Pool Buyer Advice

Owning a Hot Tub Has Some Big Costs to Run: Real World Costs

Author: Josh Koop
Posted: April 19, 2020
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Almost everyone I know would love to have a hot tub in their backyard to allow for a relaxing place to end their days after work.

What most people don't know before they start this process is that you have a lot of associated costs that can add up, both up front and on a continual basis, so then, How much does a hot tub cost to run?

There are costs for the upfront work with preparations and electrical work. Additional costs will then occur from the month to month running of equipment, heating, cleaning, and insurance. When averaged out this is about $1-$2 each day to allow you to run and maintain the hot tub.

Now that you understand the complexity to assign costs let's take a look at each cost which is incurred for ownership of a hot tub.

From an initial installation cost to the monthly ongoing costs which will last throughout ownership.

Hot tub spa in a wooded backyard and garden - How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost to Run

If you plan for these costs upfront it can help you understand the total cost to installation instead of the cost of purchase for a hot tub alone.

This cost is what the companies will try to sell you on, if you find them to be good then take a look over here for AMAZING hot tub deals on Amazon.

What Are the One-Off Costs?

There is a set of expenses that are part and parcel of your initial purchase of a hot tub and starting from when the hot tub is delivered there are some one-off costs.

These are the costs that help get the hot tub ready for use and will only have to be paid a single time for set up.

Make sure you mentally prepare yourself as these costs can be fairly high but they will only need to be paid once, while you get to enjoy the benefits of owning your hot tub for many years.

Site Preparation

As with your pool a hot tub will need a strong foundation poured and leveled properly, most typically this is done with a concrete slab or sometimes on a deck.

Should you already have this in place you will not have this cost to pay and will be able to move onto additional set up below.

If you don't already have a foundation where you plan to place your hot tub you will need to have one created for you.

If you need to have this done then the cost typically comes in at anywhere from $15-$35 per square foot when you get a deck built.

Should you go with the concrete slab your costs will drop significantly but it won't have the same curb or visual appeal. This cost will typically be only $5-$10 per square foot for poured concrete and leveling.

Lawn chairs on a wood deck at a luxury resort hotel sit by a hot tub water spa - How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost to Run
Lawn chairs on a wood deck at a luxury resort hotel sit by a hot tub water spa

If you are starting from scratch then it can be in your favor to choose the more expensive deck option as this provides you a space for entertainment later in addition to the hot tub.

Electrical Connections

Well here is the big hit in the set up for your new hot tub, unless you have some pre-existing build that was done for a hot tub you will more than likely be requiring new electrical connections.

Checking out the local prices this appears to be $300-$1000 and requires the installation of a GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter, which basically halts power should a fault occur.

This is good as that fault means electricity and water decided to co-habitate and the last thing you need to happen when you are in the water too!

For all electrical work I recommend that you get a licensed electrician to perform the work and ensure it is done properly and to code.

Most new hot tubs will have this GFCI electrical panel which eliminates the need to have it installed separately.

Should you choose to purchase a used hot tub from someplace be aware that you may be missing this panel and when you schedule the electrician let them know that they should bring one with in case it is necessary.

How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost to Run Per Month?

Now we need to look into the costs which occur on an ongoing basis which are not by choice and will need to be done for the length of ownership.

The costs to run your hot tub monthly will include heating, water and chemicals for cleaning, insurance, and the required maintenance to keep it in good functioning order.

Monthly Heating Costs for a Hot Tub

The cost to run a hot tub will greatly differ depending on where you live and what the costs your power company charge for services.

There is three key things which go into the overall monthly costs that we are going to cover quickly.

Unit cost per kilowatt hour of use is going to be the biggest variable in terms of overall cost. If you have options for power, like in Texas, you may be able to find favorable rates for nights and weekend which could make this cheaper.

The next variable to take into consideration is the temperature you plan to run your hot tub. As you may expect the higher you choose the temperature to be the higher your energy costs will be to maintain that heat level.

The last and probably most important one for you as the owner is how often you plan to use it. The more you use it the more expensive it will be to consistently keep it ready at the right temperature but the more easy to use the hot tub.

