Few things are more relaxing than a long soak in the hot tub or a dip in the pool. But your hot tub or pool could be consuming more energy than you think, leading to increased energy bills.
By following these surefire steps from EnergyStar, though, you can transform an energy-hogging hot tub or pool into an energy-efficient version and lower your energy bills at the same time. Now that’s something worth relaxing over!
• Check your hot tub or pool’s thermostat setting. As a general rule, pools should be no warmer than 78 degrees to effectively save energy. Though 104 degrees is the standard temperature for hot tubs, you should set the thermostat no higher than 96 degrees F in the summer and 102 degrees F in the winter.
• Reduce wind exposure with windbreaks. You can create windbreaks with effective landscaping, or with trees and shrubs, privacy panels, or fencing.
• Purchase a new, energy-efficient hot tub rather than an inexpensive used model. Newer models use a lot less energy than their older counterparts. Also, while investing in a new hot tub may be more expensive up front, it will eventually pay for itself in energy savings.
• Install a new hot tub or pool in a sunny spot, especially if you plan to use a solar water heater or solar pool cover.
• Invest in an insulating pool cover, which can cut your pool-heating energy costs by as much as 50 to 70 percent. Or you could opt for a solar pool cover, which can increase pool heat by as much as 10 degrees when placed in direct sunlight. Both types of covers also keep the pool clean and prevent surface evaporation, a common source of energy loss.
• Protect your hot tub with a snug-fitting foam cover that has an R-12 insulation value. Installing a 1/4-inch-thick closed-cell foam blanket underneath the cover lengthens the lifespan of the cover and can increase the spa’s insulation value to R-16.
• Regularly check for leaks in your hot tub or pool, and repair them as soon as you catch them to avoid unnecessary water loss.
• Lower or turn off the heat in your hot tub or pool if you are going on vacation or will be away for more than a few days.
• Drain hot tubs and pools only when necessary. If the hot tub is heavily used, it should be drained every 3-4 months. Pools, on the other hand, rarely need to be drained if you keep it in top shape. To conserve water, hydrate your lawn with the drained water.
• Adjust the water heater in your hot tub to only heat water during off-peak times: 6 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. This will reduce pressure on utility loads.
• Rather than let your pool’s circulation pump (needed to keep the pool clean) run continuously, reduce circulation to eight hours or only as much as needed to maintain a clear, safe pool.
• Decrease your hot tub’s filtration cycle—which usually runs on a twice-daily 4-hour cycle—to twice-daily 3-hour cycles. Check to make sure that your hot tub doesn’t have a low-wattage, continuous circulation pump. If it does, let it run as usual.