How to Light/Use a Wood Fired Hot Tub

Wood fired hot tub are the best hot tubs out there. Why? They don’t need extreme chemicals because you drain the water after each use. They don’t use electricity. And they use a fire to heat the water, which creates a cozy and romantic aura.

They’re also easy to operate. It only requires two simple steps. Fill the hot tub like you would any bath tub. Then start a small fire in the stove with firewood.

Here we’ll teach you how to light a tub. We’re using “Deluxe Wood Fired Hot Tub” by Redwood Outdoors in our example. Yet the principles are the same across all brands and even DIY-built hot tubs. The total time of setup is 2.5 to 3 hours.

Step 1 — Clean the area

Clean the surrounding area. Since the hot tub is outside, debris can accumulate inside and outside the tub. Wash it away. It’s also a good idea to run the water in the tub for 2-3 minutes and drain it out. This will clean any residues in the inside of the tub so your water isn’t murky.

Step 2 — Fill the tub with water

This is an obvious. You need water for a hot tub. Yet it’s so important that you fill the tub with water before you start your fire. You might get ahead of yourself and want to start the fire right away. This is a huge fire hazard! Don’t start your fire until the tub is full and the stove is 100% submerged. In our tub, it takes about 20 minutes to fill it.

Before adding water, make sure your drain is closed. In plumbing, it’s universal that when the gauge is down it is closed. When it’s to the side, it’s open. So make sure your gauge is down and start filling it with water.

Step 3 — Start your fire

Wood burning hot tubs have efficient stoves. This means it’s easy to start a fire in them.

Before you start your fire, make sure all ash is gone. The ash can clog the vents making your fire harder to start. Next simply place cardboard or paper at the bottom of the stove. Then put small pieces of firewood (or kindling) at the top of the stove. Light the cardboard/paper on fire and watch the wood above start to burn. You can also use a fire-starter in the stove. But if you have small enough wood or kindling, it isn’t necessary.

Once all the small pieces are burning and the fire is strong, put larger pieces of firewood in the stove.

Step 4 — Circulate smoke

Fan your fire to make sure it’s moving through the stove and the draft is right. Once you see smoking coming out of the top of the stove, you’re good to go. You have a successful draft. If you can’t get the draft right, just keep waving the fire until it appears.

Step 5 — Take a bath

Step 6 — Closing it Down

The only important note about turning off a wood burning stove is you don’t empty the water until the fire is completely dead. To make the fire go out faster close the damper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I overheated the water? Electrical hot tubs automatically stop heating once they reach a maximum temperature. Wood burning stoves will get hotter with no limits, like a tea kettle on a stove. If you overheat the water, run cold water from the faucet until the temperature drops.

Is it okay to leave the fire burning? I’d like to leave for a bit but come back and use the tub again. Whenever a fire is burning, it’s best to have eyes on it. If you’re experienced outdoors person, in a wet environment, it’s generally safe though to leave a fire burning in a modern hot tub stove. Close the damper slightly to reduce the risk of fire.

Is it possible to use a wood burning hot tub as a cold plunge pool? Most of the time yes. Often the water source for wood burning hot tubs is underground. This means the default temperature of the water will always be about 60F – 65F degrees, no matter the season. A typical cold plunge pool or ice bath ranges from 45 degrees and 55F degrees. So to make a cold plunge, simply add ice in summer months or let it cool off in the arctic months for about an hour.

The water is very hot on the top, but when I get in the bottom is cold. What did I do wrong? Water stratifies into layers. Heat rises. So your top layer will always be hotter. To stop this, stir or agitate your water throughout the heating process. In other words, make sure to use a paddle-like object and shake up your water as much as possible. Eventually with enough heat, it will out, but if you’re in a rush, mixing up your water is a must.

Is it safe for children to use wood burning hot tubs? Children usually need to use hot tubs at lower temperatures. Before your kids hot tub, you should consult with your physician.