Spending time in your own private hot tub is the perfect way to soothe tired muscles, or enjoy a romantic evening. Despite the benefits of owning a hot tub, the perceived cost prevents some people from buying them. However, if you plan for these expenses, owning a hot tub is much more affordable than you think.
As well as the tub itself, there are some up-front costs to consider when calculating your total. These costs can be high but they only need to be paid once, while you get to enjoy the benefits of owning a hot tub for many years.
Like any pool, a hot tub needs a strong foundation, such as a concrete slab or sturdy deck. If you already have this in place, you won't need to pay extra; if not, expect to pay about $15 to $35 per square foot of deck, or around $5 per square foot for poured concrete. On the plus side, if you decide to build a deck, you'll have a great entertainment area once the work is done.
Depending on your current electrical setup, electrical connections for a hot tub typically cost from $300 to $1,000. You'll also need a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), a mechanism that shuts off the electricity supply if a ground fault occurs. It is recommended that you hire a licensed electrician to perform any electrical work that you may need for your hot tub.
Many new hot tubs include the GFCI electrical panel with your purchase and your hot tub dealer can likely recommend or even schedule an electrician that they frequently use. If you buy a used spa, you can possibly purchase a GFCI panel at your local hardware store, or ask the electrician to bring one out with them.
Your hot tub monthly running costs include heating, water and chemicals, insurance, and maintenance to keep it in good working order.
How much does it cost to heat a hot tub? Your hot tub electricity cost depends on a few factors: unit price per kilowatt hour, the temperature you heat the hot tub to and how often the tub is used. In advanced testing, we have found that it typically costs less than $1 per day to run a hot tub, with more recent spa models hovering around $23 per month. On the other hand, we've all heard horror stories of old hot tubs costing well over $50 a month to run, but that has not been our experience. Energy-efficiency in hot tubs has come a long way over the last decade.
If you keep the heat going 24/7 your electricity bill will be on the higher side of this range, but it's possible to cut the costs significantly. For example, if your hot tub thermostat has a circuit timer you can set this to heat the spa during off-peak hours only, and pay less per unit of energy. Another option, which does not require a circuit timer, is to reduce the temperature the water is heated to by a couple of degrees.
Water and Chemicals
Filling up your hot tub with water isn't a once-and-done thing, as the tub needs to be drained and cleaned every 3 to 4 months. To estimate monthly water cost, multiply the tub's capacity by the number of times you drain and refill it in a year. Divide the total by 12 to estimate your monthly water use, then multiply by your cost per gallon. For example, a 500-gallon tub cleaned four times a year, with water at 0.2 cents per gallon, would add less than 35 cents to your monthly water bill.
Don't forget to factor your hot tub chemical cost into the equation, as chemicals such as bromine or chlorine are needed to sanitize and balance the water. The typical cost is $10 to $20 per month, depending mainly on how often the tub is used.
Like swimming pools, hot tubs increase the cost of liability insurance, so check with your insurance company to find out what kind of premium increase you can expect. In most cases the annual increase will be well under $20.
Maintenance and Repairs
As well as ongoing expenses such as water and chemicals, hot tub filters need to be replaced every 1 to 2 years. Some hot tubs require one filter, while others require multiple filters. These typically cost $20 to $60 each. Be sure to clean them each time you drain and refill your hot tub in order to extend their life and keep your spa running more efficiently.
Expensive repairs are generally not a frequent requirement, and if you already have a small fund for home maintenance costs, you'll be covered for hot tub repairs. With your budget well-planned, you'll be able to relax and enjoy an evening soak any time you please!