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How to Install a Hot Tub and Rain Shower

Ed Del Grande gives step-by-step instructions on how to install a cool-off shower and automatic hot tub filler.

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Step 1: Attach a Brass Y-Fitting and Split it

This job doesn't requre you to tap into any main lines. Attach a brass Y-fitting off the sillcock and split it, to have one side for water for the lower part of the house and yard, and to run the line for the shower off the other side.

Since the shower will need to be disconnected in the winter, using copper line to the shower gives more support for the unit; when winter comes, unhook the unit from the sillcock and drain it out, and it will be winter ready. When tapping into an inside line and running it outside, however, be sure to check local codes; some states won't allow a constantly charged line to remain exposed outside.

Step 2: Attach a Copper Pipe

From the Y-splitter, use an adapter and a standard washing-machine hose to attach the 1/2" copper pipe; Ed uses this hose mainly because it's sturdy and can withstand the constant day-to-day water pressure of a shower, even on the hottest summer days. Although this area is covered, it will still be exposed to the elements, and a good sturdy hose will be needed over time.

Step 3: Cut and Mount the Copper Pipe

Screw the brass Y-splitter to the existing sillcock, making sure there's a snug fit. Measure the area from the bottom of the upper patio to the area where the copper pipe will be mounted; mark this measurement on a long stick of 1/2"copper pipe. Cut the pipe to size with a pipe cutter and, using basic soldering techniques, solder a drop-eared 90 on one end. Mount the pipe to the wall with 1/2" copper straps and masonry screws, keeping the drop-eared 90 close enough to the Y-splitter for the washing-machine hose to reach as you work.

Step 4: Mount the Plumbing to the Hot Tub

With the water line mounted below the deck, it's time to mount the plumbing to the hot tub. Since there is no close water source, Ed adds on a sillcock to provide water for the automatic hot-tub filler and any plants that might need water. He will install a tee with a threaded fitting in the center; it will be soldered on the top and bottom. The tee will let you screw a hose bib inside, providing another sillcock to run water to the automatic hot-tub filler.

Step 5: Clean and Flux the Pieces

Clean and flux the 1/2" copper line and the 1/2" tee fitting; solder both together. Next, measure the distance between the threaded fitting on the copper tee and the point where the line will make its first turn; mark and cut a piece of copper pipe to this length. Clean, flux and solder the cut piece of copper to the top of the tee fittings; secure it to the wall with masonry screws and 1/2" copper straps.

Step 6: Add a Sillcock and Run the Water Lines

With the main run of the line completed, it's time to add a sillcock. These screw into the threads on the freshly soldered tee. The hose to the automatic filler is now ready to hook up.

The next step is to finish running the water lines to the area over the hot tub. Stay against the wall as much as possible to give the lines added support; to further secure them in place, avoid running the lines long distances without straps.

Step 7: Continue Running the Copper Pipe

Using basic soldering techniques, continue running 1/2" copper pipe along the wall and rafters to the area where the rain shower will be located. Make sure to secure the pipe with copper straps at least every 2' (image 1). Also, make sure there is one strap at least 2" from where the shower will be located (image 2). Sweat a 1/2" threaded female fitting onto the end of the copper line.

Step 8: Attach the Rain Shower

With the water line in place, the rain shower can be attached. It is made up of three main parts: a couple of chrome-plated nipples, a stop valve with an extended pull chain and a large rain showerhead.

Wrap a generous amount of Teflon tape around the threaded end of a chrome-plated 4" brass nipple and screw it into the 1/2" threaded female fitting. Wrap the other end of the nipple with Teflon tape and screw the stop valve with the pull chain onto the nipple, making sure it's snug. Repeat the process with another 4" nipple, being sure to use a generous amount of the tape. Screw the rain showerhead onto the end of the second nipple and, using a rag to protect it, snug it up with a wrench.

Step 9: Install the Hot Tub's Automatic Filler

With the rain shower in place and ready to go, it's time to install the automatic filler in the hot tub. Run a hose from the new hose bib to the hot tub and screw it to the automatic filler. Decide the water fill level for the hot tub, keeping in mind that the water level will rise when people are seated in the tub. Set the float to the desired level and place the unit in the tub.

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