You might have heard that an outdoor hot tub can make your energy bills skyrocket - but if you choose your system carefully and know how to use it efficiently, you can relax and enjoy it.

When you're shopping for a hot tub, the best choice is one with full foam closed-cell insulation. This will help hold the heat in and hold your energy bills down.

An insulated spa will cost about $20-25 a month to operate, compared to more than $100 a month for one that's not insulated. A reputable dealer will be able to give you an energy guarantee that states how much your hot tub will cost to operate.

It's also a good idea to look for a model with a sealed heating element. This prevents the water from touching the actual element, so the heater will last longer and run more efficiently.

A hot tub circulation system should be left on continuously - this will keep the water clean and ready go to whenever you need to relax. It will also keep the motor from stopping and starting over and over - which is a big energy-waster.

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