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Purchasing a hot tub is a big financial decision. Not only do you need to consider the average costs to buy the hot tub itself, but you need to consider the costs for delivery, installation, maintenance, and general operations too. Understanding how much it costs to run a hot tub can help you make the best decision for you and your family and can ensure that you consider all the upfront costs when selecting the best financing for your spa purchase.
Highlights & Key Takeaways
- On average, it costs about $50 per month to run a hot tub
- Cleaning your hot tub weekly and doing a deep clean every four to six months can help your hot tub last longer, thus saving you money
- Hot tub chemicals can cost as much as $300 to $500 for a season’s supply, but the actual price will vary based on your specific hot tub, and it’s specified requirements
- When purchasing a hot tub, prepare for costs related to delivery, installation, and ongoing operations and maintenance
Understanding the Cost of Running a Hot Tub
Hot tubs have a lot more moving parts than many consumers realize. From the jets to the heater to the pump, a lot needs to happen to provide you with that hot water you desire for muscle relaxation, stress management, weight loss, and more. This article is designed to help you understand the potential costs of running your hot tub so that you can budget appropriately for future expenses. Knowing what to expect upfront can make your hot tub investment more enjoyable for you, your family, and all who will enjoy your new spa.
What’s the Average Monthly Electricity Cost to Run a Hot Tub?
The hot tub’s heater uses the most electricity in the unit. The heater alone will pull 1,500 watts or 6,000 watts, depending on whether it's a 120-volt heater or a 240-volt heater. After the heater comes the pump which draws about 1,500 incremental watts. But determining the exact cost of electricity for your jacuzzi will vary based on several factors.
- The physical size of your tub as the more water you fill your hot tub with, the more water there is to heat
- The thermostat setting on your spa
- Outdoor air temperature and wind speeds. If you live in a colder climate, it will take more effort to heat the water to the desired temperature of 100°F to 102°F
- The quality and age of your water heater
And, even when you are not using your hot tub, varying factors can add to the electrical cost. Those factors include:
- The insulation quality
- How well the cover fits over the top of the hot tub
- Whether a thermal blanket is used to provide additional insulation (more common in colder climates)
- If you use a heater timer to ensure the temperature is warmer when you tend to use the unit more often
This all said, you can safely estimate that an above-ground jacuzzi with a 120-volt heater will use about 3,000 watts while in use. If your hot tub has a larger heater, you can anticipate it will use about 7,500 watts. This means about 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 7.5 kWh, respectively. So, multiply your spa’s kWh by the kWh rate on your electric bill. For our example, we’ll say the kWh on your electrical bill is 15 cents. So, that’s $.45 to $1.13 to heat your tub each hour.
What’s the Average Monthly Water Cost to Run a Hot Tub?
Hot tubs go through a lot of water. You can anticipate that your hot tub will lose about one inch of water per week. And your hot tub probably holds more water than you realize - a mid-sized hot tub holds approximately 400 gallons of water. You’ll need to plan to add water to your hot tub every month to ensure proper operation. As a note, however, if your hot tub is losing more than one inch of water per week, it could indicate that you have a leak.
Thankfully, water costs across the country aren’t all that high. For most mid-sized hot tubs, you can anticipate spending an incremental $10 to $15 monthly to keep your hot tub full. However, to keep your hot tub properly sanitized, you should plan to empty, clean, and refill your hot tub once every four to six months. Per the Environmental Protection Agency, a gallon of water costs about $0.00295, which translates to three cents for every ten gallons. So, filling a 400-gallon hot tub won’t cost you too much.
What’s the Average Monthly Chemical Cost to Run a Hot Tub?
To sanitize your hot tub properly, you’ll need various chemicals from your local pool and spa supplier. Most hot tub owners like having the following chemicals on hand.
- Hot tub sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine
- Hot tub shock treatment
- Alkalinity increaser
- pH increaser and pH decreaser
- Calcium hardness increaser
- Line flush cleaner
- Water clarifier, metal sequestrant, filter cleaner (optional)
Once you have invested in these items, you can expect to spend about $25 monthly on chemical treatments.
What’s the Average Monthly Maintenance Cost to Run a Hot Tub?
Taking care of your hot tub will take some diligence and effort. Specifically, you will need to do the following.
- Test your spa water once weekly with a spa test strip to check for pH levels, chlorine, calcium hardness, and total alkalinity. You should keep the water within the following ranges unless directed differently by your spa professional.
- Chlorine: 1.0-3.0 ppm (when using with a mineral sanitizer or Ozonator)
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 125-150 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 100-200 ppm
- Maintain the water level
- Wipe down the hot tub’s shell, waterline, and jets once weekly with a non-abrasive sponge and approved cleaner
- Remove the filter once per week and rinse with hose water
- Use a marine vinyl cleaner and conditioner to wipe down your spa’s cover at least once per month
Aside from the water and electricity costs to keep your hot tub functional, the costs to maintain it are pretty reasonable from most homeowners’ perspectives. Test strips cost less than $15 for 50 strips. Getting the hot tub chemicals mentioned earlier will likely cost between $300 to $500 for a season’s supply.
