At Brady’s Pool & Spa Care, we believe that winter is the best time of year to own a hot tub. There is nothing better than getting into a warm hot tub on a cold winter nights. Winter also introduces some challenges for hot tub owners, however. With that in mind, here is a list of winter hot tub tips to help you successfully navigate these challenges and enjoy your winter hot tub experience to the fullest!
Make Sure That Your Cover Is In Good Shape
As we’ve previously mentioned, worn out hot tub covers can cost you a ton of money in the winter. As winter approaches, you therefore want to make sure that your cover is in good shape. If your cover is starting to cup, isn’t able to form a good seal around the edge of the hot tub, or is simply waterlogged and heavy, you should really consider replacing it before the weather really turns cold.
Although a new hot tub cover will cost you hundreds of dollars, the inefficiency of a worn out cover can easily cost just as much in the span of a single winter.
Lock Your Hot Tub Cover
Along with making sure that your hot tub cover is in good shape, you should also make sure that you lock it when it’s not being used. This is because hot tub covers insulate much better when they’re locked.
When locked, the locking straps pull down on the edges of the cover. The pressure from this forms a tight seal around the edge of the hot tub, keeping heat in and preventing moisture from escaping. Without the straps being locked, the edges of the hot tub cover tend to lift off of the edge of the hot tub; allowing heat to escape.
Not only does this allow heat to escape, it also allows steam to escape. This means having to top up the water level more often, and having to add more chemicals to keep the water balanced.
Wear A Toque
Wearing a toque helps your body regulate its temperature better and keeps long hair dry; leaving you comfortably warm while you enjoy all the benefits of your hot tub!
Wear Sandals Or Slippers
Wearing sandals (or slippers) not only helps to keep your feet warm as you move from your house to your hot tub, it also stops you from tracking dirt and debris into the water!
Keep Jets and Waterfall Valves Open
If you buy a good hot tub there is usually little danger to hot tub plumbing lines freezing. That said, some small lines – like those that supply water to your jets or waterfalls – do still run the risk of freezing in some hot tubs.
The problem arises if these lines are kept closed for extended periods of time. If the line is closed, warm water is no longer allowed to move through the line. This means that the water in the line will continue to get colder and colder until it eventually freezes.
To prevent these small pipes from freezing up, make sure to keep all jets and waterfalls valves open when you’re done using your hot tub. This allows new, heated water to flow through the pipes and all but eliminates the chances of your pipes freezing.
Turn Air Controls Off
The air controls in your hot tub work by taking air from inside the hot tub cabinet and forcing it through the jets. While this added air makes for a better massage, it also slightly lowers the temperature of the water.
As you can imagine, the air in the cabinet of a hot tub is quite a bit cooler than the water in the hot tub. If left open, the air added by the jets slowly cools the water, causing your heater to work harder to maintain your set temperature.
Not only that, the added air can also push up on the bottom of the hot tub cover, breaking the seal and allowing more heat to escape, costing you even more money!
Don’t Change Your Water If It Is Very Cold Outside
Conventional wisdom says that you should change your hot tub water every 3-4 months. For some people, this means having to change your water in the dead of winter.
While having fresh water does make for a more enjoyable hot tub experience, changing your water in -20C weather is never a good idea. When it is that cold, it doesn’t take long for water to freeze. No matter how hard you try, you will never completely remove all of the water from your hot tub. If you’re not quick, you run the risk of the remaining water freezing solid and potentially damaging the hot tub.
If you absolutely need to change the water, do so in small batches. Remove 6″-12″ of water at a time; refilling – and reheating – the water in between these partial drains. While this won’t get you the same results as completely draining and refilling the hot tub, it will get you by until the weather starts to warm up.
Don’t Use A Shovel To Remove Snow From Your Cover
Heavy snow loads on a hot tub cover are never a good thing. Over time that added weight can begin to “cup” the cover; pushing down the centre of the cover and lifting up its edges.
When removing the snow from your hot tub cover, avoid using sharp tools like snow shovels. If you’re not careful, snow shovels can dig into the cover, ripping through the vapour barrier and causing the hot tub cover to quickly take on water. Not only will this dramatically reduce the lifespan of the hot tub cover, it also dramatically reduces its ability to insulate.
Instead of using a shovel, clear snow off of your hot tub with a broom or a brush (like the one that you use to clean your car). If there is an ice storm or freezing rain coming, the best thing to do is tarp the hot tub. Once the weather clears up a bit, remove the tarp and the ice should come with it!
If you don’t have a tarp and ice does build up on the cover, you can try to lightly tap on the ice to try and break it up a bit. Don’t hit the cover hard though as the foam insulation can dent, reducing it’s ability to insulate.
Don’t Forget About The Hot Tub
Our last winter hot tub tip is the simplest; don’t forget about your hot tub.
For most hot tub owners, there are times in the year when you’re just too busy to use your hot tub. While there is nothing wrong with this, you don’t want this lack of use to turn into a lack of maintenance. There are a few reasons why you don’t want to neglect your hot tub; the biggest being the amount of time and effort required to fix a hot tub once it develops water quality issues.
Even if you’re not using the hot tub, you should still try to get out at least once a week to check on it and add your maintenance chemicals. Doing this can save you a massive headache later and makes sure that your hot tub is ready to use when you’re ready to start using it again.
While hot tubbing in the winter is great, the cold weather also brings some unique challenges to hot tub owners. Following these winter hot tub tips will allow you to avoid these challenges and focus on enjoying your hot tub!