Winter is coming and with it comes the question of whether or not to keep using your hot tub.
Even if you don’t have changing facilities nearby, using your hot tub in winter is a feasible prospect because the warmth from the hot tub really does get right down into the core of your body and hence a big, thick, fluffy robe should get you back to your house in comfort.
The question then becomes one of whether or not you think the slight, extra expense of running a hot tub in winter is justified by the benefits it offers and it could easily be argued that winter is the exact time when hot tubs are most useful because it’s the time when we are most prone to minor accidents, due to the ice and when also the time when aches and pains tend to be felt most keenly.
Whatever your decision, it is strongly recommended to take a few simple steps to prepare your hot tub for winter.
Keeping your hot tub running over the winter
There are two basic concepts underlying preparing a hot tub for use during the winter months. One is to do as much as possible up front to minimize the amount of cleaning and maintenance you will need to do when temperatures drop and the other is to do everything you can to reduce the likelihood of your hot tub freezing.
With that in mind, here are our 6 tips to help you keep enjoying your hot tub in the cooler months.
Change the water
The water in a hot tub has to be changed every so often for cleanliness and doing so when it is literally freezing cold outside is often both difficult and miserable. Do it now and that’s the job done until spring.
Check and, if necessary, change your cover
Your cover needs to be absolutely tight, not only to keep your water warm (and hence reduce both energy bills and the wear on your heating equipment), but also to keep debris out of your tub. You’re really not going to want to be in a situation where you go to the effort of changing your water only to find that you need to change it again due to your cover failing to do its job.
Invest in a floating thermal blanket
Extra blankets keep you warm, they can also help to keep your hot tub warm and hence reduce your energy bills.
Basically, the idea is much the same as insulation for the home, you do everything you can to avoid heat loss and thereby reduce the need to have to heat it again.
Most hot tub damage that occurs during the cold months is caused by freezing damage due to improper draining/winterizing of your hot tub.
Look for automated controls to help you manage your hot tub
Higher end hot tubs are likely to have a freeze protection system or an auto heat control. If you’re not familiar with them, check your manual.
Keep an eye on your water levels
Make a note in your calendar (electronic or otherwise) to check the water level in your hot tub at least once a week. If it drops too low, then the pumps and heater may shut down, causing your hot tub to freeze.
Turn off the air jets (when not in use)
Air jets send cold air into your hot water, which is fine when they’re giving you a lovely massage as well, but pointless when you’re not in the hot tub. Keeping air jets running just makes your water even colder, putting it at more risk of freezing and increasing the cost of heating it up again when you want to use the hot tub.
Closing your hot tub for the winter
The golden rule of closing down a hot tub for the winter is getting all the water out of it. This may sound like stating the obvious, but if you’re in a hurry to get the job done and get back indoors as quickly as possible, you may rush the job and skip parts of it, resulting in frozen water and (expensive) damage to your hot tub. We’d therefore suggest you pay close attention to our 6 point check-list and, if necessary, print it out and take it with you.
Flush your hot tub and drain it completely
This is the most obvious part of preparing your hot tub for winter but remember to do it properly. Start by turning off the power supply. Then either connect a hose to the drain outlet (making sure to leave the spigot open) or, if your hot tub does not have a drain, empty the water out manually (siphoning may be the quickest method).
Remove the Filters
Depending on the state they’re in, either clean, dry and store them or just make sure you have new filters in your home ready to be fitted in spring.
If you have a gas heater, close it down and drain it
Your manual will have instructions on how to close down your gas heater (if your hot tub has one). Once you have shut it down, make sure to drain the water from any valves and fittings.
Drain any other fittings
Remember we said to get all of the water out of the hot tub? This includes any water which may be lurking in your plumbing fittings. Loosen all fittings and give the water time to drain out of them.
Blow dry your air jets
Bow air through each air jet (using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner) to get any last drops of water out of your hot tub. We really meant what we said about cleaning all the water out of it.
Give your hot tub a final dry and clean up
As a minimum, give your hot tub a final once over with a dry cloth and/or an air blower. This may be a good time to give it a quick clean as well, As a tip, prepare some cloth bags full of bicarbonate of soda and leave them in your hot tub over winter. Bicarbonate of soda absorbs both water and smells and by putting it in a bag it’ll be easy to remove when spring comes around.