People have enjoyed the restorative properties of soaking in natural springs for millennia. Down the ages, bathing has been an integral part of many cultures around the world, and nowadays many people enjoy the same pleasures at home in a hot tub.
Hot tubs are an indulgent luxury, and there’s nothing like washing away life’s stresses and worries in a pool of water and bubbles – but we need to do it safely. So, to help you enjoy a healthy soaking experience, we look at the question, how hot is a hot tub?
And before you read on, here’s another question for you: can hot tubs make you sick? If you want to know the answer, check out this video to find out more.
How hot is a hot tub? Asking the question this way is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?” or “how deep is a hole?”
If we want a useful answer, we need to ask more specific questions, so let’s start with this: what is the maximum temperature of a hot tub?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the maximum safe temperature for a hot tub is 104°F, and you shouldn’t exceed this temperature.
All modern hot tubs sold in the US should now have 104° as the maximum setting, meaning you can’t go higher, but some older tubs still allow you to choose temperatures above this.
However, even if your model allows you to, you should avoid using higher temperatures since soaking in water above 104° can endanger your health. Even if your hot tub has settings that go beyond 104°, you should still regard this as the maximum temperature.
What’s the best temperature?
Now we’re moving into a more subjective area. Probably the best answer to this question is that the best temperature for a hot tub is the temperature you prefer.
Most people enjoy a temperature of around 100-102°F, but there’s no right or wrong. If you are a new hot tub owner, you should experiment with your tub and the temperatures to see what suits you best.
The factory setting of your tub when it arrives will probably be around 100°F, and you can start with that – or you can even drop it a couple of degrees to see how you feel.
From there, you can increase the temperature slowly to see what seems most comfortable – and when you’ve decided on the temperature you like, you’ve found the best temperature for your hot tub.
What’s the most efficient temperature?
Of course, running a hot tub consumes energy, and that costs money. Through a desire to economize, or possibly because you want to help save the planet, you may decide you don’t want to leave your hot tub running on full power. But there are a few things you need to know.
While your tub will use more energy maintaining the water at 104° than at 100°, modern hot tubs are extremely energy-efficient. When the hot tub cover is down and you are not using it, the amount of energy used to keep it at the right temperature is not huge.
This means the difference between running it 100°or 104° is practically negligible – and this is true of smaller two-person hot tubs, larger six-person versions or any other type.
However, what you don’t want to do is change the temperature too often. Hot tubs use most energy when they are heating water, not when they are maintaining the temperature.
So if you imagine you are saving money by turning it to a low setting when it is not in use and then turning it back up when you need it, you are making a mistake. This is a false economy since it will actually cost you more to run your hot tub like this.
Also, it’s best to avoid changing the temperature according to individual preferences. If you have a family, the best thing is to agree on the ideal temperature together and then leave it.
If one person enjoys the water more at 100° but another prefers 104° and you keep switching between the two, you are likely to see your electricity bills soar, so if you are looking to conserve energy and save money, you should avoid this practice.
Where do you live?
Another factor to take into account is where you live. If your home is somewhere hot, it might make sense to turn the temperature down. This way you can use it as a pool to cool off in during the heat of the summer.
On the other hand, during the winter months in colder climates, you may prefer to set it to maximum – there are few things more magical than sitting outside in a steaming hot tub as the snow falls all around.
Again, this is up to you – but just remember, keep the temperature constant and don’t change it too often.
There are a few exceptions you should remember when talking about hot tub temperatures.
First, there are kids. Children of below five years old should not use a hot tub at all, so make sure they stay out. Kids of over five can use the tub, but the temperature mustn’t exceed 95° and they shouldn’t stay in for longer than five minutes at a time.
Pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a heart condition should also be very cautious. If you are in any of these categories, you should speak to a medical professional before using a hot tub – and the maximum temperature should never exceed 95-98°F.
A hot tub is…hot!
As we have seen, while the maximum recommended temperature is fixed at 104°F, users are free to choose any temperature below this that they feel comfortable with. If you prefer 102°, 100° or even less, it’s completely up to you.
As long as you aren’t in any of the vulnerable groups we mentioned (kids, seniors, pregnant women etc.), anything up to 104° is safe. The only other thing to remember is not to set it too low because to receive the full health benefits, a hot tub is supposed to be…hot!