Many hot tub control systems allow you to put your hot tub into an “eco” or “economy” mode. Based on their name, many hot tub owners assume that this must be an easy way to lower the hot tub’s energy costs; but are they? Today, we will compare eco and standard hot tub modes so that you can see which is better for you.
How Does Your Hot Tub’s Standard Mode Work?
When talking about eco and standard modes we’re really talking about the hot tub’s filtration and heating settings. When set to standard, a hot tub’s filtration system will turn on anytime that the water temperature in the hot tub falls 2 degrees below the set temperature. The heater will then kick on to heat the water back up to the set temperature. Once the proper water temperature is reached, the hot tub’s heater and filtration system will turn off (unless the hot tub is currently running one of its preset filtration cycles, in which case only the heater will shut off).
The filtration system is needed to run the heater as it is the only way to get water to move through the heater. Without water moving through the heater, it would simply keep heating the same water until it reaches a boil and causes damage to the nearby plumbing. For this reason, hot tubs are equipped with sensors that only allow the heater to turn on when there is proper water flow.
How Is Eco Mode Different?
When set to “eco” or “economy” mode, the hot tub’s filtration system will only turn on during its preset filtration cycles; regardless of the water temperature. This means that the filtration system and heater will both run less on eco mode than it will when using standard mode.
Advantages Of Eco Mode
The biggest advantage of eco mode is the potential energy savings due to the pumps and heaters running less overall than they will with standard mode. The actual savings that you will experience will vary quite a bit depending on a few factors:
- Your filtration settings. If your filtration system is set to run for long periods of time anyway, the savings won’t be that great.
- The outside temperature. During the warmer months, the water in your hot tub won’t cool as quickly as it does over the winter. For this reason, eco mode’s potential energy savings is much higher in the winter than it is in the summer.
- The size of your filtration pumps. Some hot tubs use their jet pumps to filter their water while others use small (and much more efficient) circulation pumps that are only responsible for running the filtration system. If your hot tub doesn’t have a circulation pump, the potential savings from using economy mode are higher.
Disadvantages Of Eco Mode
The main disadvantage with eco mode is the variation in water temperature. When in eco mode, the water temperature can easily drop 5-6 degrees below its set temperature between filtration cycles. This makes the hot tub essentially unusable for large parts of the day.
When Should You Set Your Hot Tub To Eco Mode?
So if eco mode makes the hot tub unusable for large parts of the day; when is it actually useful? Eco mode is best used when you won’t be using the hot tub for a few days. If you’re going on vacation, or simply don’t have the time to use the hot tub for a few days, you can put the hot tub in economy mode to lower the hot tub’s energy costs, then switch it back to standard mode a few hours before you plan on using it again.
Although economy mode is a more energy efficient way to run your hot tub, the large swings in temperature that it causes will make your hot tub unusable for large parts of the day. For the vast majority of the time, you will want to set your hot tub to standard mode; only switching to eco mode when you know that the hot tub won’t be used for at least a few days.