What’s the Average Monthly Cost to Run a Hot Tub?
The average monthly cost to run a hot tub combines the expenses mentioned earlier. Those costs include:
- Costs for water
- Costs for electricity
- Costs for chemicals
All in all, you can expect to spend about $50 per month.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Running a Hot Tub
The estimates that we provide in this article are just that; estimates of how much it costs to run a hot tub. Your exact costs will depend on various factors, including the size of your hot tub, the type of hot tub you have and how old it is, the chemicals required to ensure efficient and safe operation, your local costs for water and electricity, and more.
Here are some specific factors that influence how much it will cost to run your above-ground (or in-ground) hot tub.
Hot Tub Size
Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes. However, they usually range from five feet to nine feet in width and 29 inches to 39 inches in height. The larger your hot tub is, the more it will cost to operate.
Type of Hot Tub
Just as hot tubs come in different sizes, the styles can vary too. The most common types of hot tubs include:
Most consumers purchase an above-ground hard-shell hot tub that is placed on a concrete pad behind their house. These units typically cost more to operate than smaller units, such as those that are inflatable and portable.
Quality of Hot Tub Brand
The better the quality of your hot tub, the more efficient you can anticipate it to operate. A poorly made hot tub might not have the same insulation quality as a higher-end unit. And, the better the insulation, the less hard the heater needs to work to keep your water at a comfortable temperature.
Hot Tub Age
A high-quality hot tub will last about five to 20 years. Hot tubs have a lot of expensive parts to keep it operating, and these parts can deteriorate over time, often requiring repair or replacement. The older the hot tub gets, the more likely you are to experience leaks or a malfunction in the heater or the pump. More frequent repairs and part replacement due to age will obviously increase your hot tub operating costs.
Your Local Climate
The geography of your hot tub will also influence the cost. Operating a hot tub in colder climates will make it more expensive. Further, if your hot tub is kept outside and exposed to the elements, it increases the wear and tear experienced over time. If you are located in a northern state where it is colder, you can invest in an insulation blanket that can help keep the temperature at the ideal levels.
The cost of spa chemicals can add up, but many dealers offer packages to get you what you need for a reasonable price. A bucket of bromine can cost about $200 for 50 pounds. Chlorine is a bit less expensive; consumers can get 50 pounds of tablets for about $100. The choice is really up to the homeowner as there are pros and cons to both options.
That said, you can choose to use alternatives to chlorine and bromine. For example, if your hot tub will be indoors, you may prefer biguanides, a saltwater generator, or an Ozonator.
Type of Filters
As there are hundreds of types of spa and pool filters, the best thing to do is to stick to the filter recommended by your spa dealer. You can also make a note of the filter specifications from your hot tub’s owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the right replacement each time. Your hot tub flter should be rinsed out weekly as part of your cleaning process and should be replaced once per year. The price of hot tub filters can run as low as $10, or closer to $200 on the high end.
Local Cost of Water
Water costs tend to vary not only by state, but by city too. However, if you live in West Virginia, California, or Oregon, you will pay a lot more for your water than if you live in North Carolina, Vermont, or Wisconsin. West Virginia has the highest water costs per country with homeowners paying close to $91 monthly on their water alone. As a comparison, those who live in Wisconsin only pay about $18 per month.
Frequency of Cleaning
As we shared earlier, to ensure the proper operation and longevity of your hot tub, you should plan to clean it once per week. Each week, be sure to test your water levels and rebalance with your chemical supply. Wipe down the hot tub’s shell, waterline, and jets once weekly with a non-abrasive sponge and approved cleaner. Remove the filter weekly and rinse away and debris or build-up with hose water. Finally, wipe down your spa’s cover at least once per month
You should also refill the water in your hot tub about once every four to six months. If you choose to do these maintenance items more or less, it will impact the price of supplies
The average cost to repair a hot tub is around $348, and typical repairs tend to address:
- Leaking water
- Broken jet
- Heater malfunction
- Pump malfunction
- Circuit board malfunction
- Hot tub blower is not working
- Frame or cabinet damage
However, some repairs can get more costly, falling somewhere between $164 to $533. And the most costly repair for a hot tub is for the pump and these repairs can cost $750 to $1,200 for the pump alone, not to mention the labor.
Price of Electricity
Just as some states are more or less expensive for their water use, some states are more or less expensive for electricity. Hawaii, Arizona, and Texas tend to have the highest electricity rates in the U.S. As of some of the most recent data available, the national average cost of electricity is 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). But these states range on the high side at 13.21 to 32.76 cents per kWh.
