Can Hot Tubs Catch Fire? (Yes, Here’s How To Prevent It)

By James Brockbank •  Updated: 08/06/21 •  11 min read

Can Hot Tubs Catch Fire?

Yes, hot tubs can catch fire from faulty electrical wiring and poor insulation. If the breaker used is not appropriate for the wire gauge used, your hot tub can catch fire as well. Hot tubs can also catch fires when the motor overdraws current or if there is a malfunctioning thermostat that might cause overheating and lead to fire outbreaks. The only sure guarantee is proper insulation of the hot tub with tested materials like fiberglass. If the hot tub’s casing is made of wooden material, plastics, or any other material that can burn, the hot tub will catch fire.

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I recommend having a fire extinguisher nearby just in case of an emergency.

If you have owned a hot tub for some years, you’d agree that hot tub fires are very rare.

But can hot tubs catch fire?

When you’re buying a hot tub for the first time, this is one of the questions you might ask yourself as part of the safety precautions.

Nevertheless, it is no surprise that this question will never cross the mind of many because the main hazard that worries everyone is the electrocution risk.

I have understood that there are some factors with your hot tub that can compromise your safety.

I have dedicated this article to the hot tub fire hazards to address the question, “Can hot tubs catch fire?”

Let’s get started!

What Causes Hot Tub Fires?

Hot tub fires do not arise from a single source. That’s why there will be investigations any time a hot tub catches fire to determine the cause. I shall look at the common causes of hot tub fires in the next few sections.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues refer to malfunctions or failure within the electrical components of the hot tubs. The common causes of hot tub electrical fires include cables, wires, circuit breakers, and other electrical components.

A fire in your hot tub’s electrical connection can start if the electrical panel is overloaded with circuits or becomes aged. The circuits and electrical panel can become overloaded during times when electricity is not adequate. In most cases, the lighting materials will act as a heat source and if they are usually close to combustible materials, a fire can erupt.

Poor maintenance is another common cause of electrical issues that can make your hot tub catch fire. Experts recommend regular maintenance of the electrical panels to minimize fire risks.

It is advisable to remove dust and dirt during routine maintenance practices, replace the faulty and broken circuit breakers, and inspect any loose wires and poorly insulated cables.

When inspecting the electrical connections to your hot tub, ensure there are no kinks in wiring because they increase electrical resistance within wires. These kinks create heat that could lead to fire outbreaks on your hot tub.

You should also be wary of the arching in the electrical panels and enclosures. The problem can also happen on the extension cords and frayed wires.

Failure to observe electrical codes when wiring your hot tub is another major issue that can make your hot tub catch fires. Indeed, this is one of the major reasons I always recommend you to seek professional services when it comes to powering your hot tub.

A licensed technician will be familiar with the area codes and regulations of connecting your hot tub from the mains power supply. They understand the current wiring practices, appropriate cables that match with the breaker amperage, and proper coating of the cables.

We’re saying that an electrician will play an important role in minimizing any electrical issues that might lead to fire outbreaks to your hot tub, thereby keeping it safe from fires.

Bad Wiring

Poor wiring is part of the electrical issues that can make hot tubs catch fire. Surprisingly,  this is among the leading causes of electrical-related fires with hot tubs.

Experts warn against using outdated wiring practices because they increase the chances of fire outbreaks. If I take a case where a person lives in a house older than 20 years, introducing modern appliances like hot tubs, air conditioners, widescreen televisions, and computers might not be viable.

If you were to connect a hot tub to such a house, it might be necessary to reconnect the entire house to the current standards. You can also opt to hire an electrician to conduct a comprehensive inspection of your house to ensure its connections are powerful enough to support the introduction of a hot tub.

An important point to remember is the importance of inspecting breakers in your wiring. A well-functioning breaker should be triggered when circuits are overloaded by too much current.

But if you’re using outdated breakers, there are worn connectors that hinder proper functioning. As such, they might cause system overload to start electrical fires.

You don’t want this to happen to your household when you can have a technician inspect your wirings to ascertain that everything is working fine.

Flammable Insulation

Sometimes, it might be impossible to prevent a fire outbreak around your hot tub because fires can result from causes other than electricity.

If that happens, your hot tub insulation can determine whether or not it will catch fire. Flammable insulations include wooden materials treated with flammable chemicals and plastics.

Besides, a hot tub on a wooden deck or in a backyard where there are many flammable materials will increase the likelihood of your hot tub catching fire in case of an outbreak.

From research and professional advice, I have learned that the best insulation materials you can use in your hot tub include fiberglass insulations, mineral wool, fibrous mats, and cellulose.

Flammable (Old and Dry) Wood Cabinets

Did you know that the cabinet material on your hot tub can retard or increase fires? Materials like the old and dry wooden cabinets are highly flammable.

When a fire breaks in the surrounding of your hot tub, it can catch the hot tub if its cabinet is not fireproofed. But you can prevent this risk by changing your hot tub if you feel it’s nearing its service life because changing the cabinet is almost impossible.

