Taking a warm bath can be an incredibly relaxing experience. The hot water helps soothe sore muscles, reduce stress, and make you feel pampered. However, if the water starts cooling off too quickly, it can cut your bath time short. Fortunately, there are many tricks to keeping bath water hot for longer so you can enjoy a nice long soak. Here are 12 effective ways to warm up your bath.
Use Hotter Water
The simplest way to have a warmer bath is to start with hotter water. Try filling the tub with the hottest water your faucet can produce. You may need to let the tub fill longer to allow the piping to heat fully. Just be sure not to use scalding water that could burn or irritate skin. Aim for a starting temperature between 98-100°F. This gives you a higher baseline temperature so the bath takes longer to cool down.
Insulate the Tub
Baths lose heat quickly because they have a large surface area exposed to air. You can slow the cooling process by insulating the tub to retain heat better. Add an inflatable bath pillow or tub insert made of foam, rubber, or other insulating materials while the tub fills. These create a barrier between the tub walls and the water to prevent heat transfer. You can also use rigid insulating boards lined with soft fabric to avoid scratching the tub. Place these boards behind you to cover at least 50% of the tub walls.
Use a Thermal Blanket
Another insulation option is securing a thermal blanket around the bathtub walls. Look for one made of a reflective material like aluminized polyester film. The reflective surface traps radiant heat to keep the bath water warmer for up to an hour. Make sure the blanket extends high enough over the rim to cover nearly the entire exterior of the tub walls above the water line. Leave space at one end to access the tub.
Add Bath Foam
Using thick foamy products in your bath can form an insulating layer to retain more heat. Squeeze in a generous amount of body wash, bubble bath, bath salts, or bath bombs and soak in the suds. The foam essentially traps warm air against your skin so the water doesn’t cool down as fast. Just stir the water periodically to mix the foam back in and keep the insulation effect.
One easy way to make your bath feel warmer is heating towels ahead of time. Take several large towels and run them through a hot wash cycle. Then either let them finish drying in the dryer or take them out while still slightly damp and place in your dryer on the highest setting for 20 minutes. The hot towels will feel soothing when you get out of the bath. For extra spa luxury, store towels in a warming cabinet until bath time.
Position a Space Heater Nearby
To combat heat loss from the exposed bath water surface, place a portable electric space heater near the bathtub. Position it close to the exterior of the long side of the tub. Angle the heater to blow warm air across the length of the bath water. This will warm the surrounding air and prevent the water from rapidly cooling to room temperature. Just take safety precautions such as keeping electrical cords out of water and turning off the heater before getting in or out of the tub.
Add Hot Water Gradually
Instead of running all your hot water at the start, hold some in reserve to add as needed. Begin by filling the tub halfway with hot water from the faucet. Once your bath is drawn, turn off the tap. After 10-15 minutes, the water should still be warm but starting to cool a little. Now turn the hot tap back on and let new hot water flow in a steady stream. This reheats the water to a comfortable temperature so you can enjoy soaking another 10-15 minutes before repeating. Adding hot water gradually extends your bath time.
Use a Hot Water Recirculator
A hot water recirculating pump moves hot water from your water heater into home plumbing loops to minimize cool down in taps and fixtures. Having one of these systems lets you top up your bath with hot water anytime. When bath water starts losing its heat, simply open the drain valve while turning on the hot water. This will bring in fresh hot water and blend it with the existing bath water. With a recirculating pump, you can easily maintain a toasty bath temperature for over an hour.
Soak in a Smaller Tub
Using a smaller tub is a great way to keep baths hot with less water. Opt for a narrow and shallow soaking tub rather than a standard full-sized model. Some petite tubs hold as little as 20-30 gallons compared to 50+ gallons for larger tubs. The smaller volume of water stays warmer longer. Just note that a tub too small may not allow full body soaking. Look for petite tubs at least 16-20 inches deep and narrow enough to keep most of your body under water.
Add Hot Stones
For a soothing hot tub experience, try adding heated stones. Use smooth river rocks, lava rocks, or bath stones designed for high heat. Fully submerge the stones in very hot water for 15 minutes. Using fireproof mitts, place the heated rocks into the bath water. As the rocks cool, they will slowly release thermal energy to maintain your bath’s temperature. Reheat the stones in a pot of hot water to add back to your tub as needed. Caution: Cool stones before removing to avoid burns.
Turn Up the Water Heater
If your baths never seem hot enough, you may need to bump up your water heater temperature. Most heaters are factory preset to 120°F. Try turning the dial to 130°F or 140°F to generate hotter water for bathing. This hotter starting point allows the bath to retain desirable temperatures longer. Just use caution with young children or elderly at risk of burns and check local codes for maximum setting regulations. Also note it will increase energy costs.
Add Bath Salts
Certain bath salts can potentially warm water in addition to softening skin, easing sore muscles, and promoting relaxation. Some contain minerals like magnesium or sodium that may slightly increase water temperature. Try salts with magnesium sulfate (epsom salts), magnesium chloride (magnesium flakes), or sodium chloride (Himalayan pink salt). While effects are modest, every small heat gain helps extend a warm bath. Just avoid very hot water when using salts to prevent skin irritation.
