How to Build a Barrel Hot Tub

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Barrel hot tubs can be made of real barrels or just styled to appear as if they are. Barrel hot tubs are one of the most classic styles of hot tub and are often easier to maintain than more elaborate setups. These instructions assume that you already have a barrel of some sort.

Things You'll Need

  • Barrel
  • Drill
  • Silicone sealant
  • Spa pack
  • Forstner bit of correct diameter of your inlet and outlet pipes
  • Select a self-contained spa heat pack with pump. Your nearest pool and spa dealer will have these available, and they will also send with you the correct amount of plastic piping. Measure the diameter of the inlet and outlet pipes in this pack to make sure that your Forstner bit is the correct size.

  • Seal all the joints of the barrel with the silicone sealant. This ensures that everything is watertight.

  • Drill an inlet and outlet hole with the Forstner bit. Follow factory specifications, since every spa kit is slightly different. Usually these holes will be near the bottom of the barrel and in the back. However, you must follow the directions on your spa kit to ensure that everything fits correctly.

  • Insert the piping and the lock nuts into their respective screw holes. Even though there will be supplied gaskets with this application, seal the pipes where they come in on both sides with the silicone sealant.

  • Tighten the lock nuts until they cannot be turned any further.

  • Check your finished hot tub for leaks. Fill tub and check for leaks on the joints or where the pipes come into the tub itself. If there are any leaks, you'll have to empty the tub, let it dry overnight and seal off the leaking area. Now, you are ready to enjoy your homemade barrel hot tub.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cutting a whiskey barrel in half is a great way to make a small barrel hot tub. However, a number of barrel kits are also available if you want a customized size and shape.
  • Never build your own spa heat pack and pump. You could end up electrocuting yourself and anyone else in or near the tub.

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