Should a Hot Tub Be Left on All the Time? (Yes, except for . . . )

Most hot tub owners don’t use their hot tubs every day. I sure don’t and I love mine! So it’s natural to wonder should a hot tub be left on all the time?

Here’s what I know from owning 4 of them:

In most cases, yes; you should leave your hot tub on 24/7. Frequently turning it off and on, or frequently lowering and raising the temperature will significantly raise your electricity costs. However, do consider turning it off, or winterizing it, if you plan to be away for 3 weeks or longer.

So, having your hot tub on when you are not using it might feel like you are wasting electricity. Are you wasting electricity by doing this? And should your hot tub be left on?

It is important to keep in mind that using your hot tub inconsistently does not mean you should turn it off.

You need to leave it on all the time. It takes more energy to heat the hot tub than it does to leave it running all the time. So, take care in knowing that you can leave it on since it is recommended to do so and that your electric bill is better off this way.

If you have more questions, continue reading on!

Can you turn off a hot tub when it is not in use?

Well, you could turn it off, but it is not recommended.

When you keep your hot tub running every day, it takes less electricity compared to turning it on for every use. Especially when you use it more than twice a week.

If you are only using your hot tub once a week, should you still keep it on? Yes, you should.

The only time you need to turn off your hot tub is if you are going to be gone for a longer period (say, months). A good example might be at a vacation home you only use part of the year.

It does not make any sense to keep it running if you will not even be there to use it, now does it?

And of course, if you are not using it at all, you should not keep it on. Now if you use it once a week, keep it running all the time. That way it will be ready for use when you are. And your electricity costs will be lower.

Of course, you will occasionally turn it off during maintenance or cleaning. For example, if you are replacing the water in it, by draining it out or refilling the hot tub, you should turn it off then.

Also, if you are replacing parts or having maintenance done on your hot tub, then you need to turn it off.

You do not want to get electrocuted because you left it on and touched the wrong thing. So, if you won’t be using it for a month or more, then turn it off. Otherwise, please keep your hot tub on all the time!

Does a hot tub use a lot of electricity?

A hot tub uses a lot of electricity IF it is turned on and off constantly.

But it honestly doesn’t use that much when it is on all the time. Also, there are other things to consider when you try and figure out how much electricity it may take to run your hot tub.

For most hot tub owners, somewhere between $20-$50 per month is about what a hot tub will cost you on your electric bill.

This can depend on the following circumstances:

  • Are you consistent about keeping the cover on when not in use?
  • What temperature do you have it set to?
  • How good is the insulation on your hot tub?
  • How much does it cost per kilowatt-hour for your electricity?

As you can see, there are a variety of factors that can take place and cause your bill to go up higher.

If your hot tub is not very energy efficient, it can cause your electric bill to run higher. However most hot tubs these days are energy efficient, so this is usually a non-issue for new or recent buyers.

You can also lower the temperature of your hot tub if you are going away for a week or so. The heat won’t be as high as you usually like it. But it won’t have to re-heat from scratch when you return.

It won’t take super long to return to your preferred temp. And that minor drop should have a small impact on your electricity bill too.

Ultimately though, there are several steps you can take to reduce your hot tub’s impact on your electric bill.

Check out this recent article to see a more in-depth look at different types of hot tubs and their electricity use. But also to get some crucial tips to keep the bill down.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What temperature should I keep my hot tub when not in use?

This can depend on where you live.

If you live in the south, for example, it gets hotter down there during the day compared to the north. So, reducing your hot tub temperature might be easier to do during the winter compared to those living in the north.

However, the general idea is to reduce it by 5° less than what you prefer it to be. So if you normally set yours to 104°, try setting it to 99°.

Hot tubs can take anywhere from 3 hours to 8 hours or more to heat from scratch.

That’s obviously a large range. The good news is that while not every factor is within your control, some of them are! Check out this recent article to see what things you can do to speed that up.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Knowing that hot tub water heats up around three to six degrees per hour, keeping it as low as 10° less can still be fine. At most, it will take about 3 hours to get back to normal when you’re ready for it.

But if you find your hot tub heats slower, or you don’t like waiting, keep it at 5 degrees less instead.

It all comes down to your climate, the temp you set it to, and the quality of the insulation. Obviously, the colder it is, the longer it may take to heat up.


Going away for a long period?

As we said in the section above, usually you should just turn off the hot tub instead of reducing the temperature.

Especially if you’ll be gone for more than 3 weeks, I would turn it off. It would be more useful to you to turn it off, then when you get back, heat it up again.

Now if it is cold out, you should either leave it running or winterize it. That way when you get back you won’t find cracked pipes or a cracked shell.

If you need help figuring out how to winterize your hot tub, check out this recent article.

In it, I walk you through the 7 simple steps to take to make sure it’s totally set for winter when you won’t be using it.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Does turning down hot tub save money?

If you turn the heat in your hot tub down, it will save you a little money.

Less electricity means money savings, right? Of course, it does. So when it is not in use, or during the summer months, reduce the temperature by 5 degrees from your desired temperature.

What really uses electricity in a hot tub though is a lot of back and forth on temperature.

So don’t think that bumping it down every time you get out and then back up again in a day or 2 is saving money. That will actually cost you more. Plus you’ll have to wait a bit for it to heat up every time too.

