How Are Hot Tubs Heated?

Most people simply enjoy relaxing in their hot tub and don’t have a major interest in learning exactly how the internal components function. However, some people enjoy understanding the inner workings of their possessions and are continually looking to make them work better. This article is for the latter group of people. We often get asked, “How are hot tubs heated?” And while there are several different types of hot tub heating systems, there are some basic principles that increase heating efficiency no matter the system that’s being used.

How Can Hot Tubs Be Heated?

Most hot tub heaters are powered by electricity. Electricity is also used to run the water pump which passes the water through the heater before returning it to the tub. Less commonly some hot tubs are heated by fire or solar power. These may or may not also require electricity to power the water pump or heating element. Regardless of the system being used, there are ways to make heating the hot tub water more efficient.

Hot Tub Insulation

A well-insulated hot tub, especially in colder climates, will reduce your dependence on your water heating system. There are several different levels of insulation depending on the model of your hot tub. Most hot tubs have insulation installed inside the cabinet and around the plumbing components. Often it’s composed of polyurethane foam in the form of boards and/or expanding spray foam. While a thinly insulated hot tub might be cheaper in the showroom, it will cost you more money to operate at home over the long run. If you live in a cold climate and plan to use your hot tub throughout the winter, paying more for insulation upfront is a smart investment.

Environmental Factors

While there’s not much you can do about the weather, the more you protect your hot tub from exposure, the less work your heater will have to do. Wind can play a major role in bringing down the temperature of your hot tub water. A barrier can reduce the effect that wind has on the hot tub and bring down your heating costs. This can be composed of hedging, shrubs, trees, or some type of fencing. Locating your hot tub close to your house or another structure can also provide it with some extra shelter.

Hot Tub Cover

When the hot tub isn’t being used, a hot tub cover will keep contaminants out of the water and keep heat inside. This can dramatically reduce the reliance on the water heater. Properly fitted and insulated hot tub covers can pay for themselves many times over in reduced heating and chemical costs. Just make sure to keep it in good repair and replace it when finished using the hot tub.

Running the Water Heater

It may seem wise to turn off the water heater whenever the hot tub isn’t being used. Of course, that will be the case if you have a wood-fired hot tub. However, if your heater runs on electricity from the grid, constantly turning on and off the heater can cost you more money in the long run. It turns out that it’s more efficient to keep the water at a consistent temperature rather than allowing it to drop before heating it back up when you’re ready to bathe again. This is even more pronounced in cold weather. Unless you rarely use your hot tub or the ambient air temperatures are very high, consider keeping your water heater running.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about how hot tubs are heated and how to do so more efficiently, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.