Blowers come as standard on many models of modern hot tubs. But if yours doesn’t have one, you can add an after-market blower easily enough.
Just make sure that your hot tub model is compatible first. If your topside control panel has a blower option, then it most likely is.
In my complete guide to hot tub blowers, I’ll show you:
- How blowers work
- Pros and cons of fitting a blower
- Different kinds of blowers available on the market
- How to choose the right size for your hot tub
What Does a Blower Do in a Hot Tub?
A hot tub blower adds an extra element to an already exclusive and fun way of relaxing. The blower generates air bubbles and fires them through jet holes into the tub. These air jets are often set around the seats to create a hydro-massaging effect for the occupants.
Hot Tub Blower vs Pump
A hot tub pump will pressurize the water, shoot it out through the jets, and offer some level of massage. The hot tub pump already has a couple of obstacles to pass through, like the heater and filter – and by the time it gets to the jets, the pressure is far lower.
A blower enhances the water pressure in a process known as turbo-charging. An air blower runs up to seven times faster than the water pump and boosts the pressure of the water while injecting air bubbles into the flow.
This means that even though the pump may run at a constant speed, you can increase the flow rate of the water by increasing the speed of the blower. The alternative is to install a far larger water pump and more nozzles into your existing hot tub.
A more powerful water pump system would offer a powerful message, but without the bubbles to obscure the water. No pumping in of air would mean a steadier water temperature, though a larger pump would cost more than an air pump to achieve the same function.
Pros and Cons of Hot Tub Blowers
Not all hot tubs come with air blowers, and that is because of the range of preferences across owners. To some people, blowers are a nuisance, and others say that the blower is the main reason to own a hot tub in the first place.
- Mental Relief – One of the most common reasons for owning a hot tub is to have a way to reduce work tension. The blower will increase the intensity of the massage from the jets, meaning that it is faster and better at lowering stress.
- Pain Relief – Deep tissue and muscle pains from sports and injuries are exhausting, and regular visits to physiotherapists add up. A hot tub water blower will soften tight muscles and improve circulation to damaged tissue.
- Blood Pressure – Blood pressure issues are worrying, and a hot tub blower will help to reduce them. There is also some evidence that a hot tub blower may lessen some of the symptoms of diabetes.
- Weight Loss – A hot tub blower can increase metabolism and accelerate weight loss for those that struggle with exercise.
- Appearance – A hot tub with a blower will also improve the value of your home and impress prospective buyers that come by.
- Bubbles – Seeing air bubbles spring up from your water jets is the pinnacle of owning a hot tub. A bubbling hot tub will boost the status of a private home and add an atmosphere to parties and gatherings.
- Noise – All hot tubs should have pumps to circulate water for heating and filtering, but these can be isolated. The air blower pump needs to be close and have unobstructed access to air, making it noisy. Some manufacturers can lessen the noise with mufflers and noise insulation.
- Cost – The water pump will consume the most power, but a hot tub will still need a 1horsepower blower or stronger. 2-horsepower is optimal, and this will add to your power bill.
- Temperature – The blower will blow cold air into the water and cool it down. So, you will need to heat the air or turn up the temperature of the hot tub.
- Strain – If your hot tub is not meant for a blower, you may find that you end up damaging the water pump by adding one.
What Are the Different Kinds of Hot Tub Blowers?
Hot tub blowers come in various voltages and as single-action bubblers or those with speed selectors. You can also buy blowers with silencers so that you can enjoy the bubbles without feeling like you are next to an industrial vacuum cleaner.
Can I Add a Blower to My Hot Tub?
Not all hot tubs can accept a blower since the size of the jets may have the wrong size connectors. And if your hot tub is set in concrete, changing out the nozzle will mean a major mess. Above-ground tubs are easy to swap out parts on if you have the same issue with the jets.
A blower kit should come with various parts to connect up to your existing hot tub plumbing. The most important part is the check valve, which will prevent water from flowing into the blower after you turn off the power.
Some hot tubs may also lack the water pump pressure to accommodate a blower. A smaller hot tub of four jets or less may be a sign that your pump and the water pipes will break under the pressure of a blower. You may also void any warranty your hot tub has.
Do Hot Tubs Need Air Blowers?
An air blower is an entertaining add-on and may rekindle the enjoyment of a machine in which you are losing interest. The blower will obfuscate the water, which may make it more fun and less embarrassing for guests to use at parties.
A hot tub will still perform without a blower, offering relaxation with a less vigorous massage. One of the biggest issues with blowers is the cooling effect they have on the water. With a blower, you will notice the efficiency of your heater going down and the noise going up.
You can overcome the noise by placing the blower into a separate housing with sound insulation. And the heating issue is solvable by either turning up the heating on the hot tub or by enclosing the hot tub into a tent so that it recycles the warm air.
How Long Does a Spa Blower Last?
Blowers will run for around 20 to 30 minutes before shutting off to prevent overheating. Treating the blower with care and giving it regular intervals to cool down will make it last longer. The noise of a blower can also become irritating after a while, so it is good to have a break.
Commercial spa blowers may run continuously, but these systems consume a huge amount of power and are not a practical size for home use.
The plumbing in the air should have both a check valve and a Hartford loop. The check valve prevents the backflow of water when the power is off. While the Hartford loop ducts the air above the water level so that even if the check valve is faulty, the water cannot make it over the loop to the air pump.
What Are the Sizes of Hot Tub Blowers?
The horsepower (HP) needed will depend on the size of the tub and its pump, but typical blower motor sizes are 1-HP, 1.5-HP, and 2-HP. The larger the blower, the greater the number of bubbles, and the more fun you can have.
Though a large blower will use more power and generate more noise, you want a size of blower that best suits your hot tub. Several factors will alter the balance of air and water, including pressure drops, pipe turns, and air holes.
- The distance from the pumping station to your hot tub will make a significant difference to the power you need to force air into the pipes.
- 90-degree connectors contribute to a good part of the drag on the water flow, lowering the pressure. In general, it is better to use flexible piping that you can bend around corners in one piece without using bends.
- The deeper the jets, the more pressure the water will need to force the air into the hot tub. Low pressure will cause the air to back up and form air pockets within the tubing.
- Large jet nozzles will lower the pressure of the exiting water, but they will also slow the flow.
- Small jet nozzles may cause too much pressure to build back in the system, damaging the pump.
- Manufacturers incorporate safety sensors into their blowers. These sensors will prevent overheating and shut off the blower if the back pressure becomes too much.
- A domestic blower should also have an automatic shut-off switch that activates after 15 to 20 minutes – commercial blowers may not do this.
Jets and Blowers
To compensate for unpredictable water and air resistance, a retrofitted blower may have control valves. These valves restrict the flow rate to different jets to balance out the pressure for equal bubble distribution around the tub.
Here is a rough guide for the power rating of the blower you need for your hot tub:
- Four to six jets – 1-horsepower
- Six to eight jets – 1.5-horsepower
- Eight or more jets – 2-horsepower
If you want to be sure that you have enough power, choose a blower with a variable speed controller that exceeds the power you need. With larger hot tubs, you may be able to swap out the jet nozzles for smaller ones so that they are better at forcing out the air bubbles.