Take Shorter Baths
Ironically, one of the best ways to enjoy hotter bath water is to spend less time soaking. Long 20-40 minute baths give heat more time to dissipate. Instead, opt for shorter 10-15 minute soaks. Fill the tub with extra hot water and enjoy it while steaming hot. You can always refill the tub for multiple short soaks rather than one long cooling soak. Quick hot bathing still leaves you feeling relaxed and warm.
There are many easy yet effective tricks to prevent your soothing warm bath from cooling too rapidly. Simple insulation methods like foam pads, thermal blankets, and bath pillows can help retain heat. Pouring in hotter water and gradually reheating by adding more hot water or using a recirculating pump keeps water hot for longer. You can also supplement with space heaters, hot stones, warmer towels, and hotter water heater settings. With these handy tips, you can finally take the long hot bath you’ve been dreaming of. So soak away your stresses and don’t worry about the water cooling too soon!
Frequently Asked Questions About Warming Up Bath Water
Warm baths are a wonderful way to relax and unwind. However, it can be frustrating when the water starts cooling off too quickly. Here are answers to some common questions about keeping your bath hotter for longer.
How long does bath water stay warm in a standard tub?
In a typical full-sized tub without any insulation or heating methods, bath water will start cooling noticeably within 10-20 minutes and can reach lukewarm temperatures within 30-45 minutes.
What’s the best water temperature for a hot bath?
The ideal bath water temperature range is typically 98–100°F. This allows your body to absorb the heat without being scalded. Always check the water with your hand or bath thermometer before getting in to avoid burns, especially for children and elderly.
Is it safe to use boiling water in the bath?
No, boiling water should never be poured into bath water. Water temperatures over 120°F can cause burns and serious scalding injuries. Always start baths with hot tap water below 120°F. Consider using bath thermometers with children or heat-sensitive adults to prevent accidental scalding.
Can bath salts really warm up water?
Some bath salts containing minerals like magnesium, sodium, or potassium may provide a slight warming effect. However, this increase is typically only 1–2 degrees. So while they offer other benefits like softening skin, salts alone won’t make bath water noticeably hotter.
How often should you add hot water to a bath?
A good rule of thumb is checking the water temperature every 10-15 minutes and adding more hot water as needed. Larger or well-insulated tubs may only need one hot water top up mid-bath. Smaller tubs likely require hot water boosts every 10 minutes or so to maintain heat.
Is it safe to use space heaters near bathtubs?
Electric space heaters can significantly warm a bathroom for a toasty bath experience. However, water and electricity can be hazardous. Keep heaters several feet from the tub on a GFCI circuit. Never touch electrical devices with wet hands or use space heaters actually inside the bathroom.
Can you put hot stones directly in bath water?
Yes, you can add smooth heated stones directly to bath water to release heat over time. Always fully submerge stones in very hot water for 15+ minutes before adding to the tub. Use extreme caution handling hot stones with fireproof gloves or tongs to prevent serious burns. Allow stones to fully cool before removing from bath water.
How much cooler does bath water get per minute?
On average, expect bath water temperatures to decrease roughly 1–1.5°F per every 5–10 minutes soaking time, if no heating methods are used. Lowering just 4–5°F can make water start feeling cool, so monitor temperatures regularly. Insulation and hot water additions can slow the heat loss significantly.
Is it better to take one long bath or several short ones?
For hottest water, take one or two short 10-15 minute baths instead of one continuous 30+ minute soak. The more time water has to cool to room temperature, the chillier it will get. Quick hot-water refills between short baths easily maintain the highest temperatures.
Can you put hot water into a bath with someone already in it?
It’s not recommended to add hot water to a bathtub already occupied. Drastic temperature changes could cause burns or make someone overheat. Instead, drain some cooler water out while adding small amounts of hot water. Monitor temperatures to gently raise heat without scalding risks.
Lukewarm baths take all the enjoyment out of soaking in hot water. With the right preparation and careful monitoring of water temperature, you can keep your bath hot for the full duration. Experiment with insulation, hot water additions, bath products, and supplemental heating to find the best techniques that work in your tub. Soon you’ll be soaking away without having to sacrifice the warmth!
How to Keep Bath Water Hot While Soaking – A Step-by-Step Guide
Enjoying a nice, long, hot soak in the tub can be incredibly relaxing. But there’s nothing worse than when the water starts cooling off too quickly, cutting your bath time short. Keep your bath delightfully warm from start to finish with this simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Start with hotter water
Use the hottest tap water temperature you can safely stand. Aim for 98–100°F if possible. This gives you a warmer starting point before the cooling process begins.
Step 2: Insulate the tub
Cut down on heat loss by insulating the tub walls. Use an inflatable bath pillow, foam inserts, or fabric-covered boards to cover at least 50% of tub walls. This creates a thermal barrier.
