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woman and two children sit in a hot tube in the winter

How to Prep Your Hot Tub for Winter Use

As winter looms nearby, the thought of soaking in a warm hot tub can help ease the sting of cold weather restrictions and painful chores like dealing with snow and shortened days. But before you jump into your home hot tub system, there are a series of steps you’ll need to take to ensure your investment doesn’t succumb to the harsh elements. With help from specialty hot tub retailers, this article walks us through the tips to get your hot tub ready for winter use.


But First, Can You Use a Hot Tub in Winter?

You can most definitely use a hot tub in winter. In fact, the winter season is one of the best times to actually cozy up in your hot tub! Being a time of year where you’re more likely to get sick, the heat of hot tubs can actually help boost your immune system by elevating your body’s core temperature, sweating out toxins, and increasing blood circulation. So, don’t think it’s crazy to use your hot tub in cold weather, but do make sure you don’t have a fever. The temperature of the hot tub will only raise the existing body temperature of your fever.


Getting Your Hot Tub Winter Ready

Check to Make Sure Your Cover is Still in Good Shape

A hot tub cover is an essential component in hot tub preservation, maintenance, and safety. Your cover needs to be in perfect shape to protect your hot tub against the elements. You don’t want freezing rainwater or, worse, snow getting into your hot tub. A quality cover can also keep the water in your tub from freezing during the cold winter months and will protect your hot tub as a whole from any potential damage.

Make Any Necessary Repairs to Your Hot Tub

There’s nothing worse than a hot tub breaking down in the middle of winter, wreaking havoc to the entire system. Between frozen pipes and interior breakage, your hot tub is at its most delicate during the winter, and if you neglect repairs beforehand, it could cause a lot of further damage as the months start to freeze up.

Let Your Chemical Levels Drop Before Winterizing

Before you winterize your hot tub, you will need to drain the water just before the freezing months. During this time, you need to allow the chemical levels to drop. This is because dumping out the chlorine and other sanitizers can be toxic to plants and wildlife. None of the chemicals you use in your spa are made to be released anywhere other than your hot tub. Test the water after a few days. Once the chemical level has dropped to zero, you can begin winterizing your hot tub.

Turn Off Power to Your Hot Tub

If your area is prone to the temperature falling below freezing, you will want to keep your hot tub running to prevent the nightmare of frozen pipes and machinery.  In times of cold weather, when you’re not using the hot tub, it’s better to turn the thermostat down rather than turning off the tub altogether.  An exception to this is if you’re closing down the hot tub completely.  If you’re planning on doing this, ensure it’s done properly to avoid any damage during cold weather.

Drain and Refill Your Hot Tub

Draining and refilling your hot tub is necessary, but you’ll have to be very careful when you decide to do it. It’s a cold job in the winter, and if you aren’t quick enough refilling the hot tub, you could risk leftover water building up in the pipes then freezing. This could potentially damage the plumbing and hot tub equipment. Drain and refill the tub in late November or early December, as that is when the cold weather isn’t enough to freeze the plumbing. Repeat the process in mid-to-late March when the temperature is a little warmer once more. The key is to avoid the freezing months.

Remove and Clean Filters

Since you’ll want to do as little maintenance as possible to keep your tub running all winter, remove and clean the filters as you’re winterizing the tub. Using a hot tub filter cleaner purchased at a specialty store, you can clean it out gently and let it dry, then replace it with your spare filter if you’re in a hurry.

Invest in a Floating Thermal Blanket

Along with your hot tub cover, invest in an extra measure to keep your hot tub water warm with a floating thermal blanket to put under the hot tub cover. Thermal blankets float on the water and trap in the heat, prevent freezing in winter (along with hefty energy bills for heating the water). Make sure you use a thermal blanket under your hard hot tub cover!

Get a Cover Cap

No one wants to deal with the unsightly circumstanced of a winter storm on top of your beautiful hot tub cover. It can potentially cause damage to the cover and maybe even get elements into the tub. A cover cap is an easy and durable measure to invest in, and because it’s made of polyethylene, it’s much easier to clean than anything else. It stretches to fit over your hot tub cover and provides it with an extra layer of protection so that you can avoid having to replace the cover itself every year or so.

Activate Freeze Protection

Keeping your hot tub at working temperature means that there’s no risk of freezing the water or pipes freezing in the colder months. If your hot tub has a freeze protection mode like Poolarama hot tubs do, however, it’s ideal and can act as an added security measure to keep you from running into any further complications. The freeze protection mode operates the pump to keep the water moving when the air temperature dips to near freezing point, making sure no damage is caused to your system.

Get a Space Heater

A space heater is a great emergency tool to break out in the event of any repairs that need to be made during hot-tubbing season. Think of the space heater as your “backup plan,” meaning that if your hot tub does lose power for more than a day, a small space heater inserted into the cabinet of the hot tub and set to low can keep the water in the pipes from freezing until the hot tub can be repaired.


Above all else, you have a hot tub! Use it to swoon with your significant other, bond with your family, friends, or yourself after a hard day at work. And remember, the hot tub experience is the best in the winter. Going from freezing cold temperatures to a steaming tub? There’s nothing better. Just remember to wear a toque to keep your head warm while you soak.