How Hot Should a Hot Tub Be?

You know a hot tub is hot, but how hot is a hot tub supposed to be? Let’s find out more about temperature safety, as well as a wide-ranging overview of other hot tub safety tips!

What Temperature Should a Hot Tub Be?

Let’s jump right in (no pun intended) with a recommendation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates that hot tubs not exceed 104° F (40° C). Luckily, new hot tubs usually have a controller to prevent the hot tub temperature from exceeding this temperature. If you have an older tub without this limit, it’s up to you to ensure you don’t exceed it! Either way, whether it’s a new or old model, keep a separate hot tub thermometer on hand to quickly and easily confirm your spa’s temperature. It’s also a great heads up to know if something is wrong with your heated water before you get in! 

How Hot Should a Hot Tub Be for YOU? 

Just like your thermostat, temperature preferences may be completely different from person to person! It’s recommended that you start off at the average normal body temperature, 98.6°F (37°C) and if it’s too cold, slowly increase the temperature until you’re comfortable. Truly, the best way to find your perfect temperature is to play around with different degrees (below the restricted limit) and see what works best for you. And, while we always think about hot tubs on cold days, a cooler soak (85°F / 29°C or so) is nice on summer days when the sun is hot! Read our article about using your hot tub as a cool pool here!

Who Should NOT Use a Hot Tub? 

Children don’t have the same heat tolerance as adults since their smaller bodies and thinner skin make them more susceptible to heat. This is why the CDC prohibits infants using a hot tub AND strongly recommends that kids under the age of five stay out of hot tubs.

Older children should be limited to soak time at temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and should avoid full immersion. A timer could be used to ensure a proper limit is met.

Be sure to consult your health care provider before you use a hot tub, especially if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other serious illnesses, or are (or may be) pregnant.

What Happens If Your Hot Tub Is Too Hot? 

You never want your body temperature to reach or exceed 103°F (39°C), since you will put yourself in danger of developing several conditions related to hyperthermia (excessively high body temperature), including:

  • Heat rash
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat stroke
  • Heat exhaustion
    • The risk is even higher for older folks, very young children, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness.

Does Temperature Make a Difference on How Long You Can Stay in a Hot Tub? 

Even if you’re in overall good health, spending long periods of time in hot water can be dangerous. Talk with your doctor about what’s safest for you and limit your hot tub temperature and soaking time accordingly to this recommendation. We generally recommend keeping your hot tub soaks to 30 minutes or less.

What Should the Hot Tub Temperature Be When Not in Use?

If you want to conserve energy costs, don’t assume lowering the hot tub temperate will work. In fact, if you use your hot tub regularly and lower the temperature setting between each use, you might actually be increasing your energy costs!

Reheating the tub is hard work for your spa. It’s harder to raise the temperature than to maintain it, so avoid putting extra stress on your hot tub’s heating element.

If you live in a cold climate, it is a good idea to never turn off your hot tub in the winter. That’s because freezing water may lead to burst pipes, damaged hardware, and other major damage. If you are leaving your home for the entire winter, talk to a professional about winterizing your hot tub. 

Establishing Safety Rules for Your Hot Tub!

Since we have covered temperature safety recommendations, this is also a great time to talk about other safety rules. You should make sure that the safety rules for your hot tub are clearly stated and provided to everyone who is in charge of/visiting your hot tub! Here is a list of comprehensive safety rules, leveraged and summarized from Web MD that you may want to incorporate into your own list:  

  • The hot tub can only be used under supervision.
  • No alcohol in the hot tub (including before or during the soak) since alcohol increases the risk of passing out, heart attack, or injury from passing out and falling.
  • Be mindful of medicine. If you are taking medicine, talk to your doctor about using them with a hot tub. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines can sometimes cause drowsiness or other side effects. 
  • Prioritize drain safety. Make sure your drains are completely up to date with the law or code specifications to prevent hair and/or body parts from getting sucked in. 
  • Establish storm protocol. Never use the hot tub before, during, or after a thunderstorm since there is an electrocution danger from lightning.
  • Have an emergency plan. Know where all electrical switches and circuit breakers for spa equipment and lights are located and how to turn them off in an emergency. Learn how to perform CPR and keep a first aid kit close by.
  • Maintain inspections. Have your hot tub inspected for electrical hazards and upgrade all systems according to local codes and the National Electrical Code.
  • Respect electricity. Use battery-operated appliances instead of cord-connected appliances in and around the spa.
  • Prevent infections. Treat and change hot tub water frequently and ask people to shower before the tub to keep the water clean. 
  • Use spa covers. These protect children from danger, save energy, and keep debris out of the spa.
  • Educate children about dangers with some basic safety rules: 
    • No coming near the drains and no touching them
    • No “hold your breath underwater” game.
    • No pretend screaming for help (false alarms) that might mask a real emergency
    • No running, diving, jumping, or pushing near the hot tub
    • No playing on top of the hot tub cover

Above all, remember that safety rules are designed to create a safe and relaxing hot tub experience for you, your family, and your guests! 

I’m Ready to Consider a Hot Tub; Now What?

At Mainely Tubs, we pride ourselves on being experts in this hot tub industry, not just people that sell the tubs. No matter where you are in the process (you do not need to come with the intent to buy), or what you are looking for, we’d love to help you find the hot tub that is exactly right for you.

We suggest reading our convenient online Hot Tub Buyer’s Guide or simply download our “Ultimate Hot Tub Buyer’s Guide. It’s a complete printable reference guide with in-depth insights into everything you need to know about buying and owning a hot tub.

Need additional help? Give us a call, email us, or drop in our showroom in Scarborough or Rye. We look forward to talking to you more about your hot tub needs!  

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