Spending an evening in the hot tub after a long day of work is the perfect way to unwind. But before you head out and buy your favourite model, there will probably be a lot of considerations on your mind.
Where can you place it? How much will it cost over the years? Is it actually a dangerous item to use or have in your garden? Some of these answers may even cause you to reconsider the model you have in mind.
Do hot tubs need to be on all the time?
This is highly recommended, yes. It may seem like a waste of energy, especially if it is only used periodically, but it is actually more economical to keep the water at a steady heat as opposed to heating it from cold every time you use it, especially if yours is well insulated.
However, if it is empty because it isn’t going to be used in that season, it doesn’t need to be on. Also, if the external temperatures are low (such as in winter), keeping it warm will use more energy so it may not be the best idea, especially if you won’t be going outside to use it
How expensive is it to run a hot tub?
It is difficult to give a definite answer to this, as it depends on the exact model you have, how full it is, the care you give it, the temperature of the water, and how often it is used. The good news is that new hot tubs are often designed with your energy usage in mind and full of technology to aid efficiency.
Hot tubs usually need between 13 and 40 A of energy to run, which includes the heating, spa jets and any other components such as lights. Swim spas may need up to 50A. As they are often recommended to stay on 24/7, manufacturers often say this works out at between £40 and £60 per month, or just over £1 – £2 a day.
But this will be for the hot tub with the best insulation, energy efficient heating and ideal settings chosen. Some may reach upwards of £100 per month. It could be worth spending that bit more now on a hot tub to reap the benefits of lower running costs in future
Do hot tubs need a water supply?
Nope. They aren’t plumbed in, and instead use the water in the tub continually. However, they need to be filled up via a hose so it is good to have one of these either attached to an outside tap or readily available
Do hot tubs have seats included?
Hard tubs usually have a seating area around the circumference, but soft shell hot tubs will not. You can often purchase inflatable seating areas for these, or the base is often soft enough to sit in (if the water isn’t too deep of course)
What other accessories are there for hot tubs?
You can get loads of additional bits and bobs. From cup holders for your Lay-Z-Spa or Intex hot tub, to towel racks, pillows, and even speakers, hot tub set ups are pretty much fully customisable. This will make your experience much more enjoyable
What does a hot tub do for your body?
Hot tubs can have a relaxing effect on your body. Reducing muscle tension, fatigue and soreness, this in turn could reduce the likelihood of stress related illnesses. The buoyancy eases pressure in joints and muscles, just as you would have with a soak in the bath but on a much higher level.
The heat can increase blood flow to muscles which accelerates healing. Then you have the jets, which act as a therapeutic massage and release endorphins, improving your mood.
Hot tubs are great for anyone with arthritis, or who struggles sleeping or has sleep disorders. There is even proof that it could help people lower blood sugar levels if they are diabetic, or blood pressure levels due to the relaxing nature
Can a hot tub aid with weight loss?
While it isn’t going to be the perfect (or only) solution if you want to lose weight, the hot water massage can stimulate the effect of exercise on the muscles, which could help people burn 3% more fat that just sitting still on the sofa. While it isn’t going to make a massive difference, the combination of this and the other benefits could have an impact.
As mentioned, hot tubs can help you heal or relax muscles which could mean you’re more active in the day. Boosting quality of sleep is said to assist in digestion and metabolism, and could also help when it comes to fighting cravings, laying off the sweet stuff for an energy boost and ensuring you’re awake enough to exercise
Are hot tubs dangerous to use?
There are a couple of reasons why you may think this is the case. There is the hot temperature of the water, the risk of slipping either in or outside of the tub, and then there are also risks involved with sitting in the water, especially if it has been used previously.
But generally, if you follow the user guidelines to a tee, take sensible safety precautions, ensure everything is clean (including yourself and your guests), and know the water is a comfortable temperature, you should be good. Hot tubs are generally a very safe way to relax. Never sit in the tub for too long though, as the heat could cause dizziness, nausea and dehydration
Can they be installed indoors?
There is no reason why they can’t, as long as the room is large enough and well ventilated. There should be sufficient clearance space around the perimeter, and the hot moist air needs somewhere to escape. The good news is that if this is your choice, you will probably be more likely to use it all year round
Which surface can I put a hot tub on?
Given their size and weight, especially when filled with water and people, you can’t just place a hot tub anywhere. You need to ensure it is stable, won’t damage your garden surface and is flat.
