What Does Buying a Hot Tub Really Cost? 6 Hidden Expenses to Consider

by Travis Pizel · 9 comments

Many of us dream of owning our own hot tub one day. They’re a symbol of luxury, something that’s usually found in hotels, spas, or gyms. I used to be one of those dreamers, and about 10 years ago that dream became a reality.

Just a few days after Valentine’s day we had our brand new hot tub delivered. My wife and I were excited as we anxiously awaited the tub to be filled, and the water to be hot enough for us to jump in for the very first time.

But if you’re not careful, buying a hot tub can be a huge time and money waster. We quickly found out, owning a hot tub was much more expensive than we thought.

Buying a hot tub is a lot like buying a car. There are almost infinite brands and models to choose from, all in varying price ranges. If you’re thinking of buying a hot tub of your own, the spending doesn’t stop the day your new jetted tub of relaxation is delivered.

Here are 6 hidden expenses that come with being a hot tub owner:

  1. Installing an electrical outlet: Before we could even think about getting a hot tub, we first needed a 220 volt electric line run to where the hot tub would be located. This cost us close to $1,000.
  2. A sturdy foundation: A hot tub needs a sturdy foundation to sit on. Whether it’s a deck, a cement slab, or something comparable, you’ll likely have to install special reinforcements. Luckily for us, we already had a cement slap available. But if you don’t, you’ll need to take this expense into account.
  3. Increasing electricity bill: We asked the salesman how much having a hot tub would increase our electricity bill. He told us about $30 a month, maybe a little more when it was cold outside. He wasn’t even close! It’s been $50 minimum each month in the summer and well over $100 during the winter months.
  4. Replacing filters: The hot tub we have requires a total of three filters which costs about $45 a piece. These filters need to be replaced every 4-6 months, so we had to create a recurring budget for this expense.
  5. Chemical monitoring: Hot tubs are a lot like fish tanks; they require constant monitoring of their PH levels, as well as some sort of sanitation system whether it be Chlorine, Bromine, or something similar. A full set of monitoring strips and chemicals cost $100, and will last about two months.
  6. Constant repairs and upkeep: Here’s another parallel between owning a car and a hot tub. It’s not if your hot tub will break down, but only a matter of when. Our tub came with a full 5-year warranty, but after that we’re on our own. The pumps failed, pipes leaked, and even our main computer board went out once. The cost of upkeep and repairing a hot tub can be hundreds of dollars.

The place on our patio where our hot tub once sat is now since empty, as we sold it a few years ago. The reason we decided to get rid of it is because the cost to keep it was just too high.

For the eight years we owned the hot tub we had countless good times relaxing in it both alone and with friends. So, we have great memories! One day we might buy another one, but this time we’ll be able to make an educated decision as to whether we could afford the real cost of owning a hot tub.

Have you ever owned a hot tub? What cost surprised you the most to maintain it?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Chris Conlee says:

    We also had to run a 220v/50A line from the house about 120′ to the new reinforced deck we built. The electrical was $1100 and the deck (we built it ourselves) was at least $1000. We have solar panels, but I can already tell that our electric bill is going to go up, as we’re using more than we’re generating for the first time since we installed solar. It’s definitely going to cost more than we realized, but it sure is nice to sit and soak after a long day at work.

  • Tim says:

    $1000 to run a 220-volt outlet? My dad would have died and gone to heaven to be able to charge that much. Actually, on second thought, he would have told the customer, “No, that’s too much money!”.

    • As I mentioned above, Tim…they had to do electrical work inside the house to add a circuit, and the length of the electrical line was pretty complicated and long to place the outdoor outlet where we needed it. Thanks for reading!

  • praveen says:

    Also if you are in Melbourne (Australia) like me, you will scared of the water bill here.

  • When I lived at home my parents’ had a hot tub at one house. I’m not one for heat so I only went in a couple times. I do like baths now but I don’t think I’d want to deal with or pay for all the upkeep on a hot tub. Maybe a jaccuzzzi tub would be a good solution?

    My neighbour is installing a hot tub in his new deck, so maybe sneaking over there is the best solution?

    • We also have a jaccuzzi tub in our master bathroom….but it’s not quite the same – and you can’t jump in the tub with your friends. 🙂 Sneaking over to your neighbor’s is a great plan….be careful though, once you sit in a hot tub in the fall/spring when it’s a bit cooler out, you may be hooked!

  • jp says:

    We have had a hot tub for about 10 years. We recently moved it to another house. A 220 outlet ran $350-$400. The move itself with a concrete pad installed was $1,000. It costs $25-30 (estimate) to operate. Our costs may be lower because we live in the south. The silver iodide filter is replaced every 3-4 months and is about $50. The paper filter is once a year and is about $50. In the last 10 years we have replaced a jet ( l did it) and the main board which ran about $400. We turn the temp down in the summer to about 88-90 so it’s more like a pool. Right now it needs a new cover which runs $400+. The cost when we bought it was like a decent used car. I would add you will need a fence to restrict access. I think you were lucky to sell one. Most people have to give them away!

    • Thanks for sharing your expenses, JP….I would agree that your monthly operational costs are lower because you’re in the south where it’s warmer. I think our electrical cost more because they had to add a circuit to our breaker board, and the line to the concrete pad was extremely long!

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