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A view of a winding backroad in the middle of a chilly winter.

How to Make Your Hot Tub More Energy Efficient This Winter

Using hot tubs in the winter months is a serious luxury, but with all the bills of the season, the heating bill can also put a strain on your bank account. That’s why taking the time to prepare and set up your hot tub to run efficiently through the winter months is a must.

To winterize your hot tub and ensure it’s as energy efficient as possible this winter, consider these tips.

How to Get A Hot Tub Ready for Winter

Turn on your hot tub’s Auto Heat or Freeze Protect system to prevent the water and pipes from freezing in winter. If your hot tub doesn’t have these systems, then set the timer for your hot tub to run for 15 minutes every hour.

Also, drain and clean your hot tub before the deep winter weather hits. If you clean your hot tub in mid-December, you likely won’t need to clean it again until the worst of winter is over, i.e., at the end of February or beginning of March.

Improving Energy Efficiency

While investing in a new energy-efficient hot tub is the best way to save energy this winter, you may not be ready to buy a new one just yet. So to improve the energy efficiency of your hot tub during the cold winter months, follow these tips.

Fix Leaks

Leaks can cause more than just water loss for your hot tub. A leak in your hot tub will compromise the insulation, making it useless in winter. The heat in your hot tub will be able to escape without proper insulation, costing you more in energy to heat the water. Also, when you have a leak, you’ll have to add replacement water more often, which will also cost you to heat.

Hot tub insulation foam traps heat in its air bubbles. These air bubbles work as effective insulators. But if your hot tub has a leak, water will soak the foam and fill the air bubbles. As a result, your hot tub’s insulation will lose most of its effectiveness.

So if you notice a leak, even a tiny one, fix it as soon as possible. The longer a leak goes without repair, the more water will be able to saturate and ruin your insulation.

Once the leak is fixed, replace any wet insulating foam with new, dry, hot tub insulation.

Replace Worn-Out Covers

Hot tub covers are designed to trap heat in hot tubs and keep the water clean. But if your cover is old and worn out, its insulating properties will have diminished, and you will lose plenty of heat through the cover.

Like hot tub insulation, these covers use an insulating foam with air bubbles to trap the heat. The cover’s insulating foam has a plastic vapour barrier to prevent it from getting wet. But as the cover wears out over time, so does the vapour barrier.

As the plastic vapour barrier breaks down, the insulating foam will become waterlogged and lose its insulating qualities. So when your hot tub cover starts to feel heavier than normal, it’s likely waterlogged, and you’ll need to replace the cover to ensure your hot tub is well insulated.

Look for a new hot tub cover that has a full-foam seal—an added piece of foam to insulate between the two halves of the cover when closed.

Since heat rises, old hot tub covers are the leading cause of heat loss in hot tubs.

Program Filtration

To keep your hot tub water clean, you need to run the pump and cycle the water through a filter for several (usually 8 to 12) hours each day. This cleaning process can take a toll on your energy consumption, especially if the pump runs during peak times.

But with most new hot tubs, you can program the filtration cycles, so they run during off-peak or mid-peak times. Some hot tubs, like Hydropool self-cleaning hot tubs, can be programmed to run at different times on different days, so you can adjust the schedule based on your usage. For example, you only need to run it for 4 hours instead of 8 on days when you don’t usually use your hot tub.

Add Extra Insulation

While your hot tub might be well-insulated, it doesn’t hurt to add more insulation. Consider adding insulation around the cabinet of your hot tub. This added insulation will trap heat from the pumps and heater that would otherwise be wasted. And it will protect the pumps and heater from freezing in the event of a power outage.

But remember that pumps need some air to cool themselves and prevent overheating, so don’t overstuff the cabinet. And don’t block any of the cabinet vents either. To prevent overheating in summer, remove this extra insulation.

For even more insulation, you can also add insulating thermal blankets that float on top of the water. These also reduce evaporation which is a major cause of heat loss in hot tubs.

Other Tips and Tricks

Use Economy Mode

Instead of consistently heating your hot tub, economy mode only turns on the heater during the set filtration times. This mode is useful for saving energy when you won’t be using your hot tub for a while. So if you plan to go away on vacation this winter, and are gone for more than two or three days, then consider using the economy mode function on your hot tub to save energy and money.

Replace Old Filters

Dirty hot tub filters prevent water from passing through easily, making pumps work harder to filter the water. So to reduce the strain on your pumps that causes higher energy consumption and a shortened pump life, clean or replace dirty filters.

Remove the filters once every one or two weeks and rinse them under running tap water. To clean built-up contaminants like oils and lotions, use a chemical filter cleaner every three to four months. And replace your filter every year.

Turn Off Air Controls

When you’re not using your hot tub, shut off the air controls. Otherwise, these will cool down the water temperature and make your heater work harder and longer, using up more energy than is necessary to heat your hot tub.

Lock the Cover

Use cover lock clips to keep your hot tub cover tightly closed. These clips will prevent the cover from lifting up or blowing away, which will cause evaporation and make your hot tub lose plenty of heat.

Lower the Temperature

Lowering your hot tub temperature by one or two degrees can reduce your energy costs. But keep in mind that if you decide to raise the temperature after, the heater will have to work harder and use more energy.

Enjoy your hot tub in winter without the stress of higher energy bills by taking these steps to make your hot tub more energy efficient. A little bit of work now will make a big difference in your heating costs all winter long.