Hot Tubs: Friend or Foe

 

With winter season upon us, layers and warm places are met with much delight. But, before you decide to take the hot tub plunge, there are some surprising hidden costs. Hot tubs can use a lot of energy – sometimes up to half of a home’s total energy use! Not to mention the environmental impact and cost of maintenance and installation. But, if you already own a hot tub, don’t worry, there are ways to reduce cost and energy.

  • Traditional foam covers eventually trap water vapor that freezes, causing the hot tub to work harder and costing you extra money for energy. Using a cover that rests on top of the water can reduce heat loss by 75%.
  • Using expanding foam between the skirt and shell works best for insulation, but leave enough space for the motors to cool and wrap any exterior pipes to keep them from freezing.
  • Placing the motors underneath the hot tub is a type of an active heat reclamation system. It saves energy and keeps the hot tub from freezing in case of a power outage.
  • There are mixed reviews about whether a saltwater system is better for the environment than a traditional system; both require proper disposal of the water into the sewer system and frequent monitoring to prevent over and under treatment. Decide what works best for your family, and no matter what type of water system you use, ensure you properly dispose of the water when you are flushing out your system.
  • The ideal pH of a hot tub is 7.4. Deviations from this significantly reduce the efficiency of disinfection, which can allow harmful bacteria to grow.  There are easy at home test kits you can buy to test your tub.

 

Photo: Tom Lebsack with MOT Photos

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