Solar Hot Tub
A solar panel for a hot tub is a solar-powered heater designed specifically to power a hot tub. Powering your hot tub with this type of heater will save you quite a lot of money as opposed to using regular power-grid electricity. In this post, we will take a look at how you can heat your hot tub with this alternative power source, the benefits of doing so, how to install it, and how much money you can save by using a solar hot tub heater.
How You Can Heat a Hot Tub with Solar Energy
With solar energy, you can heat up your hot tub through a device known as a heat exchange panel. These panels work by transferring heat from one place to another; in this case, the heat is transferred from the sun to the water. With 6 hours of exposure to decent sunlight, this device can effectively keep the hot tub heated for 24 hours at least.
The only issue with the solar hot tub is that it cannot store energy on its own. This means it functions at its fullest during the day when there is sunlight. If there is no sunlight, you cannot heat up your tub. In this case, you can install a suitable rechargeable battery to store the energy gathered when the sun is up. This way, you can still enjoy a hot tub treatment at night or when the weather is gloomy.
Note that using a heat exchange panel to power your tub will require you to make some modifications that may affect the tub. This modification may cancel any warranties you may have on the tub. On another note, connecting it to a battery system powered by a solar panel via a solar kit is a good installation option that would not invalidate any warranties on the tub.
Benefits of Using Solar Power for Heating Hot Tubs
There are a bunch of benefits you stand to gain if you install a solar hot tub. These benefits are so significant that more people continue selecting this solar option, not just for their hot tubs but also for other uses that are both domestic and non-domestic.
- Environmentally friendly
This is probably the biggest benefit of using this alternate source of energy to power your hot tub. It helps with water preservation compared to using traditional household electric water heaters, which make use of thousands of liters of water every year.
The next biggest benefit is cost. Comparing solar energy to electricity, we know that an average household in the US consumes about 1000 kWh every month, which costs about $100 in 2014. The rate has increased since then by 4% to 40%, depending on various locations. On the other hand, the average solar panel module price dropped by a whopping 75% between 2006 to 2014.
- Long warranties and impressive system life
You get to enjoy a performance warranty that guarantees 90% production at 10 years and 80% production at 25 years. What this means is that you are protected from environmental issues, manufacturer defects, and premature damage for the stipulated period.
- Easy installation and maintenance
If you are a technical person, even in the slightest sense, then you might be able to comfortably install and maintain a solar hot tub without any stress. All you have to do is follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
How to Install a Solar Hot Tub Heater
A solar panel for a hot tub can be installed following different approaches. Here are some installation guidelines to keep in mind irrespective of what approach you are taking.
- Gather the components: Some of the things you need for this installation include solar collectors, storage tanks, pipes, a pump, glycol, and controls. Note that your list of requirements may differ depending on what type of system you wish to install.
- Mount the collectors: You can decide to mount them on the roof or any other place where you believe they will get the most sunlight. You should also consider which direction to aim them.
- Install a storage tank: The tank should be close to the conventional heater, and there should be unions attaching the tank and heat exchanger. This will ensure that the connecting pipe is not cut off in the future if you need to replace either the tank or the exchanger.
- Pipes and pump: Gradually solder the glycol loop as required. Remember to install unions at the pump to make replacement easy if the need ever arises. When you are done with soldering the loop, then you can install the pump at the lowest part of the loop. Next, install an expansion tank with a pressure gauge, and then install the water piping.
- Controls: This is important to give you control over what water temperature you prefer at any point in time. You can install the bypass valve, tempering valve, high-temperature radiator loop, etc.
- Fill up the system: This step is designed to check to make sure there are no leaks in the glycol loops. You can do this by filling the entire loop with water.
- Water and glycol line insulation: With a standard foam pipe, insulate both the water and glycol lines. You can also use duct tape for this step if you like.
How Much Money a Solar Hot Tub Can Save You
First of all, it is no longer news that installing a solar hot tub can help you cut down on the cost of electricity. However, how much you can save depends on your location and the cost of electricity in that place. For instance, with a high electricity rate and multiple collector system, you can save as much as $1000 per year if you have your tub running on a solar heater. If you have a low electricity rate and minimal set up, you can save as much as $500 to $600 per year.
The actual financial benefits of this system start to add up over more time, which is why it may be better to install it in a long-term residence as opposed to a temporary one. The minimum cost of installing one is about $4000. The average cost is about $9000, and the maximum cost is estimated to be $13000.
Considering the environmental and long-term financial benefits of a solar hot tub, it is definitely a worthwhile investment. It is practically easy to install, and maintenance is low. A long warranty and impressive system life guarantee the performance and durability of the product for a very long time.