What is insulation on a Hot Tub?
Are you looking at buying a Hot Tub or upgrading your existing Hot Tub? Have you heard about different Hot Tub insulation options and been baffled about the differences? It is key to understand the importance of insulation on a Hot Tub as that will determine your running costs, so it could save you money and provide many other benefits.
Insulation in Hot Tubs is used for thermal and structural purposes, ultimately designed to reduce your Hot Tub running costs and enhance structural integrity. In this blog I will inform you of the differences between the different types of Hot Tub insulation and run though the benefits.
Over time, and still to this day, Hot Tub companies are coming up with new names for different types of insulation in Hot Tubs, so it is easy to get misled by all this jargon. Below is a diagram which talks about different types of foam insulation.
100% Full Foam Insulation is considered one of the best types of insulation in a Hot Tub. The foam supports the pipes and plumbing to prevent leaks and reduce the noise (as there are little or no vibrations). It also backs the structure of the shell giving the spa structural integrity, and ultimately maintains running costs as the foam reduces heat loss.
What should you consider when thinking about insulation for your Hot Tub?
- Where will the Hot Tub be located? (U.K, France etc.)
- Will the Spa be outside?
- Do you want to use your Hot Tub in winter?
- Do you want to reduce the Hot Tub running noise (when jets and pumps are turned on)?
- Do you care how much the Hot Tub costs to run?
If you are considering purchasing a Hot Tub or Swim Spa then one question you need to ask yourself is “where will the Spa be located?” well, if you live in the U.K like myself, then you know that for the majority of the year the weather is COLD! If you have a Spa running outside 365 days a year that doesn’t have any or an effective type of insulation, then it is a FACT that the Spa WILL cost more to run in comparison to a Spa that is 100% insulated. If you want to maintain low running costs all year round, then I would suggest 100% full foam insulation for your Hot Tub.
To understand how insulation works regardless of its application in consumer products, the first step is to understand heat flow which involves three basis mechanisms – conduction, convection and radiation.
- Conduction is the way heat moves through materials. A good example of it is when a spoon placed in a hot cup of coffee conducts heat through its handle to your hand.
- Convection is the way heat circulates around us in different forms of matter – through liquids and gases, and is why lighter, warmer air rises, and cooler, denser air sinks in your home.
- Radiant heat normally travels in a straight line and heats anything solid in its path that absorbs its energy.
Regardless of the mechanism used, heat flows from a warmer area to cooler area until there is no longer a temperature difference. In Hot Tubs, this means that in winter, heat flows directly from all heated air spaces within the body of 4-walls, bottom floor and the perimeter space. Heat flow can also move indirectly under the shell of the hot tub side-to-side, up-and-down and through body of water (above the water line to the underside of the safety cover). To maintain the set temperature within the body of water, any heat loss in a hot tub must be replaced by its heating system within the portable design of the spa. A proper insulated hot tub will decrease this heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of the heat.
If a hot tub was to have less insulation such as partial foam, foam around the core or structural insulation around the base of the hot tub this allows for large spaces within the cabinet and behind the shell for heat to escape. Which in effect decreases the heat of the water causing the heater to kick in and re heat the water. Costing you MORE MONEY!
Where will the Spa be located? Will it be in a cabin, property, building, balcony, garden, sunken or above ground? These are the types of questions you should be answering when considering a Hot Tub or Swim Spa. The majority of Hot Tub owners have their Hot Tub located outside in the garden, I find there is something quite magical sitting back relaxing in your Hot Tub outside whilst its cold or snowing sipping on a nice glass of wine. If you are like the majority and are considering putting your Hot Tub in your garden, then the logical answer is that you would want it to be 100% fully foam insulated.
Do you want to use your Hot Tub in the winter? If the answer is yes, then you will need to be careful with what insulation your Hot Tub comes with. Cheaper spas tend to have either no insulation or a partial insulation or foam core insulation which means your Hot Tub will cost more to run! After doing some research, I have found that you should always find out where the spa is manufactured. The reason for this is because some American branded Spas are manufactured to suit hotter climates, Chinese Spas tend to be cheaply made and are of poor quality but I have found that Canadian manufactured Hot Tubs are nearly all 100% insulated to suit the cold Canadian climate – if you live in a cold climate then I would suggest a Canadian manufactured Hot Tub, this means your Spa will costs less to run and you can enjoy it all year round! Be aware! I have found that some Hot Tub brands sell themselves as being Canadian but are manufactured in other parts of the world e.g. Asia. So be aware when looking to purchase the Spa and always do your research. A Canadian brand which is highly recommended is Coast Spas or Regency Collection.
What are the other benefits of having a fully insulation hot tub?
Do you want to reduce the Hot Tub running noise (when jets and pumps are turned on)?
- Some Hot Tubs carry up to 2574 litres of water, that’s a lot of heavy water being pushed and pumped around the Hot Tub pipework! When the pumps and jets are on the internal pipework will move with the amount of water surging through them, like a fireman’s hose, if there isn’t anything supporting the pipework then the pipes can sometimes come away from the jets, causing leaks – this will mean you will be paying for a Hot Tub engineer to come out to the Hot Tub to see if they can fix the leak (sometimes it’s not always a guaranteed fix on the day, so you may need to pay another professional to come out, so this can become very expensive.) When you spend £1,000’s of pounds on a Hot Tub the last thing you want to do is worry about it breaking or leaking! Fully insulated spas allow the foam density to encapsulate the pipes and plumbing preventing vibrations, muffling noise and preventing leaks!
- Hot Tubs are made all throughout the world, whether your spa is from China, America or Canada they are all being imported overseas in large containers. You want to ensure that the product is structurally supported throughout its transportation.
- Saving you money! It has been proven that a Hot Tub that is fully foam insulated will cost less to run compared to a Hot Tub with no, or less than 100% insulation.
So what does all this research suggest?
When buying a Hot Tub ensure the spa has 100% Full Foam A + R Rated Insulation – this is the best form of insulation in hot tubs. Coast Spas actually use a 2 pound density thick foam sprayed all around the plumbing and pipework, this will reduce the noise, supporting the plumbing/structure plus this will prevent pipework from moving, and ultimately keep the heat in to maintain low monthly running costs. This type of insulation is vital to make sure you are not spending thousands of pounds a year to keep the spa heated. Top brands in the Hot Tub industry have been using this insulation for decades, because it’s the best!
See this link to a video of a spa being fully insulation with foam! – https://vimeo.com/70125671
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