Most hot tubs also have an economy mode you can switch to.

Doing that, which means the heater cycles on less throughout the day, can save you a little bit of money too. That’s also a great way to keep the temps lower in the heat of the summer.

Also, every degree you reduce your hot tub temperature by, you will save about 10% on your hot tub electricity costs.

But remember, the average hot tub owner pays somewhere between $20-$50 per month for using their hot tub. So we’re not talking about huge savings.

Just avoid dropping the temp way low (or turning it off) and then back up again frequently. Because the longer it takes to heat up, the more it can ding your electric bill.

In the long run, yes turning down your hot tub will save you money, just not a lot.

And if you do too much back and forth you’ll be causing the heater to work harder, essentially using too much power than if it had been left at a better, lower temperature.

What is the most economical way to run a hot tub?

There are indeed ways to run your hot tub economically. But, of course, start with the hot tub first.

Make sure it is energy-efficient and well-insulated, and will not hike up your electric bill too high. The more power it uses, the higher your bill will end up being! Follow these steps below to learn how to run an economical hot tub:

  • Buy a quality hot tub
    • The cheaper the hot tub, the less likely it will work well with your electric bill.
    • Remember, quality over quantity.
  • Make sure your hot tub has decent insulation, and that its filtration and pump system is efficient and works well.
  • Get a quality cover for your hot tub
    • Keep the cover firmly in place when the hot tub is not in use
    • The lower the price, the less likely it will be made of quality materials
  • Adjust the heat of your hot tub’s water when not in use for 2 or more weeks
    • And turn off or winterize if you won’t be using it for a month or more
  • Check to see if your electric company has off-peak hours, where they reduce the rates of your electricity
    • If they do, set your hot tub’s filter and heat cycles during that time
    • Try to avoid using your hot tub during other times
  • Keep your hot tub’s filter clean
    • Rinse it off every 3-4 weeks with a hose or kitchen sprayer
    • Do a deep soak every 3 months or so
    • Plan to replace yours every 12-24 months depending on usage, adherence to cleaning schedules and how well you keep your chemicals balanced

Make sure your hot tub cover is very high-quality and creates a decent seal on your hot tub.

Since heat rises and cold air goes down, your cover will keep the heat from leaving the hot tub. You can also get a heat-retaining one that keeps the water warmer.

You can also buy what’s called a thermal blanket.

This goes under the cover and floats on the surface of the water. It helps significantly with keeping the heat in the water and not letting it evaporate.

CLICK HERE to see my favorite one on Amazon.

They are easy to cut to size (if needed), have great reviews, and are super easy to take on or off.

Is it cheaper to maintain a constant temperature?

Yes is the short answer.

Constantly lowering and raising the temperature will cost you more than just leaving it set.

Now, that being said, the higher you set it, the more it will cost. But don’t change the temperature with any frequency; at least not by more than a degree or 2.

As we’ve mentioned, lower the temperature by 5 degrees from your desired temperature when it is not going to be used for 2 or more weeks.

The longer it is not in use though, the more likely you will just want to turn it off. However, it is the best practice to just set your hot tub temperature where you like it and then leave it alone.

If you’re asking because you want to cut costs on your electric bill then make sure to:

  • Keep the lid firmly on when not in use
  • Check the insulation of your hot tub and add some if needed (spray foam and/or fiberglass panels are fairly quick and easy)
  • Set your filter cycle to line up with your electric company’s off-peak reduced rates (if available)

In this recent article, I dive deep into how to add additional insulation to your hot tub. The article is geared more towards making hot tubs quieter. But the same strategies will improve energy efficiency too!

What if I am leaving my hot tub for months?

So, you have this great vacation planned, and you have to leave your hot tub behind.

No one takes it with them, and unless you have someone that can take care of it while you are away, you should probably take precautions before you leave.

If you are leaving your home for a month or longer, you should follow the steps below depending on the weather.

Hot Weather

Problem: Algae growth is a common issue

Solution:

  • Add extra shock to your hot tub and run the jets for 30 minutes
  • Turn off the hot tub completely after the shock has reached all of the water

Cold Weather

Problem: Frozen pipes and water

Solution:

  • Add water before leaving and make sure it is heated right
  • Turn the thermostat down by 10 degrees to also keep your hot tub pipes nice and toasty
  • Or winterize it (which requires draining). My simple steps will map that out for you.

There are also some steps you want to take before you leave, regardless of the temperature.

You need to first test the water’s pH balance and adjust it accordingly. Also, you need to lock down your hot tub’s cover. This way no one else can use it while you are gone.

Also, it will help keep the heat in your hot tub during the winter to help prevent frozen pipes.

Always make sure you do proper maintenance on your hot tub before you leave the home.

The weather can affect your hot tub in various ways, so follow the steps above to ensure proper care is taken.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether it’s OK to leave a hot tub on all the time?

In the end, it is important to take good care of your hot tub but not at the expense of your electric bill.

If your bill is too high and you are using your hot tub regularly, reducing the water temperature by 5 degrees can help with the electric bill.

Just avoid constantly lowering and raising the temperature. That will definitely increase your electric bill.

A good quality cover that sits firmly in place when not in use can also help manage electricity costs.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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