Tips to keep a hot tub running in Winter

Are you considering closing the hot tub for the winter? Don’t do it!  Hot Tubs are the perfect at-home remedy to beat the winter blues.  Winding down after a long work day (or week), when your happy hour options are limited, means your Hot Tub is the perfect getaway.  Hot tubs are hardy, they are built to withstand the cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls that winter brings us.  Despite what you might think, hot tubs are not more difficult to care for in the winter.  Let’s breakdown the basics of keeping a hot tub running in the winter.

Follow a plan

Hot tub maintenance should follow a basic plan. If you’re paying attention to the water quality every 3-4 days and keeping the water well balanced, you should be able to avoid most surprises. It’s a good idea to drain and clean your hot tub every 3 months (more or less depending on use), so plan to give your Hot Tub a drain and clean before winter starts.  This way you won’t need to do a drain again until the coldest part of winter has passed.

Invest in a solid cover

A hot hub cover is not where you want to cut costs. Having an air tight seal on your hot tub means you can keep the snow and debris out of your water. It will also keep the heat in so that you can hop in any time you like. A good cover will save you in energy costs too because your heater will not have to work as hard to keep your water warm.  Do a thorough cover inspection in the fall to be prepared for winter. If you have any small cracks or notice any amount of water trapped in the cover then you need to repair or replace your cover before winter sets in.  Throughout the winter, its best to keep snow and ice off your cover, to avoid it causing permanent damage.

Install a heat timer

Depending on the model of hot tub you have, you may need to add a timer to your heater. If the temperatures are going to stay below freezing for long you should set a timer to turn the heater on every 20-30 minutes, and check it regularly.  This will help you avoid frozen water lines, and some unexpected surprises at the most inopportune times.  If you own a Jacuzzi hot tub, they have taken care of this for you. When you see the temperatures falling, activate Freeze Protection, or F3 Standard Mode.

Keep a hose nearby

Water loss is inevitable, but it happens so gradual that it can get missed in your weekly walkabouts.  If your water level drops too low it can lead to air locks, frozen pipes and burnt out pumps. When you winterize your outdoor water lines before the cold sets in, leave a hose out that you can run inside and top up your water levels as needed.

Have a supply of spa chemicals

When the snow falls and the cold temps set in, we start to question every trip out of the house – do I really need that?  Don’t get caught needing the right chemicals to balance your hot tub just as you’re putting your feet up for a winter weekend in. It’s important to keep your hot tub water well balanced to maximize the life of your heating and filtration system. Most hot tub owners know they need to keep their chlorine in check to reduce skin and eye irritations, but it’s important to remember that the pH and Alkalinity also play a role too. ph and Alkalinity levels impact your chlorine’s effectiveness and the life of your pumps and filters. Having a supply of chemicals for the winter season and a regular maintenance plan should yield you clean and clear water whenever you’re ready to slip in. 

Buy a reliable test kit

Keep your test kit handy, so you can get a full picture of your water quality.  A test kit should give you accurate readings for Chlorine (or Bromine), as well as your pH and Alkalinity. Test your water every 3-4 days and make minor adjustments as you need. 

Relax and enjoy your winter hot tub time

That’s it! It is both beneficial and efficient to keep a hot tub running in the winter. If you stick with a basic maintenance plan and keep an eye on things regularly, your hot tub can become part of your regular self-care plan. So grab your toque, a drink and your favourite playlist, and head out to enjoy your backyard winter oasis.