the plywood strips will cause trouble in later procedures.

STEP 3: Fitting the Staves to the Base

 

Each stave must be properly positioned between the alignment marks located around the perimeter of the floor tongue. You will note that in Figure 2, the side of the stave that has a tongue is centered directly on the alignment marks. The side of the stave that has a groove does not line up perfectly on center of the alignment mark.

 

All the staves go on in this fashion. There can be gaps between every stave put on the tub. Do not worry about these gaps and do not drive the staves on with a mallet. The staves may be lightly tapped on with enough force to keep them from falling off. Once all of the staves are on, the tub is ready for the bottom, middle and top band (hoops).

 

STEP 4: Applying and Tightening the Bands

Figure 3 shows the bottom band at 43 3/8″ down from the top. Once all the staves are positioned onto the bottom, lower* the bottom band over the top of the tub and into position as shown in Figure 3, use 4 to 6 screws or nails to hold the bottom band in position (this may not be necessary on conical tubs that have notches for the bands).

 

This process is best performed by two people. The middle band is tightened first and then the top band is tightened second (Figure 6).  The lugs should be staggered with no two lugs resting on the same stave joint, but all in the same area as to hopefully hide them from view.

WARNING: Do not drive the band support nails more than ½” into the wood!  After the middle band is tightened at approximately 75%, lower the top band into place and tighten the top band to about 75%.

 

The staves will be pulled in and onto the floor tongue with minimal stave joint gaps.  If you have irregular stave gap joints, you can use a rubber mallet to GENTLY TAP the staves outward, on the inside of the tub near the bottom, to even out all of the stave gap joints.

 

Once the joints are all similar, then the bottom band can be tightened as described below ** (Fig. 3).  Go around the tub with a tape measure and check the height of the band.  Once the band is properly leveled, you may begin to tighten the band.  Two people best perform this process.

 

Try to avoid stripping the nuts from over tightening. While one person tightens the band lug, the other person strikes the band on outside of the tub with a dead blow rubber mallet (provide with each tub).  The object is to drive the boards on evenly all around the tub.  It usually takes 4 or 5 times around the tub to accomplish this.

 

STEP 5: Finishing the Tank Top Rim

Go around the top rim of the tank with either a belt sander to level the top edge. Finally, round off the inside and outside edges of the top rim, using a router with a quarter-round-over bit.  We now offer a wood Capping that eliminates finishing the top rim

 

Installing the Bench

Follow the procedures outlined below to install the 2018 Bench in your tub. All necessary parts have been provided, including hardware and Extended Star Drive #10 Bit.

Other Tools required include:  a variable speed electric drill, a #2 Phillips head driver bit, a #10 pilot bit (or 1/8” drill bit and countersink bit), measuring tape, torpedo or regular Level, and possible Skill Saw or Miter Saw.

 

The easiest way to determine where your Corbels will be attached to the tub is:

to dry fit the full circular bench on the floor inside the tub.  Align the first joint of the section in the middle of the stave where your first Corbel will be attached to the tub wall.  There will be an approximate ½”+- gap between the inside of the tub wall and the outside perimeter of the bench.  Align the outside circle of the bench sections together all the way around.  Now mark on the stave where the center of each Corbel will be located on that Corbel’s stave(s).  (The Corbels may split stave(s)).

Knowing the finished bench height, NOW you need to determine the height placement of Corbel in relationship to the bench section thickness. 

 

The Corbels provided have been precut for a Red or Yellow Cedar tub for easy installation of a 17” Height bench off the floor (25-1/2” measured down from the top of the tub (without Capping)).  NOTE:  Teak Benches are 1-1/2” thick and will require the Corbel to be adjusted ½” higher off the floor for a 17” Finished Height. 

If your DESIRED bench height is higher or lower, raise or lower the corbel appropriately.  Note:  If you are installing the bench lower than 17” off the floor, then you will need to cut off a portion of the long side of the Corbel appropriately to allow the finished lower bench height. (pic 4 oval circle)

 

Ensure you measure the thickness of the bench section (Pic 3) at the area where the bench section sits upon the Corbel (Pic 4 top red oval).  If you are setting your bench height at a different height than 17” off the floor, place the Corbel against the stave wall (Pic 4), place a torpedo level on the top of the Corbel (Pic 5), and move the Corbel up or down to located it level at the proper height, to be able to place the bench upon it, for the finished bench height you want.

Note:  If you are installing the bench lower than 17” off the floor, then you will need to cut off the long side of the Corbel appropriately to allow the finished lower bench height.

