Troubleshooting Guide: Why Your Wood Fired Hot Tub Isn’t Heating Up

There’s nothing quite like the joy of relaxing in a hot tub, especially one powered by wood fire. But what happens when your wood-fired hot tub isn’t heating up as it should? It’s a common issue that can put a damper on your relaxation time.

In my years of experience dealing with wood-fired hot tubs, I’ve come across this problem quite a few times. It’s often due to a few common reasons that are easy to troubleshoot.

So, if you’ve found yourself in this hot water – or rather, not-so-hot water – situation, don’t fret. I’m here to help you get your wood-fired hot tub back to its toasty self. Let’s dive into some of the reasons your tub might not be heating up and how to fix them.

Key Takeaways

  • Good-quality firewood is essential for heating up your wood-fired hot tub efficiently. Opt for seasoned wood, which has been dried out for a considerable period, compared to ‘green’ wooden logs.
  • Firewood quality can substantially affect the performance of your tub’s heating system. Look out for signs like cracks in the ends, darkened color, and lighter weight when selecting firewood.
  • Regular inspection of your tub’s flue and chimney is crucial. Clear any blockages or soot build-up that might hinder the heat output.
  • Ensure a well maintained and functional airflow system to enhance the heating capacity of your tub. Regularly check the air vents, stove door seal, and surrounding area for any abnormalities.
  • Efficient water circulation is key for a uniformly heated tub. Regularly inspect for functioning jets, a well-serviced pump, correct water level and the tub’s plumbing for optimal performance.
  • Regular checks and maintenance can help tackle common issues that prevent your wood-fired hot tub from heating up effectively. Remember to balance the use of quality firewood, efficient airflow, and good water circulation.

Check the Firewood Quality

Ever asked yourself, “Why isn’t my wood-fired hot tub heating up?” The culprit might just be the quality of your firewood. Don’t underestimate the difference good quality firewood can make; it’s pivotal to your hot tub’s heating efficiency.

First, let’s understand what we mean by ‘quality firewood’. Any freshly chopped wood has a high water content, you could call this ‘green’ wood. Burning green wood leads to smoky fires, reduced heat output, and more sediment in your chimney. Essentially, it’s not the best fuel for your hot tub.

To avoid this problem, let’s consider seasoned firewood. This type of wood has been chopped and stored for a long period, allowing it to dry out. Dried wood is more efficient, hotter, and less likely to smoke; It’s exactly what you need for your wood-fired hot tub.

But how do you evaluate whether your firewood is sufficiently seasoned? Here are some signs:

  • Cracks in the ends
  • Darkened color
  • Lighter in weight
  • Sounds hollow when struck
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These signs can help you identify the best quality seasoned wood. Opting for this type of wood not only ensures a hotter burn, but also minimizes potential blockages in the flue of your hot tub heating system.

Here’s a brief comparison table for green wood and seasoned wood:

Wood Type Water Content Efficiency Best Use
Green Wood High Low Not Recommended for Hot Tubs
Seasoned Wood Low High Ideal For Wood-Fired Hot Tubs

Remember, firewood quality matters significantly in the efficient operation of your wood-fired hot tub. Select the right wood and you’ll enjoy a warm soak in no time.

Examine the Flue and Chimney

Now that we’ve covered the importance of using seasoned firewood in maintaining hot tub temperatures, it’s essential to dig a little deeper. The next critical step in ensuring your wood-fired hot tub heats up properly is to inspect the flue and chimney.

The flue is the internal passage within your hot tub’s chimney that expels excess smoke and dangerous gases. A blockage or deposit build-up in the flue can lead to inefficient burning and less heat output for your hot tub. This is where the condition of your firewood plays a significant role. As mentioned earlier, burning green wood not only leads to less heat but also tends to deposit more sediment in the chimney.

Regular cleaning of the chimney flue is paramount for the functioning of your wood-fired hot tub. Ensure to remove any soot or creosote build-up that could prevent smoke from escaping. Not doing so can create smoke backdraft which, besides being harmful, can decrease the efficiency of your hot tub.

Moreover, check for any physical obstruction such as leaves, bird nests, or external damage causing any leaks or blockages in the flue. You should also inspect for signs of corrosion, as a rusty flue won’t be as effective in directing smoke out of your hot tub.

Another factor to keep an eye on is the flue liner. It’s crucial that it’s in good shape. If you find cracks, deterioration, or missing pieces in it, it’ll need replacing. This ensures that the smoke is properly funneled out, leading to a more efficient burn and hotter water for your hot tub.

As we forge ahead into further details about ensuring the optimal performance of your wood-fired hot tub, remember, the journey to a perfect hot soak begins with seasoned wood and maintaining a clean, functional flue and chimney.

Inspect the Airflow

A crucial aspect often overlooked when troubleshooting wood fired hot tubs is the inspection of airflow. Without sufficient oxygen, the wood won’t burn efficiently. This subsequently hampers the heating capacity of your tub.

