Are hot tubs worth the hype?

Hot tub

In Consumer Advice, Legionella

The coronavirus pandemic had a strange effect on us Brits last year. From toilet roll shortages to hot tub buying frenzies, the combination of lockdown, unseasonably nice weather and furlough meant we were spending a lot of time outdoors. However, a year down the line, have hot tubs lived up to the hype?

Love them or loathe them, inflatable or foam walled hot tubs were the 2020 ‘must have’ garden accessory. Affordable to buy and offering flexibility due to their size and portability, they offered a touch of luxury. However, may new owners found they were completely unaware of the running costs and the dangers poor maintenance could bring.

With yearly heating bills for some hot tubs hitting £600, consumers found the temptation to cut corners and costs by cutting down on maintenance regimes. Worryingly, 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. Hot tubs and spa baths can provide the perfect environment for growth and transmission.

Kevin Wellman CIPHE CEO commented, “Last year’s popularity in hot tubs and spa baths means that many families now have a potential source of an outbreak within their homes and gardens. What people don’t realise is that it is essential these appliances are correctly installed and maintained, while also being 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.”

“The peak period for Legionnaires’ disease cases usually falls between June and October, so we are very much entering the danger period. It is therefore vital hot tub owners keep up with maintenance regimes to ensure water quality. If your hot tub has not been maintained for a while, then call in the services of a professional before it is used again.”

Due to the use of different materials in tubs and baths, 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 buy it.

If you are one of the few who didn’t take the plunge last year, make sure you do your homework before buying a hot tub. While the initial purchase cost may be relatively cheap, maintenance costs can be hefty. Remember if you don’t maintain the system correctly, it could cost you the health of yourself and loved ones too.

If you need a professional plumber to service your hot tub, use our find a plumber online tool.