Can Hot Tubs Be Heated With Natural Gas? (Yes! Here’s How…)

By Dillon •  Updated: 08/05/21 •  13 min read

Can Hot Tubs Be Heated With Natural Gas?

Yes, hot tubs can be heated with natural gas. The heating by natural gas is extremely fast as it allows water to move from the ambient levels to about 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of just 30 to 60 minutes. The heating rate for these heaters is at least 1 degree per minute, which is extremely fast in comparison to electric heating. Hot tub heaters that rely on natural gas can run all year round, but they are usually ideal for cooler climates or people who want their hot tub water to be heated quickly.

Check out my list of high-quality hot tub products to help keep your hot tub clean and running great all year long!

For smaller outdoor hot tubs (2 – 4 people), I recommend the Camplux Natural Gas outdoor heater.

Have you ever stopped for a moment to ask yourself whether hot tubs can be heated with natural gas?

This is not something that can easily cross your mind because almost every homestead is already connected to the main electricity.

In this article, however, I shall explore this exciting topic, “can hot tubs be heated with natural gas?”

Let’s get started!

Natural Gas Hot Tub Vs. Electric Hot Tub

One of the differentiating factors between the two types of hot tub heaters is that the gas heater operates on natural gas or propane. At the same time, electric heaters rely on the mains electricity as a source of heat energy. Unlike the natural gas hot tub heaters, electric heaters are less costly when used in mild climates. They also cost less to install and repair in case of damage. Natural gas heaters can heat up a hot tub much more quickly.

You can also pair your natural gas heaters with solar heaters or use them if your hot tub does not require regular heating. The natural gas hot tubs are common with portable hot tubs, free-standing wooden hot tubs, and in-ground hot tubs. You can choose to run them by the natural gas heater at any time because it is always a viable option.

You will also find that electric heaters are simpler to use in the short and the long run. If you mostly use your hot tub in a hurry, you’ll avoid the electric options because it will take longer to heat your hot tub water.

The benefits and limitations will majorly inform the decision to use natural gas for heating a hot tub. However, a couple of other factors will also come into play.

Most people might not realize that using natural gas in heating hot tubs is like going back to the old days in a modern way. During those days, there used to be small hot tubs that would be heated by gas-fired heaters.

I understand that you might find it hard to choose between natural gas and electric hot tub because you may not understand the difference between the two. But even as I make our input on this, your personal preference will play a critical role in your decision-making process.

I recommend a digital floating thermometer for your hot tub for more accurate temperature readings.

Pros Of Hot Tub Natural Gas Heaters

Speed: I highly recommend you to use natural gas heaters for your hot tub if you need rapid heating of your hot tub water.

The fact that natural gas and propane burn quickly makes them heat your hot tub water much faster than electricity, solar, or heat pumps.

Gas heaters eliminate the need for preparation time for those who don’t use their hot tubs regularly. Besides, experts recommend it as an ideal option for heating a small water body like your spa or pool.

The natural gas heater requires only about 30 minutes to raise your hot tub water temperatures to the desired levels.

Besides, it doesn’t have to be kept on to maintain the temperatures at the desirable levels. These aspects make the natural gas hot tubs more cost-effective than the other alternatives.

Convenience: If you’re at a convenient location to natural gas service, it’s easy to access the natural gas for your hot tub heater. The best thing is that natural gas is always available and will pass on to your hot tub through a permanent line, guaranteeing convenience.

Maintenance: Enough heat is generated from the natural gas heaters to run your hot tub quickly. The pools do not need to be heated often or for longer durations. This keeps the natural gas hot tubs at an advantage over the other heating methods that can cause wear and tear because of the consistent heating.

The natural gas heater requires very little maintenance on use.

For smaller outdoor hot tubs (2 – 4 people), I recommend the Camplux Natural Gas outdoor heater.

For larger hot tubs (4-6 people) and in colder environments, I recommend the Nortitz Outdoor Water Heater.

Simply install the heater beside the hot tub and feed the water lines through the heater.

Cons Of Hot Tub Natural Gas Heaters

Installation costs: No matter how attractive the gas heaters might look, they have a higher initial installation cost. For example, the cost of purchasing the heater alone is $1000.

In addition to the initial purchase cost, you’ll need to construct a gas line connected to the natural gas meter from its supply and hire an expert to make the connections for you.

Constructing the buried gas lines can be very costly, especially if the distance between your heater and the meter is long. You’d be surprised that the installation costs might sometimes exceed the cost of the heater itself!

Working with gases is risky: Accidents with gases on the spas are rarely reported. But I cannot rule out the possibility that this cannot happen.

The cases of a gas leak and emission of carbon monoxide exhaust can be extremely dangerous to you and your loved ones. This is something you must bear in mind when you are going for this heating alternative.

External installation: Sometimes, it is not attractive to install your heater outside the hot tub. This happens with portable hot tubs because they never allow you to tuck the heaters underneath.

Unpredictable fuel prices: the cost of running a natural gas heater can vary with the cost of oil and natural gas. Specifically, the costs are usually at their peak during the winter months, which can increase the cost of running your hot tubs by up to 40%.

Repair and replacements: If your hot tub water is imbalanced, the natural gas heater will be more prone to corrosion. The outdoor temperatures and the hot tub water temperatures determine how long your natural gas heaters might last.

Considerations Of Using Natural Gas Heaters For Hot Tubs

Below are some considerations you should think about before using a natural gas heater for your hot tub.

Availability Of Gas

Natural gas heaters are an ideal option if you have a supply source in proximity to your heater.

Make sure that the cost of connecting your hot tub heater to the gas line does not break your bank. Before you make the installation decision, have a plumber with relevant certification inspect and advise you on the costs for comparison with other alternatives.

