Should I install a wood-burning hot tub in my holiday home?

holiday home wood burning hot tub
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Can I install a wood burning hot tub in a holiday home?

Wood burning hot tubs have been around a lot longer than the electric ones. And the last few years there has been a big resurgence in wood burning hot tubs within holiday homes. 

Hot tubs in holiday homes present their own challenges. But wood burning hot tubs are an entirely different kettle of fish, which require additional controls in comparison to electric hot tubs. 

Technically, yes, you can have wood burning hot tubs in holiday homes. However, the rules controlling their use become even stricter than with an electric hot tub. And the level of involvement and maintenance is even higher, making them infeasible for most holiday homes to use safely. 

In this blog we’ll look at what differs between electric and wood burning hot tubs in holiday home use. And how to ensure they are used safely. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is specifically for people operating holiday homes, let properties etc. (ie. one hot tub per one group of people). If you have a spa pool or hot tub in a fully commercial premises (eg. hotel, holiday park or gym) then a standard “domestic use” hot tub is not suitable and you will need a commercial spa pool installed. 

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HSG282: Controlling legionnaires in holiday home hot tubs

Hot tubs within commercial settings are subject to certain rules. Sure, you want all hot tubs, commercial or domestic to be clean. But if someone is paying for a service and a hot tub is provided as part of this then the owner is legally required to ensure that the hot tub water is clean and safe to use. 

This is where the HSG282 guidelines come in. These guidelines ensure that legionnaires and other infections diseases are controlled in commercial hot tubs. 

If you own a holiday home or let property (ie. only one group of people at a time are able to use the hot tub) then you fall under the “domestic hot tub is a business setting” use. (Page 22 is the important info needed for this type of hot tub). This means that you can buy a normal hot tub (ie. no need to install a commercial spa pool), but you do need to adapt it in certain ways. 

If you own a holiday home hot tub you will need to: 

1. Install and inline Chlorine or Bromine feeder

2. Empty after each hire (or after a week, whichever comes first)

3. Test the sanitiser (chlorine/bromine) & pH 2 x per day

4. Monthly microbiological tests and quarterly Legionella tests

These things all need to be in place under the HSG282 guidelines to ensure that the hot tub water is clean and safe to use for paying guests. If not, and legionnaires or another infections disease are caught or detected you are opening yourself up to legal ramifications. 

Wood burning hot tubs present some additional challenges. 

Problems with wood burning hot tubs

All the above needs to be in place for domestic hot tubs in “business use”. Regardless of whether they are electric or wood burning. 

However, there are some design elements that mean there are additional things you need to consider with wood burning hot tubs that are not a factor in electric hot tubs. These are:

1. There is no filtration system 

2. There is no controlled heating system

 

Wood burning hot tubs don’t have a filtration system

Wood burning hot tubs are generally just a tub made from wood and heated by a fire. They don’t have any pipework or filtration and you therefore cannot install an inline dosing system to continuously feed sanitiser into the hot tub. 

In fact, in many wood burning hot tubs, chemicals are not used at all to control the water. 

This means that water cannot be left in the hot tub for the entire length of the rental as it cannot be sanitised.

In wood burning hot tubs water needs to be drained down out of the hot tub after each us (ie. after a couple of hours). NOT after each rental as in the electric hot tubs. 

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It’s worth noting that as they don’t have any pipe works or pumps the water is not aerated. This does reduce the risk of legionella spreading as it is usually inhaled through water particles. However, it is not completely eliminated and so steps still need to be taken to ensure the water is properly treated.

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Wood burning hot tubs don’t have a controlled heating system

As there are no electrics in a wood-burning hot tub there is no heater. The water is purely heated by the stove. 

Ideal hot tub temperatures are approx. 37-40 degrees Celsius. But even once the stove is turned off it remain hot and can continue to raise the water temperature. This means that, if not carefully monitored, the water can become dangerously hot.

It is recommended that you do not leave the stove running while people are using the hot tub. And a floating thermometer or something similar should be use to closely monitor the temperature. Ideally, someone from the holiday home should be around to monitor this to ensure that it does not get too hot. 

Are you allowed a wood burning hot tub in a holiday home?

The answer is yes. You are allowed a wood burning hot tub in a holiday home. However, the rules controlling their use become even stricter than with an electric hot tub. As well as all the usual considerations that you have to have in a holiday home hot tub, you also need to take into consideration that there is no filtration or way to control and monitor the heat. 

This means that in practice, if you have a wood burning hot tub in a holiday home you should be filling it, heating it and allowing it to be used for 2-3 hours. Then emptying it down. It should not be left full for the duration of the let as the water is not filtered or sanitised effectively. 

Plus, you should really have someone around to monitor the temperature and ensure it is safe to use.

If you can’t do this, then you are opening yourself up to the possibility of disease or an accident, which would not be good for your holiday property. 

In conclusion

So, in conclusion, yes. You can technically have a wood-burning hot tub in a holiday property. 

However, there is EVEN more that you need to consider when you install it than with a standard electric hot tub. And the work that comes with an electric hot tub is already quite a lot.

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Debbie Ekins
Debbie Ekins
Eagle Leisure - Sales & Marketing Manager Mission = to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best buying decisions. Fuelled by coffee (and naps). Explorer of Scotland and the world.
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