Affordable Hot Tub Repair

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Water Conservation Tips for Hot Tub Owners


Hot Tub Repair

Simple Hot Tub Chemistry

  1. Hot Tub Chemistry Fundamentals

  2. Why you can't treat a portable hot tub like a Swimming Pool

  3. Total Alkalinity & pH

  4. Sanitize & Oxidize

  5. Step-by-Step Hot Tub Chemistry Checklist with dosage tables

  6. Simple Hot Tub Chemistry Selector

  7. Hot Tub Chemical Damage

Hot Tub Water Conservation

Hot Tub Electrical Safety

When in Drought: Adjust your priorities.

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

It 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 water.

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 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 hot tub.

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:

  1. 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 foamy.

    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.

  2. Fix it with filtration first
    Just because you can fix a problem with chemistry doesn't mean you should.

    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 to chemistry.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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 cycle.

    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 Time

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 of water.

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 water bill.

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 use.

Think Blue
(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 recycling purposes..

Draining your hot tub on a regular, reasonable basis gives you more recycling options than keeping the water for as long as possible.


More Conservation Tips:

Home Advisor

Save Our Water

City of San Diego Public Utilities

San Diego County Water Authority

California Department of Water Resources

©Affordable Hot Tub Repair, 2014