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How Hot Should You Keep Your Hot Tub?

Slipping into a lukewarm hot tub is about as enjoyable as sipping a room temperature lemonade. At the very best, it’s not as satisfying as you hoped it would be.

Veteran hot tub owners agree that finding that “just right” water temperature is personal and experiential. It is not likely that everyone, even in the same family, enjoys precisely the same water temperature. On the other hand, arriving at the most pleasant temperature is about fine tuning at best – probably within a range of four degrees Fahrenheit.

The Outer Limits

Most new hot tubs will not heat past 104º F, a limit recommended by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. This plateau keeps us safe from the discomfort and pain threshold that some folks experience in water that is between 106º and 108º. The discomfort is a warning sign that the potential of being scalded is close. The National Burn Victim Foundation claims that 10 minutes of exposure to 120º water can produce third-degree burns in an adult. We don’t want to go anywhere near there.

Our average body temperature is 98.6º F. However, our normal skin temperature is typically closer to 70º F, which helps to explain why most people would describe an air temperature of 98º as hot. It follows that water at 98º should feel similarly quite warm.

For those reasons, a water temperature somewhere between 100º and the recommended limit of 104º should be quite satisfying and relaxing for most people.

A word of caution because we are in the Rocky Mountains. During the winter months, cold outdoor air may make the temperature difference of a hot tub at, say, 102º feel hotter than if the ambient temperature were 60º.

The Twilight Zone

Ultimately, the ideal temperature is the one at which you and your family members feel most relaxed.

Many new hot tubs, like the HotSpring® Highlife® Collection feature digital temperature controls, including a memory of the temperature when you last set it, even if the spa has been out of use.

Once you find that satisfying sweet spot, we recommend keeping the hot tub at that temp or, at least at 100º.

Take some advice from Ronald Reagan, who suggested that, when it comes to knowing your actual hot tub temperature, “Trust, but verify.” Have a hand-held thermometer handy. Double check the water temp once a week to ensure that it is what the digital display says it is. You can check the accuracy of your backup thermometer by inserting it into a cup of ice. If it reads 32º, it should be just as accurate at 102º.

Now, find that perfect temperature and enjoy your hot tub to the fullest.

And don’t forget to put ice in the lemonade.