With energy bills rising, you may want to hold off refilling the hot tub this summer. Those that survived Covid lockdowns bubbling away in the garden, may have fond memories, but with current energy bills likely to bring you out in a hot sweat, is it a good idea to bring the hot tub back into action?
Running costs will vary between the type of hot tub you have, how often you use it, the temperature required and where it is situated. A small outdoor, inflatable hot tub, in an exposed area with insufficient insulation will suffer more heat loss than a larger, indoor, well insulated, hard shell hot tub. The more energy needed to maintain the water temperature, the higher your electricity bill. Even pre-energy price cap rise, some hot tubs were costing around £600 per year to run, and households could see those costs double with the recent fuel price increases.
Those running hot tubs could feel the temptation to cut corners and costs by reducing maintenance regimes. This would be an incredibly bad idea according to the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE). The combination of warm weather and sitting (stagnant) water creates the perfect environment for Legionella bacteria and other water-borne bacteria and biofilm to grow. Legionella is the cause of a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ disease, which is contracted by inhaling tiny water droplets.
Kevin Wellman CIPHE CEO warned, “While the initial purchase cost may be relatively inexpensive, especially for portable and inflatable tubs, ongoing heating and maintenance costs can be hefty. It is essential these appliances are correctly installed, maintained, and regularly cleaned and chlorinated. Harmful Legionella bacteria can incubate in as little as 2-10 days, meaning that those who let their maintenance and disinfection regime slip, could be at risk.
“Due to the use of different materials in hot tubs, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy for disinfecting and maintaining systems. It is vital that you follow your manufacturer’s instructions to the last word and are aware of all the costs involved in maintaining your product before you turn it back on for the summer. If your hard shell hot tub has not been maintained for a while, then call in the services of a professional before it is used again.”
The peak period for Legionnaires’ disease cases usually falls between June and October, so now is the time to be vigilant. To find out more on Legionella and hot tubs, or find a local engineer, visit www.ciphe.org.uk