Should Hot Tubs Be in the Sun or Shade?

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the placement of a hot tub.

The location you choose can have a significant impact on how pleasant it will be to use, how long your cover lasts, and even the cleanliness of your water! In this article, we're going to talk about why you probably want to place your hot tub in the shade.

Hot tubs should be in the shade for three main reasons: it's more comfortable than using the spa in direct sunlight, it means less wear and tear on your cover, and UV rays can reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer.

Why using a hot tub in the shade is more comfortable

First off, let's talk about comfort! It can be difficult to relax when you're sitting in a hot tub while feeling frustrated by too much sun exposure.

The heat from the sun will make you feel hotter and more uncomfortable than it would if you had some shade. Plus, you'll have to wear sunscreen which is not ideal to introduce into the water as it's a sticky, oily substance—but if you don't, you'll risk getting burned.

Placing your hot tub under some trees and other shade structures will help to keep that heat down, allowing you to enjoy relaxing with family and friends for longer, even on hot sunny days.

How placement can impact your cover's life span

Hot tub covers are essential for keeping the heat in, but they're also subject to degradation from exposure to UV rays.

The sun's rays can damage your cover over time, and cause fading of colors or even cracking if you don't place it in shade away from direct sunlight.

While placing your hot tub in the shade won't completely protect it from all damage, you can significantly lengthen its lifespan by keeping it away from too much sun exposure. And at several hundred dollars, hot tub covers are not cheap, so prolonging their life is definitely something you want to do!

How UV rays can impact the cleanliness of your water

A third reason why placing your hot tub in the shade is important has to do with how UV rays can impact chemical processes. For example, chlorine-based sanitizing products break down much faster when exposed to too much sunlight.

This means that if you place your hot tub in the sun, it will require more frequent chlorine treatments and testing. If you don't keep up with this, you risk your chlorine levels dropping too low which means that bacteria can start to grow in your water. This, of course, is not good for anyone using the spa!

Regardless of sun or shade, keeping your hot tub covered when it's not in use is still a good idea, as it will help protect against excess sun exposure and keep chemicals at their maximum effectiveness. It also minimizes water loss through evaporation, and prevents debris from landing in your tub.

When it's appropriate not to put a hot tub in the shade

Of course, it's not the end of the world if you can't place your hot tub in the shade for whatever reason—there are still ways you can protect your cover.

Just be aware you might not get quite as much use out of it as you would if it were in the shade, and that you'll have to test your water a little more frequently to maintain the sanitizer levels.

Suggestions for ways to get temporary shade over your hot tub

Maybe you've already got a hot tub in place, and you've noticed that there aren't any trees to provide shade. Or maybe you have the perfect spot, but it's in an open area where no other structures are near enough for it to be protected by their shadow?

Luckily, there are a few ways to get some shade for your hot tub without spending too much money—or going through the hassle of relocating it.

Temporary gazebos

We love temporary gazebos as a hot tub shade because they are classy without being too expensive. Once they are assembled, they add an element of sophistication and comfort to your space.

A temporary gazebo is a pop-up tent of sorts. They usually have four posts and curtains or netting that you can tie into place. You can choose from all kinds of colors and styles, and they are usually easy to assemble.

ABCCANOPY 10x10 Patio Gazebo with Mosquito Netting
ABCCANOPY 10x10 Patio Gazebo with Mosquito Netting
View on Amazon

Temporary gazebos also create privacy. You can pull the curtains down to keep your relaxation time private, or you can tie the netting in place so you can still have a nice view out from the hot tub.

If your hot tub area is prone to bugs or mosquitos, a temporary gazebo with netting may be especially helpful.

Plus, temporary gazebos offer a lot of decorative opportunities. To make the space feel even more luxurious, you can place a few plants by the posts or consider stringing fairy lights around the edges for a magical vibe.

Hot tub umbrellas

A hot tub umbrella does not create the same level of privacy as a temporary gazebo. However, they still add an element of style and help your hot tub stay cool.

Some of these umbrellas are versatile in that you can rotate them to cover either your hot tub or your outdoor furniture, depending on where they sit in your outdoor space.

Similarly, you can change the angle of the umbrella to match the angle of the sun. It doesn't matter whether you enjoy your hot tub in the afternoon or evening since you can have coverage for any time of the day.

Hot tub umbrellas come in several different styles. You can choose an umbrella that matches the shape of your spa, and one that either hangs over the hot tub from a curved pole, or has a vertical stand that bends at an angle. Either way, you will get wide, not to mention adjustable, coverage from the sun.

Shade sails

Shade sails are a less common backyard accessory. They are long pieces of high-density polyethylene fabric that stretch between a series of poles to create a shade from sunlight. They are also weather-resistant and stay taut even in high rain and wind.

Shade&Beyond 10x10 Shade Sail
Shade&Beyond 10x10 Shade Sail
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Similar to umbrellas, shade sails also come in several styles and colors. Depending on which one you go for, they are probably the cheapest option too.

They are not too difficult to assemble either, because unlike umbrellas, they don't require a separate base, or permanent attachment to anything—they can be moved from place to place easily.

I love the geometric look of a shade sail in a backyard. They also create that classy, yet casual modern feel with their unique shape.

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