There’s much to love about fall’s brisk beauty, from the changing leaves to the spiced (or spiked) cider. Yet despite all that seasonal comfort, you may be missing taking summer dips in the ocean or a pool. And so perhaps your idea of optimum autumnal coziness is a warm soak in your own backyard hot tub.
We don’t blame you!
It’s no secret that relaxing in a hot tub is a great way to unwind and destress. But believe it or not, not every homeowner is on the same page when it comes to adding a hot tub to their landscape. Some see a hot tub as a must-have, at-home spa experience. Others see the swirling hot water as nothing but trouble brewing.
Here are a few obvious pros—and a host of cons—that homeowners should consider before buying a hot tub.
Pros: It benefits your health and property
According to Healthline, spending time in a hot tub can help improve your cardiovascular health, and may lead to a better night’s sleep. It can even help burn calories. It’s great for end-of-day relaxation. Unlike a swimming pool, you can use a hot tub all year long.
A more practical pro? A hot tub might just turn a buyer’s head if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market.
“A hot tub may not raise your home’s market value,” says Marina Vaamonde, founder and commercial real estate investor at PropertyCashin. “But its ability to generate interest is a plus. And it can potentially help to sell your home faster.”
Con: It isn’t cheap
“You can expect to invest $5,000 to $10,000 in a tub, depending on the model, manufacturer, and warranty,” says Gregg Cantor, president and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel in San Diego.
These costs are for above-ground jetted hot tubs. If you’re looking for something below-ground or built-in, you can expect to shell out more.
You’re also going to have to spend major bucks on electrical work if you want a fully functioning tub. This work usually includes obtaining permits, upgrading electric panels, and adding something called a spa control box, which is essential for safety when mixing water and electricity.
“All of this can cost at least a couple thousand dollars,” says Christopher Haas, a licensed master electrician and owner of Haas & Sons Electric in Pasadena, MD. “But these steps are essential for making sure your hot tub is safe and won’t cause electrical hazards.”
Con: Maintenance costs add up
Think you’re out of the woods once you’ve bought a hot tub and paid for its installation? Think again.
All those considering buying a hot tub should know they’ll be paying for upkeep for as long as they have and use the pool. Costs include electricity, water, and chemicals, according to Arnold Long, general operations manager at Mr. Blue Plumbing.
“This can quickly add up to an additional $100 per month—at least,” he says.
Con: It attracts a host of critters
It’s not surprising that bugs and bacteria like to set up camp in warm, damp tubs. According to LiveScience, a relaxing night in a hot tub can lead to several types of rashes, infections, and sicknesses. (You can avoid this by ensuring that the hot tub is clean and properly chemically treated, as well as by taking a shower after you’re done.)
Meanwhile, you may be shocked to learn that much larger creatures could show up to soak in your backyard oasis.
“You may not be the only one who finds your hot tub relaxing,” warns Edward Jones, founder of HomeCareHow.com. “Insects, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and even bears may find it inviting.”
To deal with these pesky creatures, you may need to install repelling systems and/or a fence to prevent the wild kingdom from kicking back in your tub.
Con: It is a liability
According to the Insurance Information Institute, rules and requirements for hot tubs vary, depending on where you live. However, it’s important to always alert your homeowners insurance company when making major updates to your home—and to expect rate increases accordingly.
There is a greater potential for accidents and injuries with any water feature. To curb risk, you’ll need to make sure that your tub is fenced off or that access is limited (especially to children).
Hot tubs can also be dangerous to your property at large. A leak in anything that holds that much water can cause damage.
The bottom line
Pro: There’s no doubt a hot tub comes with all the pain relief and relaxation benefits of a great massage, between the warm water and the powerful jets. Sure, a warm bath can work wonders, too. But add in the cool air and soothing sounds of the night sky, and you’re on your way to the ultimate at-home relaxation.
Con: Hot tubs are not simply a dreamy escape you can hop into anytime. They require money, maintenance, and vigilance for safety reasons. So just make sure you’re willing to undertake these obligations before you make a purchase.