Everything You Need to Know about Wood Burning Cedar Hot Tubs
Using a cedar wood fired hot tub is simply the most relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. Listening to the crackling fire, smelling the burning wood, sitting in up to 105°F water, beverage in hand with your friends. It really feels like you’re in a spa.
But we have to tell you, it doesn’t come without a little bit of work. Trust me, it's worth it! There are a few things you need to know about cedar hot tubs before you make the investment. Here are a few FAQs of everything you need to know about Wood Fired Hot Tubs.
How often do you have to fill a wood hot tub?
You should drain your hot tub every few days to ensure there will be no built-up bacteria. Filling your hot tub is easy, and heating your hot tub with a wood fire is a lot faster than heating it with electricity. This idea is perfect for people who go up to their cottage for weekends. When you get to the cottage, fill up your hot tub and heat up the wood, and you can enjoy it that evening and for the rest of the weekend. Drain it before you leave, and it will be ready for next weekend! The water will usually be clean for up to one week, but we recommend changing the water every four days or so.
How much wood does a cedar hot tub use?
The wood stove (aluminum tub heater) for the cedar wood burning hot tub takes a moderate size wheelbarrow load of DRY wood. Of course you have more firewood than you know what to do with at the cottage, so a cedar hot tub is a great way to use the natural resources that are available to you. It’s perfect for those who like to be off the grid, no electricity needed!
How long does it Take to Heat Up?
This should take anywhere from 1.5 - 4 hours to heat to your desired temperature (up to 105°F), depending on the size of your hot tub. Heating time also depends on external conditions (wind, outside temperatures), and we recommend using an insulated cover for it to heat up faster.
How long will my wood burning hot tub stay hot?
With our insulated vinyl pool cover, you can expect the temperature to drop no more than 15°F - 18°F per day. If you want it to be just as hot tomorrow, you can simply add a little bit more wood. It will not take as long to heat up to your desired temperature as it does when you fully drain and refill it (maybe one hour). The dryer the wood is that you use to burn, the longer it will stay heated.
How do you keep the water clean?
You can manage your hot tub water cleanliness pretty easily. Watch out for algae growth, or a greasy film. This is a sure-fire sign your water needs changing. The water will usually be clean for up to one week, but we recommend changing the water every four days or so.
The short answer is that the best way to keep your hot tub water clean is by draining it and refilling the hot tub with fresh water, since we do not recommend using any chemicals. If there is no electrical unit attached to circulate the water, it will eventually grow some bacteria.
Does a cedar hot tub need chemicals?
No chemicals needed. The idea of a wood fired hot tub is to drain the water and refill it with fresh water when you are ready for another “spa day”. You may add any natural and biodegradable product you wish to the water for relaxation purposes. You can add salt, herbal extracts, or essential oils to heighten your wooden hot tub experience. Adding non-biodegradable products to the water could cause bacterial/algae growth.
You may use a UV-purification system to keep it clean for longer, though chlorinated supplements are not recommended (these may degrade the wood).
How much maintenance and upkeep is a cedar hot tub?
If you use your hot tub regularly and keep up with its maintenance, our cedar hot tub should last you over 30 years. We use the highest available quality of clear western red cedar from canada to make sure that your wood hot tub will be made to last. Treating the hot tub semi-annually (1-2 times per year) with linseed oil (externally only) and a wood protection agent, and cleaning the inside of the hot tub with non-caustic soap using a brush or high pressure cleaner will extend the hot tub’s life expectancy by a further 10-15 years. Do not paint the hot tub, or treat the inside of the wooden hot tub. You do not have to clean or treat the underside of your wooden hot tub, as the hot tub is designed so that dampness on the hot tub bottom does not occur.
How much water do you need to fill a round cedar hot tub?
Up to 1500L / 400 Gallons, depending on the size of your tub. Make sure you have access to a lot of fresh water for your hot tub to be refilled every time you want to use it.
How do you keep a wood fire hot tub from freezing?
Our hot tubs are designed for the cold temperatures we know and are accustomed to here in Canada. Our hot tubs work well in very cold climates. How you deal with a wood-fired hot tub in very cold weather depends on your usage pattern and whether or not electricity is available. If you are using it at least once a week you should be fine in all except the most extreme weather as the water (with appropriate covers). Our hot tubs shouldn't lose more than about 15-18 degrees per day in all except the most extreme weather. You do, however, want to avoid having the entire tub freeze solid as that will most likely damage the bottom boards.
If you will be leaving your tub unattended for extended periods of time in sub-freezing weather, here are some things you can do to prevent damage to the tub from freezing:
- If you have electricity, a stock tank heater is the most simple, inexpensive and effective solution to keep the tub from freezing.
- If water availability is not an issue, drain all but 4-5 inches or so and just let that freeze and refill when you return. The few inches of ice won't hurt the tub and will help keep the tub bottom and base of the staves (the walls of the tub) "seasoned". When you are ready to use the tub simply top it off and fire up the hot tub stove.
- You can anchor 8-10 floating empty plastic milk jugs at varying levels in the tub. When the water freezes and expands the milk jugs will act as shock absorbers so the tub isn't damaged. This approach is most useful when water to refill the tub is a problem.
- If you do not drain the tub and notice a few inches of ice on the tub surface, just start up a small fire, and let the stove heat slowly. You can allow several inches of ice to form on the surface of the tub without doing any damage.
- If the tub does happen to freeze completely, caution is advised. You can melt the ice by starting a fire, but a fast burning fire quickly melts the ice around the stove. The water can then boil away exposing the stove to air which will cause the aluminum to melt. Without water surrounding the stove it could melt. We recommend adding some water to the top of the frozen surface while melting the ice. You should try and heat your tub up at least once a week, and of course, heating it up means you get to enjoy it, too.
- Some owners with tubs at cabins where there is no water available during winter months leave their tubs full, but secure with a rope a large, partially inflated inner tube to the bottom of the tub. This allows the inner tube to take the stress of the expanding ice so that the tub is not damaged. (The inner tube needs to be completely submerged near or at the bottom of the tub).
If you have any questions regarding our cedar hot tubs or how to use them effectively, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
Here is a very helpful customer testimonial:
Rachel from Nova Scotia
We purchased soaking tub about 2 years ago and continue to thoroughly enjoy it. It was delivered to our recreational property in Nova Scotia. We had a pre-planned established crusher dust pad ready for its arrival. It took my wife and 2 young adult males to move into final position. Set up was straight forward. It takes about 25 minutes to fill and 3 hours to heat up. We removed 2 of the 3 benches. Currently we use it for 3 seasons (March- November). We change the water out after every 2-3 days and use a mild bleach solution to wipe out the inside followed by a rinse. We love the smell of the wood fire. It took time to learn how to use it. Our 1st night the temp was 110 F (lobster fest!). We now know to stick to 98-101 F. I love to burn wood but had to learn when to cut back the burning. Would I recommend. Yes but there is a bit of work involved ie firewood.