▷ Amazing Invention Will Inspire You to Make Your Own Hot Tub
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Amazing Invention Will Inspire You to Make Your Own Hot Tub

Written by Joseph Biggs and updated on June 15, 2018

How would you like to take some lawn waste, use it to heat your hot tub for 18 months, and be left with a huge pile of rich compost at the end of the project?

Does it sound like the last scene from Back to the Future?

Well, Tom Bartels of Durango, CO is a very inventive gardener and he has figured the process out. The best part is that it’s a project that anyone can do with enough space and the time to assemble it. All of the materials are all readily available, no flux capacitor necessary.

How It Works

You know how compost gets hot as it decomposes? Most gardeners would be familiar with that effect but few have ever considered harnessing that heat for any real purpose. But it is possible.

Tom uses a large quantity of wood chips (and a few other minor ingredients) to power his off-the-grid hot tub. It ends up being a 6-foot tall compost pile that he insulates with leaves. Straw bales and a foam topper are the only insulation for the hot tub itself.

He uses an electric pump to circulate the closed-loop system, which costs him a whopping $3.27 per month in electricity. Hook it up to a solar panel and it would be totally off the grid!

Consistently Hot Water in Freezing Weather

The water temperature in the hot tub stays between 104 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Any time he wants to take a dip the water is piping hot, with NO fossil fuels used to heat the 250 gallons of water.

Tom collected all his data for the project over the course of two months from mid-December to mid-February in Colorado, with nighttime temperatures in the single digits.

He estimates that this heat production will continue for 18 months (!) after which the temperature will decline due to the compost maturing.

Pays for Itself in Year One

The cost to set all this up was about $700, mostly for the pump and pipes. But get this…the market value of the organic compost is $700-$1,200!

So it pays for itself (or more) in the first year, and every year thereafter is effectively free because the pump and piping are reusable and the wood chips that provide the fuel are waste material that landscaping companies are happy to get rid of.

Use It for Anything

Tom made a hot tub, but what he created is just a system that produces heat from yard waste. You could use that heat for any purpose including:

  • Heating a house using a radiant floor
  • Heating a greenhouse
  • Warming aquaponic fish tanks
  • And more... it’s limited only by your imagination!

Want More Info?

You can get complete details on how to create this system for free, from Tom’s website. He teaches this method in one of his free webinars, but all his courses are fantastic.

For a lot more great gardening tips, see our guide on 31 Ways to Make You an Organic Gardening Guru.

About the author

    Joseph Biggs

    Author and retired entrepreneur Joseph Biggs writes for Organic Daily Post exclusively, when he is not spending time outdoors with his family. He, his wife, and their children and grandchildren live on an extended mini-farm where they all practice conservationism and a whole-Earth approach to life.

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