How much is your old spa heater costing you?
Freezing temperatures outside usually drive people indoors for months on end, but if you've got a spa in your backyard, chances are you've been waiting for the mercury to drop. There's not much better than watching the steam rise from therapeutically warmed water as snow falls all around you, but the cost of heating your spa may throw a wrench in your winter wonderland.
Depending on several factors – such as whether or not you're using an old, inefficient heater to provide water – your spa may be wasting your hard earned dollars in unnecessary energy costs. It can take a lot of water and energy to fill a spa to your desired temperature, and many traditional water heaters just aren't up to the task.
Buy electric spa heaters
The age-old debate on spa heaters has been whether or not it makes more financial sense to leave the heater on all day or only turn it on when you need it. Supporters of the former argue that it takes so long for the average spa to reach a comfortable temperature that it makes more sense to always leave your heater in the on position.
However, personal savings blog The Simple Dollar explained that an 8-person spa that holds around 500 gallons of water can go from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit with only about 75 kilowatt hours of energy. Utility rates vary depending on where you live and how heavy a user you are, but according to NPR, the average American household pays 12 cents per kWh. Crunch the numbers and you get a cost of just $6.25 to heat your spa for one use.
However, this number may not apply to traditional water heaters that constantly use electricity to heat a reservoir of water. Tankless heaters use only as much water as you need, so once your spa reaches the desired temperature, you're not wasting any more electricity.
Go big on insulation
If your spa is in the backyard or other space without protection from the elements, you'll want to add some insulation around the sides and top of your spa to make it even more energy efficient. Once you spend to $6.25 to heat it, you'll want to keep that energy in the water.
Home improvement website Network Local explained that multi-layered insulation in the walls of a spa can help, but a thick cover is absolutely essential to saving as much money as you can while still enjoying your spa this winter.