voltage meter

Is My Hot Tub Causing an Increase in My Electric Bill?

One thing we all know is that our electric bills very rarely go down. Either it gets higher, or it hovers around the same amount for months. But if there is an unexpected rise in your bill, it may be time to check several possible causes.

Try to think back. What has changed in the house a few weeks ago? Have you purchased new appliances? Have you rewired any of your existing ones, or are your machines still in their prime years? Maybe your electricity provider enacted any rate changes that you are not aware of yet? The questions listed above could quickly narrow down the reason to the diagnosable ones.

Most people jump to the conclusion that their spa is the culprit, but if your hot tub connects to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker, it is less likely that your hot tub is the reason for your bill's increase. A GFCI breaker is a waterproof circuit breaker.

If your spa is not connected to its required GFCI breaker, electricity may be dispersed into your yard. This happens when current is conducted through the assigned ground wires, leading electricity to the main house ground, a post driven into the ground out by the meter. Any short on the motors of your tub or any electronic device you have may cause this incident.

A sign you may want to look out for is that when it rains, worms and bugs crawl up to the surface of your yard. It is because the water in the yard now distributes electricity to a greater distance. As kids in the East, we gathered worms by driving two stakes in the ground 10 feet apart and then watched as the worms crawled to the surface. Of course, I do not recommend anyone trying this since it is utterly dangerous to distribute electricity to wet ground.

During one of our tech visits, a customer mentioned he gets shocked when he touches the spa's water while it's off. Remembering stories from my childhood, I asked if he ever saw many worms crawling out of the ground. The answer was a resounding yes. So, with proper gear (rubber boots and gloves), we placed a meter lead into the dirt and tested the water with the other meter lead.

Confirming my suspicion, the results tested 12 volts of electricity flowing through the ground. Upon further checking, we found a small stream of water passing through some bad wiring in the shed, carrying electricity to the ground and conducting current through the spa. Again, it was not the spa.

Nobody wants to pay for things they don't use, and electricity going to the ground is automatically wasted. To avoid this problem, have an electrician check the amperage draw in your circuit box every once in a while. Please make sure all devices are correctly wired, and water-resistant boxes are installed wherever they are needed.

If you are in Tucson, AZ or somewhere near and you think there's a problem with your hot tub's electricity consumption, give us a call at (520)477-0741 and we will take a look at it for you.

Photo by: Thomas Kelley