Looking online at real people running a hot tub the average costs stated by owners comes out to $1-$2 daily or anywhere from $25 -$30 monthly.

Please note that these costs are from owners of newer technology hot tubs and there have been tremendous strides in cutting energy waste.

If you are buying a used hot tub I can't tell you the cost other than it could be $50 or more each month due to inefficiencies.

If your plan is the standard one to run your hot tub 24/7 you will have a bill on the higher side each month but you can take additional steps to lower these costs.

Possible Ways To Cut 24/7 Costs:

  • Install Circuit Timer: This can be set to only heat during off-peak hours helping to manage costs as this lowers the cost per kilowatt
  • Reduce Temperature Level: This will not require any additional equipment but can cut costs by reducing the temperature the water is kept at by a couple degrees.

Water and Chemicals

Where most the things in the on going costs list are pretty controlled and easy to manage as they don't vary much the water and chemicals side can be low or high each month depending on many factors.

Adding water to fill your hot tub will not be a once and over side of maintenance since you are heating it to steaming levels it will evaporate and need to be topped off when used heavily.

Additionally on the water side you need to drain all the water out and clean it thoroughly every quarter (3-4 months) to keep it clean and to stop build ups.

To estimate this empty and fill cost for water you want to multiple the tub capacity by the number of times you have to empty and refill each year.

Then take that total and divide it by 12 to figure out a estimation on your monthly cost. Then you can multiply this number by your cost per gallon of water.

Here is a nice easy example with simple round numbers. Say you have a 500 gallon hot tub you clean every quarter, so four times a year. If your water is 2 cents per gallon this would work out to about 35 cents a month to your water bill.

(500g x 4) = 2000, (2000g / 12m) = 167g, (167g x .2 cents) = 33.33 cents

Where your more randomized costs in the hot tub will be is in chemicals as they may be needed more or less depending on the time of year and outside conditions. To sanitize and maintain pool balance you will need at least bromine and chlorine.

The normal cost for these chemicals monthly works out to around $10-$20 but will increase in cost the more the hot tub is used by everyone.

Insurance

Similar to a swimming pool a hot tub will increase your liability costs on insurance. When you are looking to make your purchase you should reach out to whoever provides your insurance to find out what the additional costs will be.

The premium isn't a standard across the board and each company will have a different cost they will charge for the coverage. Looking at the figures online this appears to be an annual change of somewhere around $20-$30.

Maintenance and Repairs

The last items on the ongoing maintenance side are going to be around maintenance and repairs to your hot tub.

The most consistent piece you will need to replace will be the hot tub filter which should be replaced every one or two years.

Each hot tub is different though and some require multiple filters, make sure to reference your guide that came with your hot tub to ensure you know the count and where they are located.

These filters will cost around $50 each and to extend their overall life you can look into making sure to clean them each time you drain and refill your hot tub which will also help the hot tub run more efficiently.

Spraying out the hot tub filter with a hose - How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost to Run
Spraying out the hot tub filter with a hose

Overall you shouldn't have to manage much on the repair front as they are typically fairly reliable. I would suggest building a maintenance fund for any issues when they come up which will ensure you are ready for any hot tub expense.

As long as your budget is ready and always available you can enjoy your hot tub without worry about issues and soak in relaxation!

Final Thoughts on How Much Does a Hot Tub Cost to Run

While you may love the mental image of relaxing in a hot tub you need to understand the costs that come with that decision, I would say I want a hot tub but currently it hasn't been in the cards.

Since the costs add up fast many people may find that they can't afford the hot tub once these additional costs are added in.

Hopefully, this won't be an issue for you but I wanted to be upfront to ensure you made the best decision possible to purchase and enjoy your hot tub!

Image of the Pool Owner Josh
Hi, its nice to meet you. My name is Josh and I have wanted a pool my entire life.

When we moved to Texas I finally got my wish but wasn't ready for the massive amount of things you have to know!

This site is built from my labor of love to learn pool management and understand changes and repairs!

Hope it can help more people like learning this has helped my family and myself!
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