The best option for you depends on your budget, garden and hot tub model. Some of the most popular options are:
- Concrete base – Many people choose to lay down a custom area for their tub, similar to a driveway or porch. It needs to be thick, but a professional will be able to ensure it is steady and flat enough
- Concrete pavers – Great if you want a certain look, and relatively easy to lay. They should be four inches thick and able to hold the weight of your tub per squared foot
- Wood deck – Another popular choice, but a lot trickier to navigate. You will have to talk to an engineer or contractor who will assess whether the wood is strong enough, and the wood needs to be treated to protect it from the water. You’ll also have to be careful as it could get slippy
- Gravel – A good budget pick. But it is tricky to get fully flat, and won’t be suitable for soft hot tubs due to the rough, often sharp surface
- Grass – It happens, but isn’t the most ideal. Your grass may look level but probably won’t be perfectly flat in all areas. And it probably won’t evenly distribute the weight because of this
Can I sink my hot tub into the ground?
Hot tubs can commonly be inset into decks so they are level in height, using a concrete base as support. But lowering your hot tub is not recommended, especially if it is into the ground.
Maintenance issues happen, and you therefore need to keep access to all areas of the hot tub clear. Ideally, you should have around 2m of clearance around the edges of your tub, so building around it or lowering it may not be the best idea if you want hassle-free repairs and annual maintenance checks
Do I need planning permission or a license for my hot tub?
The simple answer is no.
But, if you wish to build a dedicated outbuilding to house your hot tub, you may need to get planning permission for this, especially if it has to be adapted to accommodate the water aspect or you want heating and the electricity connection. Some information on planning permission, including the size of buildings allowed, is included in this article.
What is the ideal temperature for hot tub water?
The ideal is between 36°C and 38°C. It should never be hotter than 40°C/104°F (or 38.9°C/102.0 F if you are pregnant). You should never sit in this water for too long if it is at this temperature, so try to limit it to 10/15 minute sessions and ensure you are well hydrated and don’t feel dizzy or affected by the heat
How often should hot tub water be changed?
Even though your jets and chemicals should keep the water clean for each use, you still need to change it all every so often. Because of the high temperature and relatively small dimensions for the amount of people who will be using it, the water can get very dirty.
There is a formula you can use to see how often the water should be changed for your specific model. Take the volume of water, and how many people often use it. The formula is:
Water Capacity (in Litres) divided by the Average Number of People in the spa for a 20 minute session each day, divided by 12
That gives you the number of days between each water change. For a typical family tub, it will give you a time of around three months. For an easier life, you could also buy some TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) test strips
How do I drain a hot tub?
Most models have built-in drainage hoses which can stretch to a main drain, or you may need to place the tub near a drain. Alternatively, you could use a water pump to drain the water away via a hose which reaches an external drain. The latter option could give you more flexibility when it comes to installation placement
Why is my hot tub water cloudy?
This could be for several reasons, but is usually because it needs changing or there is something in there reacting with the cleaning products. Hot tubs are smaller than swimming pools but usually have the same number of people using them, so this amplifies the effect of contaminates.
Common contaminates include sunscreen, general body creams, perfumes or natural outdoor pollutants such as leaves or dirty air. Your water sanitiser and the chlorine will have to work harder to try and break these down, meaning it runs out quicker. If you don’t replace it in time, the water can go untreated, resulting in an even cloudier consistency.
But the low volume and hot temperatures mean cloudy water could also be the result of something much more dangerous, such as Legionella – the cause of Legionnaire’s Disease. If the water doesn’t look right, always replace straight away and clean the tub fully
What is the best hot tub to buy?
We have reviewed all of the best hot tubs on the market, from small two person models to larger fixed spa options. The best for you depends on several issues, such as how many people will be using it, how large your space is, your budget and how much water you want in it. This means there is no definitive answer, but you will find the best for you on our rundown as we have catered for every need
Which is the best lazy spa (Lay-Z-Spa) hot tub model?
This is the most popular brand of hot tub, and indeed the most readily available. Again, there is no definitive answer as they provide such a variety of models, but the most common names you will see are Miami, Vegas, Bali, St Moritz, Paris, St Tropez or Monaco.
Other brands available include Intex, Canadian Spa Co., and Arctic Spas. Lay-Z-Spa are by far the leaders for inflatable models, though.
What is the lifespan of a hot tub?
The final question you may be considering before buying. You want to ensure the money is worthwhile in the long run, as it is by far an investment piece. An inexpensive inflatable model could last anywhere between 5-10 years if treated right and well looked after. Solid builds could go on for 20+ years.
If you do make the investment, ensure you get the right hot tub for this time period. Probably going to move house or downsize in three years time once the kids move out? A large hard built fixed spa will be an awful lot more hassle to move than an inflatable one which can be packed away.