Longevity is a major concern with many hot tub owners. After all, hot tubs are a relatively large investment. When making that investment you want to be sure that it will last. In this article, we will discuss how long hot tubs and their various components typically last, and give you some tips for how you can improve their lifespan.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Hot Tub?
Hot tubs typically last anywhere from 5-20 years. Why such a wide range? There are two major factors that affect the lifespan of a hot tub.
- Quality. Simply put, a hot tub built with higher quality components will last longer on average than one made with lower quality components.
- Maintenance. A well maintained hot tub will last much longer than one that hasn’t been regularly cared for.
Which Hot Tub Parts Typically Wear Out First?
Not all hot tub parts have the same lifespan. Here are a few of the more common components of a hot tub, along with expected lifespans for each.
Hot tub covers are one of the most important components in your hot tub’s insulation system. They also have a relatively short life expectancy of around 3-5 years. While proper water care and regular cleaning and applications of UV protectant can extend the life of the cover, eventually your cover will need to be replaced to ensure that your hot tub’s energy costs don’t begin to climb.
Pumps & Heaters
The average lifespan of a hot tub pump or heater is hard to gauge. This is because they’re greatly affected by the water balance in your hot tub. Most hot tub pumps and heaters will be able to last for a minimum of 7-10 years in well maintained, well balanced water. In poorly balanced water, however, their lifespan can be drastically reduced as key components break down.
In hot tub pumps this is commonly the seal that protects the motor from water. Once that seal breaks down (usually from acidic water or consistently high sanitizer levels) water will begin to seep into the motor, causing it to rust and eventually seize up altogether. In extreme cases, this can happen in just a couple of years of exposure to consistently bad water.
Hot tub heater elements are also very sensitive to water balance issues. Acidic (low pH) water can cause them to break down and rust; causing further water balance issues. Basic (high PH or alkalinity) or hard (high calcium hardness) water can also cause scale to build up on the surface of the heater; greatly reducing its effectiveness. Hot tub heaters can also easily fail within a couple of years when consistently exposed to unbalanced water.
Shell & Cabinet
The shell, structure and outer cabinet of a hot tub can easily last for 20-30 years with little to no maintenance required. Simply clean off the cabinet periodically with a hose and ensure that any minor leaks are quickly repaired and you should never have an issue with the structural components of your hot tub.
The lifespan of a hot tub jet can vary quite a bit depending on two factors:
- The type of jet. Jets with no moving parts will almost always last longer than those with moving parts.
- The balance of the water. Acidic water can wear out the plastic backing that keep the jets in place. Basic water can cause scale to form, leading to increased friction on moving parts and wearing them out more quickly.
Overall, you can expect your jets to last anywhere from 7-10 years, assuming that you take care of your water. In unbalanced water the moving parts in a jet can break down in as little as 3 years. Fortunately, jets are relatively inexpensive (most are around $20-$30 each) and can be easily replaced without the need to call in an expert.
Hot tub pillows typically last anywhere from 3-5 years in a well maintained hot tub, though may only last 1 year in a poorly balanced hot tub. Fortunately, like hot tub jets, pillows are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.
How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Hot Tub
The best way to extend the lifespan of your hot tub is to first buy a quality hot tub, then ensure that you keep on top of your maintenance. Even a well made hot tub will have its lifespan drastically reduced if it’s not properly maintained.
To ensure that you get the longest life out of your hot tub you’ll want to regularly test the water and add balancing chemicals as they’re needed. Home tests should be done around 2-3 times per week and professional tests done once per month at your local hot tub retailer.
These professional tests are not only more accurate than home tests; they also test for more things. This allows you to maintain a better overall water balance and can help fix common issues such as cloudy or foamy water.
Along with regular testing you should also ensure that you change the water in the hot tub every 3-4 months while also cleaning out the plumbing and the shell when you do. This will make balancing the water easier over time while also reducing the potential for cloudy or foamy water.
At What Point Should You Replace Your Hot Tub?
One of the most common questions we get from hot tub owners is how to tell when a hot tub should be repaired or replaced. The answer to this really depends on two key factors.
- The cost of the repair.
- The age of the hot tub.
If the cost of the repair is low it is almost always worth fixing your hot tub, regardless of its age. Once the repair costs start increasing, however, you really need to consider the age and worth of your hot tub relative to the repair cost.
For example, if you need to spend $1000 to repair a hot tub that is 8 years old and likely still worth a few thousand dollars it is probably worth repairing. If your hot tub is instead 15 years old and only worth a few hundred dollars then spending $1000 to repair it doesn’t make much sense.
No matter how well they’re made, no hot tub will last forever. Hot tubs can last anywhere from 5-20 years. If you want your hot tub to have a lifespan on the higher end of that range you’ll first want to make sure that you buy a quality hot tub that is built with quality parts. You’ll then want to ensure that you take care of it by regularly testing and balancing the water.