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Hot Tub Heaters: The Complete Guide in 2020

What you should know about Hot Tub Heaters

Your heater is perhaps the most important component of your hot tub. To that end, we’re going to cover everything you need to know with our look at Hot Tub Heaters: The Complete Guide.

Getting your new hot tub set up is only the beginning. As you will soon discover, the other side of it will be learning how to heat up your hot tub. This is not a question that comes with a universal answer. As you will learn with our guide to hot tub heaters, there are several different considerations that you are going to want to keep in mind. You can start with the make and model of the hot tub you own. There are a number of other factors that will define the sort of experience you are ultimately going to have. These factors include the condition of your hot tub, its overall efficiency, and even where you have set the unit up.

hot tub heater

Getting the right hot tub heater is the first step. You will also want to keep in mind basic hot tub heater maintenance, as well as the importance of certain upgrades, as time goes on. None of this is very complicated when you get right down to it.

How To Optimize Your Hot Water Heater

One of the first things you should understand is the fact that you don’t have to settle for the heater that comes with the hot tub. More often than not, it can do the job, but there is almost always the potential for a superior upgrade. This is strictly in the sense of having the most efficient hot tub heater possible. At the very least, keep in mind that replacing your hot tub heater is always going to be a fairly straightforward endeavor. The end of your hot tub heater is not the end of your hot tub by any means.

Obviously, everything you do in this arena will involve making sure your heater can heat up the tub as quickly as reasonably possible. Maintaining your ideal temperature is also certainly important.

There are basically three things that are going to influence just how efficient your hot tub heater turns out to be:

  • Ambient temperature: This refers to not only the temperature of the water but the temperature which surrounds the hot tub area, as well. The proper temperature for your hot tub is going to be somewhere between 100F and 102F. Some will go upwards of 104F, but this is not the recommended norm. It can take anywhere from four to eight hours to heat a hot tub that’s standing at around 75F, in order to reach that optimal 100F. Obviously, the colder your ambient temperature, the longer it will take for the tub to heat up properly.
  • Hot tub cover: As you may have already guessed, whether or not your hot tub cover is actually over the hot tub is going to play a big role in how long it takes to heat up a hot tub. Leaving the cover on will make things go much more quickly. It is also worth the money involved in making sure your hot tub cover is always in the best condition possible.
  • Equipment: The hardware/equipment attached to your hot tub is also naturally going to be important, as well. This includes the heater, naturally, but also extends to the pump, as well as your jets. If any of these pieces become defective, which is well within the realm of possibility, you’re in trouble. Your hot tub heater absolutely needs these other portions to work at its very best.

Let’s discuss a few ways to help make your hot tub heater even more powerful. However, let’s first cover the basics of shopping around for a good hot tub heater, if need be.

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What To Look For In A Hot Tub Heater

Before we get too much further into improving hot tub heater efficiency, as well as basic hot tub heater maintenance, we should cover in greater detail exactly what you’re looking for. Chances are, the heater you will get with your hot tub will be just fine. However, for one reason or another, you may need to replace what you’ve got. Certainly, you will probably need to upgrade your hot tub’s heater at some point.

Hayward, American Standard, and Jacuzzi are among the most popular brands for hot tubs, hot tub heaters, or even both of these things. You will unquestionably want to focus your search on the best hot tub brands, including EcoSmart and Raypak. Look for company’s that offer powerhouse products, strong warranties, and highly beneficial customer service.

Also, naturally, you should only purchase your hot tub and its accessories/equipment from a reliable, trusted vendor.

What Else Can I Do To Make My Hot Tub Heater More Efficient?

Of course, being able to accurately troubleshoot your hot tub heater is very important. But first, let’s discuss a few ways you can optimize your hot tub heater even further. Investing in spa landscaping is a good example of what we are talking about. Planting trees or even shrubs around the hot tub area will not only add considerable aesthetic charm, but it will also cut down on things like wind and moisture. Both of those elements can force your hot tub heater to work harder and longer. There are even specialized screens that you can purchase to protect your hot tub from the elements. If you live in an area that contends with a lot of wind, such a purchase may prove to be essential.

Improving the insulation of your hot tub is another great idea. Wall or even attic insulation can be used here. You should also consider investing in what might be called an enhanced hot tub cover. Adding a floating hot tub cover to your existing cover, for example, can supercharge the overall efficiency of your hot tub heater.

The Basics Of Hot Tub Heater Troubleshooting

Finally, let’s discuss the basics and main challenges of troubleshooting your hot tub’s heater. While we can’t cover absolutely everything that you might encounter, there is still a good deal of ground that we can cover:

  • Running times: The question of whether or not you should leave your hot tub running is largely answered by your climate. If you can afford an entire structure in which to house and monitor the ambient temperature of your hot tub, this is obviously less of an issue. In general, the colder your climate, the more consistently you will need to keep the hot tub running. In other words, if you live in a climate with freezing temperatures and lots of snow during the winter, you are going to have to keep that hot tub running pretty much throughout the entire winter.
  • Staying hot: If your hot tub is heating up, but failing to maintain the temperature, the filter is going to be the first thing you’ll check. In many situations, it is simply a matter of the filter being clogged up. However, it could also be an issue with your thermostat or heating sensor. Finally, check your circulation. In the event of clogged plumbing, the tub will need to be drained, cleaned, and treated with a line flushing product.
  • Fluctuating temperatures: This is a difficult issue to diagnose since the unpredictable conditions of the water can eventually lull you into thinking everything is actually just fine. The truth of the matter is that you probably have an issue with the temperature sensor. The thermostat or heating sensor can also be your culprit for this issue.
  • No heat at all: This is the one that can actually cause some people to completely freak out. Imagine firing up your hot tub, letting it run for a while, and then getting in. The water is as cold as when you first turned it on. You may need to replace your pump, as you could be dealing with a low-flow issue. You may also be facing a heating element that has started to show its age. These parts are easy and affordable to replace.

Replacing a heating element is not difficult to do on your own by any means. However, you might find it easier to just call in a professional. You can also ensure your heating element doesn’t die out on you by doing different things to extend its lifespan. Keeping your water levels properly balanced is one such step you can take. You will also want to keep air from getting into the system. It is most definitely a good idea to make sure you clean the filter on a regular basis. These are measures in general that can ensure you get years and years of pleasure from your hot tub.


As we mentioned before, there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling in an expert to address these or any other hot tub heater issues you may have. You’re spending a little bit of money for the work, but you are ultimately taking advantage of knowing the job was completed successfully the first time around.

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