A heater is obviously an integral part of a hot tub. There are several ways to heat the water in a hot tub, using oil, gas, solar power, or electricity as fuel. Electric heaters are the most common type of spa heater, with the heat generated by an electric coil.
With electric spa heaters, the electric coil can heat the water in one of two ways. This coil can either come into direct contact with the water or it can wrap around a heat exchanger, which in turn transfers heat to the water in the spa. Although the coil being immersed in the water is a more effective way to heat the spa, the coil can be corroded if the water is not correctly balanced.
The efficiency of a spa heater is measured by how many Btu of energy it transfers to the water. Spa heaters should be at least 75 percent efficient; with some very high-efficiency spa heaters operating at over 95 percent efficiency. To increase the efficiency of your hot tub, always cover it when it is not being used.
Spas of different sizes require different sized spa heaters. A heater which is too small will heat a spa too slowly while a heater which is too large will use more energy than is needed and cost more. Most portable spas come with the correct sized heater, but if you need to replace a heater, you will need to make sure that you are buying the best sized heater for your spa.
Another important decision to make regarding a spa heater is whether it will be in continual or intermittent use. Spa heaters can be set to operate continually, which will keep the water at the temperature desired at all times. This has the obvious advantage of allowing bathers to enter the hot tub at any time, but uses energy to keep the spa at these temperature.
If a spa heater is only used intermittently, it uses more energy when it is turned on to get to the higher temperature. However, depending upon how often a spa is used, this may still cost less than leaving it on all the time. To decide between intermittent and continual use, you will need to take into consideration factors like the desired temperature, how often the spa is used, and the schedule of use.
Spa heaters should always be serviced and installed by professionals to ensure safety and correct installation. Although some minor problems can be corrected by the spa owner, a service technician should be contacted for any major difficulties.
Written by Bronwyn Harris