This article provides step-by-step instructions for winterizing your hot tub. It also describes some things you can do to make sure your hot tub is ready for the cold months.
As a hot tub owner, you need to know to keep it from freezing during the cold months. Letting it sit in the backyard all winter long without being adequately drained is not a good idea and can damage do permanent damage to your hot tub. You want to make sure that you don't have any problems when you use your hot tub again in the spring. So what should you do? This guide will show you the best ways to winterize your hot tub so that you'll be ready to use it again come springtime.
When to Winterize a Hot Tub
Some hot tub owners love the idea of soaking in a hot tub in wintertime. However, this also meant their hot tub needed to work extra hard to heat up to keep the water warm. If you're one of them, just remember to keep your hot tub adequately insulated and keep it running to maintain its temperature and prevent freezing.
However, if you've decided not to use it during winter, you need to prepare your hot tub weeks ahead of time, preferably during late fall. Winterizing also applies when you'll be away for vacation or don't plan to use it for a long time. This prevents your hot tub from breaking down if water gets stuck and frozen inside.
Safety Precautions Before Winterizing Your Hot Tub
First thing first, you need to ensure your hot tub is safe. Make sure to cut off the power supply from your hot tub by unplugging it from the wall socket or switching off the circuit breakers. Also, check the water's chlorine or bromine content before draining. These chemicals are toxic to plants and animals. When ready, remove the side panels from your hot tub and start winterizing.
8 Steps to Winterize your Hot Tub
- Drain the Hot Tub. You'll want to completely drain your hot tub before proceeding with the next steps to prevent cold weather from ruining your hot tub. Frozen water will crack or break your hot tub components and cost you a lot of money in repairs. TIP: Attach the garden hose to the bottom drain spout and leave the tub for at least one hour to drain. A sump pump may be faster, but the hose works just fine. Ensure the water is drained properly in areas with proper gradings, such as driveways, open spaces, etc.
- Remove and clean the filters. Don't forget to remove and clean your hot tub filters. They only take minutes to clean and maintain. But because you're preparing to winterize your hot tub, you need to take an extra step. We recommend soaking it in a hot tub filter solution overnight. If deep cleaning doesn't help, your probably need to replace your filters. Cartridge filters usually last for about two years, while more expensive ceramic filters could last for up to 4 years.
- Drain the air blower. Next, you need to ensure your air blower is adequately drained. For this, you need to turn your hot tub back on but don't forget to switch off your heater, or you'll damage your hot tub. Never turn on your heater on an empty hot tub. Put the hot tub cover back on and plug in your hot tub or turn on the circuit breakers. Turn on your hot tub and let the air blower blow any water that's left for about 30 seconds. Turn off the hot tub and cut off the power supply.
- Loosen the unions on the pumps and heater. Some water could still be sitting at the bottom of your hot tub's pipes. You need to drain them as well. Unions connect your pumps and heater to the lines circulating water into your hot tub. These are mostly made of plastic, so you just need your hands or a piece of cloth to loosen them. Also, remove the drain plug at the base of your pumps and let all the water out. You're now ready for the next step
- Blow out the lines. Your hot tub should be completely empty over the winter. Water in the plumbing lines can lead to cracks or bursting of the pipes due to ice expansion during cold weather. To get rid of all the water in these areas, use a Shop-Vac and set it to blow. Blow air into all the drains, unions, and jets for 10 to 15 seconds to force all the water out of the lines. Repeat the process until you don't see any water coming out into the tub. Once done, put back the side panels and prepare to clean and seal the hot tub shut.
- Clean the shell. Use hot tub cleaners that don't require rinsing. Non-toxic products like vinegar and baking soda work equally as well. Be sure to get all of the nooks and crannies, though. If you find any ring of gunk that's formed around the hot tub, soak it with some hot tub cleaner before scrubbing it off.
- Clean the cover. Use a good cover cleaning product to protect your hot tub's cover from the sun's rays. You'll need to clean the underside, the top, and the sides of the cover, getting into the crevices created by seams. Let it dry completely. You don't want your cover trapping any moisture and inviting mold and mildew.
- Secure the cover. It's important to keep your hot tub sealed off from all sorts of little critters in the cold weather, so make sure to secure the cover. A wind strap makes sure your hot tub cover stays put, even in the harshest winter weather.
A word on antifreeze
Some of you might be wondering why we skipped the antifreeze part. If you've done everything perfectly and left no trace of water anywhere in your hot tub, you don't need to use antifreeze at all.
But if, for some reason, you're unable to drain your hot tub completely, or you're not sure if you already did, then use antifreeze as an extra layer of protection. Besides, it's much better than leaving everything to chance.
The only downside is you need to ensure you don't leave any antifreeze in the pipes when you're about to use them in spring which is an extra step.