Can I Heat a Hot Tub with Solar Power?

can I heat a hot tub with solar power

Imagine stepping into a steaming hot tub on a chilly evening, surrounded by nature, and gazing up at a star-studded sky. But what if I told you that the warmth radiating from your tub wasn’t courtesy of conventional fossil fuels, but the power of the sun?

Heating your hot tub with solar power is an enticing concept, and with rising energy costs, it’s a possibility many homeowners are considering. But before you dive headfirst (pun intended) into this world, it’s important to understand the intricacies and explore the different approaches to achieve this sustainable soak.

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This video I have recorded dives into the world of solar-powered hot tubs, exploring the pros and cons of various approaches. The video debunks the common misconception that you can directly power your hot tub with solar panels and batteries.

While it’s technically possible, storing enough power to heat a hot tub for a significant amount of time would be expensive and impractical. According to the video, a typical Tesla Powerwall battery can only store around 13.2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, which wouldn’t even last for 5 hours to heat a hot tub with a standard electric heater.

On top of that, a solar panel system installation for such a setup would cost around $12,000, making it an unrealistic solution for most people.

So, if storing solar energy for direct use isn’t feasible, what other options are there? The video explores two alternative methods that are more indirect but can significantly reduce your reliance on conventional heating methods.

Alternative ways to use solar power on a hot tub

The first option involves using solar heating panels, which are those long black panels you see on rooftops. These panels heat water circulating through them, reaching temperatures around 120°F (50°C). This hot water can then be transferred to your hot tub water through a heat exchanger.

Heat exchangers are clever devices that transfer heat from one body of water to another without them ever mixing. So, the scorching hot water from your solar panels heats up the heat exchanger plates, which in turn heats the water circulating through your hot tub system.

This method indirectly uses solar energy to heat your hot tub and eliminates the need for an expensive battery setup. However, controlling the temperature with a heat exchanger can be a bit tricky.

A more elaborate approach

The second method is a bit more elaborate but can be very cost-effective in the long run. This approach involves using your existing solar panel system, if you have one, to generate electricity during the day.

Then, at night, you can use the stored energy to power an air source heat pump. Air source heat pumps extract heat from the ambient air and transfer it to your hot tub water.

The beauty of this method is that you’re combining two green technologies: solar energy and air source heat pumps. While air source heat pumps use electricity to function, if you’re powering them with solar energy, you’re essentially heating your hot tub for free.

The video even mentions a customer who was able to achieve this completely free hot tub heating setup by strategically using his solar panels and air source heat pump.

Here are some interesting stats to consider when making your decision:

  • According to the Department of Energy, the average hot tub uses around 5,000 kWh of electricity per year [Source: Department of Energy].
  • Solar panels can generate around 1,000 kWh of electricity per year per kilowatt of capacity [Source: EnergySage]. So, a 5 kW solar panel system could generate around 5,000 kWh per year, which is enough to power your hot tub entirely with solar energy, depending on your location and sunlight exposure.
  • Air source heat pumps can be up to three times more efficient than conventional electric resistance heaters [Source: Department of Energy]. This means that you can heat your hot tub with an air source heat pump using less electricity, further reducing your reliance on the grid.

In Conclusion

While directly powering your hot tub with solar panels might not be the most practical solution, there are alternative methods that can help you achieve a more sustainable and cost-effective hot tub heating experience.

In addition to the methods mentioned in the video, some innovative companies are even developing solar collectors that can be integrated directly into your hot tub, eliminating the need for heat exchangers altogether.

As solar technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more efficient and affordable options for heating your hot tub with the power of the sun. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact and enjoy a luxurious soak under the stars, solar-powered hot tubs are definitely worth considering.

Can I Help You?

If I can help you in any way I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below.

Thanks - Andi

 

Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.

Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi

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