One of the most frequent questions that
To be honest with you, as a busy mom of two that works full time, if I honestly look at the cost of hot tub maintenance, not from the stance of someone that works in the industry, I would totally be one of those people…
Who has the time to add even 1 more thing into their day to check on, take care of, keep up with?
However, since I am in the industry, I understand the benefits that come along with hot tub ownership, so I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it from the other side, and really understanding this primary concern.
I want to address this concern with all the busy mom’s and dad’s, homeowners, workaholics, grandparents and health aficionados and discuss the reality of hot tub maintenance.
Can you really get by with just 1 hour of upkeep?
I can tell you, we have owned our newest hot tub for about 9 months now, and between myself and my husband, we have probably spent a combined total of 1 hour of time on the maintenance of our hot tub, and approximately $55 in chemicals in addition to what was provided with the actual hot tub purchase (our tub came with a fairly substantial set of ‘opening chemicals’ that was a part of the purchased kit).
The time spent was primarily my husband cleaning out the filter—he has done this 3 times in total now, basically once a quarter. This process requires nothing more than a hose and a high-pressure nozzle attached to the hose…you simply hose the dirt and dust off until the filter is white again.
Some people like to be uber clean and will perform a more extensive cleaning of their hot tub filter. They will purchase a secondary filter to use as a backup and will rotate the two filters to allow for more in depth cleaning. They will take the used filter out and will acid wash it (basically soaking in a muriatic acid/water rinse), and will use their backup filter while acid washing the first one.
If you are a person that enjoys that feeling of knowing you have gotten things as clean as possible, this may be the route for you, but in all actuality, it isn’t vital. If you choose this route, you will have the expense of approximately $50 - $100 for the backup filter (depending on your hot tub model), and the cost of the muriatic acid, which costs about $7.50 / gallon.
How much should you expect hot tub chemicals to cost?
As far as the chemical cost – most of this went to replacement Frog Bromine cartridges. We have found that if we change the Frog cartridge every 3-4 weeks on the dot, our water stays crystal clear. Note that our hot tub is equipped with ozone that runs 24 hours a day, which does most of the water sanitation.
Our start-up kit that was included with our purchase included 3 of these cartridges – we have purchased an additional 3 cartridges at $15/each. This only accounts for 6 months of use with the math I provided, so to clarify, we don’t use the tub much in the summer as it is our busiest time at work, and the kids prefer to get in the pool vs. the hot tub, so we haven’t changed the cartridge since May – I looked and the water is still crystal clear, going 3 months without spending a dime. Keep in mind, there was NO USE of the hot tub during this time period though!!
The other $10 in chemical cost was for the second bottle of defoamer. With our kids’ bathing suits being washed frequently, they tend to cause some bubbles in the hot tub, so we went through the provided bottle of defoamer in the first 4 months, and are working our way through the second bottle now.
The bottom-line for everyday hot tub maintenance
In taking an honest look at the time and cost of maintenance for our hot tub, I can say for us it hasn’t been a huge money pit or time sucker…purchasing a hot tub with a primary sanitizer of ozone is probably vital to our success with low maintenance cost/time spent.
One caveat I would say from the ‘industry’ perspective is that our hot tub sits under a covered patio that gets little to no direct sunlight, so we haven’t had to spend any time or money on maintenance for the cover, which at this point would simply be applying a protective product to it to keep it from fading.
If your hot tub were going to be sitting in the direct sunlight, I would recommend a protective sealer for your cover be applied at the beginning of spring and again at the beginning of fall – this would take about 15 minutes to do max.
Also, going into the spring season in Oklahoma, I would have a sheet of plywood on hand to cover up the hot tub cover during hail storms…That $25 plywood investment could wind up saving you a cost of a new cover at $400!