Spa Covers And The Energy Star Program
The Energy Star program is run by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. It is a great idea and has helped manufacturers move toward more energy efficient products in many different areas. Unfortunately though since it is a program paid for with tax dollars it has to be limited in scope or targeted so that the products it covers would be something that the majority of tax payers could see a benefit in. It would be really great if Every product or innovation that reduced the energy required could be considered however such is not the case. Understandably the program is focused on general energy consumption of household products, washing machines, refrigerators, and materials used in home construction that reduce energy needs. Some products used in the home, for example computers are included, others in particular pools and spas are not.
Unfortunate considering the percentage of household energy consumption that goes into a pool or spa. We have even seen the Energy Star logo used in advertising spas even though the Department of Energy has clearly stated that it will not consider such a product for inclusion as an Energy Star Partner since the majority of taxpayers would not benefit from such a product. Personally I would prefer that every tax payer would own at least one Hot tub. I can only see this as good for the country. If more people were spending more time in their spa they would be using less fuel driving around and have a lot less stress.
According to the findings of a 2004 study conducted by the Davis Energy Group sponsored Pacific Gas & Electric Co., pool and spa pumps are almost always the largest single electrical end-use (appliance in a home), using more than three times the energy of a new refrigerator. This same study found that the average residential pool pump consumes 2,600 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually with portable spas not far behind at 2,500 kWh per year. With an estimated 1.2 million pools and about half a million spas the State of California by itself has to have the entire yearly output of one nuclear power plant plus one conventional power plant just to feed the consumption of pools and spas. It’s no wonder the California Energy Commission has recently approved new appliance efficiency regulations that for the first time include portable spas and a maximum allowable watt per hour usage. As spa manufacturers struggle to meet these new requirements the bottom line for you the spa owner is how do you reduce the expense of operating your already purchased hot tub? Since most of the energy used in the spa is used keeping the water warm for the next time you want to dip into it, getting that water insulated is the key. If wrapping your water heater can make a difference in your energy bill, imagine what “wrapping” your other water heater (your spa) would do. Your hot tub uses the same type of heater your household water heater does only your household water heater may have twice as many elements to heat up about forty gallons of water while your spa is trying to heat four hundred gallons. Good insulation around the sides and bottom of your spa play a vital role in helping keep that spa water warm.
However most of the heat lost from your spa water is going straight up. Insulating the water with the best insulating cover makes the most sense. With the new amendments of the California Appliance Efficiency Regulations, that state is taking the lead in setting tougher standards for the energy consumption of portable spas. Other states will no doubt follow suit. With the biggest use of energy going straight up out the top, looking for the best insulating spa cover will be the answer for the seriously energy conscious spa owner. The Energy Star may never be offered to spas or spa covers but it won’t be long before meeting the California Regulations for spa energy consumption will be equal to the best endorsement.