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A Breakdown Of Hot Tub Running Costs (And Maintenance Costs)

Considering adding a hot tub to your home?

While we think this is an excellent investment that can provide you with therapeutic relaxation, understanding how much everything costs will likely be the deciding factor.

Hot tub running costs are considerable but not outrageous, and you might be surprised when you see the final numbers.

Hot Tub Running Cost Summary

Check the table below if you just want the average numbers. Keep reading if you want a full breakdown of the running costs.

TypeIncludesMonthly CostAnnual Cost
Water And Energy ConsumptionWater$10 – $15$40 – $60
Electricity$45 – $55$540 – $660
Total$55 – $70$580 – $720
Regular MaintenanceChemicals$35 – $50$420 – $600
Cleaning Service$100$1200
Total$135 – $150$1,620 – $1800
TroubleshootingEquipment$100 – $1,200
Plumbing$10 – $250
Emergency Treatment$100 – $1,000
Total$210 – $2,450

Why There’s No Simple Answer

It would be misleading to give you a single, solid, definitive, round number of how much a hot tub costs to run.

This is because there are many factors that can affect the bottom line, including:

  • The model/size of the tub
  • If it’s an indoor or outdoor tub
  • How often you use it
  • The temperature you keep the water
  • How often you run the circulation system
  • The climate you live in
  • The model of pump, filter, and heater you’re using
  • If you winterize it during the cold months
  • How expensive water and electricity is where you live

Water And Energy Consumption Cost

Of course, the two main ingredients to keep any hot tub working are water and electricity.

The price of these vary depending on the rates in your town, but on average you should expect to pay anywhere from $55 to $70 per month for both.

Keep in mind, refiling the tub only needs to be done every 3 months, which brings the annual cost down to between $580 and $720.

Water Costs

Hot tubs are relatively small bodies of water, so filling them up shouldn’t cost an arm and leg.

As mentioned, they need to be drained and refilled every 90 days to ensure water cleanliness and chemical efficiency.

This should only set you back around $10 or $15 each fill. You should also account for closing the tub down for the winter, which will require a fill come springtime.

Mild sanitation issues with your spa may occur. If this happens you may get away with only doing a partial drain and dilution, saving you money.

Another reason for the occasional top up is water evaporation. Spas that don’t use a cover are more prone to this, as the warm temperature of the water causes it to evaporate faster.

Electricity Costs

The tub’s electricity bill will be the larger ongoing cost, because it’s required to run both the pump and the heater.

Hot tubs are generally run 24/7 for two reasons: to keep the water temperature constantly warm, and to ensure the chemicals in the water are always balanced, retaining their effectiveness.

If your tub’s on the larger size, the pump will require more power to move the bigger body of water.

Another reason electricity costs can fluctuate between tubs is due to maintaining the water’s heated temperature. Some tubs require a lot of heat, others only a little bit.

This is mainly dependent on where you live, as a warmer climate like Los Angeles requires less heat than a cooler, New York climate. The model of your tub can also come into play here, as some are built with better insulation than others. 

You can also save money on your heating bill simply by installing a cover that keeps heat from escaping through the water surface. 

Overall, you should be prepared to part with between $45 and $55 every month to run your tub.

Regular Maintenance Cost

Maintaining your hot tub should be done weekly. This will require testing and balancing the water, as well as cleaning surfaces and filters.

This cost is dependent on the quality of chemicals you use, and if you clean the tub yourself or hire a company to take care of it. 

High quality chemicals will set you back between $35 and $50/mth (although this number depends how often you’re using them) , and hiring a professional company can cost upwards of $100/mth.

Chemical Costs

Every week you’ll have to add chemicals to your tub to keep the water clean and balanced to a neutral state.

The amount of chemicals needed is largely dependent on how often you use the tub, as well as the tub size. If you’re using your tub more than once a week, you will use fewer chemicals than your neighbour who uses his tub 4 times a week. 

Additionally, the number of bathers is a factor. More people in the tub means the sanitizer will be used up faster and you’ll have to replenish it more often.

You’ll need chemicals for the water’s pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, as well as a sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine. If the tub is in direct sunlight, you’ll also need to add cyanuric acid so that the UV rays don’t destroy the chlorine.

