There is nothing better than relaxing in a hot tub on a cold winter’s night. With the cold weather also comes some challenges for hot tub owners, however. Fortunately, these challenges can be avoided with some preparation in the fall. Here are our top tips to make your hot tub winter ready!
Check Your Hot Tub Cover
Worn out hot tub covers can cost you $100s in added energy costs over the course of a single winter. The first thing that you should do to prepare your hot tub for winter, therefore, is to check over the hot tub cover.
Before the cold weather hits, look over your cover to make sure that it still sealing properly around the edge of the hot tub and that it hasn’t become waterlogged. How can you tell if a hot tub cover isn’t sealing properly or has started to take on water?
If your hot tub cover is significantly heavier than when you bought it, chances are that it has become waterlogged. You should be able to lift your hot tub cover with one arm fairly easily. If your cover is more difficult to lift than it is full of water. Since water is a much poorer insulator than air, waterlogged covers are much less effective at keeping the hot tub water warm, leading to skyrocketing energy bills in the winter.
If your hot tub cover is still relatively lightweight but is allowing water to pool on the centre of the cover, the cover has started to “cup”. Cupped hot tub covers are no longer able to form a tight seal around the edge. Once that seal is broken, steam (and heat) will be able to escape the hot tub; leading to increased heating costs and more frequent top-ups of the water level.
Although a quality new hot tub cover can cost several hundred dollars, you can save that much in heating costs in as little as one winter; making it a very worthwhile investment.
Drain and Refill The Hot Tub
Nothing is worse than having to drain and refill your hot tub in the dead of winter. Not only is it a cold job, if you’re not quick enough refilling the hot tub you risk the leftover water in the pipes freezing and potentially damaging the plumbing or the hot tub equipment.
Even if you’re not due for another few weeks or months, we recommend draining and refilling your hot tub in late November or early December. While it is cold at this time of year, it isn’t yet cold enough to freeze the leftover water in the plumbing before you’re able to refill the hot tub and get it running again.
Waiting until early December allows you to ensure that you get the freshest water possible over the winter hot tubbing season. You also won’t have to do another drain and refill until mid to late March; completely avoiding the need to do so in the colder months of the year.
Add A Floating Thermal Blanket
If energy costs are a concern for you, we recommend buying a floating thermal blanket for your hot tub. Floating thermal blankets are simply thin sheets of insulation that float on the surface of the water.
Most of the heat lost in a hot tub is lost through the cover. By adding a 2nd layer of insulation to between the water and the cover, you can dramatically reduce this heat loss and decrease your monthly energy bill.
Get A Cover Cap
Cleaning off the hot tub cover after a winter storm can be a chore. It is also a potential cause of damage to the cover. Every year, we replace hot tub covers that were damaged when someone tried to clean off their cover with a shovel or other metal tool that then gouged into the cover and caused it to quickly become waterlogged.
Falling debris like tree branches and icicles are another common way that covers become damaged. This potential for damage is even greater in the winter as the vinyl skin that surrounds the foam becomes harder and more brittle in the cold weather.
To avoid this potential damage, and make removing the snow and ice from the hot tub cover easier, we recommend buying a cover cap. Cover caps are woven polyethylene covers that fit over your existing hot tub cover. Their durable construction partially protects the cover from falling debris as well as minimizes potential damage from snow and ice removal.
Repairs / Leak Fixes
Probably the most important thing that you need to do to get your hot tub winter-ready is to fix any leaks or other known issues that your hot tub may have. Although small leaks are often not a bid deal in the warmer months, in the winter they can cause much larger issues. It is, therefore, very important to ensure that your hot tub is leak-free before going into the winter season.
To check your hot tub for leaks, simply look in the cabinet to see if there are any wet spots in the insulation or on the bottom of the hot tub. If you notice any wet spots, contact your local hot tub retailer to get the issue dealt with.
Other common issues such as loud pumps should also be dealt with before winter hits. Even minor repairs can turn into emergencies in winter as the threat of the water freezing grows larger and larger as the temperature drops. Better safe than sorry!
Get A Small Space Heater
Fixing leaks and doing other minor repairs on your hot tub before the winter hits is the best way to ensure that you have a smooth, stress-free winter hot tubbing season. On the off chance that something does go wrong, however, you’ll need a backup plan. 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.
Hot tubs can be just as enjoyable (or even more enjoyable) in the winter as they are in the summer. However, the cold weather can cause some unique challenges for hot tub owners. Following these tips can help ensure that you get the most enjoyment out of your hot tub this winter, without the headache.
Now that your hot tub is prepped, here are some great tips to help you enjoy your winter hot tubbing experience even more!