Should I Leave My Hot Tub on All the Time? The Best Advice
Updated: Feb 28
One of the questions many first-time hot tub owners face is - Do you leave a hot tub on all the time? - It might seem like a waste of electricity, especially if you only plan to use your tub/spa a few times a week. In most cases, the answer is YES!
In this post, we'll explore the issue of leaving your hot tub on 24/7 in more detail. By the end, you'll understand the answer to the common question - do I need to keep my hot tub on all the time?
Should You Leave Your Hot Tub On All The Time?
Generally, you can leave hot tubs on continually because they are supposed to operate like that. It's also more economical than heating the water from cold each time you want a luxurious soak.
Some hot tubs have particularly good insulation, and a hot tub's cover (if you use it) will help keep heat loss to a minimum. A good quality tub/spa cover will also help you maintain a constant water temperature and minimise your hot tub energy bill.
That said, there are exceptions to the rules for keeping your hot tub running. We'll look at them a little further down the post.
Why Leave Your Hot Tub Turned On
There are several excellent reasons why you should leave most hot tubs on:
It's cheaper and decreases electricity bills
Your hot tub running costs will be much lower if you keep your standard or inflatable hot tub turned on and set at a desired temperature. Energy consumption to keep your hot tub running and the water warm at the desired water temperature is lower. Much less than heating it from cold.
Frequently turning it off and on or lowering and raising the temperature increases hot tub running costs.
Are you worried about the cost of keeping your hot tub turned on? You could save money by turning the temperature down a notch or two.
For every degree you lower the water temperature, you could save 10% on your tub/spa energy bill and make it more energy efficient. Your hot tub may also have an economy mode you can use.
Better water, better tub health
If you switch your hot tub off but leave the water in it, the chemicals that keep its water clean will sink and settle at the bottom. Then they will then harden and become challenging to remove. Cleaning congealed chemicals from hot tubs could also be hazardous to your health.
If winter hot tubbing isn't your thing, but you haven't drained the hot tub pump, any water remaining in the circulation pump may freeze and split the plastic piping inside. Split pipes could lead to leaks that will be expensive to repair. If the pump itself freezes, it could need replacing.
Stagnant water is perfect for bacteria
When you switch a standard or inflatable hot tub off, the water won't circulate and be filtered. When water is stationary for a long time it turns stagnant. Stagnant water in hot tubs can be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.
Bacteria thrive in damp environments, so a hot tub is an ideal breeding ground. If a hot tub is running normally, it's not a problem to leave the hot tub as there is little chance for bacteria to spread, as the filter and hot water will eliminate them.
It may freeze during the winter
When the temperatures drop in the winter, the chances of your hot tub freezing over increase significantly, even if you use a hot tub cover. Hot tub pumps are designed to work continually. In fact, it's better for the pump to be working rather than sitting idle.
Less hot tub use
If you switch your hot tub off between using it, you allow the water to go cold. With an average 6-person hot tub holding up to 500 gallons of water, it's a lot of H2O to heat up. It could take a whole day to heat the water from cold.
When you want to use your hot tub, you'll need to plan your session well in advance, which takes away the spontaneity of the hot tub experience. You certainly won't be able to enjoy a spur-of-the-moment soak.
Does Leaving a Hot Tub on all the Time Wear it out Faster?
Hot tubs are designed to be on constantly and work best when left on all the time. It makes almost no difference to the lifespan of your spa if you keep it on.
Manufacturers design their hot tubs with this in mind, so don't worry about making them wear out faster because it's not true.
When Should You Turn Off Your Hot Tub?
We've already said that you should try not to turn your hot tub off after every session, but that doesn't mean there aren't times when you should turn it off completely. There are a few occasions when turning it off makes the most sense.
Draining - You should periodically drain, clean, and refill your hot tub because it will help keep it clean. When you do, disconnect your hot tub from the power source for safety.
Cleaning filters - Your hot tub filters need to be cleaned regularly because this will ensure that they work efficiently.