Frequency of Use
The more you use your hot tub, the more likely you will be to keep the temperatures at the recommended 100°F to 102°F (or even 104°F). This means that the heater and pump will need to work harder than they would if you only heat the water a few times per month.
Hot Tub Features
Certain features in your hot tub can increase operational costs and your risks for repair. For example, built-in stereos, in-tub lighting, and even waterfalls have many working parts that can get damaged by scale build-up, moisture, and more.
There are things you can do, however, to save money. You can invest in energy-saving features such as timers that increase the temperature only when you need it, keeping the water at a less expensive temperature to maintain the rest of the time. Turning down the heat 10 degrees can save you 20% in operating costs. You can also do the following:
- Turn off the jets when you get out of the hot tub
- Keep it covered (and locked) when not in use
- Keep the spa clean
- Keep your hot tub under a gazebo or pergola for shade
Types of Financing Available for Hot Tubs
Most homeowners choose to purchase their hot tubs some sort of financing to pay for the unit itself plus the delivery and installation, instead of paying with cash. Here are some main ways you can finance your hot tub.
- HELOC loan - HELOC stands for a home equity line of credit. In these cases, your lender gives you a revolving line of credit based on the equity in your home. You can use this line of credit as you wish, including for investments such as a hot tub, swimming pool, etc.
- Home equity loan - When done right, hot tubs can actually add value to your home. But this assumes your hot tub is high-quality and is properly maintained. For this reason, many homeowners will take out a home equity loan to pay for their hot tub and the associated costs. A home equity loan allows you to borrow money using the equity in your home as collateral.
- Credit cards - Though a credit card can be an expensive way to purchase a hot tub and all that comes with it, occasionally, you might be privy to a special offer that makes it worth the time and expense.
- Personal loans - Personal loans are an excellent way to seek hot tub financing. However, before taking out a loan to pay for your hot tub, shop for the best rates and loan terms.
11 Tips to Reduce the Cost to Run Your Hot Tub
Explain how each tip below can help readers save money on running their hot tub.
- Leave the hot tub lid on - Leaving the hot tub lid on helps trap the heat inside the unit, thus keeping the heater from overworking to keep the desired temperature.
- Insulate your hot tub with a thermal cover - Most standard hot tub covers are made out of dense foam and marine-grade vinyl. But covers don’t necessarily have the necessary thermal properties to help maintain heat. Many hot tub owners invest in a thermal cover to provide extra insulation and temperature maintenance.
- Set the right temperature - The recommended temperature for a hot tub is 100°F to 102°F, though some users prefer a heat closer to 104°F. However, the higher the temperature setting in place, the more the heater will have to work to maintain it. To see a slight dip in your electrical bill, try lowering the temperature a degree or two to see if it is adequate for use.
- Protect your hot tub from the wind - The more the air around the hot tub moves, the more quickly the water inside will evaporate. Plus, the wind can blow leaves and other debris into the tub, increasing the need for more frequent cleanings.
- Avoid splashout to conserve water - Some water will inevitably splash over the sides when you use your hot tub. However, it is best to avoid spillover and splashout as much as possible. The more water tossed out of the jacuzzi, the more water you’ll need to replace it, and the more your heater will need to work to get the new water to the desired temperature.
- Close the air jets on your hot tub - Closing your air jets when your hot tub is not in use will help keep the water temperature steady. This means your heater won’t have to work as hard.
- Heat your spa during off-peak hours - Peak electricity hours seem to be between 3 PM to 8 PM when kids are getting home from school and families are preparing their evening meal and activities. And, electricity tends to cost more when there is more demand. So, try heating your hot tub during off-peak hours to save not only on costs, but on overall energy use too.
- Clean your hot tub regularly - Since your hot tub contains hundreds of gallons of water, it is subject to scale build-up and corrosion. Cleaning your hot tub weekly and emptying, sanitizing, and refilling every four to six months will help keep your spa in the best possible working order.
- Keep the hot tub running - Even though you might not enjoy using it daily, you should still keep it running. When you shut down the unit, it creates more risk that the working and moving parts will be subject to damage.
- Invest in regular maintenance - While professional maintenance comes with a cost of its own, it is often far less expensive than costly repairs later. Many dealers offer maintenance packages that provide extended warranties on items such as the heater or pump. We recommend that hot tub owners invest in a maintenance plan to ensure their hot tub is always safe to use and effectively operational.
Purchasing a new hot tub is an exciting endeavor. And, with the proper care and diligence, you can likely enjoy your hot tub for as long as 20 years. But hot tubs come with some expenses that purchasers aren’t always aware of. Planning for these expenses upfront and knowing how much it costs to run a hot tub can prevent dismay or disappointment later.