TCO – Total Cost of Ownership for hot tub owners

David from Pittsburgh writes,

Hi Pros,

Just a quick question. I have found a hot tub on Craigslist very near my home. I would like to be sure I have my mind around the costs of operating a hot tub. Can you help?


Hello David,

Isn’t Craigslist the best! You are wise to consider the ongoing costs of operating a hot tub, before making the “plunge”. Below we will briefly outline the factors that add to the cost, and you can apply them to your unique situation.

Electricity – The most obvious expense for running your hot tub will be the electricity used to heat it. This expense has come down dramatically recently and some spa manufacturers go so far as to state that if your electric bill increases over $20 per month, they will pay to put a meter on your hot tub and will pay you for any charges over the $20 per month! This is due to the much better use of insulation inside today’s hot tub cabinets. The second reason for this reduction in operating costs is because hot tub covers are now made much thicker than they used to be. The standard hot tub cover used to be four inches thick and today you can find covers from nearly any dealer that is six inches thick. That is a 50% increase in insulation. Just like in your home, the thicker the insulation the lower the heating costs. Hot tub covers are critical as the majority of heat loss is through the top.

Filters – No one wants to be in a hot tub with iffy water clarity. Be sure to maintain your filters and replace them as necessary. One tip the Pros would give is to use tennis balls in the skimmer, to help collect oils that will otherwise start to clog your filters. The tennis balls should be replaced as needed.

Chemicals – Most use chlorine to keep their water germ free, but bromine is now becoming more widely used. Bromine is less harsh than chlorine and will help your spa cover to last as long as possible. Be sure to leave your cover off whenever you add a significant amount of chemicals, to allow the chemicals to off gas without damaging the bottom of your cover. Once you have figured out how to manage your water with chemicals, buy in bulk to lower the cost.

Bathing – You can increase the life of your filters, and reduce your use of chemicals, if everyone that gets into your hot tub showers with soap and water first! Keeping any oils or contaminants from getting in in the first place is the easiest way to keep your spa running in perfect balance, and to lower your TCO.

Happy Tubbing!

Ethel Elliott


Written by HotTubCoverPros

+Ethel writes about all things backyard with a focus on replacement hot tub spa covers. You can also chat with Ethel on Twitter!

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