I’ll tell you why: incomplete combustion. When there’s not enough air for the firewood to burn completely, the heat output is dramatically reduced. Remember, high heat output is crucial for heating up your hot tub. So it’s paramount that one ensures that there is indeed sufficient airflow to achieve total combustion.

There are a few places you can check to make sure that there’s enough air getting to your fire. Let’s go through these:

  1. Check the Air Vents: These are designed to control airflow. It’s essential that they are open and completely unblocked. Any restrictions here will reduce the air, causing the wood to burn inefficiently.
  2. Examine the Stove Door: Ensure it seals correctly when closed. If not, this could be letting in excess air and cooling your fire. Remember, balance is key when it comes to airflow. Too much of it can be just as detrimental as too little.
  3. Survey the Area Around the Tub: Outdoor factors could be hindering your tub from heating up. For instance, is your tub in a windy area? It might lead to too much airflow, cooling the fire too rapidly. The solution might be as simple as constructing a windbreak around your tub.
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I’d recommend making these checks a regular part of your hot tub maintenance. And for those who relish in the detail, here’s a handy metrics table. Keep those numbers in the acceptable range, and you’re golden.

Factors Acceptable Range
Air Vent Blockage 0%
Stove Door Seal Leak 0%
Wind Speed Around Tub Less than 10mph

There you have it. By keeping an eye on these elements and ensuring they are in good condition, your wood fired hot tub air supply needs are covered well. Keep in mind, a well-oxygenated fire is your ticket to that hot, soothing soak you desire.

Test the Water Circulation

As we’ve discussed the importance of using seasoned wood and maintaining the cleanliness of the flue and chimney, it’s also crucial to address the water circulation in your wood-fired hot tub. Poor water circulation might just be the reason your hot tub isn’t heating up like it used to.

Water circulation plays a vital role in distributing heat evenly throughout the tub. If you notice that the water isn’t heating evenly or doesn’t seem as hot as usual, you may need to evaluate the circulation of the water. But how can you do that? I’ll share some practical steps.

Firstly, check the water flow from the jets. Are all the jets functioning correctly? If one or more jets are weak or not working, they could be blocked. I recommend removing any debris that may be obstructing the jets and restricting the flow of water.

Similarly, examine the hot tub pump. It’s the heart of your hot tub’s circulation system, pumping water in and out to ensure even heating. If the pump isn’t working at full capacity, it won’t circulate water effectively—resulting in a less than perfect bathing temperature. Regular servicing and maintenance of the pump will keep it in top condition.

The water level in the hot tub is another factor to consider. Ideally, the water should be neither too high nor too low. The wrong water level can affect the circulation. Ensure water levels are maintained per your tub’s manufacturer instructions.

Lastly, you should inspect the tub’s plumbing. Cracked or damaged pipes can lead to loss of water pressure, affecting the circulation. Any signs of leaks or unusual water activity in or around the tub could indicate a plumbing issue. Regular inspection will prevent such issues becoming far-reaching problems.

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It goes without saying: efficient water circulation enhances your hot tub’s heating efficiency. Whether it’s coming down to blocked jets, pump issues, improper water levels or plumbing problems, these are all fixable problems. So don’t despair. With regular checks and maintenance, you’re sure to get your hot tub firing on all cylinders again.


So, if your wood-fired hot tub’s not heating up, don’t fret. It’s often a simple case of checking your firewood, flue, chimney, and airflow. But remember, it doesn’t stop there. I’ve highlighted the importance of testing your water circulation too. Check your jets, examine your pump, maintain the right water level, and inspect your plumbing. Good water circulation is key to your tub’s heating efficiency. Regular checks and maintenance are your best friends here. Follow these steps, and you’ll be back to enjoying your hot, relaxing soak in no time.

Why is seasoned firewood important for a wood-fired hot tub?

Seasoned firewood is key because it burns more efficiently than green or wet wood. This leads to a hotter and more consistent fire, which in turn heats the hot tub faster and more evenly.

How can a flue and chimney inspection help?

Regular inspections can identify any blockages or damage that could affect airflow – and without good airflow, you can’t achieve a high temperature or keep the fire burning consistently.

What role does water circulation play in a wood-fired hot tub?

Efficient water circulation helps distribute heat evenly throughout the tub. If there are problems with the circulation, the tub may not heat properly or at all, even if the fire is burning efficiently.

How can I check water flow from the jets?

If your tub isn’t heating up well, turn off the hot tub pump, and then, slowly open the jets one at a time, observing if water flows out. A lack of water could indicate a blockage or pump issue.

What are some common issues with the hot tub pump?

Common issues can include the pump not getting power, trapped air in the pump, or damage to the pump itself. If your pump isn’t working properly, your water won’t circulate, and your tub won’t heat.

Why is maintaining the correct water level important?

If the water level is too low, the pump and jets won’t be able to circulate water efficiently, and if it’s too high, it could overflow and damage your hot tub or the area around it.

How can I inspect the tub’s plumbing?

Look for any visible signs of damage like cracks, leaks, and loose fittings. If you find damage or can’t access certain areas, you may need to call a professional.

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