Electric Hot Tub Heaters Or Gas Hot Tub Heaters?
Before the introduction of portable spas during the 1970s, we had hot tubs that were operated with gas-fired heaters. Most of these hot tubs were heated on demand which means that they did not remain hot for most of the time. However, after the portable spas were introduced, the companies marketed the portable spas as a plug-and-play device that could be put to use easily, which led to the introduction of an integrated electricity-run heater and controller system. While most modern spas come equipped with a built-in electric heating component, spas with gas-fired heaters still remain an option for you to consider.
Gas spa heaters are powered by natural gas or propane and are commonly found in free standing wooden hot tubs, in-ground spas, and even in portable spas. A gas contractor is used to connect the heater to a gas line, which serves as a source of constant fuel supply. Gas spa heaters have multiple benefits with cost-effectiveness being one of the primary advantages. In recent times, the price of natural gas has fallen, making gas-powered spas an affordable option. While propane gas is costlier, it produces more BTUs than natural gas. Gas heaters are known for their faster heating effects, adding 1-2 degrees in one minute whereas electric heaters may take much longer to raise the water temperature by a few degrees. You can keep your gas-powered heater ready for use at a low resting temperature and then heat it up. If you face freezing climatic conditions throughout the year and if you use wooden hot tubs or poorly-insulated spas, you may end up paying high operation costs if you prefer electric spa heaters over gas-powered heaters.
However, gas spa heaters may be as costly as $1000 and they need to be connected to the natural gas tank via a gas line. It may happen that you will pay bigger costs for a buried gas line compared to what you will pay for the heater alone. Gas heaters may invite safety incidents with gas leakage and carbon monoxide generation being major concerns. A gas tank may interfere with your spa’s aesthetic appeal. You cannot keep your gas heater hidden beneath your portable spa as your heater needs to stay exposed to fresh air.
Electric heaters usually appear in the form of a heating element which is kept insulated inside a stainless steel tube. The tube is connected to pressure switches and temperature sensors that facilitate the monitoring of water flow and temperature. Electric spa heaters are typically associated with low operation costs if you are located in a mild climate and if you own a well-insulated spa that has a cover. However, you may not benefit much if you live in a region that is known for its high electricity charges. Electric spa heaters are cheaper than gas-powered heaters and they usually cost $100-$300. Additionally, you do not require spending an additional amount for creating a gas line that you need to be in place if you use a gas spa heater. Besides, it is easier and cheaper to get your electric spa heaters repaired compared to gas heaters that have complicated designs. Electric spa heaters are safe and are protected by several safety elements, but accidents due to shock and overheating may still occur. If you are located in cold climate and have a poorly-insulated spa, you may incur heavy operational costs compared to what you will incur by using gas heaters.
So what is best for you? Well, that depends on your specific need. For those living in colder regions, gas-powered spas work best whereas for others, electric spa heaters may prove to be the best option, in terms of cost, simplicity, and efficiency. It’s your call!