Hot tubs are becoming increasingly popular as an effective way to soak away the stresses and strains after a long day. They offer a quiet place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and are often a well-deserved oasis of peace and calm.
A relaxing soak in warm, soothing water can help ease stress in the body. However, before you make the jump and purchase a hot tub, it’s important to determine the end results you’re looking for, and what, if any, the potential pitfalls might be.
As energy costs soar we need to ensure that we get the best return on our investment when making such a big purchase. The benefits should outweigh the negatives, and so this article aims to look at the major factors when making the decision to buy or to pass.
A hot tub or a swim spa will be a large investment for most people, taking up a considerable amount of space in your garden or backyard. It will also need an electrical supply – at least 13 amp, and 32 amp for larger tubs and swim spas – and the water will need regular testing and application of treatment chemicals to keep it safe for the users.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic we’re all far more conscious of the value and benefits of regular contact with family and friends. Many of us have spent more time on our own than we’d have liked, thanks to lock-downs and self-isolation, and we’ve almost certainly spent more time than is good for us on our smartphones, tablets or computers.
Taking to a hot tub or a swim spa demand that you put all electronic devices down, and spend time reconnecting with those who matter most to you. The cumulative benefits of meaningful conversations and quality time spent with the special in your life will never be something you’ll regret, and this is possibly the most important aspect of hot tub and swim spa ownership.
What are the Negative Aspects of a Hot Tub?
Along with the many positive benefits of owning a hot tub, we need to also talk about the potentially negative aspects too. The main ones are:
- Running costs – Energy prices continue to rise, and hot tub and swim spas need their filtration and heating systems running at all times to keep water safe and comfortable. The most vital aspect to keep these costs down is the insulation. By making sure the internal pipework inside the cabinet is well insulated, less strain will be placed on the heating mechanism. In addition, keeping the cover in place when the hot tub isn’t in use will aid heat retention and keep contaminants out.
- Water testing – it may seem an additional chore, but regularly checking that your water is safe will mean that everyone enjoys a safe bathing experience, and that unpleasant surprises like cloudy water don’t occur. Caring for your water properly will also help with fewer drain downs (emptying and refilling the tub) so costs are kept lower.
Is it OK to Use the Hot Tub Every Day?
Most experts say that it is perfectly safe for people to use their hot tub every day if they feel comfortable doing so. However, be aware that extended use will require the water to be tested more frequently, and the usage of chemicals will increase to combat the contaminants that will inevitably enter the water.
Who Shouldn’t Use Hot Tubs?
While hot tubs and swim spas are generally safe, there are some risks associated with using them. Certain health conditions may be cause for concern, so make sure you discuss your proposed use with your doctor first.
It’s also not advisable to consume alcohol when using a hot tub, even though many ‘stock’ photos often show people having a leisurely glass of wine whilst enjoying a soak. Anything that can impair balance or judgement should be avoided to minimise the risk of falling and other such incidents. So if you do wish to indulge, we highly recommend keeping consumption to a sensible level!
What is a Good Temperature for a Hot Tub?
There is no set temperature for hot tubs, as people’s bodies react differently to different temperatures. However, it is important that you stay between the absolute uppermost temperature of 40°C / 104°F, and a lowest of 34°C / 93°F. For many people 40°C will be too hot, so please proceed with caution should you set your tub or spa at this temperature.
Many hot tubs will come with a default temperature setting of 38°C / 100°F, but a lot of people will even find this too warm (yours truly being one of them!). Take some time to gradually alter the temperature to find what suits you best.
As weather conditions become cooler you may need to increase the temperature to suit. In addition, you may find that running your hot tub a degree or two below the desired user temperature helps with the overall running costs.
A swim spa, however, will need to run between 2° or 4° lower than a standard hot tub, as exercise increases the body’s temperature naturally.
Finding the most comfortable water temperature in your hot tub is a key factor when getting the most from your investment, as comfort aids relaxation and adds to a more enjoyable experience for all.
Should I Shower After Using a Hot Tub?
Many people feel that showering after using a hot tub is necessary to avoid having chemical residue on your skin. However, others argue that it is not necessary because hot tub water is safe (if the water is properly tested and maintained). This is purely a personal choice, as there is no danger or issue connected to not showering.
It is critical, however, to shower before using a hot tub or swim spa, as all of us – no matter how many times a day we wash or shower – will carry contaminants with us into the water, together with natural skin oils and so forth. This then provides an extra job for the primary sanitiser (either chlorine or bromine) and could result in you needing to apply more treatment chemicals than you’d bargained for, simply to keep the water safe.
Whilst there is a considerable financial investment required with the initial purchase and the ongoing running costs, the considerable benefits to be enjoyed by all are many. The social aspect of spending quality time with the important people in your life coupled with the relaxation and de-stressing benefits are possibly the most impactful.
In order to minimise running costs, look to purchase an acrylic hot tub as these offer vastly superior insulation.