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Ask the Spa Experts

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Q: How much will it cost to operate and maintain my hot tub each month?

A: The answer to this question really depends on the type of hot tub or spa you purchase, and how you use your hot tub or spa. Your cost of operation includes several things:

  • The original price of the hot tub
  • Repairs
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Maintenance Replacement Parts

Price: The original price of the hot tub will be based on its features, warranty, and the manufacturer selling the hot tub or spa. To determine whether or not you've received a good price, you should compare hottubs feature-by-feature when purchasing one.

Repairs: Repairs and service calls may not be something you think about at time of purchase. However, this is an important element in the ongoing operational cost of your hot tub. You'll want to choose a spa with a comprehensive, long-term warranty. Further, you'll want to make certain that the warranty doesn't have a long list of exclusions; the components should be completely covered. Additionally, it's important that the warranty doesn't have pro-rations or deductibles. With some hot tub warranties, parts and labor are covered completely in the first year. However, as time passes, the company may ask you to pay a portion of labor and parts for repairs or a deductible. These pro-rations and deductibles can make spa ownership expensive, as required repairs generally occur after the first year, when you're fully covered. To be certain that your monthly costs are low, check the warranty completely.

Electricity: Monthly electrical expenses vary from spa to spa. Most manufacturers can tell you how many kilowatts of electricity will be used to power the spa, based on an average ambient temperature. You can compute this daily or monthly. Remember that this figure is based on how efficiently the spa runs. Issues such as pump power, the diameter of the plumbing, full or partial insulation, and the components used to power the spa all make a difference in this electrical rating. Shop carefully, and ask the dealer for manufacturer information regarding electricity required to run the spa.

Chemicals: Your chemical expenses will be based on three issues:

  1. The type of chemicals you choose to use.
  2. How often you use your hot tub, and how many people will be in it.
  3. Whether you supplement chemicals with an ozone generator to sanitize the water.

At the time you purchase your hot tub, discuss your chemical options with the dealer. You may choose bromine, chlorine, peroxide-based, or mineral purifiers. These each come at a different price, and each offers different benefits. If you use your hot tub often, or if lots of people use your spa at the same time, you may use more chemicals than someone who uses the hot tub only occasionally. Because chemicals kill residual bacteria, the amount of debris and bacteria in the hot tub does affect the amount of chemicals required. You can visit our "Hot Tub Ownership" section of this web site for more information on each type of sanitizer.

You may also save money on chemicals by installing an ozonator in your spa. Ozonators purify water through the production of ozone, and reduce the amount of chemicals required for clean, clear water. But remember, using a sanitizer with ozone is always recommended for safe, clean water.

Maintenance Replacement Parts: Unlike a car, spas don't come with lots of maintenance parts to be replaced by the user. Generally, the filter is the only item you'll have to replace on a regular basis. Your spa dealer will sell replacement filters, and you can ask about their cost at the time you buy the hot tub. If cleaned regularly, most filter replacements are only required about once every 9 - 12 months. If you keep an extra filter on hand, you can reduce the time required to clean your filter, and extend the life of the filter by alternating the two filters.

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