Are Hot Tubs Expensive To Run?

  • By: Adam
  • Date: July 10, 2022

One of the key things to consider when purchasing a hot tub is how cost-effective it is to run. 

Hot tubs can be an expensive investment, and on top of the initial purchase, you also need to consider the cost of running the hot tub and maintaining it. 

In order to avoid any expensive surprises further down the road, we’ve put together this helpful article to explain the cost of running a hot tub and all the factors that affect the cost.

How much does a hot tub raise your electric bill?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of running a hot tub, for example, the model and type of the hot tub, and how old it is. 

If you’re purchasing a brand new hot tub, the good news is that newer models are likely to be a lot more energy-efficient than older ones, due to technological advances in heating equipment.

Another big factor that can influence the cost of running your hot tub is the climate you live in. If you live somewhere that experiences milder winters, it’ll be cheaper to run your hot tub all season, whereas in northern climates, where harsher winters are the norm, your hot tub heater will be working overtime to keep warm. 

These factors make it pretty difficult to calculate a precise figure for how much a hot tub costs to run. However, many manufacturers advertise their hot tubs as costing about 1 dollar per day, though high-end models could cost up to $50 a month. 

How much electricity does a hot tub use monthly? 

The heater is the most expensive part of the hot tub, and draws around 1,500 watts to 6,000 watts, depending on whether it’s a 120-volt heater or a 240-volt heater. The water pump can also use a significant amount of water, usually around 1,500 watts.

Even when you’re not using your hot tub, the heater will still run now and again to keep the water temperature optimal. However, when you’re using your hot tub, the heater will be running pretty much constantly, along with the pump. 

Roughly speaking, a hot tub with a 120-volt heater will consume around 3,000 watts while in use, while a larger heater will consume around 7,500 watts.

These wattages translate into 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 7.5 kWh, respectively. 

You can multiply your hot tub’s kWh by the kWh rate on your electric bill to find out the hourly rate.

However, this is still just an estimate, as there are several other factors that will influence the end cost, including: 

  • How big the tub is – more water equals more heating
  • Your hot tub’s thermostat setting
  • The outdoor air temperature and wind speeds, and how hard your heater has to work 
  • The quality and age of your water heater

What about additional maintenance costs? 

While regular use of your hot tub will rack up your energy bill, there’s also the cost of maintaining your hot tub’s water temperature when you’re not using it.

How much it costs to heat your water will depend on several things, including: 

  • How well insulated your tub is 
  • The quality and fit of the tub’s cover
  • Whether you use a thermal blanket for additional insulation
  • Whether you use a heater timer to heat the water during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper

Not only this, but there are other maintenance costs to take into account. 

These expenses will depend on the system in place to keep the water clean – whether it’s saltwater or chlorine – and this will also influence how often you need to drain and replace the water, which can range from once a year to six times annually.

You also need to consider the cost of chemical additives to keep the water clean if using a chlorine hot tub system, and these could add more than $100 per year to operating costs. 

There are also periodic replacements that are required which will also add to maintenance costs, for example, filters will require replacing every so often, and if your tub uses a UV light to fight against bacteria, the UV light bulb will also need replacing about once a year, too.  

If you haven’t purchased your hot tub yet, there may be other upfront costs you haven’t factored in yet.

 Alongside the hot tub itself, you also need to consider the installation cost (which can cost thousands of dollars), as well as pouring a concrete slab if required (depending on where you want it installed) and having a professional wire a new, dedicated 240-volt circuit to run the heater and pump.

What is the cheapest way to run a hot tub?

There are several ways you can lower your hot tub energy bill. Here are our tips for keeping your water temperature high but the cost low: 

Invest in a good cover

The hot tub cover you choose should depend on the environment you live in, and, if you live in a particularly cold climate, a deluxe or extreme cover may be necessary.

A good cover will trap the heat inside your tub, reducing the amount of effort required from the pump and heating system to keep the water warm. 

Lower the thermostat

You can also reduce your energy bill by lowering your thermostat by a few degrees.

Moving from 104° to 100° can have a noticeable effect on energy consumption without impacting the temperature of the water too significantly. 

Set up a wind block

If you live in an area prone to strong winds, a windbreak made from fencing, trees, privacy panels or anything else that fits your backyard design could prevent the wind from cooling your water.

It will also keep the chill off your shoulders when you’re using it. 

Lower the thermostat when you’re on vacation

Lowering the thermostat when you’re away is a simple way to cut down on energy, and during the summer, you can turn it off completely when it’s not in use.

However, don’t do this in the winter, as you’ll need some heat to prevent the water from freezing and causing damage to your tub. 

Heat during off-peak times

Your appliances work harder during peak times such as mornings and evenings so you may want to consider setting a timer so that your hot tub heats between 11 PM and 7 AM when it’s cheaper to use electricity.