Adding a hot tub to your house or garden is a fantastic way to add a bit of luxury to your leisure time. It’s a little taste of the pampered high life you’ve always deserved.
It’s all so exciting; once you’ve saved enough money for the tub itself and professional installation, you’re dying to just slip into that bubbly bliss and let all your cares slip away. But, unfortunately, the expense doesn’t stop when the bubbles start.
Hot tubs can push up those electric and water bills to dizzying new heights, and chances are you’ve been too damn chilled out to realize how much energy you were steaming through.
Well, to stop stressful bills harshing your new-found mellow, you might want to consider alternative power sources for your hot bucket of heaven.
Solar panels are the perfect way to soak up some free energy and tame those ferocious bills once and for all. You’ve worked too hard and come too far to give it all up now, besides, you’ve already bragged about it to all your friends, family, and neighbors.
So, is it possible?
Yes or No?
The short and happy answer is, yes! You can absolutely power your hot tub using solar energy. As long as your panels are exposed to at least six hours of bright sunlight a day, you can keep tubbing for free.
Utilizing solar power won’t just cut down on your electricity bill, it’s also a totally green source of energy, great for you and the environment.
Types of Hot Tub Solar Heating
There are two main types of solar power systems for running hot tubs.
Heat Exchanging Panel
This is by far the cheaper of the two options. A heat exchanging panel is essentially a solar-powered panel attached to a series of small tubes that can be plumbed into your water flow system.
Cold water from your hot tub makes its way to the heat exchanging panel where it’s piped through the tubes and heated before it returns to your hot tub.
As long as it’s sunny, this panel will keep pumping all the hot water you need, and you can use it alongside your normal electrical heating system if you ever need to heat your tub extra fast.
DIY installation shouldn’t be too tricky either as it doesn’t require a lot of parts, and once it’s finished, it won’t require any maintenance. It’s simple and effective. There are however a few pretty drastic shortcomings to this method.
The main problem with this method is that energy isn’t storable in a heat exchanging panel. It’s used in the moment during the sunshine then it’s gone.
They’re also quite large units. They can end up being around 6ft long and 2 ft wide, so you have to be willing to sacrifice quite a large chunk of sunny space.
Lastly, there’s no proper way to control the temperature of the water these things are pumping out. You’d need to constantly check if the water was safe to be in. Hot tubs are only designed to handle water up to a certain temperature, so this system could cause some problems there too.
The second and most effective option is to hook your hot tub up to solar panels. This is going to cost a lot more and can’t be done as a DIY project.
The solar panels are connected to batteries that can store energy, so you can use your solar-powered hot tub whenever is best for you.
How Much Does it Cost To Run a Hot Tub?
The more energy-efficient your hot tub is, the more viable solar power becomes as you’ll be cover more of the costs.
If you saved up for a really quality tub, you made a wise decision. Due to the quality of the materials and improved insulation, you’re probably looking at a monthly running cost of around $50 or $600 a year. Panel installation makes sense here.
If you had somewhat of a tight budget when it came to the tub, you might be paying as much as $130 a month or $1560 a year, which is some serious cash. Solar power is unlikely to put a big enough dent in that to make panel installation worth it. In this instance, a heat exchanging panel may help.
How Much Will You Save With Solar Power?
It’s up for debate exactly how much money solar power will save you in the grand scheme of things. It depends on a lot of variables.
You have to think about the location of the hot tub, how much sun your property gets and where, the cost of installation and maintenance, and your localized ambient air pressure.
Solar panels should be capable of supplying all the power needed to run your hot tub during the brighter seasons.
During the colder, largely overcast seasons, you may not harness quite enough energy to run your hot tub without the help of standard electricity.
All things considered, you could cover around 70% of your total annual running costs with solar energy.
Deciding whether it makes monetary sense to install solar power for your hot tub depends on how long you intend to use it. If it’s going to cost around $2000 for the kit and a little extra for installation, it’s going to take about five years before you actually start saving any money.
In general, hot tubs last between ten and fifteen years. Now, you can either void the warranty on your new tub and make the solar modifications, or wait the standard five years for your warranty to expire.
If you wait, then your hot tub will have between five to ten years of life left in it. If your hot tub were to break after five years, you wouldn’t have saved any money at all.
Going the solar route with your hot tub is a more complicated financial matter than it seems at first glance, but it’s not just a financial decision.
If you’re a particularly eco-conscious person, you may not mind spending a bit of extra cash for clean renewable energy, and if you can make your tub last longer than five years, you might start seeing a small profit.
So, if you’ve got the space, the money, the tub, and most important of all, the sun, there’s no reason you shouldn’t invest in solar energy to power your hot tub.