Soaking in a hot tub is one of the best ways to relax. And an inflatable hot tub is a great way to get into it on a budget. But they do have their downsides, so many wonder how to heat up an inflatable hot tub faster.
As a general rule, heat up an inflatable hot tub faster by keeping the lid closed, using the inflatable hot tub bladder under the cover, setting the temperature to 104° Fahrenheit, and ensuring that it is placed on an insulated ground cloth. Do not turn on the jets.
Ideally, set that on the ground or a concrete pad and not on a raised deck.
But there’s a lot more to know. So, in this article, we’ll find out how long it takes for an inflatable hot tub to heat up and if it heats up faster with the jets on. But we’ll also check out what you can put under it for better insulation.
Let’s get started.
How long does it take for an inflatable hot tub to heat up?
On average, it takes about 12 hours for inflatable hot tubs to heat up. Because they have virtually no insulation, they take longer than regular hot tubs. How long they take to heat up is impacted by the ambient temperature and the temperature of the water from the hose.
Inflatables and regular hot tubs are structurally different, so it follows that there would be differences in performance.
Regular hard-sided hot tubs often take 5 to 8 hours to heat up, while inflatables could take up to 3 to 4 times the time it takes regular tubs.
The surrounding temperature and that of the water the hot tub is being filled with also affect how long it takes for an inflatable hot tub to heat up.
In summer, for example, with the air temp in the 90’s, if the tub is being filled with your garden hose, the water might be 75°-80° F degrees. But in cooler times of the year, the temperature out of the hose might drop to 65° F or even lower.
Another reason hinted at earlier is that inflatables are different than regular hard-sided tubs. The former can’t run their heater and jets at the same time! So, while heating an inflatable, you’ve got to have the jets off.
The heaters have different capacities.
A regular hot tub with a 7kW heater can get the temperature up by 100 degrees Fahrenheit in about 4 hours.
An inflatable running off 110v with a 13amp plug and with the power rating of the heater limited to 1 – 1.2kW would take 3 to 6 times longer.
Practical use of your physics degree: determining how much boiling water you need to add to your quarantine-purchased inflatable hot tub to raise the temperature 5 degrees faster than the built-in heater, assuming negligible heat loss pic.twitter.com/jwCZKUbobd
— Therese Jones (@theresejones0) March 22, 2020
Does an inflatable hot tub heat up faster with the jets on?
An inflatable hot tub does not heat up faster with the jets on, as most inflatable hot tubs cannot use their heater and jets simultaneously. For standard 220v hard-sided hot tubs, having the jets on does improve the heating time.
This is a function of the electrical setup, which places a limit on what can be on at the same time. Inflatable hot tubs are 110v, while many types of portable hot tubs are 220v.
The former simply does not have enough power to run both simultaneously.
An inflatable hot tub is 110v with a 13amp plug. Now, the maximum load on a 13amp plug is 3kW — this places a limit on how many things you can have on at the same time. The heater is about 1 to 1.2kW, while the pump is less, say 600W.
That, on the face of it, ought to be adequate to run both, right?
Yes, but to allow for a margin of safety for the surge when the pump kicks in fully when switched into high speed, the heater automatically turns off!
While the heater is on, the pump will operate at low speed, and the jets can help circulate the water and air and help mix the sterilizing chemicals.
But when you want to use the tub, you’ve got to choose one, you can’t have both on.
— Renee LeTissier Boogren (@rletissier) December 19, 2020
What is a hot tub bladder (and will it help heat mine faster)?
A hot tub bladder is an inflatable cushion that floats on the water’s surface under the cover of the hot tub. As inflatable hot tub covers are not insulated, so the bladder helps retain heat and will improve the time it takes to heat the water.
The hot tub bladder is inflated and placed on top of the water after filling.
Then just put the cover on afterward, and lock it in place while the heater starts to heat up the water. Keep the bladder in place anytime the hot tub is full but not in use. That way, it will help to maintain the water temperature.
This might make you wonder if inflatable hot tubs are expensive to run.
Are they? That’s what I explored in a recent article of mine where I explained if inflatable hot tubs use a lot of electricity and how much they cost to run. I also revealed if they should be left on all the time.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Got a new inflatable hot tub!!!
I am going to spend 400 hours in here after softball tonight. pic.twitter.com/TWUaczTxpI
— Glenny Balls (@Glenny_balls) August 11, 2021
What should I put under my inflatable hot tub?
As a general rule, an insulated ground mat should be placed under an inflatable hot tub. Typically, these come with the purchase of the hot tub. It helps prevent heat loss and also protects against tearing or puncture if the hot tub is placed on the ground.
It improves thermal efficiency and reduces running costs. Apart from a ground cloth, you can opt for foam sheets or hot tub pads.
The ground mat, foam sheets, or hot tub pads, in addition to providing some level of insulation, protect your tub from debris and sharp objects. Most tubs come with ground mats.
But if yours does not, you can purchase one.
You can easily buy foam sheets and hot tub pads too. The foam sheets should be placed on the insulated ground mat. A hot tub pad is more expensive, but it is a more efficient way if you’re interested in better insulation.
An inflatable hot tub should never be placed directly on grass or gravel. Stones and the sharp chips of gravel could easily puncture it. Always place a mat underneath to protect it.
But can you put a hot tub on a deck?
In a recent article, I shared the weight of an inflatable hot tub and if hot tub water has a harmful effect on the wooden deck. But I also shared whether you have to reinforce your deck if you’re going to place an inflatable hot tub on it.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
#GratitudeForTheDay: I was skeptical when Hubby wanted an inflatable hot tub for his birthday. I didn’t think it would bubble well, stay warm or stay inflated. I’m now grateful he talked me into buying it. Fits perfectly in the covered area b/w the cabin & the outdoor fireplace. pic.twitter.com/bM3tkgRoMd
— Sheila Athens (@SheilaAthens) November 25, 2018
Why is my inflatable hot tub not heating up?
An inflatable hot tub may not be heating up due to a tripped high limit switch on the heater, which can be due to clogged filters that prevent water from flowing through the heater. But most will not heat effectively if the air temperature is below 40° F.
Let’s look a little closer.
High limit switch
The switch is a safety feature that prevents the heater from overheating or melting down. If it malfunctions, the heater won’t work as it should.
The most common reason this happens to inflatable hot tubs is clogged filters.
Most inflatable hot tubs have 2 filter housing units that just screw in place along the bottom inside of the tub. Just unscrew those to get access to the replaceable filters inside.
Let’s be honest. It’s easy to forget to do that.
Error message on the control unit/heater
I also had this happen on the inflatable hot tub I bought, and it did it right out of the box, so there was no way it was due to dirty water or clogged filters.
But I simply unplugged the unit for about 10 seconds and plugged it back in, and it seemed fine. But I still have no idea why I got that error message.
So how do inflatable hot tubs work?
You’ll enjoy a recent article where I explained how inflatable hot tubs work. I shared info about whether it’s okay to use them in winter and if you can leave them on all the time. But I also shared how they affect your electricity bill.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
In this article, we found out how long it takes for an inflatable hot tub to heat up and if it heats up faster with the jets on.
But we also checked out what you can put under it for better insulation. Then, we looked at what a hot tub bladder is and if it helps heat the water faster.
Lastly, we explored some common reasons why a hot tub may not be heating up.
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