Hot Tub Buying Guide
Hot Tub Electric concerns - 220 vs. 110
220 volts or 110? That is the question that hovers over your hot tub selection whether you are aware of that or not. The choice is yours, obviously, but the choice may be more complicated than you imagine. Don't leave this decision to the end thinking it's a secondary consideration. Knowing which voltage will best meet your needs will help you select the best hot tub for you and yours. Many spas are now being manufactured to run off 110 volts. Traditionally spa ran off only 220. Many larger tubs still only offer that choice. But which is right for you? Let's consider the implications of your choice.
Climate and use. Consider where you live. Is it a colder climate? A warmer climate? Consider when you will use your tub. Will you use your tub in below freezing temperatures? Only in mild weather? Consider the length of use. Will you use your tub for hours on end? Or just for an evening soak of an hour or two? How you answer these questions will guide you toward the right voltage. If you live in a cold climate and will be using your tub year round, you will want to consider a 220 volt spa. Why? We'll get into that. If you plan to have social gatherings where guests will be getting in and out of the tub for a period of hours, you'll want to consider a 220 volt tub. Why?
Here's why. A 220 volt tub draws more energy into the heater and pump. The water will heat more quickly and will be able to maintain that temperature over a longer period of time and in lower temperatures. Once you remove the cover of your tub, heat begins to escape. With the jets flowing and the water moving, heat is lost more rapidly. Spas that run on 220 volts run the jets and heater simultaneously allowing for the temperature of the water to stay where you want it.
Now, if you live in a milder climate and/or will typically be using your hot tub for a soak lasting an hour or two, a 110-volt tub may be exactly what you need. These tubs are the easiest to install. Plug it in. Yep, that's it. Your heater, jets, and lights will all run off 110 volts. The water temperature will drop more quickly than with a 220 volt tub, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for you. If your jets are at their highest, the energy will be used there and the heater will most likely not be running, but your water is already hot and the heat created by the pump will keep the water temperatures up there.
Will a 220-volt save you money? Not really. It will heat up more quickly as more energy is drawn by the heater, but it is still using the same amount of watts to heat that water -- just at a faster rate. A 110-volt tub will take twice as long, but still uses the same amount of energy.
The ease of installation makes the 110-volt tub attractive. No electrician needed, just plug in and start her up since most homes in the US have standard outlets with 110 volts. You may have 220 outlets in your kitchen for appliances and in your laundry room, but rarely will you have that outside. So you'll need an electrician to do that for you which can cost as much as a grand or more. Don't forget to check your local regulations to see about permits and inspections for such things. 220 or 110? The choice is yours, but know what is best for you before you purchase.