 

{{{Finished bench height, minus the bench thickness (Pic 3 or 4), equals the height of the Corbel placement against the wall.}}}

 

The orientation of the Corbel should be with the long side of corbel placed vertically against the stave wall and Short side 90* of the Corbel orientated horizontally for fastening to the bench sections (Pic 4).  Predrill your Corbels as shown in Pics 6 & 7 with a drill bit & countersink bit.  (Pic 6 shows a toenailed /angled predrilled and countersunk holes, Pic 7 shows a straight hole countersunk)

Refer to 6 unlabeled Pics below for next instructions     (last page for 3’ Height tubs)

Place one 2” Stainless Steel Screw (supplied) into one of the top predrilled holes of the Corbel and screw the Corbel into the stave wall.  Using a level, make sure the top side of the corbel is level.  Once two Corbels have been affixed with one screw, place a bench section upon both Corbels to verify the finished bench height and the bench ends (joints) are in the center of the horizontal Corbels respectively.  If proper, continue with using three 2” Stainless Steel Screws in the remaining three predrilled holes of these two corbels.  Continue with the installation instructions…

NOTE:   If installing a two tiered/split level bench, check your measurements and where the joint of two different Bench section heights would use the same Corbel, two Corbels will need to be installed next to each other.  This is where the Corbels will split two staves for each bench height.

 

…Now locate your third corbel on the stave wall and using the next bench section onto the 2nd & 3rd Corbels, with the first bench section still in place.  Verify your bench orientation and continue with installing the next Corbel in the same manor, using these two bench sections leap frogging as you continue around the tub until all the corbels are installed and you are back at your beginning point.

 

Now that all the Corbels are installed and orientated to be flush with the bench section bottoms, begin placing the Bench sections upon the Corbels for permanent installation.

Installation of the Bench sections begins with gathering all the sections, so they can be placed upon the Corbels and then adjust for spacing and orientation.  Note:  there should be a 1/8” gap between each bench section at the joint, matching the 1/8” gap between the three slats of each bench section.  The gap around the outside of the bench against the wall can be between ½” and ¾”.

 

With all the bench sections orientated how you want them, begin screwing down the bench sections using the extended Star Drive #10 Bit & the #10 – 2” Stainless Steel Screws.  Locate the screws approx. three quarters to one inch (3/4” – 1”) away from the joint on either side, as shown in (pic 13, 14 & 15).

As shown in Pictures, place one screw in each of the four gaps (above the Corbel below to be screwed into).  In the gap between the three slats, use the long Star Drive Bit provided, screw down and in between the gap, until the screw head is flush with the ¾” board, 1-1/2” below the surface top of the bench (Pic 3).       See Note below for Split Level Bench configuration.

NOTE:  IF two tiered / split level bench is being installed:

Please check to ensure you are screwing into the Corbel below.  The screw placement will change slightly to ensure the bench sections are screwed into the individual Corbels below respectively where the two different height bench come together. 

Installation Preparation & Services

Proper hot tub installation preparation requires that you arrange for the following three items prior to installation.

  1. Proper Electrical Circuit
  2. Proper Sized Gas Line
  3. Cement Pads/Foundations for Hot Tub & Equipment

 

Electrical Requirements

The standard electrical requirement for our complete hot tub system is a 240 volt, 20 amp circuit including a white neutral wire and a green insulated ground wire that is required by code.

National electrical code requires that the wiring be in a metal conduit and must have a disconnect switch within visible distance from the pump. Local codes may vary by city and state.

A 30 amp circuit is required for our standard/basic complete electric hot tub system with a 5.5kw heater, but you’ll need to add an additional 50 amp circuit if you upgraded your tub heater from 5.5kw to11kws.

We recommend that you check with a local electrician to make sure that your equipment meets the proper amp requirements prior to adding additional jets, pumps or accessories such as an air bubble system.

Gas Requirements

Our basic gas powered hot tub system includes a 100k BTU heater and requires a gas line of sufficient size. Upgrading to a larger heater might require a larger gas line and it’s prudent to check with a local gas professional prior to upgrading. Please remember that gas lines should only be sized and installed by licensed professionals.

Cement Pad/Foundation Requirements for Tub & Equipment

As we mentioned earlier in the “Locating Your Tub and Equipment” section, you will need a concrete pad or foundations for the hot tub and a concrete pad or foundation for the hot tub equipment.

Our basic equipment package requires a concrete pad of 24″ by 54″, although it can be squeezed into a slightly smaller area if absolutely necessary.

If you must use a slightly smaller area, we recommend that you wait until you have the equipment in your possession prior to pouring your concrete pad.