Step 3: Place space heater 4-5 feet from tub
Position a portable electric space heater 4-5 feet from the exterior of the long side of the tub. Angle to blow warm air across the tub to maintain water temperature.
Step 4: Limit initial fill volume
Only fill the tub halfway at first. Starting with less water takes less time to initially heat up.
Step 5: Get in and monitor water temp
After 10 minutes of soaking, check the water temperature. Once it drops 3-5° from the starting heat, it’s time to warm back up.
Step 6: Add more hot water
With the drain plugged, begin running hot tap water again to raise the temperature. Go slowly to find the right mix of hot added and existing bath water.
Step 7: Continue monitoring and adding hot water
Every 10-15 minutes, check the temperature and top up with more hot water as needed. Limit total soaking time to 20-40 minutes maximum for best results.
Step 8: Preheat towels
End your bath by wrapping up in warm, freshly heated towels right out of the dryer for extra comfort and luxury.
Step 9: Take shorter subsequent baths
For your next soak, only fill halfway and plan on a 10-15 minute bath, then drain and refill for second short soak if desired.
Step 10: Invest in a tub insert
Consider buying an insulating tub insert to keep water hot even longer next time.
With this simple process, you can take a wonderfully soothing hot bath that stays delightfully steamy and warm from start to finish!
Top Tips for Keeping Bath Water Hot
Here are my top expert tips for keeping your bath hot and toasty until you are ready to get out:
- Start with the hottest water from the tap that is still comfortable – try to get it at least 98-100°F before getting in.
- Insulate the tub with foam pads, inflatable pillows, or even rigid styrofoam boards covered in fabric. This prevents heat transfer through tub walls.
- Limit your initial fill volume to only halfway or 2/3 full to reduce amount of water needing to be heated.
- Place a space heater several feet away and facing the tub to warm the air surrounding the bath.
- Use foam-producing products like bubble bath to create an insulating layer on the surface.
- Add hot stones from a bucket of near-boiling water to slowly release heat.
- Turn your water heater up to 130°F-140°F unless it poses a safety hazard for residents.
- Set a timer and check water temperature every 10-15 minutes, adding hot water as needed.
- Take shorter baths of 10-15 minutes, then draining and refilling, rather than one long bath.
- End with a warm towel straight from the dryer for a luxurious spa feeling.
Follow these tips and you’ll be soaking in hot, steamy bath water from start to finish every time! Let the relaxing begin.
Common Problems and Solutions for Keeping Baths Hot
Taking a long, hot soak in the tub can be so soothing and therapeutic. But there are a few common problems that can cut your blissful bath time short:
Problem: Water cooling off too quickly
Solution: Start bath hotter, only fill halfway, insulate tub with pillow or boards, use bubble bath foam, add space heater, turn up water heater temp.
Problem: Can’t get tub hot enough in the first place
Solution: Have plumbing checked for supply line issues, inspect water heater and increase temperature setting, insulate hot water pipes.
Problem: Hot water running out too soon
Solution: Check water heater size – upgrade if too small for household, install recirculating pump system.
Problem: Burns from trying to increase water temp
Solution: Use bath thermometer and add water cautiously, don’t exceed 120°F, check temp before getting in.
Problem: Sweating from high humidity
Solution: Use space heater to warm room in addition to tub, open bathroom window or run exhaust fan.
Problem: Space heater trips breaker or doesn’t warm room
Solution: Use space heater on a GFCI outlet, size heater appropriately for bathroom space, position heater to most efficiently warm tub zone.
With the right troubleshooting, you can solve any bath water heating issues. Follow these tips to identify problems and find the perfect hot, soothing soak.
Maximizing Bathtub Heat Retention
Insulate the tub: Use a foam pad or inflatable bath pillow to cover a large portion of the tub walls. This creates a thermal barrier to retain heat.
Limit surface area: Fill your tub only 1/2 to 2/3 full initially so less water surface is exposed.
Leverage steam: Take a hot, steamy bath to allow steam buildup to help hold in heat.
Soak deeper: Stay immersed up to your shoulders or neck to keep more body surface under the water.
Add bath foam: Use soapy bubble bath products to create insulating foam layer on the water surface.
Keep the door closed: Shut the bathroom door to keep steam contained in a smaller space.
Preheat towels: End your bath by wrapping up in freshly warmed towels right out of the dryer.
Use a thermal blanket: Secure a reflective thermal blanket around the exterior of the tub walls to retain heat.
Turn up water heater: If safe, increase your water heater’s output temperature to 130°F-140°F.
Take shorter baths: Take multiple 10-15 minute hot soaks instead of one long cooling soak.
Follow these pro tips for maximizing heat retention and enjoying piping hot bath water from start to finish!
Enjoying Long, Hot Baths Without Losing Steam
I adore taking long, leisurely soaks in the tub, but the struggle is real when it comes to keeping the water hot. Here are my best tips after years of practice for enjoying extended bath time without losing all the steam:
- Start hot – When filling the tub, use the hottest tap water you can