How Does a Hot Tub Heater Work?

Written by 
Peter Smith
peter smith
Peter is an inflatable hot tub enthusiast, reviewing and testing hot tubs since 2014.
Updated: 
June 8, 2020
hot tub heater

Hot tubs have taken the world by storm as it has gained popularity among homeowners who desire to have their own spa at home. Spas range from cheap blow-up hot tubs up to expensive built-in jacuzzis full of heated water and are typically used by couples, families, and ailing individuals for pleasure, hydrotherapy, and massage purposes. Sometimes, hot tubs are known by their trade name Jacuzzi.

jacuzzi

A hot tub is quite the opposite of typical bathtubs. It is designed to accommodate more than one person at a time and is frequently installed outdoors. Also, the water used for hot tubs is not changed, but rather kept clean using sanitation processes like those methods used in sanitizing swimming pools.

hot tub outside

Hot tubs come in different types and designs such as roto-molded, acrylic, cement, wood, stainless steel, glass fiber, and vinyl-lined. Among these types, the portable vinyl-lined or inflatable hot tubs are available at a very affordable price as they are smaller and need less power of about 110-120 V.

Usually, portable and inflatable hot tubs are heated using an electric heater. There are also solar hot water heaters and submersible wood fire hot tub systems.

You can also find hot tubs made in natural hot springs where water can be dangerously hot. If this happens, the hot water will be combined with cold water to achieve a safe soaking temperature.

For a normal built-in, portable or inflatable spa, the heater warms the water on the go, while the pump is pumping the water to circulate. To prevent losing heat during use, the energy efficiency of the hot tub should by improved through effective insulation.

Hot tub insulation comes in several different styles. Some manufacturers insulate the inside of the cabinet, the underside of the shell or both, while others fill the entire cabinet with foam. As expected, most of these manufacturers promote their superior insulation approach; however, there are only a few side-by-side comparisons available.

Ultimately, the hot tub heater and hot tub pump consume most of the tub’s power capacity; yet, the use of power varies depending on their size. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PGEC) has studied the energy efficiency of hot tubs, thereafter, the National Resources Canada and California Energy Commission became interested also on portable hot tubs’ energy efficiency in late 2006. As a result, California’s listing of movable electric hot tub takes into account standby watts and R values of thermal insulation.

There are cheap inflatable hot tubs that are easy to install and set up, however, its water may take a while to warm up and may lose heat when used. Thus, to reduce the issue of evaporative losses from the pool, use hot tub covers!

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