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How To Save Money Owning a Hot Tub

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Rebecca loves sharing what she knows about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!

I love hot tubbing!


Hot tubs are great!

My Lifesmart Coronado 7 person Hot Tub

My Lifesmart Coronado 7 person Hot Tub

Owning a hot tub

Owning a hot tub is exciting and just plain old awesome. What could be better than having a long relaxing soak after a hard day's work?

Ok, I can think of a few things but hot tubs make the list!

When you own a hot tub the last thing you want is stress from maintenance or operating costs. You want to be spending the time you have enjoying your hot tub!

Don't worry, hot tubs are not just for the financially wealthy anymore!

Buy a hot tub you know you will use

Hot tubbing is a lifestyle. This should be an appliance you use regularly or there isn't much point in owning one. Minimally in my opinion you should be using it 3x a week. Otherwise, the maintenance is just going to become a chore, and owning it won't be much fun.

Carefully consider the size and location of your hot tub. This will affect the operating cost. The more water you need to fill it the more your water bill will go up, also the electricity on initial fills. Also the cost of chemicals to keep your water looking like pristine glass.

If you have the hot tub shielded by wind or weather conditions this will help it retain heat, which means less electricity draw.

So knowing what size and where you place it will already factor into the cost of operation. And if you're not committed to using it, don't bother getting one. Owning a hot tub is similar to having a pet. It will require regular checking, cleaning, and maintenance.

Location Location Location

Location is a huge factor in purchasing a hot tub and keeping the electrical use down. If you live in a country or state where you get all four seasons, forget a plug and play hot tub. 110V is the same plug you use for a hairdryer or coffee maker. Having this type of electrical draw on a hot tub in the snow is going to make your heater run non-stop. $$$$$. Don't even bother with an inflatable if you live where it snows. Plus who wants a poppable hot tub? The only appeal to inflatables in my opinion is if you can't commit to ownership, or your budget just won't allow a better tub. Either way why bother?

Now if you live in a warmer climate a plug-and-play hot tub or inflatable may be perfect for you. Or if you don't want to really commit to care or need to move the hot tub a lot. The same thing applies to a used tub. But if you're savvy a lot of people get great deals on used tubs and keep them working great for many years.

For me, these things don't apply. So I chose a 220v hot tub.

220v hot tubs need to be wired by electrician's unless you know what you're doing and can do it yourself. Most people do not know-how. So get estimates on running a line before you purchase your tub.

In the long run, figuring out all of these points out in advance will pay off.

The type of Hot tub you choose

The type of hot tub you choose will also greatly affect the operating costs.

Opt for full insulation, or at least do your research on the insulation. Also, check the cover, any decent hot tub is going to include this with the purchase. Review how well it is insulated and be prepared to replace the cover 3-5 years into owning your hot tub.

Tuff spa makes hot tubs with permanent covers. If you can afford those it may be worth looking into. Spa blankets can help maintain heat in your tub when not in use. And you can always add additional insulation and privacy walls or fencing to block wind or other weather conditions. All of these factors will help keep your operating costs down.

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Initial Fill

When you find the hot tub you plan to take care of for a decade or longer this is exciting! Once delivered and installed it's time to fill it.

If you fill from a garden hose, which most people do you can save money by filling it when it's not freezing cold out. Ambient air will always affect how often your tub needs to come on to warm up the spa water. If you have to fill your tub in cold weather your initial fill will be a bit more expensive. When you're going from 0-100 over 10 hours that requires some effort from the heater.

Some people will run a line from the inside tap that will be warmer water or hotter. This will help with that initial cost to fill. But will still take a toll on your water tank heater.

A lot of times you can't totally avoid the initial increase in the electrical draw or when doing water changes.

But there is one clever idea that may help if you want to go to the trouble.

You get a copper line and coil it. You connect hose ends to both sides and hook the garden hose to one end and another hose to the other. You place this copper coil over a fire and run the water through it to heat up before it gets to your tub! People also do this with solar heating coils for pools.

