Solar heated hot tub
I have always wanted a hot tub for aches and pains even before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Soaking in hot water is pretty much better than sex and I have been searching for an affordable alternative for years. I have come across many Web sites that show how to build a hot tub from scratch but I am certainly not talented enough for that. Many of those homemade hot tubs use wood-fired heaters. Somehow I don’t think that is a safe alternative for me since I still occasionally light pot holders on fire when getting food out of the toaster oven. So, the best choice for me is a solar-heated hot tub.
I have been researching solar hot water for several years and my dream would be to build a solar batch hot water tank. Since I suck at woodworking of any kind, this would require my husband’s assistance and that isn’t going to happen. A great example of a do-it-yourself solar batch hot water heater can be found at By Example. Since my dream heater is too far out of my reach, I figured I would go for a solar-heated hot tub.
Last year I purchased an old used softub with a heater and pump that only worked when it wanted to for $60. However, the rest of the tub was in good shape and I only needed to add a little caulking where the liner had slipped a bit from the jets. My husband promised me that he would fix the pump but since it has been almost a year, I figure that isn’t going to happen. So, onto Michele’s Hillbilly Hot Tub!
I have been researching plans on how to make my own solar hot tub heater and went out this morning with the intention of purchasing supplies. Before hitting the hardware store, I stopped at a new thrift shop in town. Low and behold, they had a solar-powered pool heater, brand new in the box for $69. These heaters run $200 new! The heater is designed to heat larger above ground pools and is supposed to raise the temperature of a 3’ x 12’ pool by ten degrees. The water from the hot tub or pool is sucked into the pool pump, pushed through the solar heater, then pumped back into the hot tub or pool. The solar heater is black and has several tubes that allows solar-heated water to go through. If it raises the temperature of that big of a pool ten degrees, just imagine what it will do for my little hot tub.
Tonight I went to bed and couldn’t shut off the spinning wheels in my head, so I had to get up and go put the solar heater together. This type of heater is designed to hook to the pump and then spread out flat. Since I just took it out of the box and it was one in the morning, I couldn’t get it to lay flat at this time. Also, the original pump doesn’t work right, so I hooked up a portable pump from an old above ground pool and have attached the solar heater to it. For now, the heater is wrapped around the hot tub because that was the best I could stretch it out. As it warms up, I will attempt to lay it more flat. I will also paint the white caulking around the tubing so it matches the green softub, but it will have to dry out for a few days. That will be included in Part Two of Michele’s Hillbilly Hot Tub, so stay tuned!