The hot tub itself also requires a concrete pad or foundation to sit on. For stability and settling purposes, the tub itself should sit on a single solid concrete surface. Everything settles over time and just like the concrete slab under most homes, concrete settles but remains flat.

Tubs have successfully been installed on blocks, in gravel or on pier block foundations, but the settling process is much more likely to be uneven.

An uneven settling process can concentrate the stress on a single area of the tub causing premature cracks and leaks.

The minimum thickness safety requirement for a basic hot tub pad is 4″ thick reinforced concrete with a diameter of 6″ less than the diameter of the bottom of the tub. Therefore, a 5′ round straight sided wood hot tub would require a 4′ 6″ square pad.

The type of ground underneath the pad should be stable as well. If the soil has a propensity for expanding and contracting due to extreme freezing or scorching temperatures, you may be required to add concrete footings to stabilize the pad. Checking with a local contractor is an easy way to find out whether you need footings or not.

Sunken or semi-buried tubs have also become very popular and they are much easier to get in and out of.

A wooden hot tub easily be installed below grade with a few minor adjustments.

You will need to dig a pit large enough to accommodate the size of the concrete pad and build a retaining wall around the pad to keep excess dirt and debris from eroding and coming into contact with the tub itself. The retaining wall should be made of concrete, concrete block or ‘ground contact’ rated pressure treated wood.

Please make sure that you leave a minimum clearance of 12″, preferred clearance is 24″-36″, around the entire tub; a 5′ diameter tub requires a 7′ wide hole. This clearance allows you to pre-assemble the tub above the pit and then lower it into place.

Tub assembly requires a minimum of 24″ of total clearance around it for proper construction. You may also want to consider adding a sump pump in the pit depending on drainage and ground water.

Installing a hot tub on or in an existing deck is also quite popular, but most decks aren’t constructed to accommodate the weight of hot tub filled with water.

An average hot tub filled with water weighs in excess of 5000 lbs. before you and your friends jump in and we strongly advise hot tub owners considering tub installations on existing decking to check with a licensed engineer prior to beginning tub installation.

Hot Tub Location Guidelines

Hot Tub Location Guidelines

The most important part of any hot tub installation is proper planning and the first two steps of the planning process are deciding the ideal location for your hot tub and your hot tub equipment.

The vast majority of our customers prefer to install their hot tubs outdoors, but our tubs can be installed just as easily inside your home as out.

Our Hot Tub Photo Gallery is full of unique location ideas, creative inspiration and great examples of where other hot tub owners have located their hot tubs.

Location of Your Hot Tub

Roberts Hot Tubs has been in business for over 42 years and history has taught us that your tub will be used and enjoyed more often the closer it is to your house or bedroom.

Installing your hot tub on or submerged in an existing outdoor deck is ideal for many hot tub owners, but please be aware that most decks are not designed to support the weight of a hot tub filled with water.

We strongly advise that all hot tub owners considering tub installations on existing decking check with a licensed engineer prior to beginning tub installation. Please remember that the average hot tub filled with water weighs approximately 5000 lbs. before you and your friends jump in!

Outdoor Installation Locations

Depending on where you live and the size of your yard, there can be an endless number of ways and places to install an outdoor tub.

That said, there are certain health and safety restrictions that will influence where your tub can be located.

  1. For stability and settling purposes, the tub itself must sit on a single solid concrete surface. Everything settles over time and just like the concrete slab under most homes, concrete settles but remains flat. Please do not set your tub or equipment on gravel.
  2. The tub rests on chine joists (sleepers) that we provide rather than making direct contact with the concrete pad. The size of the concrete pad can be 6 inches smaller than the tub’s diameter, so a 6′ diameter tub only requires a 66” round or square concrete pad.

Saving 6″ on the pad means pouring less concrete as well as insuring that the pad won’t protrude any farther out than it absolutely has to. The typical thickness of the concrete pad should be 4″ with mesh wire reinforcement.

  1. The type of ground underneath the pad should be stable as well with 100% compaction. If the soil has a propensity for expanding and contracting due to extreme temperatures, you may be required to add concrete footings to stabilize the pad. Checking with a local contractor is an easy way to find out whether you need footings or not.
  2. The overall height of the tub is also a consideration. A 4′ tall standard hot tub will stand a roughly 50″ off the top surface of the concrete pad with some exceptions of our other tubs.

Based on this height, you may want to consider sinking part of the tub into the ground. Sunken tubs are extremely popular and are much easier to get in and out of.

In order to safely “sink” your tub, you will need to dig/construct a tub vault. The vault should have retaining walls to keep any excess dirt from eroding and coming into contact with the tub itself throughout its lifespan.

