If you are considering buying a portable spa, you should have an idea of how much it will cost to keep it going. A portable spa, despite some limitations, can provide a very pleasant and relaxing experience. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how much money it will cost to keep your hot tub running.
A portable spa is powered by a network of electrical components. Pumps, heaters and electronics such as the thermostat require power and can significantly improve your electricity bill. Heating the water consumes the most electricity. If you have a well-insulated tub and always put the lid on when you are not using it, you can cut heating costs. Do what you can to maximize heat retention as this is where you can really save money.
How much power you are likely to consume is very difficult to determine. It depends on so many different factors:
Despite this inevitable disclaimer, it’s not that bad. We can make some very good estimates of how much electricity you’re likely to consume. For this purpose, certain assumptions must be made. We assume that using your spa 3 times a week is an average usage. This is the case twice over the weekend, two days together and one more day of the week.
To determine the amount of electricity consumed, we need to know the rating of both the heater and the pump and nozzle system. Inflatable hot tubs have on average a heating and pumping system with a capacity of between 1 kW and 1.5 kW. Most nozzle and bladder systems have a capacity of 1.1 kW. We use an average of 1.35 kW for heating and 0.5 to 1.1 kW for bubbles. This seems to be what most inflatable hot tubs like Intex, Coleman and Bestway use.
Proper maintenance of filters is essential for a clean and bacteria-free environment with maximum efficiency.
If a filter is left unattended, it will clog with dirt that could potentially cause the pump or heater to fail if the system attempts to force water through the clogged filter.
You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how often the filter needs to be changed. The average, however, is every 4 to 6 weeks.
There may be holidays, extreme weather, or just a change in routine that causes your hot tub to idle. So we’ll say that the average spa is used 8 months a year.
For those who plan to use their hot tubs more often, the costs are obviously higher.
To keep the water of the spa clean and hygienic, a certain effort is required. How much depends on how often the spa is used. For “average” use, a spa should be drained, cleaned and refilled approximately every 6 weeks.
Some cleaning products are required to clean the surfaces of the spa and decalcify and condition the piping as needed. You must expect to pay about $10 for cleaning products for each maintenance period. If you use the spa for 8 months a year and empty and clean it every 6 weeks, that’s $75.
Next come the chemicals that are essential for healthy water. The cost of these disinfectant chemicals depends on how many you use. If your tap water is reasonably well-balanced at the beginning, you don’t need to be a chemist to consistently have good water quality.
In many cases, a simple regular dose of bromine, chlorine, or another hybrid disinfectant can be all that is needed. There is a comprehensive catalog of whirlpool water treatment chemicals on the market. Including defoamer to remove the foam in the spa, which may result from excessive accumulation of body oil. Water conditioner for softening and demineralizing. Chemicals to balance the pH. A pH range between 7.2 and 7.8 is considered acceptable. There are even perfumes to enhance the smell of the water.
If you can only keep your spa water healthy through regular monitoring and use of a bromine or chlorine disinfectant, you can expect an average cost of $10 per month.
One key point you need is a water quality test kit. The fact that owning an inflatable hot tub requires some responsibility can not be avoided. If you neglect it, you might end up spending more to correct the imbalance.
The water in your spa must be monitored and controlled regularly. Only vigilance can prevent contamination and accumulation of bacteria.
For most portable hot tubs that use either a chlorine or bromine-based disinfectant, the water must be tested every 2 days.
The 2 most common methods of testing whirlpool water are test strips or a fluid test kit. The use of test strips to monitor water quality is a simple and reliable process. All you need is a small sample of water, ideally taken from the center of the spa approximately. You then need to dip the test strip in the water and wait around 20 seconds. It is then easy to compare the color patches on the test strip with the reference diagram.
This basic test procedure only checks the pH, alkalinity and bromine or chlorine levels. However, you only have to worry about whether the pH and the bromine or chlorine levels are correct.
Test strips cost about $15 for a pack of 50 so if you test every 2 days, your monthly operating costs increase by approximately $4.60.
Although the cost of water is not very high, it should be taken into account if you want to get a complete picture of all the costs associated with operating a hot tub. Water prices vary widely in the US, but the cost per refill is estimated at $3. If you drain your spa, clean it and refill it at the recommended rate of once every 6 weeks, it is an estimated $24 a year for increased volumes of water.
The cost of water may seem trivial, but prices have risen rapidly in the last decade and are likely to continue to rise as increased demand puts pressure on limited supply.
At this point, we should be able to determine the annual cost of operating and maintaining a portable spa.
If you’re considering buying a cheaper hot tub (like an inflatable model), you’re probably anxious to cut those operating costs as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to reduce costs practically.