How Tub Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Hot Tubs in Ottawa this Winter
We’ve talked about opening hot tubs for summer, but what about closing hot tubs for winter? Although most hot tub owners choose to enjoy the benefits of using their tubs in winter, some people choose to close their hot tubs, whether temporarily or all season long.
Even if you do keep your hot tub open in winter, there are precautions you need to take. Hot tubs in Ottawa need hot tub winter maintenance to withstand Ottawa’s harsh winters.
Your hot tub is an investment, and it’s important that you know how to maintain a hot tub so it lasts.
To learn more about hot tub maintenance in Ottawa winters, here’s a guide on how to close a hot tub for the winter.
DO HOT TUBS NEED TO BE CLOSED IF NOT IN USE?
If you don’t plan to use your hot tub in winter, then it should be closed. Unless you want to waste electricity heating your hot tub when not in use, the water in your hot tub will freeze and cause costly damage to your hot tub without heat.
WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD A HOT TUB BE WHEN NOT IN USE?
If you don’t want to close your hot tub for the winter, you can save energy by turning down the temperature when not in use. The temperature of a hot tub should be set to 5 degrees lower than when in use. But if you are planning to go away for 7 to 10 days, turn the temperature down 10 degrees lower to help you save energy.
While it will take longer to heat your hot tub for use again, at least you’ll be saving more energy than you would be by keeping the temperature high at all times, even when you aren’t using it.
HOW DO I CLOSE MY HOT TUB DURING THE OFF-SEASON?
Follow these steps to ensure your hot tub is properly closed and protected from winter damage while not in use.
1. Turn Off Power
To safely close your hot tub, make sure there is no power going to your hot tub.
2. Drain the Water
Use a sump pump to drain the water quickly. And then remove the drain plug.
3. Drain the Blower
If your hot tub has an air blower, drain any remaining water from it. First, turn off the heater (to prevent damage to the heater when you turn the power back on).
Place the cover on the hot tub and turn on the power to run the air blower. Allow the blower to run for about 30 seconds and then turn off the power to the hot tub again. If your hot tub isn’t hardwired, unplug it from the electrical outlet as well.
4. Remove Filters
Take off the cover and remove the filters from inside the filter well. Remove any remaining water from the filter well using a sponge or a shop vac.
Clean the filters with cartridge filter cleaner, preferably soaking them in the cleaner for 24 hours before storing.
5. Unscrew Fittings to Allow Drainage
Open the hot tub cabinet to locate the pump(s). Loosen any unions attaching the PVC pipes to the pump(s). Also, remove the drain plugs from the pump(s) to allow water to drain from the pipes in case of condensation buildup.
Store the drain plugs in a safe spot.
6. Blow Out the Pipes
Switch on the blow (instead of suction) setting on a shop vac and get into your empty hot tub. Place the shop vac hose up to each of the jets to blow out the pipes. Repeat blowing out each pipe to be certain there is no water left inside.
7. Remove Excess Water and Clean Shell/Cover
There will likely be water in your hot tub after blowing out the pipes, so remove any excess water with a shop vac, sump pump, or sponge.
Clean the shell of the hot tub cleaner. If it requires rinsing, be sure to remove the leftover water with one of the above methods until completely dry.
Also, use a hot tub cover cleaner to clean the cover on both the inside and outside.
8. Secure Cover
Secure the cover to your hot tub using the straps and lock it if possible. A secure cover will stay on your hot tub and keep your hot tub protected from the elements while not in use.
BONUS: HOW DO I KEEP MY HOT TUB FROM FREEZING IN THE WINTER?
Monitor Water Level and Maintain the Temperature
Check the water level of your hot tub regularly, and keep the water at a set temperature. The water will stay warm for longer when the hot tub is full. But if the water level drops too much, the water can freeze.
To maintain the water temperature, use a thermostat setting on the control panel to monitor the water temperature and automatically turn on the heater when the temperature drops below a set level.
If your hot tub doesn’t have this feature, you can use a timer that will turn on the heater and circulate the water for 15 to 20 minutes once every hour.
Invest In a Good Cover
A high-quality hot tub cover will be well insulated to keep your hot tub warm, even in the winter. These covers are a worthwhile investment since they prevent heat loss, reduce energy consumption, and help prevent your hot tub from freezing.
Just make sure to use a vinyl protectant on the cover to protect it from bad weather.
Turn Off Air Jets
Since the air jets blast cold air into the hot tub water, you should turn these off after using your hot tub. Otherwise, the heater will have to work harder to maintain a warm enough temperature, which will waste energy and strain your equipment.
Prepare For Electrical Outages
A power outage in winter can cause freezing damage to your hot tub in a few hours. So consider installing a battery or solar backup on the pump to keep the hot tub water circulating when the power goes out.
With proper hot tub care, you can keep your hot tub safe from Ottawa’s harsh winters, whether you decide to close your hot tub for the winter or keep enjoying its warmth all winter long.