How Are Hot Tubs Heated?

We all know that hot tubs are great places to relax, soothe sore muscles, and spend time with family and friends. And for most people, that’s enough. But some people like to understand the inner workings of the things that give them pleasure. Finding the answers to questions such as how are hot tubs heated, how do they work and what makes them run more efficiently can be very interesting if you’re mechanically inclined. To appeal to those types of curious minds we’ve put together this article about hot tub heating.

Types of Hot Tub Heating Systems

The most typical hot tub heating system is electrical. Electricity is used to power a heating element which transfers its energy to the water that flows through or by it. Less commonly used hot tub heating systems are solar-powered or wood-fired. No matter the type of heating system you’re using, there are ways to make it more efficient as we’ll demonstrate.

Hot Tub Heating Efficiency

Several different factors will affect how efficiently you can heat your hot tub. Something like the ambient air temperature is impossible to completely control. However, there are some tricks of the trade that can be used to help mitigate the effects of the outdoor temperature. Other methods work by attempting to retain as much heat in the water as possible.

Hot Tub Covers

Hot tub covers are often considered an accessory, but they’re a necessity. Not only will they help keep dirt, dust, and other contaminants out of the water, they’re instrumental in retaining water heat and reducing your reliance on the heater itself. A properly fitting, well-insulated hot tub cover is worth its weight in electricity bills and chemical usage. Consider it an investment rather than an accessory. To make it even more efficient, consider adding a floating, insulated blanket as well.


All hot tubs have some form of insulation, but some are much better insulated than others. If you live in an area that experiences colder temperatures (and what Canadian doesn’t?!) it’ll be well worth the cost to pay for a suitably insulated hot tub – especially if you plan on using it in the winter. A cold weather insulated hot tub may cost you more upfront, but it will pay for itself in the long run.


Where you place your hot tub will affect how easy it is to heat up and keep heated. An area that’s buffeted by high winds will cause you to spend more time and money keeping your hot tub properly heated. If you live in an especially windy area, consider installing wind barriers or placing your hot tub in an area that’s more sheltered rather than out in the open.

Running Your Hot Tub

It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping your hot tub running, even when you aren’t using it, can reduce your water heating bills. Of course, this will depend on how much use your hot tub gets. However, if you’re a regular bather, maintaining a consistent water temperature will be cheaper than heating it from scratch every time you want a soak. This is especially true in colder weather.

Protecting Your Heating Element

Hot tub heating elements can fail if not properly maintained. There are a few things to keep an eye out for that will extend the life of your heating element. Keeping the water chemistry balanced will reduce the chances of corrosion or scaling which can damage the heating assembly and element. Keeping the water filters clean and free of debris will keep the water flow steady and reduce the chances of burning out the heating element. Keeping air out of the lines will also lengthen the lifespan of the heating system. Make sure to flush air out of the lines every time you do a deep clean.

Now that you’ve learned more about how hot tubs are heated, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

HT Guide

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