The good thing is that cabinets will run out of service life after a good number of years that you won’t find it difficult to buy a newer and safer system.

Remember to prioritize proper insulation on your new hot tub.

Lightning Strikes

Lightning causes many fires in summers during the late afternoons and the early evenings. Research on fire statistics in the U.S. shows that, between 2007 and 2017, 19% of the reported lightning fires occurred in households, while 63% occurred on the outside vegetation.

Lightning is a flash of light that results from an electrical discharge between two clouds in the sky or between a sky and the earth’s surface. “Dry” thunderstorms cause fires where lightning strikes in the absence of rainfall.

The electrical charges from the lightning can ignite glass and other dry vegetation or flammable materials around your hot tub. The fire can then spread and catch the hot tub. When the hot tub is located in an open space without tall objects nearby, it can also be stricken by lightning directly.

How To Prevent a Hot Tub Fire

Below are some of the best ways to prevent a hot tub fire.

Proper Wiring

I cannot overemphasize the importance of ensuring proper wiring on your hot tub. The very basic measures range from checking that you’re using the right cables, proper insulation of wires, and proper functioning breakers.

Remember, it will cost a few dollars to hire an electrician to inspect or wire your hot tub and save the thousands you might spend from fire damages to both the hot tubs and the main house.

Always ensure that you have proper wiring that complies with your local codes and regulations to minimize the risks of fire outbreaks to your hot tub.

I recommend the AstroAI Digital Multimeter if you are doing any testing with electrical equipment.

Non-flammable Insulation

You cannot eliminate the risk of fire outbreaks completely even if you follow all the recommended measures.

But an additional tip I can offer you to ensure your hot tub doesn’t catch fire in case of an accidental outbreak is to use non-flammable insulation material.

Fiberglas is one of the best insulation materials I know out there, but you must avoid batts that are backed with foil or paper because these are flammable materials.

Mineral wool is another alternative whose high melting point would make it perfect for use in hot tub insulation against fires. Naturally, this material is non-combustible.

You could be familiar with fibrous matt because it is very common at homes. The material is made of different minerals that are collectively called asbestos. Although they have a high chemical and heat resistance, they are being faced out because of their potential health risks.

Therefore, this is not among the materials I would recommend you to use, even if you might have heard or come across it.

Cellulose can be another alternative because it has flame retardants that make it totally fireproof. But it can lose its proofing capabilities beyond 300 degrees of heat.

Call an Expert Electrician

While you could have a lot of confidence after reading one of our articles on how to connect your hot tub to the mains electricity, there is so much that you don’t know.

Believe that an expert electrician has undertaken technical training and practiced enough to do the task right for you without making blunders.

Remember that your insurer will first check if the wiring was done by a qualified electrician in case of a fire outbreak linked to faulty electrical connections. Even if the fire arose from unavoidable causes, you might never be compensated if the wiring had not been done by a professional.

What we’re saying here is that expert electricians have what it takes to ensure the risks of electrical fires to your hot tub appliances are kept minimal. Therefore, call an expert electrician to do the work for you.


Hot Tub Controls Should Be Enclosed In a Fire Resistant Box (Inside The Hot Tub Cabinet)

You can avoid hot tub fires from happening by making sure that you properly enclose all the hot tub controls in a fire-resistant box inside the hot tub cabinet. If you take this precaution, your hot tub will be safer.

You don’t want a spark from your hot tub control to be the cause of fire in the entire system and probably your house.

If You See a Problem With The Hot Tub: Call 911

Sometimes, you can observe a problem with your hot tub’s electrical connections that suggest the possibility of a fire outbreak. In other cases, the fire might have started already and spreading to reach your hot tub or other areas.

If you find yourself in such a situation, I would not advise you to start running for buckets and fetch water to stop the fires. In fact, you should never do this if the cause of the fire is electrical-related.

Instead, reach your phone and call 911 immediately and inform them about the problem. The emergency department will link with your local fire department immediately and send you the help you require.

If you’re outside and you see a problem and want to quickly alert people inside your home, the Daytech Panic Alarm will do just that. Its waterproof panic buttons will allow you to quickly get the help you need in the event of an emergency.

Can Hot Tubs Catch Fire: Conclusion

can hot tubs catch fire

So now, can hot tubs catch fire?

Yes, hot tubs can catch fires. And most of these fires are within your control. You can prevent the risk of fire to your hot tubs if you understand and address all the causes of fire.

For example, the faulty electrical connections, poor insulation of the hot tubs, and bad wiring are all within your control as opposed to causes such as lightning.

I highly recommend calling an expert electrician to inspect or wire your hot tubs to minimize the risk of faulty connections that can cause fires.

In case you notice a problem that suggests a possible fire outbreak, call 911 immediately for help.

I hope you found this article helpful on hot tubs catching fire.

Thanks for visiting

James Brockbank