If you are in proximity to propane, you’re probably lucky because a propane tank can be constructed near your hot tub heater. But the negative side of this option is that propane gas might be costly in some regions.

Water Volume

Your hot tub water volume plays an important role when you’re determining the cost viability of heating your water. The cost of running your heater will vary with the water volume you’re heating.

The line at which the scale begins to tip in favor of using the gas heaters is beyond 700 gallons of water. Fortunately, most of the domestic hot tubs will never exceed this volume. In fact, our research has revealed that about 70% of the units do not exceed this capacity.

Interestingly, you’d realize that majority of the portable hot tubs range in 350 to 550 gallons of water incapacity. When you choose electricity for these hot tubs, it will take you between 7 and 8 hours to heat the water. But a gas heater will require at most 4 hours to heat the same water volume.

I have also found the monthly costs of heating the hot tub water with natural gas to be $10 – $15 less than using electricity.

Usage

Before you decide whether you’ll go with the natural gas heating option in the place of electricity and other heating options, determine your hot tub usage pattern.

If you’ll rarely use your hot tub, it is good to choose the natural gas hot tub because it will allow you to heat your water faster when you need to soak. Electricity is not a viable option because it requires you to maintain the water temperatures at a given level for those who bath often.

I highly discourage you from buying the natural gas heater if you will not regularly use your hot tub.

Climate

It is good to factor in the climate in your area as you determine the hot tub usage. I have found natural gas heating highly effective for people who live in colder areas and use their hot tubs all year round, but costly for the same usage pattern in warm climates.

Another observation I made is that natural gas heating would be highly cost-effective if you live in a cold climate and use the hot tub from time to time. The cost of maintaining the temperatures in such environments with electricity is high, but heating the water in the time of need becomes a viable alternative.

Insulation

Your hot tub insulation plays an essential role in heat conservation and the overall cost of running the system. If your hot tub is poorly insulated, using the natural gas heating option will help in offsetting the negative costs incurred in its operation.

A poorly insulated hot tub loses the heat faster and leads to a significant drop in temperatures. If this is the case with your hot tub, avoid going for the electric heaters because it will be costly to heat the spa water. Therefore, make sure you understand the insulation status of your hot tub as you choose the right heater.

How Much Does It Cost To Heat A Spa With Natural Gas?

The cost of heating your hot tub is highly variable due to the factors like the fluctuation in the fuel prices. If you have a 1,200-gallon hot tub and your gas heater runs on natural gas, $1 will be needed per unit of natural gas to heat your hot tub water in 30 minutes to 93 degrees. Since you require 4.71 therms to heat your hot tub water daily, it will cost you $4.71 per day of heating the water.

If I assume that you’ll maintain your hot tub water temperatures at 93 degrees throughout the year, then the cost of running on natural gas will be $1616, while it will be $3200 on propane gas.

So the cost of using propane to heat a hot tub is quite a bit more expensive. Electric heaters are more ideal in mild climates and higher usage.

However, if you’re only using a hot tub a couple of times per month, using a natural gas heater could be a better option since the gas usage is used at your discretion.

Can You Convert A Hot Tub To Natural Gas?

Yes, however, remember that using natural gas heaters will require matching your hot tub’s power ratings. Therefore, call an expert to check the power ratings of your existing heater so that they can determine the right size and capacity of the natural gas heater that will work best in your case.

In most cases, I have found natural gas heaters to be bigger than electric ones. Therefore, you may not get a chance to tuck them into the hot tub like the electric options.

Your technician or local dealer should also advise whether your hot tub model would work perfectly with the natural gas option when you’re thinking of converting.

Consider Using a Water Care Monitor

Monitoring the health of your hot tub can often be challenging if you are not testing the water on a regular basis. This can also be a problem if you go on holiday or you are unable to take care of your hot tub due to mobility issues.

A test system I highly recommend is the Exact Industrial Test System. This system is great for hot tubs and pools and gives your a highly accurate digital readout of your water chemistry compared to other methods.

The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for pools, hot tubs, and inflatable spas continuously tests the water and alerts you when to add chemicals with the integrated mobile app.

This water care monitor also takes constant readings of the temperature inside your hot tub. This will give you peace of mind while away from your spa.

The mobile app will inform you when to add chemicals such as chlorine, and how much chemical is recommended. This is done by entering your hot tub or pool’s unique dimensions.

Simply scan the bar code of any chemical brand and the pHin app will calculate how much chemical is to be added to the water. Most products and brands are recognized by the application.

The pHin device will sample water more than 1000 times per week to give you an accurate reading compared to using test strips.

The pHin device works with different water types including chlorine, bromine, and saltwater hot tubs, swim spas, inflatable hot tubs, and pools.

This unique device comes with a lifetime warranty to ensure your water remains clear and ready for you to use at all times.

Can Hot Tubs Be Heated With Natural Gas: Conclusion

can hot tubs be heated with natural gas

I hope you now understand that heating your hot tub water from a natural gas heater is possible.

You have also seen that the natural gas hot tubs offer limitless benefits in heating the hot tub water, like speed and efficiency under specific circumstances.

You can also convert your hot tub into natural gas heating option any time, provided you check on the power ratings.

I hope you found this article on using natural gas to heat a hot tub helpful.

Thanks for visiting spatoolkit.com

Dillon

I'm Dillon, creator of SpaToolKit.com. During the day I'm a software developer for an engineering company. At night I enjoy sitting in my hot tub and relaxing. My hope is that Spa Tool Kit will be a place where you can find the best information on hot tubs, spa equipment, setups, parts, and accessories. Let's get started!