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Hot tub and pool costs

10 Energy saving tips for heating swimming pools & hot tubs

Who wouldn’t love the convenience of having a hot tub or pool in their backyard? But if you are considering purchasing one, be sure to thoroughly educate yourself before jumping in.’ The simple fact is, if you purchase a pool or hot tub, your energy use and costs will increase. How much will depend on how efficient your equipment is, how often you use it, how you maintain it and a variety of other factors.

How much does it cost to run a pool & hot tub? 

Heating a swimming pool or hot tub has the potential to increase the amount you spend on your electric bill. That being said, the cost of heating and running swimming pools and hot tubs isn’t the same for everyone and depends on a few different things. Factors like the age of your hot tub or swimming pool, how well they’ve been maintained, whether or not you’re using a heat pump, and a whole lot more can determine how much you pay each month to heat your pool and hot tub. Additionally, depending on where you live and the price you pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh), your heating costs may be significantly higher or lower than the national average. 

How much energy do pools and hot tubs use?

As you might expect, the amount of energy it takes to run your swimming pool or hot tub depends on several factors. That being said, the amount of electricity you end up using is significantly impacted by how often you use your pool, the size of your pool or hot tub and how diligent you are about certain things. As we’ll explain below, limiting the temperature you set your pool or hot tub to, limiting the time you run filters and pool pumps and more can help to reduce the amount of energy required to heat and run things. 

Tips to lower heating costs for swimming pools and hot tubs

  • Maintain. Keep heaters, pumps and motors well maintained and schedule regular maintenance check-ups.
  • Timers are your friends. Make sure the pump time clock is properly set and that the filtration pump runs for only the minimum time necessary.
  • Create windbreaks. Cutting exposure to the wind by adding landscaping, fencing or privacy panels can reduce heat loss.

Hot tub energy efficiency tips

As we’ve discussed above, the cost of heating your hot tub can get out of control quickly. Here, you’ll find several helpful tips to help you reduce the cost of operating and heating your hot tub. 

1. Do your research before you buy

Do your research! Not all hot tubs are created equal. Look at multiple brands at a variety of stores before making your decision. When considering the energy efficiency of a hot tub, the key elements to look at are the cover, tub wall insulation and pump system efficiency. Look at energy use guides to compare the use of each model. Check the assumptions for average outdoor temperature, hot tub set temperature, cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh), amount of use and size of the motor on the guides. If a vendor cannot show you this information, it may not be wise to buy their hot tub!

In addition to energy considerations, check your home insurance policy to determine if you need a separate policy for your hot tub or pool.

2. New hot tubs are more energy-efficient than older models

Hot tubs can also use a significant amount of electricity to heat, circulate and filter the water. That’s especially true of older hot tubs. Many newer hot tubs are designed to be more energy-efficient, with excellent insulation and more efficient pumps and controls. Some of these newer hot tubs use only half as much electricity as models that were sold just a decade ago. Given this information, if you purchase a used hot tub, it may cost you much more to operate and heat versus purchasing a new, energy-efficient one.

3. Don’t set the temperature higher than needed

There are several things you can do to ensure your hot tub operates as efficiently as possible. The higher the water temperature on your tub, the more electricity it will use, so set it no higher than you need it. 

4. Invest in an insulated hot tub cover and blanket

When you’re not using the hot tub, make sure it’s tightly covered with a good, insulated cover. You can even go the extra step and add a hot tub blanket. It lays on top of the water when you aren’t using it and adds another layer of insulation. 

5. Run the filter pump for shorter periods of time

Finally, most people run their filter pumps more often than needed to keep the water clear and sanitary. If your pump has a timer, set it to run for a shorter period a couple of times a day.

Swimming pool energy-efficiency tips

Pools not only cost a significant amount of money to purchase and install, but they may also cost a lot of money in energy use. The two biggest costs associated with pools are the pool heater and the pump to circulate water. If you’re preparing to install a pool or want to improve an existing one, consider these energy-saving tips:

1. Heat your pool with a heat pump or solar pool heater

You will pay less in energy costs by not heating your pool; but if you choose to heat it, consider a heat pump or solar pool heater. Like home heat pumps, heat pump pool heaters use proven technology to transfer heat from one place to another. Although a higher initial cost, heat pump pool heaters may pay for themselves in energy savings over time.

Solar pool heaters are another option. Depending upon the amount of sunlight your pool receives, a solar heater could be your most economical choice. In a typical system, the water circulates through a solar collector which heats the water before it returns back to the pool.

However, you choose to heat your pool, keeping it covered when not in use will lower electricity costs by reducing heat and evaporation loss. 

2. Limit the time you run your pool pump

Pool pumps have the potential to use a lot of electricity. As a result, they can be the main culprit in rising energy costs. Circulating your pool’s water keeps the chemicals mixed and removes debris, but pool pumps often run much longer than necessary. This includes portable above-ground pools, so limit the time your pool pump is on! If the water circulates while chemicals are added, they should remain mixed; and most debris can be removed using a skimmer or vacuum. You can also save on electricity costs by getting the smallest size pump your pool requires since larger pumps use more energy.

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