Testing the water won’t cost too much, and you can pick up a bottle of 100 test strips for around $20. The rest of the chemicals will set you back anywhere from $35 to $50 per month.

Cleaning Costs

Keeping the tub clean will make the difference between a spa you can enjoy vs. one that is nothing but a headache.

For some, they may be too busy to take on this task, or perhaps they simply don’t want the responsibility. 

If that’s the case, you can hire a hot tub professional to regularly service your tub. Keep in mind, they don’t come cheap. You’ll be paying around $100/month for this service.

Compare that to taking 30 minutes out of your week to clean out your filter and wipe down your tub. You’ll save a considerable amount of money by doing everything yourself. 

Troubleshooting Costs

Even with the most stringent of maintenance schedules, something will eventually go wrong with your hot tub. 

Troubleshooting costs range wildly, from $10 for a minor issue to over $1200 for a major one. 

Here’s what you should keep in mind when investing in a spa.

Equipment Issues

Problems can arise with any piece of equipment in the tub or filtration system. Common issues are usually the pump and heater, but you may see problems with the air blower, control pack, or jets.

With such a wide range of components, the costs associated with fixing them also varies.

Basic issues can run anywhere from $100 to $400 for a professional to fix.

If there’s a major problem that can only be repaired by replacing a main component such as the pump or heater, you could be looking at anywhere between $650 and $1,200.

Plumbing Issues

A leak can occur in the plumbing lines of your tub at any point. 

The flexible PVC lines on the underside of the shell are the most at risk, as weather fluctuations can wear out their material, causing cracks that develop into leaks. If you’re handy, you can fix this pipe yourself, and it will only cost you around $50 for the parts.

A leak can also occur in the pipes of the filtration system, usually at a union fitting. Luckily, this type of leak is usually caused by deteriorated gaskets and O-rings that only cost a few dollars to replace.

If you don’t feel comfortable fixing leaks, you can hire a professional, which will set you back anywhere from $100 to $200 plus parts.

Emergency Treatment

An emergency can crop up now and then, being anything from imbalanced water, to major leaks, or problems with the equipment. 

Most emergencies are a time-sensitive matter, but if you can hold off a few days, you may not have to pay as much for service. 

For a professional to come over immediately, you’re usually paying a premium (anywhere from $100 to $200 just for them to show up), and potentially over a thousand dollars to fix the issue, depending on what it is.

Tips For Lowering Running Costs

Looking to save some money? Implementing the following tips can help.

  • Close the jets. The hot tub’s jets provide bathers with bubbles, but air can still enter through the jets while the tub is off. By closing them when the tub isn’t in use, you’ll save money on the heating bill, as the water temperature won’t drop as quickly. Just be sure you open them before running the pump so you don’t cause any damage.
  • Use a cover or thermal blanket. Another way to save money is through the use of a hot tub cover and/or thermal blanket. They both work to lock in heat in the water, leading to less use of the heater, and more money in your pocket. A cover lift will make this easier to manage.
  • Heat during off-peak hours. If you limit water heating to off-peak hours, you’ll save a considerable amount of coin every month. These are the late night and early morning hours, when less electricity is being consumed in your town.
  • Keep it clean. Simply by keeping the tub free of contaminants and backyard debris, you’ll save money. While it may not feel like it when you’re topping up chemicals every week, maintaining the tub water will cost less in chemicals than if you have to fix a spa with upset water chemistry.
  • Get an energy efficient tub. A bit extreme, but in the long run this strategy can pay off. If you have an older hot tub, think about investing in a newer model that’s more energy efficient. You’ll have to crunch the numbers, but by upgrading the tub you may end up paying less than if you try to install energy efficient components with your older model.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Hot Tub?

Even though there’s no solid figure we can give you, there is a general price range when it comes to the cost of running a hot tub.

Based on 12-month figures, water and electricity bills are in the $580 to $720 range, chemicals cost between $240 and $360, and troubleshooting issues can be anything from $210 all the way up to $2,450.

Hot tubs are surprisingly affordable for most homeowners, and if you budget correctly you can add one to your home, giving it a touch of luxury.

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