What causes bubbles in a hot tub?

Written by brenda priddy
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What causes bubbles in a hot tub?
Bubbles in hot tubs are created in several different ways. (jacuzzi love image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

Hot tubs create bubbles in several different ways. Many hot tubs use water jets to make bubbles in the water, but other tubs use an air bubble-maker to create the bubbles. All hot tubs (except natural hot springs, of course) have a heating system that makes the tub usable in any temperature. The combination of warm water and bubbles makes the use of a hot tub very relaxing. If you want to use bubble bath or other bath products, check manufacturer's directions carefully--some say don't use bubble bath at all, some say it's safe to use a small amount, and some say only use bubble additives made especially for hot tubs.

Water Jets

Most hot tubs form bubbles with water jets. Pipes located below the tub gather water from the hot tub. The hot tub jets then shoot the water into the tub at high speeds, creating bubbles. Many hot tubs gather over 100 gallons of water in one minute, shooting the same amount of water into the tub at the same time. Air flow is important to the creation of bubbles through the water jets. The water pipes must push the water through the pipes at a high speed.The constant churning of water creates foamy bubbles in the water.


Some hot tubs come with external or internal bubble-making blower systems. These systems allow bubbles to flow even when the high pressure jets are off. The blower system installs under the floor of the tub and shoots bubbles up into the water by blowing air into the hot tub. External systems hook to the side of the hot tub and blow air in through a tube. Some hot tub manufacturers do not use this kind of air blower because it rapidly cools the water, making the tub less energy-efficient.

Hot Air Bathtub

Another option is called a "hot air bathtub." These are different than hot tubs because you have to drain the water after each use. They have air systems that release air into the hot tub through tiny holes in the bottom or sides, like blowing water through a straw into a glass of water. The air blowing into the water creates large, low-pressure bubbles that are very relaxing and gentle. One advantage to a hot air bathtub is that you can use bath oils, although manufacturers still recommend against the use of bubble bath.

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