We recommend that there be a minimum 12″ clearance between the walls of the pit and the tub itself; a 5′ diameter tub will need a 8′ diameter pit. Another thing to keep in mind is that the tub will require a minimum of 24″, preferably 36″, of clearance around the entire tub. This will allow the tub to be assembled above the pit and then lowered down.

Indoor Installation Locations

Indoor installations aren’t that much different than outdoor installations, but they do require a few extra considerations.

The main consideration with indoor installations is moisture and the effect it has on other areas of your home.

  1. Moisture – It’s common practice to use hot tub insulated covers on outdoor hot tubs and the same is true with indoor hot tubs. Insulating covers save time, money and energy inside and outside, but quite a bit of steam is released when you take off an indoor cover.

Steam doesn’t play well with other interior sections of your house, so you need to make sure that the room your tub is located in has good air flow and very good ventilation to include possibly a motorized fan similar to a bathroom.

  1. Chemicals – Along with the steam factor, there’s also the issue of sanitation and the use of hot tub chemicals. Hot tubs that are used regularly need to be sanitized with chlorine, bromine or a non-chlorine shock treatment in combination with smaller amounts of chlorine or bromine.

These sanitizers can produce foul smelling odors that go well beyond the room your hot tub is located in. Ozone is another form of sanitizer that should not be used indoors. High concentrations of ozone can accumulate in the room that your tub is located in and cause severe throat irritations as well as corrode plastic and printed electronic circuitry.  A motorized fan should be installed to evacuate the off gassing from the room.

The best sanitizer to use indoors is an ionizer in combination with periodic non-chlorine shock treatments. One maintenance advantage to indoor installations is that less dirt, debris and pollen get into your tub which might save you a few dollars per year on sanitizers.

  1. Leaks – The other big moisture consideration is “leaks.” As much as we hate to admit it, the possibility of an indoor hot tub cracking, breaking or leaking does exist, and the odds increase as the tub gets older.

After years and years of use, a seal or gasket could wear out and cause anything from a small drip to a giant flood. We strongly recommend that indoor hot tub owners take special precautions by installing a waterproof flooring membrane and floor drain in the room that the tub and equipment are located in.

If the tub equipment is installed in a garage or basement, it’s a very good idea to set the equipment in a waterproof pan with a drain to insure that any possible leaks won’t damage surrounding items.

Accepting Delivery of Your Hot Tub

Accepting Delivery of Your Hot Tub

Accepting Delivery of Your Hot Tub – BIG BOXES ON A BIG TRUCK

The majority of our hot tubs and complete hot tub systems are delivered by various Transportation companies (deliveries within the state of California are usually through DHL).

On the day we ship your tub to you we will call you to let you know that it’s shipping and to tell you the number of packages and the “pro number” (tracking number).

Once the shipping company has your shipment at its docking facility closest to you, they will call you to arrange delivery.   Keep in mind that the size of your shipment is rather large. Complete gas fired hot tub systems consist of three ‘packages’, the hot tub bands (approx. 60 lbs.), the heater (approx. 115 lbs.) and everything else in a VERY big box (roughly 6′ x 4’ x 3′ weighing about 500 lbs.).

Electrically heated systems consist of only 2 packages, the bands and the big box as shown in the picture to the right.
When arranging delivery with the shipping company there are a couple of things that may need to be considered for an easy delivery. First, let them know if there may be a problem in navigating a large truck to your home.

Trucks smaller than the standard ‘tractor trailer’ are available. The second, and more important consideration is how to get a 500 lb. box out of a trailer 5′ off the ground. Unless you happen to have a forklift sitting around, you may want to request a truck with a lift gate.

Please note we prepay delivery with the freight company to the street curbside with a  lift gate. Many people simple unpack the box right from the curbside (usually this only takes 5 to 10 minutes).

With a lift gate you can generally expect some assistance from the driver in getting your shipment from the truck to the curbside. If you need additional help to move the packages, when the freight company calls to schedule with you, bring up your needs with them at this time.

Our hot tubs are packaged with the utmost of care. Consultation with various shipping companies over the years has resulted in a method of packaging that can withstand thousands of miles of bouncing down the road, crashing into by forklifts, and even hours of sitting out in the rain.

Once your shipment is off the truck, however, inspect the package carefully for any exterior damage. If any damage is seen make note of it on your “bill of lading”, takes pictures and better yet open the package and inspect the contents. Also check the bill of lading as to how many packages are in your shipment and MAKE SURE this is the number you receive.

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.