Inflatable hot tubs are a much more affordable option than solid ones, and if properly maintained then they can last you a very long time. But, should you leave them switched on all the time, or should you be making sure to completely turn it off after every time you’ve used it?
After all, isn’t one of the reasons to choose an inflatable hot tub the fact that you can pack it away, and potentially even use it as a portable hot tub? That would seem to imply that they aren’t designed to be left on. Let’s take a look….
Should I Leave My Inflatable Hot Tub Heater On All The Time?
Unless you plan to pack away your inflatable hot tub, or you won’t use it for 2-3 weeks, you should leave it switched on. It is more energy-efficient to have your inflatable hot tub running warm than it is to heat it up from cold every time you want to use it.
That doesn’t mean you should be leaving it on ‘hot’ all the time. That’s unnecessary. Instead, aim to leave your hot tub on a temperature that’s around 10-15 degrees below what you would normally use it at. So if you use it at around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (around 40⁰C) then leave it at 95 degrees (35⁰C) when you’re not using it.
You’ll use more energy to maintain a hot tub at 105 degrees than you would at 95 degrees, but the energy needed to raise the temperature those 10 degrees when you want to use it is minimal – and it won’t take long at all.
But if you switch the hot tub off every time, then it’ll take a lot longer to fully heat up – and a lot more energy too.
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Why Should I Leave an Inflatable Hot Tub On?
Leaving a hot tub switched on is more energy efficient if you intend to use it every couple of days. It uses less energy to maintain a hot tub’s temperature than it does to heat it from cold when you want to use it.
This is especially true during summer, when the ambient temperature is warmer. If you want to use your hot tub during winter, then your energy bills to maintain the hot tub temperature will go up – so you need to make a decision based on how frequently you use it.
Some people claim that leaving a hot tub running can also help to keep bacteria from developing.
However, considering many hot tubs have a maximum temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not sufficient to kill bacteria, this isn’t true (source). You still need to use disinfectants in the water to prevent bacteria – keeping it running isn’t enough on its own.
This inflatable hot tub demonstrates why it makes sense to leave your hot tub running – it has a temperature rise of between 1 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. Considering tap water may be as low as 68 degrees, that means to get to 105 degrees could take between 20 and 40 hours.
Read more: How Long Does a Lazy Spa Take To Heat Up?
How Much Does Leaving an Inflatable Hot Tub Affect the Electricity Bill?
An inflatable hot tub will normally use around 1.5 kilowatt-hours per hour when heating the water, meaning it costs $0.21 per hour to run when heating the water from cold (based on average electricity costs). Maintaining the temperature uses a lot less power.
It’s impossible to say exactly how much, because it depends on whether you’ve insulated your hot tub effectively, and on the ambient temperature. But you can expect it to only need to fully run for maybe 2-3 hours a day total (in short bursts) to keep a temperature within a warm degree range, if it is insulated.
So, if you needed to heat your hot tub for 20 hours to use it from cold, that would cost you $4.20 in power if your electricity costs the typical $0.14 per kilowatt hour. And if you then switched your hot tub off, and came back to it three days later, that’s another $4.20.
But if you instead heated it once, and then left it running, you might only use around 9 hours of heater power for those three days to maintain the temperature, so instead of paying $4.20 to fully re-heat it, you’d only pay $1.89 to maintain it.
These are guideline prices, and will vary, but it’s a useful indicator as to why it makes sense to keep your hot tub heater running.
When Should You Switch Your Inflatable Hot Tub Off?
You should switch off your inflatable hot tub if you don’t intend to use it for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t make sense to keep the temperature maintained for that long without being used. You should also turn it off to clean it at least four times a year.
It’s important to use chlorine in your hot tub to prevent bacteria from growing, otherwise, you’ll need to drain and clean it every couple of days. Adding chlorine means that you can leave water in your hot tub for several weeks at a time.
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Will Leaving an Inflatable Hot Tub on All the Time Shorten Its Life Span?
If you leave an inflatable hot tub running, you will likely shorten the lifespan of the heater, though not by much – it works for longer, but less intensively than heating the water from cold.
As long as you properly care for your hot tub, making sure to switch it off and drain it a few times a year, and cleaning it properly when you do, and you make sure the heater is properly ventilated so that it doesn’t overheat and burn out, then it should still last you many years.
Inflatable hot tubs won’t last as long as fully-built ones, but they do have a good lifespan if properly cared for.
How Do I Keep My Inflatable Hot Tub Warm During Winter?
When the temperatures are low, you have to take extra measures to keep the inflatable hot tub warm, especially if you don’t want to use too much energy.
Make sure you insulate the hot tub properly, and that you have a thick cover for it to help keep the temperature of the water as warm as possible.
If the hot tub is indoors then try to keep the ambient temperature warmer too, as that will help with keeping the water temperature higher.
If you find that you’re not using your inflatable hot tub too often in the winter, then it makes sense to turn it off rather than leaving it running for a few days.
It might feel counter-intuitive to leave a hot tub heater running, but it honestly can save you money if you’re actually using the hot tub on a regular basis. The heater has to work so much harder to get the temperature up from cold, and you have the added benefit of it being ready to use whenever you want to.
If you don’t like the idea of pre-planning your hot tub use, and just want the freedom to use it when the mood takes you, then you should absolutely keep it running. Just switch it off if you find you’re not using it for a week or two.