What is a Wood-Fired Hot Tub?

Dan Cavallari

Hot tubs are a great way to relax after a long day of athletic activities or hours at the office, but many people are deterred from purchasing a hot tub because of the high cost of running one and the maintenance involved. A wood-fired hot tub, however, can be a solution to these problems and even add to the ambiance and allure of the tub. A wood-fired hot tub uses heat from a fire in a stove to warm the water, meaning no electricity is necessary to heat the tub. This can reduce or eliminate the costs associated with running a hot tub, and can open up more options for placement of the hot tub.

A wood-fired hot tub uses heat from a fire in a stove to warm the water, which means no electricity is necessary to heat the tub.
A wood-fired hot tub uses heat from a fire in a stove to warm the water, which means no electricity is necessary to heat the tub.

A wood-fired hot tub uses heat from a stove placed either in the tub or just outside the tub to warm the water. Wood is placed inside the stove and a fire is started, thereby warming the stove itself. If the stove is in the water, the heat from the stove transfers directly to the water. If it is outside the stove, a series of pipes run from the stove to the tub, and water is forced through one of the tubes to be heated, then returned via the other tube.

No electricity is used to heat the wood-fired hot tub, meaning the tub does not necessarily need to be placed near a power source. If jets are used to move the water of the tub, an electrical connection is still necessary, but if no such jets are used, the wood-fired hot tub can be placed away from a power source and away from a home. In fact, a wood-fired hot tub is a good choice for a cabin in the woods, or for a back yard that does not have any electrical hook-ups.

Most wood-fired hot tub models are made from wood rather than plastic, meaning the environmental impact of the tub is lessened. Cedar tubs can hold water that is chemically treated or it can hold water without chemicals. The water must be changed more often if no chemical treatments are used, and many owners of wood-fired hot tubs empty the tub's water after only a few uses to prevent bacteria from building up in the tub. Like plastic spas, a wood-fired hot tub needs to be cleaned properly, and users should be careful to avoid touching the stove or stove pipe, as they are extremely hot.

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Discussion Comments


The idea of a wood-fired hot tub sounds good, but I don't think the reality of depending on a fire to heat the water would be as good as the idea. We all know that starting a fire and heating the water cannot possibly be as efficient or as quick as using electricity to do the job.

I can see myself wanting to get into the hot tub on a cold day and having to try to light the fire. By the time I got the hot tub ready I would probably be out of the mood to hop in and relax. I know the electricity bill would be would high with a regular electric hot tub, but I think the extra money spent would be justified because of the convenience of electricity.


I can't imagine how the setup where the wood hot tub heater is placed in the water would work. This sounds a bit dangerous, and sounds like there could be a bit of a hassle getting the wood in the stove without getting it all wet.


My family and I went on vacation to Hawaii several years ago and we stayed in a rental house that had both a pool and a hot tub. The children really enjoyed getting in the pool and then in the hot tub. They spent almost as much time at the house in the water as they did on the beach and exploring the island.

The children enjoyed the hot tub so much that my husband and I began talking about adding a hot tub at our house. We priced the tubs, and though they were expensive in most cases, this was a one time cost so we were not discouraged.

When we did more research and found out about how much energy the tubs required and how much this would add to our monthly energy bill we reconsidered and did not buy the hot tub.

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