Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hot tubs

One of the things we thought about spending some of the frivolous money from the inheritance on was a hot tub to put out on the deck outside the bedroom. Turned out to cost more than we wanted to spend on frivolities, which made us ask, will we ever get one? As Siobhan put it, if we're not going to get one when we come into money, when would we ever?

Well, I was looking at the prices and I figure if we really decided we wanted one, I could start socking away a bit of money and probably get one in a year or two. But I really don't think I'm going to. Not just because it's money that could be put to better use, though. On thinking more about it, even if someone gave us one free, I don't think we'd keep it.

The problem is the ongoing costs to run the thing -- not just in dollars but in environmental impact. Think about it. You've got two choices. Keep the heat running all the time so it'll be hot-tub hot whenever you want to use it, and pay a huge, huge fortune in electricity costs just for the few times you actually get to use it. Or wait until you decide you want to use it, and then turn the heat on, and wait. Depending on the type of hot tub, it either takes a few hours, or a full day, to get to full warmth. When are you going to want to use a hot tub and not mind waiting hours or a day to do it? That kind of takes the fun out of having one.

A hot tub might (might!) make sense to run in a place like a hotel or health club where a lot of different people can benefit from it, so it can be useful for most of the time it's heated up. But there's just no way we could actually use it for more than a tiny fraction of the time we were heating it. Not with just us.

So even if someone handed us the hot tub it wouldn't be worth plugging it in. In fact, even if someone handed us the hot tub and paid our resultingly huge electric bill in perpetuity, I think I couldn't justify having it turned on, just because of the wastefulness of all the energy used for so little benefit.

And that's not even considering the amount of time we'd spend on taking care of it, all the water-cleaning and maintenance. Probably that would add to more time than we would actually spend in it, considering the weather in Vermont. It's just impossible to make it worth having. It'd be nice to have a hot tub available once in a while, on those nights it'd sure be relaxing to sink into one, but there's just no way to make privately owning one work.

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