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Setting Up An Inflatable Hot Tub – An Easy To Follow Guide

When you buy your first inflatable hot tub, you’re probably a little worried that setting it up will be difficult and you’ll pick the wrong location. 

So just how hard is it to set up your hot tub first time? What if you add too much air? How does the pump attach to the air valves? 

Don’t worry; we’re here to help from electrical components to adding your pool chemicals; we’ve put together this simple instructable on inflatable hot tub installation which applies to most hot tub brands.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about setting up an inflatable hot tub easily in 11 steps. 

How To Set Up An Inflatable Hot Tub For The First Time

image of a how to book

We have put together some handy tips for the initial set-up of the spa, straight out of the box or as a reminder if you are taking it out after winter storage.

1. Before You Begin

It’s tempting to pull your hot tub from the box and get on with setting it up. However, if you don’t know where to attach the inflation valve or how to connect the pump you’ll come a cropper so it does a couple of things before you start setting up a hot tub: 

The boring stuff – read the instruction manual.

Nobody really likes to read through inflatable hot tub instructions; however, they can save you a lot of time, hassle and money when trying to set up the tub- there’s nothing worse than thinking something goes where it shouldn’t and bam – it’s jammed or broken.

Also, these tips are general and refer to the more common inflatable hot tub models of Intex and Lay-Z-Spa however, some have product-specific instructions, so you should check out the manual.

Also, check the list of parts carefully against the contents in the box. It can be very frustrating to have the hot tub almost up, only to find an essential part is missing.

Check online resources

If you have purchased a second-hand hot tub or lost your owner’s manual, you can search on Google for information about the specific hot tub model or visit the Manuals library where you will find tons of manuals free of charge.

If you are lucky, your chosen inflatable hot tub spa will come with an instruction DVD, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll find a comprehensive guide online about the specific tub or a how-to video on YouTube.

2. Where to Put an Inflatable Hot Tub

inflatable hot tub overlooking a river

Think about the hot tub’s weight

Many people have decking for an inflatable hot tub or in buildings such as a summerhouse. If this is the case, you need to ascertain whether the floor will take the weight, which, when full, can easily be over 2,000lbs.

Plus, some larger models can seat up to 8 people; that’s quite a hefty load, especially if the floorboards or decking is old or rotten.

You’ll need shelter

You will want to pick a sheltered spot for your inflatable hot tub with a good cover. It will prevent exposure to chilling winds and reduce running costs as the heater will not constantly be trying to maintain the water temperature.

That being said, placing the tub against a wall, fence or windbreak rather than under a tree or shrub, which will result in debris falling into the water and extra cleaning. If you buy a hot tub shelter kit later, you will be glad you picked this spot.

Make sure the ground is level.

The surface you choose to place your inflatable hot tub on must be smooth and flat if you set inflatable spas on a slope or uneven ground. Not only will they feel uncomfortable sitting in, but the pressure of the water could also cause serious damage to the unit and considerably shorten its lifespan.

You want perfectly flat ground to get in and out easily. This guide explains how to level the ground for a hot tub.

You can always invest in spa storage steps to make it a little bit easier, especially for children.

3. What Do You Put Under a Hot Tub?

Sharp things and inflatable hot tubs don’t mix, so the spa tub must be placed away from any prickly hedges or sharp gravel. Consider a Lazy Spa floor mat; this protects the base of your Jacuzzi and helps save money by insulating your tub.

Another thing to remember is that pets have sharp teeth and claws, so keep them away too, or you could see your hot tub somewhat deflated.

We have a guide on how to keep cats away from inflatable hot tubs and pools. The steps listed will be similar for dogs also.

What base should you use?

An inflatable hot tub requires a strong, stable surface as its filled weight can be thousands of pounds. Here is a list of the best bases for inflatable hot tubs.

You should also ensure no sharp objects may puncture or damage the hot tub and use a thick ground mat for insulation.

4. What About a Power Source?

open socket in a wall

There are several things to consider when choosing where to put your hot tub and the most important is the location of the power supply. Most hot tubs come with a long cable enabling them to reach the nearest socket with RCD protection. 

Can you use an extension lead?

You must never use an extension cable for a portable spa or hot tub as they are not powerful enough to run one, which can result in serious safety issues. If the cable doesn’t reach your selected spot, don’t let it cause additional stress; simply contact an electrician to install an electrical source for your inflatable spa nearby.

5. Inflating The Hot Tub

The best option here is to inflate a hot tub in an open area of your garden so you can avoid being crammed into tight spaces while attaching the inflation tube and connectors to the tub.

