The Hidden Costs Of Owning A Hot Tub: Energy And Maintenance

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Person soaking in hot tub

While it's not everyone's cup of tea, there are many who enjoy the relaxation and rejuvenation of sitting in a hot tub. If you fall into the latter category, then you may have considered purchasing a hot tub for your household. This way, you can enjoy it whenever you'd like to wind down after a long day, or to relieve sore muscles.

There are many hot tubs on the market, and they range in shape, size, depth, and price. Not to mention, you can get ones with high-end waterproof speakers, LED lights, customizable jets, water features, advanced filtration, and more.

Since there are so many variables, the initial cost of a hot tub can range widely from the low thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. You will also need to budget for a foundation to put the hot tub on, as well as proper wiring if you don't have it already. 

However, like buying a vehicle, the cost of owning a hot tub is just the beginning. You should also consider what a hot tub will cost you over the years in energy consumption, maintenance, and repairs. With that said, let's take a look at the hidden costs of owning a hot tub.

Energy costs can vary

Brown hot tub with cover

To be clear, the monthly electricity costs to keep a hot tub running can vary. The size, outdoor climate, frequency of use, quality of insulation, and temperature you have it set at can affect the overall cost. 

Like a smart thermostat in your home, the hot tub heater will need to turn off and on in order to maintain the water temperature, even when it's not in use. For example, if you live in a region that has frigid winters, have a large hot tub, and like to keep the temperature toasty, then the monthly electricity costs are going to be higher.

However, if you live in a region that has warmer winters, then the cost to keep the hot tub at the desired temperature will be less. The other aspect that will determine your monthly cost will depend on how often you use your hot tub. Every time you get in a hot tub, the heater will run more than when it's not in use.

Lastly, the quality of the tub's insulation is also something to factor in. If the hot tub's insulation is poor, it will let heat seep out. That's why it's essential to have a good cover so the thermostat isn't constantly turning on. For homeowners living in a cold region, it's a good idea to invest in a thermal blanket for an additional layer of insulation. Even though hot tub companies will advertise a $50/month maintenance cost, you can see that the actual cost can vary and increase widely.

Prepare for constant maintenance

hot tub chemical testing kit

The cost to maintain a hot tub doesn't stop at electricity consumption. Homeowners also need to consider the added cost to keep the water clean. 

Again, it will depend on how often you use your hot tub, but on average, a hot tub should be sanitized once a week. The pH levels should also be tested once or twice a week, depending on the manufacturer's recommendation. This alone is vital to prevent bacteria growth, but the estimated cost can vary depending on the water in your area, and the type of chemicals you use.

On top of that, hot tubs should be drained periodically so they can be cleaned and the filters can be changed. Depending on how often the hot tub is used, it should be drained and cleaned two to five times a year. Typically, this should be done by a professional to ensure the hot tub is cleaned properly. The cost to do this can vary depending on the company you hire and the region you live in, so it is worth calling around to compare pricing.

Knowing what to expect with repair costs

person servicing hot tub

The last thing to consider when buying a hot tub is repairs and labor cost. Like a vehicle or a home, sooner or later, things are going to break that will need attention. Unless you are savvy when it comes to hot tub repairs, you will most likely need to call a professional.

The hourly labor costs will fluctuate depending on what the issue is, so it's tough to gauge repair costs. Typically, a technician will troubleshoot the issue, and from there, give a quote to fix the problem. Repairs as simple as sealing a crack or fixing a cover can be as low as $65, while higher end repairs like pump replacements or sealing leaks can cost around $850 or more. To avoid having to make regular service calls, it's imperative to keep up with routine maintenance, because if you don't, you could be shortening the overall lifespan of the hot tub.

If you want to save on the overall cost of hot tub ownership, then there are some things you can do. To start, investing in a high-quality cover is a good idea. This way, water temperature will be easier to maintain, and the heater won't need to turn on as often. Next, staying on top of the pH levels will keep the water clean, so you won't have to drain the tub as often. Pressure jets can also use up a lot of energy, so when your hot tub isn't in use, it's best to close them to conserve energy. 

If you are set on buying a hot tub, you can mitigate the hidden fees of ownership, but only if you're aware if the maintenance required.

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