How could there be disadvantages to a large tub of super-heated water that facilitates relaxation so well? The short answer is: everything has disadvantages but hot tubs are notorious for problems. As a general fact of life, anything mechanical with an internal plumbing system is prone to malfunctions. The trade off with these luxuries of the modern existence that give us such pleasure is the inevitability of maintenance and, therefore, cost. Like so many items that are so firmly ingrained in our consumer psyches as necessities for our pleasure and amusement, hot tubs are often acquired with little regard to the fine, day to day details of hot tub ownership.
Like big televisions and fast motorcycles, hot tubs are often impulse buys. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you decide to throw that discounted hot tub at the hardware store into your cart at checkout just for the hell of it, but rather that deliberation over the purchase often excludes technical details involved in maintaining a hot tub. The exciting scene you conjured in your head for months about wild hot tub cocktail parties with friends can quickly dissolve after the first heating failure or broken pump. Suddenly, you spend more time and money maintaining the tub than you do relaxing inside of it. Here are some top reasons hot tubs may not be such a great home improvement idea for you.
The first thing you may have noticed about hot tubs is that they are quite large. Even the smaller ones are big. Once you swipe your card and sign the receipt, you’ve just committed yourself to the first challenge of hot tub ownership: transporting the tub. If you have a large enough vehicle, like a flatbed truck or a tractor trailer, you may not have as much problem. Keep in mind, though, even if you can fit it in the vehicle, hot tubs are heavy and will require some physical assistance.
Once you get it home, you’ll have to have an allotted space outside to put it. This means you will need friends helpful enough or neighbors that will pity you enough to lend their bodies. In either case, be prepared to invite them to ‘tub’ after installation. The great thing about hot tub ownership that is immediately apparent is that you quickly become that person people use for their hot tub.
Hot tubs are a drain on everything from water to electricity and other home utilities to your individual stamina. Hot tubs require a lot of water and the water must be treated with chemicals. You must also have filters to prevent contaminants from entering your water supply and preventing heat circulation. Of course, you also need a pump, thermostat, and proper tub insulation. From powering your pumps to heating water every time you want to use it, hot tubs will soon run up your energy bills to the point you may begin to question the practicality of a home hot tub. Beyond the technical functionality, you will likely spend a considerable amount of personal energy changing filters, filling the tub, adjusting the thermostat, fiddling with the pump, and cleaning the entire apparatus to prevent mold, scum, and other bacteria from accumulating.
Obviously the adjective ‘expensive’ is relative to what you consider a reasonable amount of money to spend on a hot tub. From initial purchase costs to parts, maintenance, and energy costs, keeping a home hot tub is a depreciating asset. Your outdoor deck or garden area may look classy with a nicely installed, cedar framed hot tub but the return on investment is usually not in your favor. This depends on how often you use the tub, but keep in mind that with more use comes more maintenance. Replacing parts and calling a hot tub repair company can be pricey. Factoring in these kinds of situations before purchasing a hot tub will keep you out of hot water later on. Ok, that was bad, but who could resist that cliche?
About the Author
Ben Vaughn writes for Salt Lake plumbing services. He regularly writes on topics like why hot tubs may not be right for you and home water conservation through plumbing fixtures.