Rules & Regulations on Hot Tubs

While hot tub rules and regulations vary state by state, most states follow the same basic rules.

Health Regulations

Individual hot tub owners face less regulation that commercial owners.Individual hot tub owners face less regulation that commercial owners.
Typically the department of health sets the regulations for commercial property or public hot tubs. Individual hot tub owners follow a set of rules and regulations usually set by the state or city.

Public hot tubs are regulated by health codes to protect users. Hot tub owners must require patrons to shower before entering the tub. They must also prohibit anyone with an infectious or communicable disease from entering the tub, which includes anyone with an open blister, cut or a rash. Pets are restricted from using the hot tub. Hot tub owners must restrict food and drink consumption directly around the hot tub, and limit drinking or eating to designated areas.

Warning Regulations

Public hot tubs must have appropriate warning signs near the entrance to the tub. Caution signs should advise against pregnant women, the elderly and persons with heart disease, diabetes or high or low blood pressure from using the tub without approval from their physician. Additionally, the warnings should advise people not to use the spa while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those using the hot tub should not use it alone or for long periods because longer exposure can cause nausea, fainting or dizziness.

Chemical Regulations

Public hot tubs require regular disinfection with a chlorinated agent or another appropriate sanitizer, as deemed appropriate by the state's department of health. The water is to be tested regularly, at least daily, to determine whether it meets the state's guidelines. The department requires that the pH, free chlorine residual and combined chlorine fall within a certain range. The testings are recorded and reported to the department of health. As well the department may perform their own inspection once a year to ensure the hot tub owner is following the regulations. The hot tub water, in accordance with chemicals applications, should remain clear enough that the drain and bottom of the tub are visible.

Individual Owner Regulations

While individual hot tub owners are not regulated and do not need to follow the same rules set forth for public hot tubs, they are restricted by city and state regulations. A licensed electrical contractor must install the electrical wiring and obtain a pool permit. Hot tubs are required to sit a certain distance from the front, side and rear property lines and away from any overhead or underground utilities. Any hot tub with a depth more than 2 feet must have an enclosure around it, such as a fence. Portable hot tubs might only require a cover, but most fixed hot tubs are treated the same as pools.

About the Author

Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.