Let’s talk hot tub temperatures. What is best temperature for summer and winter, or for kids, pregnancy or those with health problems?
But just how hot are hot tubs and how hot should a hot tub be? Can the temperature be changed to accommodate different people or different times of year?
The hot tub temperature range favored by most owners is between 98ºF (36.5ºC) and 102ºF (39ºC). The maximum recommended hot tub temperature is 104ºF (40ºC).
The exact ideal temperature depends on the age, health condition, season and the personal preference of the users of course.
Whether you’re shaking off that busy day at the office, just finishing a workout or simply taking a “me” day, the hot tub awaits! A soak is a great way to reduce stress, relax your muscles and spend time with family and friends.
How hot is too hot for a hot tub?
It is generally accepted that the maximum for hot tub temperature safety is 104ºF (40ºC). Anything above that may not be safe.
Sitting in hot water raises your body temperature, particularly if it is above body temperature, which is 98.6ºF (37ºC). Raising your body temperature above 103ºF (39.5ºC) can cause serious health issues such as:
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
Because of these risks, most modern hot tubs can’t even be set to anything over 104ºF (40ºC). To further prevent experiencing these illnesses you should limit your time in a hot tub to 15-30 minutes per session.
Minimum temperature for a hot tub
That hot, steamy water feels so good in cold weather, but what should you do on warm summer days?
Many hot tub users love to cool off in their tub during the hottest months of the year. Setting the hot tub’s heater to around 80ºF (26.5ºC) to 85ºF (29.5ºC) will offer a refreshing and relaxing summer soak, without the water feeling too cold. Plus, you can stay in the water a much longer time!
Some manufacturers will only allow the minimum temperature for a hot tub to be set to 80ºF (26.5ºC).
To keep the water cooler in your hot tub, try these tips:
- Prop the cover slightly open to prevent heat from building up, while still keeping the water covered.
- Run the jets to circulate the water and cool it down
- Clean filters frequently (once or twice each week) to maintain good water circulation.
- Use a hot tub cooling system to keep your water colder
You can also add ice! It’s a fun party trick and it’ll keep your tub’s temperature cooler.
Best hot tub temperature for kids?
Children are less tolerant to extreme temperatures than adults are. Kids aged 5 and up will be safer and much more comfortable in water that is no higher than 98ºF (36.5ºC).
Kids should never soak for more than 15 minutes at a time, and children under 5 years old should not go in hot tubs at all. Webmd says that baby’s have thin skin which makes them more susceptible to overheating.
It should go without saying that children should always be supervised by an adult when using a hot tub. Also, ideally, there should be a lock on the hot tub cover when it is not in use to prevent children getting in without supervision.
Can you go in a hot tub when pregnant?
When a pregnant woman’s body temperature rises above 102.2ºF (39ºC), the baby’s risk of birth defects can increase. This is why it’s also important for expecting mothers to speak with their Obstetrician before entering a hot tub.
Although little research has been done, the Mayo Clinic advises that hot tub use should be limited to a maximum of 10 minutes for pregnant women as there is the potential for neural tube defects in unborn babies if the mother’s body temperature is raised too much.
What temperature should I keep my hot tub when not in use?
If you will not be using your hot tub for a number of days or more then you may wish to lower the temperature to save money on electricity. Normally you would not lower the hot tub temperature when not in use by more than 5 degrees.
You will have to remember to raise the temperature again in plenty of time before you use it again as it will take some time to reach the normal temperature again.
If it will only be a day or two between uses then, personally, I would just leave the temperature alone, particularly if you have a good cover to retain the heat.
Can people with health conditions use hot tubs?
Having a good soak can help many people with certain health issues, particularly joint or muscular problems.
However, older adults and people with health conditions should consult a physician before using a hot tub. Even if advised they can use one then they should avoid temperatures that are too high and staying in too long in a session.
Those with heart problems must be especially cautious as sudden immersion in hot water is likely to increase your heart rate which could cause you problems. These are the results of a study comparing immersion in a hot tub with exercise.
Hot Tub Maintenance Course
I bought this course some months after I bought my first hot tub and was struggling with maintaining it. It was money very well spent and it has paid for itself many times over the years.
Best Practices for Hot Tub Heaters
Heating a hot tub up to your desired temperature can take a few hours. That’s why some hot tubs have accompanying smart-phone apps. If you’re away from home, you can set the temperature ahead of time so your hot tub is warmed up and ready to go when you are!
How to run a hot tub economically
It may seem counter intuitive, but frequently changing settings on your hot tub heater does not save you money. Turning it down then up, or off then on, actually burns more energy and costs more than leaving it set at one temperature.
Changing temperature settings will also shorten the lifespan of your hot tub heating element.
If you use your hot tub regularly (at least a few times each month):
- Keep the heater set at a constant temperature so the water stays warm
- Ensure the top and sides of your hot tub are insulated.
With these tips, your hot tub heating element won’t have to work nearly as hard.
Keeping Your Hot Tub in Good Condition
Many hot tub users keep a second thermometer, separate from the heater’s gauge, so they can confirm safe temperatures and ensure the heating element is working correctly – such as one of these floating spa thermometers available on Amazon.
Detecting early warning signs of equipment malfunctions can help you prevent worst-case scenarios, like your heating element going out and your pipes freezing if you live in a cold area.
To Drain or Not to Drain?
Speaking of pipes freezing — what should you do if you plan on not using your hot tub for a while?
The simple answer is, drain the water in the winter!
If you plan on taking a short summer vacation, you can simply turn the heater off.
However, if you’re taking a longer vacation, or you’ll be away during the winter months, it’s best to drain the tub. This will ensure that your pipes don’t freeze and you don’t have any water chemical imbalances to worry about when you get home.