Temprature settings

Don't play musical temperature settings. Hot tubs have thermostats and they are built to kick on when the water temp drops. If you constantly set your tub 10 degrees lower thinking you are saving money you're not. Every time your hot tub has to kick on to heat that's the energy bill ticking in the wrong direction.

The best thing you can do to keep electrical use down is to focus on insulation. The same way you would with your house.

As long as the tub is insulated it won't matter what temperature you have it set at. It will maintain the desired setting.

Now...if you're tubbing alone, you can help maintain evaporation by only opening half of the cover while in use. When the cover is totally off, there is nothing preventing escaping air. That heat escape will cause some unavoidable temperature decreasing.

Also, close the jet valves when not in use. Again you don't need air to pump into the tub when you're not using it. This helps prevent heat loss.

Turning the temp up and down for prolonged periods of time will do nothing to lower your electric bill.

The only time you need to be concerned with drastic temperature decreases is when something goes wrong electrically, or you're winterizing your hot tub.


If you want to reduce the cost of owning a hot tub, it makes sense to be on top of your maintenance.

  1. Get a decent cover and take care of it. Over time they become heavy and water-logged and just wear out. Chemicals, sunlight, dirt, excessive use will wear out the cover. Make sure your cover is decently insulated to keep the heat in the tub. Keep the cover clean. Keep the cover off the ground. When you add chemicals and they are off-gassing keep the cover off so this can evaporate. When the weather allows, give the cover a day or two to be off the tub and to dry out.
  2. Keep dirt and contaminants out of the hot tub as much as possible. This will extend the use of your chemicals and help to prevent needing a lot of them. Scoop out large dirt, leaves, bugs, or anything else that falls in. Don't allow it to sit in there. dirt and contaminants will cause your filters to work harder.
  3. Keep your filters clean. Usually, a good weekly rinse and a deep clean once a month is enough to extend the filter life for 12 months.
  4. Maintain your spa or hot tub per the MFG directions. Don't get lazy with the maintenance.
  5. Maintain your water chemistry. This is VERY important. Not only for health and safety but also to avoid damage to internal components.

When everything is in good working order and taken care of things last longer and operate at maximum efficiency.

Chemicals & other tips

Chemicals are always going to be part of hot tub maintenance. Remember the more gallons you have the more chemicals you are going to need, which goes back to buying the hot tub that is right for your lifestyle. There are a few chemicals that you absolutely need to operate your spa correctly. PH up and PH down, sanitizer, shock, and alkalinity increaser. And of course, something to test your water on a regular basis.

Here are some ways you can be cheap with chemicals though.

  1. Clean your filters with 50/50 water and white vinegar. Just fill a 5-gallon bucket or cooler or whatever you have on hand with this solution and let your filter soak overnight. Then give it a good rinse with a hose (not a pressure washer). Vinegar is inexpensive and will help get rid of build-up in your filters that hosing off won't.
  2. Use baking soda. Baking soda is literally pennies and can be used as an effective alkalinity increaser without throwing your hot tubs PH out of whack.
  3. Bleach. (I've never done this but have read about it) Bleach can be used to sanitize the tub similar to shock. Google for more info.

Other items that help with care and maintenance:

  1. Tennis balls. Tennis balls can be used to float in your tub and act as scum sponges. They can be rinsed off and reused. They will help absorb excess oil and grime.
  2. Test strips can be cut in half. Yes! Cut them in half and get double the use. As long as you can see well this won't be a problem.
  3. Keep lotions, oils, and detergents out of your tub as much as possible. Don't launder suits with laundry detergent just rinse them. Ask bathers to rinse off before getting in. Tie your hair up, keep it out of the tub. Hot tubs are for relaxing not for taking a bath.

Final thoughts

A hot tub should give you years of enjoyment with proper care and maintenance. The cost to own and operate one doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. You should factor in about $50 a month to own and operate your hot tub, which includes electric use and chemicals. If you buy a cheaply made tub, it may cost quite a bit more to run.

I'm just a simple girl, living in a simple world, and want to enjoy my hot tub for many years! And I want you to enjoy yours too.

My hot tub and I love it!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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