Dreaming of relaxing nights in your backyard while warm water soothes your achy joints and sore muscles? You can make your dreams come true by purchasing a new hot tub. The path to bliss involves evaluating the best hot tub for your budget. The initial hot tub cost seems reasonable, but one often forgets to factor in the continual electric bills that follow. Surprisingly, today’s energy efficient hot tubs cost very little to run. Here are factors you’ll want to consider when shopping for efficient hot tubs:
Insulation is the most important factor for the energy-efficiency of a hot tub. Insulation creates a barrier between the shell’s surface and the ambient temperature outside. This thermal blockade helps maintain water temperature and allows the heater and pumps to run more efficiently.
Hot tubs range widely in cost and quality of materials, including the amount of insulation installed. Inflatable and basic plug and play models have little to no insulation at all. Moving up in quality, partial foam insulation is placed between the hot tub and cabinet. While better than nothing, foam leaves gaps which allow heat to escape.
Full foam insulation is the best at maximizing energy efficiency. Foam is sprayed to fill the interior of the cabinet, providing structural support and using half the energy of a partial foam insulated tub. The downside to a fully insulated tub reveals itself when hot tub repairs are needed. The density of insulation makes hot tub equipment more difficult to access.
We prefer hot tubs with partial foam. The biggest reason is that if there is a leak or plumbing issue down the line, it is much easier to find and fix in a spa that is partially foamed than in a full foamed tub. In a full foamed tub, you could have a small pipe break in a corner of the spa that continues to leak until the foam in saturated and the water could appear in a completely different area of the tub, leading to hours or days of chipping out wet, soggy foam until you find the leak. If you want more insulation, we recommend purchasing an inexpensive roll of the pink, fiberglass insulation and adding it into the open air spaces under the tub. It will give you added protection and if there is ever a leak, you can pull this insulation out to easily fix the issue.
Heat Retaining Covers
A thick insulated cover helps the overall efficiency of a hot tub by cutting down on heat loss (remember, as science class teaches, heat rises). Even a hot tub surrounded by thick insulation will lose heat quickly if left uncovered. The best covers consist of dense foam wrapped with a waterproof layer, lined with a heat reflecting material, and covered by marine-grade vinyl or fabric.
While hot tubs in warmer climates might not experience the same level of heat loss as hot tubs in cold climates, covering the tub with an insulated topper still works to improve energy efficiency. More layers of insulation, the better. For additional insulation, it is recommended to float a thermal cover or a bubble type solar cover on the surface beneath the hot tub cover. Not only does this help retain heat by creating an additional heat barrier, but it adds to the longevity of your vinyl insulated cover in many ways. It prevents water absorption and chemical deterioration to your big, expensive cover.
Covering your hot tub also provides an important safety function, keeping curious children or animals out of the water. The cover reduces maintenance as well, keeping debris and rain/snow out of your hot tub. For safety and cleanliness, as well as hot tub energy efficiency, make sure that your hot tub cover is in good condition and is a snug fit on all corners of the tub. We recommend cleaning the cover with mild soap and water and protecting it with 303 Protectant. Never use a product like Armor All which can dry out and damage the cover.
Pump and Heater
Having a well-maintained pump and heater is important to the overall enjoyment of a hot tub. Toasty water that pulses forcefully out of jets, providing a soothing massage, only happens when the heater and pumps are working properly. Maximizing their performance and endurance is an important step towards optimal energy consumption in your hot tub.
When you’re traveling, turn the heater down to save on your energy bill, but remember to leave some heat running at all times during winter weather to prevent pipes and pump motor from freezing.
Too Hot for the Hot Tub?
After installing a little slice of bliss in your backyard, it’s tempting to keep that hot tub cranked up to high heat at all hours—just in case you’re in need of random relaxation. But this kind of indulgence can heat up your energy bill as well. To enjoy your hot tub without using excessive electricity, it’s important to think about your heating schedule strategically:
· Many hot tub enthusiasts prefer to soak in 100-102 degree water.
· The maximum recommended safe water temperature is 104 degrees.
· Lower your hot tub’s temperature setting by five degrees when not in use. This saves energy while allowing for quick reheating should you want a soak.
· If away from your hot tub for an extended time, lower the temperature by ten to fifteen degrees.
· You may want to turn your heater off in the summer if you live in a steamy locale and prefer cooler soaks to combat the heat.
· Children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions cannot tolerate high heat. They should receive medical advice from a licensed physician before using a hot tub.
For peak hot tub efficiency, you’ll want to invest in a well-manufactured tub. Place it in an area with a wind break like a pergola or retaining wall to shield your hot tub from chilly blasts of air. Then take steps to keep energy usage minimal while maintaining an optimal water temperature. Peak energy efficiency involves a simple four-part formula:
· Buy a well-built acrylic or even stronger high-density polyethylene tub.
· It should be insulated with partial or full foam insulation and lined with an eco-friendly thermal wrap.
· Choose a high-density cover to keep heat from evaporating out of your hot tub. The cover should consist of a couple pounds of thick foam wrapped in a waterproof layer and covered with vinyl. Float a thermal cover on the surface of the water for added insulation.
· Pay attention to the physical condition of your hot tub. Keep your heater and pumps in good functioning order.
Hot tub costs vary, from budget models to luxury editions, depending on the features and quality of construction. In general, low budget plug and play models can go from big box store to soothing soaks in hours, but their features are minimal and durability very questionable. These plug and play models are only wired for a 110 volt outlet and you will not have the power needed to run the jets and heat at the same time. Pump two 98-degree bodies in the tub and watch how fast the temperature drops. Purchasing a premium or luxury model from a hot tub store may cost more initially, but superior insulation will reduce energy usage and a generous warranty will mean that you won’t have to worry about repair costs for years.
With setup costs fairly fixed, many consumers decide to invest in a durable, energy efficient hot tub that will provide a relaxing experience for years to come. Loaded with features like powerful jets, water features, and color-changing lights, a premium hot tub can become a multi-sensory way to unwind as you let stress flow away with the bubbles—and who can put a price on that?
When you’re ready to find the perfect hot tub or if you have any questions just let us know! We’ve got the best pricing, selection and customer service around!
When you’re ready to find the perfect Hot Tub, visit:
Marina Pool, Spa and Patio at 7777 West Jewell Avenue, Lakewood.