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Hot Tub Costs

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | July 25, 2011

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As with any home improvement project, it is important to know your bottom line. When choosing a hot tub, keep in mind that the sticker price you see online or in the showroom might not represent the total bill.

How much does a hot tub cost?

The total cost of your new hot tub depends upon many factors, including the size and where it will be placed. Portable hot tubs, or those that are suitable for about two people, can cost as little as $1,500. A luxury hot tub with custom amenities can cost $15,000 or more.

The hot tub will have to rest on a level deck or a concrete pad. If you have to build a deck for your hot tub, expect to pay between $500 and $15,000. If you need a concrete slab, that will cost between $1,000 and $3,000, sometimes more.

Hot tub installation fees

Most hot tubs weigh between 400 and 1000 pounds, while a very large one can weigh more. That's not something you can easily load into the back of a standard pick-up truck. Hot tubs are usually delivered on a flatbed trailer, which can tack on a fee.

Depending upon the size of the hot tub and the area where it will be located, you may need several strong people to move the hot tub; in some cases, a crane may be required. Though labor costs for moving men might be part of the delivery fee, crane rental could cost extra.

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Finally, a site inspection may be needed to ensure there is plenty of room for the delivery truck to access the property. If you require electrical or plumbing work to get your hot tub bubbling, that's an added expense. Permits for outdoor or add-on construction vary by city, so check zoning and building requirements locally for specifics.

Ongoing operating expenses

Expect to see an increase in your electric bill, though that amount varies model-to-model. Energy-efficient hot tubs can lead to lower operating costs. CostHelper.com estimates between $15 and $60 per month, based on factors such as insulation, climate and local utility rates. Chlorine, mineral purifiers and other spa chemicals add to ongoing receipts.

If you have a home with children or pets, safety features are an essential factor to consider with hot tub costs. Hot tub covers can be simple tarps that cost around $50, or high-end models that run more than $400. Heavier covers requiring a mechanical lifter can add $100 to $300 to the bottom line.

Sometimes the finer things in life cost a little extra. Often, they're worth it. The key to figuring out the actual cost of a hot tub is accounting for the additional expenses beyond the initial sticker price.