Sacrificing luxuries for a green lifestyle is like going on a crash diet — it’s just not a good idea and doesn’t give you the best chance of success. What is the best way to put your rich luxuries on a green diet? Research other peoples’ opinions on one eco-friendly change. Ensure it’s working for you before trying another change. Then strike a balance between a luxurious lifestyle and green practicality.
Hot Tub Efficiency
Maximize energy efficiency whenever you’re not using your hot tub. According to Wire Chief Electric, you can save energy by turning the temperature down to 102, below body temperature in the summer or off completely. If it’s winter, make sure you winterize it or leave it running just warm enough to not freeze and cause damage. Don’t know how? Check your manufacturer’s website. The manufacturer usually provides free, downloadable replacement manuals as well as forums or FAQs that can inform you with less technical lingo.
Soak Up The Sun
Solar water heating can reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll need to size it according to your climate. Builditsolar.com features a step-by-step method for determining how large a solar collector needs to be to heat your hot tub. Tub volume, insulation and the condition of the cover will all factor in. Heaters also take up little yard or roof space, so plan accordingly. If you are planning a roof installation and aren’t certain your framing will bear the weight, have a contractor look at it first. Solarhottub.com experts have kits available on the market for solar water heating.
Following your manufacturer’s maintenence schedule will not only keep your hot tub running longer, but also more efficiently. According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, maintenance includes replacing your hot tub’s filters. Clogged filters will bog the motor down, causing it use more energy. Pros at hottubworks.com offers great discount prices on spa filters for hot tubs and other maintenance supplies. Affordability will depend on your hot tub model and availability of parts.
Photovoltaic (PV) Panels
PV panels are the smooth, electricity-producing panels commonly associated with solar power. PV panels produce direct current, however, certain hot tub models require alternating current. If you’re not savvy with electrical installations, call an electrician for an inspection and quote. Also, panels only produce electricity when the sun is shining. You may need a deep cycle battery that will charge during the day and can be used at night.
Putting an insulated cover on top of your hot tub not only saves energy, but helps it retain heat and conserve water from evaporation. If your cover has been gaining weight, it’s probably taking on water and needs to be replaced. It loses insulation value when it gets wet. Thesimpledollar.com finds that replacing the cover with one that has higher insulative value reduces heating costs of $20 per month in the southern U.S.
Alan Underwood, the author of this post, is a farmer and writer who blogs about farming, hunting and sustainable living.
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