Important Steps You Must Take To Ensure Your Hot Tub Won’t Freeze In The Winter
When winter comes, is there anywhere you’d rather be than in a hot tub? Some hot tub owners pack up for the winter, but you don’t have to. In fact, warming up your winter by lounging in the hot tub can provide many benefits. However, if you choose to keep your outdoor spa open for winter, you’ll have to take proper precautions to avoid problems, like damage from freezing.
Can You Use a Hot Tub in the Winter?
It’s a common misconception that a hot tub must be packed away for the winter. Sure, many hot tub owners would rather winterize their hot tub and bring it back out when it’s warmer. But you can still fully operate your hot tub in the winter. In fact, warming up in a hot tub can bring plenty of unique benefits during colder months. Aside from giving you the opportunity to stay warm, lounging in the hot tub can boost your immune system, soothe muscles, and protect your skin’s health.
Operating a hot tub in the winter will require certain precautions that you may not think about during the rest of the year. Keep these in mind in order to avoid damaging your tub.
Mistakes To Avoid For Winter Hot Tub Use
Not Putting Your Cover Back When Not In Use
Using your hot tub’s cover is crucial, and it’s just as important in the winter as any other time of year. A high-quality cap that is used frequently will stop debris, including snow, from getting in your hot tub. This will prevent algae build-up. Plus, you don’t want snow affecting the water level or temperature. Leaving your hot tub open will make some of the tub’s hot water evaporate. This will require your heater to work harder, which will run up your bills.
Not Checking For Leaks
You should check for leaks as frequently as possible. A leak could indicate that there is a problem with the tub’s pump, light, filter, or plumbing. If leaks go untreated over time, they can cause damage to the tub, or lead to freezing.
Running It Too Hot or Cold
Make sure to closely monitor the water’s temperature. It is most often recommended that you keep a hot tub’s temperature between 102°F to 104°F. At lower temperatures, you run the risk of the water getting cold or even freezing. Run it higher than 104°F, and you run the risk of getting heat stroke, which occurs when the body reaches a core temperature of 105°F.
Not Keeping Up With Balancing Chemicals
It’s still just as important to balance your hot tub’s pH level as it is during the rest of the year. You should check your tub’s chemical balance at least once a week. If your tub’s pH level is too low, the water will be acidic. This will stop your sanitizer from working, and you’ll be at risk for contaminants. If your tub’s pH level is too high, the water will be basic. This will also prevent your sanitizer from working, and your tub will be at risk for scale build-up.
READ MORE: The Beginner’s Guide To Hot Tub Ownership
Using Air Controls
Air controls seem like a tempting option: they redistribute air from the tub’s interior to create a comforting jet effect. However, air controls make your tub’s water much colder, and in the winter, that’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Features like these can also agitate the water’s surface, which cools the water down even more.
Overusing Your Jets
Massage jets work similarly to air controls, though they are placed lower in the tub. They lower the temperature of your tub’s water, which puts it at risk of freezing, and overworks your heater.
Not Changing the Water Early Enough
Typically, it’s recommended that you change your hot tub’s water every 3 or 4 months. However, you should change it one more time before freezing temperatures arrive, even if you still have a few weeks or months left before it seems like it’s time. If you don’t, you’ll end up having to do it when the temperature is already below frozen. Changing water in low temperatures is incredibly risky, as pipes could very easily freeze. For that reason, it’s better to do it earlier.
Always take caution when changing the tub’s water. Most hot tub damage that occurs in the winter is from freezing, caused by improper drainage techniques.
Not Using Freeze Protection Mode
Your hot tub should have a mode that prevents freezing by adding further heat circulation to the water. This is likely called “freeze protection,” “auto heat,” or something similar. Keep this mode on for at least a quarter of the time that you use the hot tub. This commonly overlooked trick can greatly lower the risk of freezing your tub.
Not Winterizing If Not In Use
If you end up choosing not to use your hot tub in the winter, you need to winterize it. This important process requires multiple steps to prevent your hot tub from freezing. It involves more than simply covering the tub or putting it away. First, you’ll need to drain the tub’s water, which also means opening all compartments to remove all water. Then, remove all drain plugs and let them dry. Once the tub is ready, check for repairs, add a cover, and store the tub for the rest of the season.
READ MORE: Hot Tub Closing Guide
Having an operable hot tub in the winter can warm up the chilly season and provide plenty of benefits related to health and comfort. However, there are important steps to follow to ensure the tub will not freeze or face other problems. If you choose not to use your tub in the winter, you must winterize it to ensure that it will not need repairs come spring.