Next, remove your newly purchased inflatable hot tub from the box and securely connect the inflation valve to the liner of the tub. The next step is to plug in the pump unit and attach both ends of the inflation hose to both the hot tub and the pump valves  before pressing the button (It’s the one that operates your hot tub bubbles)  

Can you over-inflate hot tubs? 

Many modern inflatable spas are self-inflating, so you don’t need to worry about the over-inflation of the tub. However, if your chosen spa doesn’t have this feature, you need to inflate an inflatable tub until it is firm yet has a tiny bit of give. 

It’s essential not to over-inflate your hot tub; there are two important reasons for this.

Firstly, over-inflation will put a strain on the seams. This will weaken them and cause them to leak or even tear.

Secondly, when you fill with water, there needs to be a little give in the walls 2,000lbs of water has a lot of force and if the walls are entirely rigid, it will distort the sides again, causing damage which can cause leakages in time.

6. Inflating The Spa Lid

Inflatable hot tub lids are usually made of thinner material than the central unit, so it is more likely to be damaged if over-inflated. This is done the same as you inflate your hot tub by connecting the tube to the air valve. When the lid is inflated, detach the inflation tube from the lid and the pump.

7. How To Attach The Filters To Your Tub

Most inflatable hot tubs come with filter cartridges which screw onto the water intake valve, which can be found in the bottom interior of your spa. Make sure the drain cover is on so water doesn’t leak everywhere and simply insert the cartridge into the filter housing and attach it to the outlet valve.

Once firmly attached, it will collect loose debris and organic compounds as the pump works to circulate water. Most people maintain their filters by cleaning, but you can also purchase replacement filters for hot tubs if you forget to properly maintain them and they become beyond repair.

8. How To Fill A Jacuzzi Hot Tub

hose filling a hot tub with water

You’re nearly there, now is the time to add water to your inflatable hot tub. This is done with the garden hose. Many inflatable hot tub owners opt to use warm water to fill their spa as it decreases the time waiting for it to heat and saves money, but you will need to purchase an adapter.

You need to allow a significant rise in the water level when you get in and the bubbles when you turn on the jets.

For outdoor hot tubs, this will mean a waste of expensive hot water, but water pouring over the sides could cause serious damage when using an inflatable hot tub inside.   

We suggest; that the first time you use your hot tub, you just fill it to the minimum line. This means you can get used to how much the water level rises when you get in and always add more water if needed or open the drain valve to reduce the water level. 

9. Now It’s Time To Heat The Water

Once filled, you can turn on the thermostat which will begin to heat the water; depending on which model you have, this can take anything from 6-12 hours.

Obviously, the weather plays an important role. If it is cold outside, it will take longer to reach the desired temperature, which will typically be between 38°-40° as per industry standards.

(Note; if you’re using a hot tub when pregnant, then the water should be considerably lower as you don’t want your body or baby to overheat)

10. How To Set Up Inflatable Hot Tub Chemicals

chemicals being poured into a hot tub

Chemicals are essential to hot tub maintenance as they keep the water clean and safe to use, preventing things like cloudy water or the growth of green algae. As soon as you have filled your spa, check the PH level; this is essential as some sanitisers don’t work correctly if it is not in the optimum range. Now you can add the sanitiser of choice (chlorine or bromine).

Keeping the hot tub water clean prevents skin irritations like folliculitis, prolongs the life of your unit and means you don’t waste money on unnecessary chemical treatments, so stocking up on spare filters is essential too.

You can buy handy hot tub chemical bundles which contain everything needed and are perfect if you are a new hot tub owner. Some more technologically advanced inflatable hot tubs have hard water softening and sanitising systems that use oxygen instead of chemicals, making set-up even more effortless and hassle-free.

11. Time To Enjoy

Finally, it’s time to jump in and enjoy the benefits of your new inflatable hot tub. The whole setup process should only take a few hours from taking it out and connecting the pump to waiting for the water to reach the desired temperature, so you’ll be enjoying your first soak and luxuriating massage system in no time. 


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Last Word

two children sat in a hot tub smiling

We hope these tips help you with the inflatable hot tub setup. Whether you purchase a Cosy Spa, Intex or a Bestway Lay Z Spa, every hot tub has a very similar process of being set up and the whole process takes very little time which is why a hot tub is so popular. 

John Devlin

Hello, Welcome to my website. I’m John, and I created the InflatableHotTubGuide while researching these spas nearly a decade ago. Since its creation, the site has become the leading UK resource for many models. As a passionate hot tub user, I love to test and explore all the latest machines this industry keeps creating. I hope you find our content helpful.