I've been talking to a lot of customers lately who
question whether the indulgence of a hot tub can be justified in
the middle of a drought with mandatory water restrictions.
Most hot tub owners are surprised when they realize
how little water a hot tub actually 'uses' and how much mileage
you get out of every gallon you store in a portable hot tub.
A Hot Tub is a Storage Tank
takes between 400 and 500 gallons of fresh water to fill the average
portable hot tub but filling a hot tub doesn't actually use
Jetted bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers
and clothes washers all use water because every gallon goes
down the drain after just one use.
Your hot tub stores water. It heats, filters
and recirculates every gallon every day so a single fill up can
be used over and over again for months at a time.
Rather than use water, your hot tub borrows
water and then recycles it so many times you get more miles-per-gallon
from your hot tub than any other water conservation effort.
Once your're done soaking in your savings, you can
finally use the water to irrigate the lawn or non-edible
landscaping, wash down the patio, outdoor furniture or grill, wash
down the driveway or wash out the garbage cans.
Rainy Day Refill
When it rains in Spain...they
get on a plane and come to San Diego. When it rains in San
Diego...you can drain and refill your hot tub for free.
It's not practical to fill your hot tub with rain
water but if you turn off your sprinkler system when it rains, you
can borrow some of that saved water to refill your hot tub.
"By state law, it is illegal to irrigate landscapes
during measureable rainfall and for 48 hours afterward. As a practical
matter, irrigation systems can be left off for much longer after
a significant rain event." -San
Diego Water Authority
If you turn off your sprinker system when it rains, you can save
200 gallons or more per watering day. If you leave the irrigation
system turned off for at least two watering days, you'll save at
least 400 gallons of water which conveniently fits in the average
Think of your hot tub like a temporary storage tank for sprinkler
water. When it rains, turn off your sprinklers and store some of
that saved water in your hot tub.
When you're done soaking out the drought, turn off the sprinklers
again and use the hot tub water to irrigate your lawn or non-deible
plants on one of those hot and dry days.
Maximize Miles per Gallon
If you own a hot tub, you already get more miles per gallon of
water than any other use around the home including a swimming pool.
An open pool can lose hundreds of gallons of water every season
just to evaporation. Your hot tub is covered unless you're sitting
in it so evaporation is negligible.
Even with this kind of economy you can still extend the time between
'fill ups' with proper water management:
The power of a shower
There's a difference between a bathtub and a hot tub. The first
is for washing. The second is for soaking. Everything you put
on your body in the morning ends up in the hot tub in the evening
unless you wash it off first.
That includes deodorant, cologne, cosmetics, hair products and
any other 'personal hygiene' product that can wash off when it
hits hot water. This is the stuff that turns water cloudy and
If you wash it off before you get in the hot tub, you won't
need as much chemistry to fix it after and every batch of water
will last longer.
Fix it with
Just because you can fix a problem with chemistry doesn't mean
Your hot tub came equipped with a filtration system capable of
removing micoroscopic particles from the water without adding
a single tablespoon of chemistry. Most
hot tubs allow you to adjust the filtration cycle from a typical
minimum of 2 hours per cycle up to 24-hour continuous filtration.
When you have a water quality issue like cloudy water, try increasing
filtration time and run one or two filtration cycles before resorting
Don't dump it in; You won't have to
dump it out
Overdosing chemistry is the leading cause of frustration for hot
tub owners and the most common cause of chemical damage to hot
tub plumbing and equipment.
It also results in unintended chemical reactions and rapid build
up of chemical byproducts. The more you dump in, the sooner you'll
have to dump it all out.
The less stuff you pour in the tub the longer that batch of water
will last. Avoid accessory chemicals like aromatherapy fragrances
or skin conditioners entirely or use them right before you would
otherwise drain the tub.
Rub-a-dub it's not that kind of tub
When you were a kid, a bar of soap flaoting in a bathtub was
the flagship of your fleet. As an adult, just a bit of soap
in your bathing suit can mean a big foamy mess in your hot tub.
Anti-foam products make the suds disappear like magic but usually
leave a scum line you'll have to scrub off. This is because
most anti-foam producs work by putting a layer of silicone on
the water which blocks the suds from breaking the surface.
This fixes the foam but does nothing to get rid of the underlying
problem which is soap or detergent so the water turns milky
gray and you end up dumping it anyway.
Avoid soap entirely by washing bathing suits in a separate load
wihout laundry detergent. The stretch material in some suitls
holds on to the soap even after a normal rinse cycle. When guests
visit, rinse their suits
When in doubt; Drain it out
A recent poll shows most people in San Diego County see saving
water as a civic responsibility but at the end of the day an
entire batch of hot tub water costs about $3.00.
Since the average single family home in San Diego uses about
400 gallons of water every day, a hot tub refill is only about
a 1-day supply of water or about 1/60th of your two-month billing
Whether you drain it at six months or six weeks your hot tub
doesn't make much of a dent in your water bill so you shouldn't
hesitate to drain it as needed to keep it clean and sanitary.
Use it One Last
Dumping 400 gallons of used hot tub water down a storm
drain might seem like a waste.... because it is.
Even if the high-mileage water in your hot tub is
no longer suitable for soaking, you can still squeeze another few
feet out of every drop. How many feet depends on how far you can
stretch your garden hose.
With mandatory water restrictions in place, you can't
wash down your driveway or patio with fresh drinking water from
a faucet but the average hot tub holds about 400 gallons of recycled
water which can still be used in a number of creative ways:
Irrigate the lawn, landscaping and non-edible plants
Rinse down the patio, outdoor funiture or driveway
Clean the lawn mower and other garden equipment
Wash out the garbage cans
If you're draining your tub with gravity your options
for recycling the water are pretty much limited to downhill. If
you purchase an inexpensive, sumbersible utility pump, you can connect
a garden hose and spray nozzle and pump the water under pressure
wherever you need it.
If you recycle every batch of water one last time,
your hot tub doesn't actually use water. It just stores
the water unitl you get around to watering the lawn or washing something.
As a bonus, you get to sit and soak while you wait out the drought
Your hot tub is just a drop
in a (really big) bucket
The average single-family home in San Diego uses about
400 gallons of water every day.
The average portable hot tub holds 400 to 500 gallons
of water so filling your hot tub only uses about a 1-day supply
Most water districts bill in two-month cycles so the
water stored in your hot tub is only about 1/60th or 0.02% of your
If you drain and refill your hot tub every four months, you are still
getting 120 days use out of a single-day supply of water. You get
more 'miles-per-gallon' from your hot tub than any other household
(in your hot tub too)
It seems counter-intuitive but draining and refilling your tub
every four months gives you more recycling choices. If you only
drain the tub once a year, the buildup of chemical byproducts can
limit your disposal options.
If the water is overloaded with chemistry, draining it onto the
lawn can leave big dead patches and draining it into landscaping
can kill expensive plants.
If you wait too long and the chemistry in your hot tub becomes
too concentrated, it is illegal to let this water run off your property
to a storm drain..
If you can't dump it down a storm drain, you must
somehow drain it to your sewer line so it can be treated as wastewater.
If you drain the tub more often, the chemicals don't
have a chance to build up so the water is still suitable for multiple
Draining your hot tub on a regular, reasonable basis
gives you more recycling options than keeping the water for as long