In this piece we look at how taking a few simple steps can save you money by reducing the cost of running your hot tub. At the end of the article, we discuss how you can potentially off-set the entire cost of running your hot tub. That’s right, how to effectively run your hot tub for free!!
Hot tub insulation is key to economic hot tub use
Most of the electricity a hot tub consumes is used to keep the water at a constant temperature. So, the most effective way to save money is to minimise temperature loss. The easiest way to do this is to buy a hot tub with a high standard of insulation. For example, if you are buying an inflatable hot tub, it has poor insulating qualities, so will invariably be less economical to run. I discuss this in another article which gives details on how I improved the insulation on my inflatable hot tub – click here to read!
Hot tub cabinet insulation
Foam is added to the underside of the acrylic to insulate your hot tub from below. Some companies offer extra insulation at an additional cost when you first purchase the hot tub. I would not recommend having all the pipes encased in hard foam as it makes servicing and repairing difficult. I have heard of some people putting duvet covers around the pipework, but this will only help if the duvet is kept dry and to be honest, I think the extra insulation they provide is minimal, and it may invalidate your warranty should something go wrong. As heat rises, the largest heat loss will be from the surface of the water.
A good quality cover will save you money!
The cover is probably one of the most critical factors in insulating your hot tub. It needs to fit snugly and not be damaged. A poorly fitting or damaged cover will not protect the water, and your energy bills will reflect this as your water heater will continuously be on trying to maintain the water temperature.
Will using a thermal blanket reduce the running cost of my hot tub?
Thermal blankets float on top of the water and provide a physical barrier between the water and the air. They also reduce the water evaporation which contributes to heat loss.
It will reduce the running cost, but controversially I do not recommend them if you use the hot tub regularly, as you have to take them off when you use the spa. I know this is going to make me sound lazy, and I am really not! But unclipping the cover and lifting it up and then having to roll up the thermal blanket and place it somewhere it will not pick up contaminates, is too much for me!! I want to make using the hot tub as easy as possible, and if this means I spend an extra ten cents a day, then that’s a price worth paying! If you have an inflatable hot tub, then thermal blankets might help reduce the cost of running the hot tub, but then your energy bills in cold weather will be high anyway, and you would have accepted that when you purchased the hot tub.
Reduce the temperature of the hot tub water
Reducing the temperature of the water will reduce energy consumption and the cost of running your hot tub. In the summer, I would recommend you run your hot tub cooler anyway, to reduce the chance of you or your guests over-heating. Some people run their hot tubs very hot (104 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature is at the top end of what most hot tubs can achieve. The problem with running the tub so hot is that you can overheat very fast and it becomes uncomfortable. It also costs a lot more money to maintain the water at this temperature. Keeping the temperature around 100 degrees Fahrenheit will mean you have a more comfortable experience and you will be saving money!! A win-win!!
Using the hot tub only in summer will save money
If you avoid winter hot tubbing, you will save money, but you will also be missing out on the best time to sit in your hot tub. You will need to take extra precautions when you use your hot tub in icy conditions, but I promise the reward is worth it. I have written an article on this – click here to read. If you are using an inflatable hot tub and you are concerned about running costs, then it is probably best to pack it away when it gets cold. If you are going to use it, then make sure you try and insulate the pump to avoid it freezing.
Turn off the air inlet
Air can be added to the water jets to increase the power and give a deeper massage. However, if the outside air temperature is cold, this air will reduce the heat of the water. 32amp hot tubs can run the heater at the same time as the water jets, so the water temperature should remain constant. If you have a ‘plug and play’ 13amp or an inflatable hot tub, the heater is usually off when the jets are on, meaning the water will start to cool down. Either way, using air bubbles in the hot tub will cost you more as your heater works to maintain the temperature.
Windbreak around the hot tub
Hot tubs look best landscaped into the garden, and a wooden lattice may provide a little privacy from the neighbours. The screen may also help save you money while you are using the hot tub. Airflow over the surface of the hot tub reduces the water temperature and the more airflow, the faster the water loses this temperature. As with the bubbles, the built-in heater has to work harder to maintain the water temperature. If you are only using your hot tub for 20min a day, then this is unlikely to save a lot of money, but combined with the other tips it might help a little.
A well maintained hot tub is less expensive to run.
Make sure you look after your hot tub and perform regular water changes when it is not freezing outside. You should also use a pipe cleaner when you change the water to ensure the pipes are free of sludge and working efficiently. The filter also needs to be kept clean to ensure the pump is not working too hard and the water is flowing at the optimal flow rate.
Off-setting the running cost of owning a hot tub
Off-setting the cost of running a hot tub is my favourite way to save money that does not compromise my enjoyment of hot tubs. In the US many states are now deregulating energy services. Deregulation means that states can legislate to separate who supplies and who delivers energy. Not all states have changed, but there is a move towards this.
If you are lucky enough to live in one of these states, then some companies help you decide which energy suppliers are cheapest. One company that comes highly recommended is https://www.electricchoice.com/ You have to enter your zip code, and they find electricity rates and energy plans from your area. Amazing right?
So how much money can I save?
In the US the data on this is limited, so it is hard to estimate. In the UK, the average person who changes supplier for both gas and electricity saves around $500 per year!!! That’s enough to pay for all the energy the hot tub uses, and you’ll have change for a fancy new swimsuit!! In the UK a leading company that can help with switching energy supplier is https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/. You will need to know roughly your current energy use so that they can find you the best deal. All you need to start with though is your postcode.
I don’t have time to keep swapping energy suppliers!
You are not alone. Many people struggle to find time to change supplier, so some companies in the UK can help with this. Every year they will review your tariff and change suppliers for you! I can’t find anyone in the US doing this at present. If you know of a company that is auto-switching customers let me know in the comments so I can give them a shout-out!!
So, what is the best way to reduce the running cost of your hot tub?
In my opinion, the best way is to offset the cost by switching energy supplier as this requires little effort. What we do after that is up to us. The hot tub experience is meant to be luxurious. Stressing about how much the hot tub costs to run is a worry too far. Well built hot tubs will cost $20 – $35 per month to run and I feel this is an absolute bargain!! Energy costs are higher in the UK, so expect to pay between £30 – £40 per month.
I hope you have found this helpful – if you think I have missed anything, please comment below or get in touch directly.