Refilling - You should turn off your hot tub when you've drained it and not turn it on again until it's full of water.
If you are going away - Another time to turn off your hot tub is if you will be away for an extended period. If no one can check on your hot tub regularly, switch it off. Doing so will save money on energy bills and remove any risk of electrical failure. If the ambient air temperature and the weather when you're away are relatively warm, there may be a problem with algae growth. You can overcome this by adding a little chlorine shock, letting the jets run for half an hour, and then switching your hot tub off once you're sure it has dispersed all the chemicals. Are you going away in the winter months? Then it's advisable to winterise your hot tub, drain the water, dry the tub and system thoroughly, and loosen the PVC couplings to the heater, which could crack if they become frozen.
Definitely won’t be using the hot tub - Are you not going to use your tub for a while? Then the best idea is to drain it and turn it off.
When a guest leaves a vacation home that you own: If you own a rental home, and there won't be any guests staying in it for a while, turn the hot tub off when the last guest leaves. When you expect guests again, clean it thoroughly, and refill it before switching it on, to heat the water. Regular draining helps to reduce the risk of any sanitation problems when new guests book into your property. If the turnaround of guests doesn't allow enough time for a drain and refill, check the water quality, perform a partial drain, and refill the hot tub. If the water levels are out of balance, do a chemical shock treatment to restore the levels.
Every few months for thorough cleaning: You must clean your hot tub regularly - switch it off and drain it. Not only does it allow you to introduce fresh water into the hot tub system, but it also provides an opportunity to give the water jets and interior a thorough clean. With the hot tub disconnected from the power supply, you can inspect the jets and remove any grime, oil, and dirt.
Decided to Switch Off Your Hot Tub?
Do you know that you won't be using your hot tub for a month or more? Then it might be best to switch the hot tub completely off, as this will save more energy.
Should you decide to do this, follow the steps outlined below:
Step 1 - Drain it: First, switch off the electricity supply and drain the hot tub. You'll need a pump or hose connected to the tub's drainage outlet. Remove all the water you can, take out the plug, and use the cap supplied to close the hole.
Step 2 - Clean your hot tub and dry it thoroughly: You won't be able to drain all the water from your hot tub. So remove any remaining water using absorbent towels or a wet vac. When you've removed all the water, start cleaning your hot tub. As well as the tub's interior, you should also clean each jet using a suitable cleaner. Now is also the best opportunity to remove the tub's filters and thoroughly clean them.
Step 3 - Protecting an outdoor hot tub: Is your hot tub outdoors? Then it's best to use a hot tub cover to protect the tub from sunlight and prevent wild animals from making your hot tub their home for the winter. A secure and good-quality jot tub cover will also stop it from filling up with leaves and other debris.
If you were wondering whether it's safe to leave your hot tub running 24/7, now you know the answer. Ideally, leave it running as long as possible, but there are instances when switching it off makes sense. Follow the guidelines above, and you can enjoy many years with your hot tub.
What temperature should I keep my hot tub at when not in use?
Generally, you should set the temperature of your hot tub to between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (36 and 40 degrees Celsius), even when not using it. However, if you plan to be away or know you won't use it for up to six weeks, lower the temperature to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Does turning down the hot tub save money?
Yes, you can reduce your electricity bill if you turn the temperature of your hot tub down a few degrees. You can expect to save approximately 10% of the energy used by your hot tub for every degree you lower the temperature.
Can you turn off a hot tub when it is not in use?
Yes, you can turn off your hot tub, but it's better to keep it running. That said, there are a few occasions when it might be best to switch the tub off.
What happens when my hot tub is left empty?
Standard or inflatable hot tubs left empty are prone to problems. For example, the gaskets and seals will dry out and be more likely to leak. If any water is left in the equipment or the pipes, a bacteria biofilm may grow, which will be difficult to remove.
Is it cheaper to maintain a constant temperature in your hot tub?
It is very cost-effective and uses very little energy to keep the heater in your hot tub set at one temperature and your hot tub running constantly. Dropping the hot tub temperature or increasing it will consume more energy.