Budget-Friendly Spa Heating: the Cheapest Ways to Heat Your Hot Tub

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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Hot tubs are great for so many different occasions, whether it's a relaxing evening after a hard day of work or a weekend party with friends or family. The one thing you'll notice, though, is the impact on your monthly electricity bill. What are some budget-friendly ways to heat your hot tub?

There are several ways that you can save money on heating your spa. In this article, we'll take you through 6 great tips and tricks for keeping the energy costs of your hot tub as low as possible.

1. Purchase a quality cover

A high-quality thermal cover is the most important item that will save you money on your energy bill. Take a look at the cover your hot tub came with, as they usually aren't the most thermally efficient on the market. Heat travels upwards, so a solid cover that lasts several years will pay you back in energy savings.

In addition to the hot tub cover, you can also use a thermal blanket to throw on top of the water. The blanket will float, adding an additional layer of insulation, and keeping your water hotter for longer.

2. Keep the temperature consistent

Just like your central HVAC system, keeping your hot tub water temperature constant will save you in the long run. Though you may think turning the hot tub off when you aren't using it will save you energy, heating water from a lower temperature requires tons of energy. Keeping your water at a consistent temperature will save energy depending on how often you use it.

Another idea is to lower the thermostat when you're in the hot tub. On average, users enjoy a range of 100-102 degrees. If you lower your preferred temperature by just a degree or two, the only place you'll notice it is on your energy bill!

Another great tip is to analyze when you are using your hot tub the most. For many hot tub owners, the weekend is the best time to jump into those relaxing waters. When you know your preferred times, you can lower the temperature by a couple of degrees if you don't think you're going to use it for a few days. Then, you can raise the temperature to where it should be so it's ready for when you want to hop in.

3. Keep up with regular maintenance

Though cleaning may be the last thing on your mind when you're relaxing in the bubbly hot tub waters, regular maintenance will help keep your hot tub running smoothly, your energy bill lower, and your water safe.

You should clean your filter on a bi-weekly basis. If there is too much build-up of dirt, algae, or other debris in your filter, the pump has to work that much harder to push water through it. A deep chemical cleaning is also suggested every month or so. Additionally, you'll want to replace the filter every year.

If you're new to water chemistry, I wrote a detailed guide which will teach you exactly how to maintain your water.

4. Consider where you put your tub

There are several factors you should consider when purchasing a hot tub. The first thing you should think about is the direction of the prevailing wind. If your hot tub isn't protected, the cold air that will constantly be hitting the hot tub will reduce the temperature, making it work harder. Shelter is better.

Next, you can look inside your hot tub and see if there is any empty space that may need extra insulation. You can use anything from spray foam or household insulation to plug any gaps. Be sure not to plug any air intakes or any areas that may need to be accessed for maintenance.

The best way to avoid many of these issues is to place your hot tub in some kind of protective shelter like a gazebo or outdoor building. Any structure that will protect your hot tub from the weather will make it more energy efficient.

5. Buy a new, more efficient hot tub

Though second-hand hot tubs are significantly cheaper than newer ones, in the long term, your energy bills will more than likely suffer. There are people who spend over $100 a month on running older, less efficient hot tubs, which is double the $50 a month average.

Considering that hot tubs can last several years without their efficiency rating breaking down significantly, you can be saving a considerable amount of money in the long term by buying a new, high-efficiency hot tub.

Using a smart meter is an easy way of calculating the energy usage of your hot tub.

If you're thinking about replacing your hot tub, you can get a comparison by measuring the wattage your current hot tub is using, then comparing it to the standards of a new hot tub. From there, you can calculate the long-term energy savings versus the cost of the new hot tub.

6. Drain your hot tub as infrequently as possible

As mentioned earlier, you want to keep your water at a consistent temperature if you are using it often. Therefore, it should be relatively obvious that draining and refilling your water will consume a lot of energy in the heating-up process. Maintaining your water properly in between fills will help limit the number of water replacements.

Despite this, you will have to change your water at some point, as it's still important to keep it safe for bathing. The general rule is one water change every three months for average usage, though you may be able to get away with longer if you only use your spa infrequently.

A good tip when changing your water is to use warm water from the tap. Your hot tub won't have to work as hard heating up the water at that point. I have several more tips on how to heat up a hot tub faster in another post I wrote.

So, now that you have some good ideas for saving on heating costs for your hot tub, you can get back to relaxing in the comfort of your home spa!

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