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Nothing is more relaxing than having a dip in your hot tub during winter and relieving your stiff bones and muscles.
However, not everyone stays at home during winter or chooses not to use the hot tub during the cold months.
If you belong to the latter group and decide not to use it for an extended period, you must learn how to winterize a hot tub.
Why You Need to Winterize Your Hot Tub
Winterizing your hot tub saves money primarily on repairs and replacements because icy temperatures can damage your spa.
Additionally, putting extra time and effort into winterization can help protect your investment.
Some say you don’t have to winterize your hot tub if you keep it running regularly, but that is not how you save time and money.
There is no sense in spending money on chemicals and maintenance if you will not use the hot tub regularly.
How to Winterize a Hot Tub
Since hot tubs are typically placed outdoors, preparing everything to winterize them is necessary as the cold months creep in.
The best time to winterize your hot tub is in late fall or during early winter to ensure that the water in the pipes is not yet frozen.
What You Need
Here are the essential things you have to prepare to winterize your hot tub:
- Flush line product
- Garden hose
- Hot tub cover cleaner
- Hot tub shell cleaner
- New filters or filter cleaner
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Non-toxic antifreeze
- Protection and fastenings, like ratchet straps and tarps
- Soft cloth or towel
- Sump pump (optional)
- Wet and dry shop vac with blow settings
What You Need to Do
After completing the essential things you need for winterization, here are the step-by-step guides on completing the process.
Step 1: Check the Product Manual
Though the winterization process for hot tubs is almost similar, it is still a safe practice to check the owner’s manual.
Your particular hot tub brand and model might require additional instructions than usual.
Step 2: Turn off the Power
We know how risky it is to mix water and electricity; thus, you must ensure your safety by turning the power off.
There are different ways to ensure no electricity flows through the hot tub. After turning off the power, unplug it from the power source or turn off the breaker.
Also, you can eliminate the risk of damaging the pump system if it runs accidentally without water.
Step 3: Allow Chemicals to Dissipate
Your hot tub also uses different types of chemicals, like sanitizers and chlorine.
Before draining all the water from your hot tub, let the chemical settle before draining, as this can be toxic to plants and animals.
Ensure you have tested the water and confirmed that the chemical level is close to zero before starting the winterization process.
Step 4: Flush Out the Pipes
Clean the hot tub’s plumbing by adding a flush line product into its system. This process helps prevent the growth of mold and bacteria during winter.
Depending on the flush line product you will use, you may have to allow the solution to spread for several minutes up to overnight.
Step 5: Drain the Hot Tub
Ensure that you empty the hot tub before proceeding to the winterization process to prevent freezing damage to the spa.
Take off the drain cap, get the garden hose, and attach it to the drain spout. Ensure that the other end is placed where you can release around 400 gallons of water without overspilling.
Alternatively, you can use a sump pump to drain the water for as fast as ten minutes.
Step 6: Drain the Blower
Some hot tub models come with air blowers. If your spa has one, drain the water before you proceed.
Follow the instructions below to drain the blower.
- Turn off the heater by disconnecting or unplugging it from the power source. Don’t run it when your spa is empty.
- Replace the hard cover of the hot tub and connect it to a power source.
- Turn on the hot tub and let the blower run for 30 to 60 seconds until all the remaining water inside is blown out.
- Turn off the hot tub and disconnect it from its power source before removing the cover.
Step 7: Unscrew the Drain Plugs and Unions
Open the access panel, find the heater and pump, and loosen the unions around them, allowing you to drain the water from the pipes.
You can use a shop vac to speed up the draining process. Also, remove the drain plug from the pump if there is one.
Once you have drained all the water, you can plug the drains and tighten the unions.
Step 8: Remove the Filters for Cleaning
Since you will not be using the hot tub for some time, it is best to remove the filters. Also, take this time to clean them before storing them for the winter.
Although it’s okay to use the standard filter cleaner, it’s highly recommended that you soak them in a chemical solution overnight to a day.
However, if the filters are beyond cleaning, throw them away and use new ones when it’s time to open the hot tub again.
Also, don’t forget to discard the water from the well after removing the filter. You can use a sponge, a towel, or a shop vac.
Step 9: Blow Out the Lines
One of the most crucial aspects of winterizing your hot tub is to ensure that all the lines are free of water.
Any leftover water inside the lines can freeze and expand, risking the pipes to burst or crack.
You can use a shop vac for this task by setting it to blow and inserting the hose nozzle in every drain, filter cavity, jet pipe, and union.
Force the water from these places into the tub by blowing them each for 10 to 15 seconds. You can repeat the process as needed.
Step 10: Remove the Remaining Water
You can use the sump pump or shop vac to remove the water, depending on how much was left in the tub.
Step 11: Clean the Shell
Cleaning the hot tub is easier when there is no water inside. Simply get a no-rinse hot tub cleaner and a non-abrasive sponge.
If you don’t like using chemicals, you can also use baking soda and vinegar, as long as you clean it thoroughly.
If stubborn hot tub scum is due to the waterline, you must soak it with the cleaner for a few minutes before scrubbing.
You can also dilute a small amount of bleach to help kill any bacteria hiding inside the tub.
Remember to remove the headrests, clean them, and eliminate any water that can grow mold during winter.
If you like, you can leave a towel on the floor of the hot tub in case water gets inside in the winter.
Step 12 (Optional): Add Non-Toxic Antifreeze
This step is optional. If you have thoroughly cleaned and dried the hot tub, you may not need to use an antifreeze solution.
You can also check the user’s manual to verify. If the manufacturer requires it, follow the preparation instructions on the antifreeze solution’s bottle before adding it to the filter and pump.
Technically, you don’t have to use an antifreeze solution as long as you have removed every drop of water before covering the tub.
Step 13: Clean the Cover
You must also clean the hot tub cover for the winterization process. You can use a solution that can clean and protect the cover from the elements.
Ensure to clean the sides, top, and underside of the cover, including all its nooks and crannies, to help prevent mildew and mold growth.
Wipe the cover with towels or let it air dry before using it to cover the hot tub.
Step 14: Secure the Cover
Place the cover over the hot tub once it’s cleaned and dried, and lock it for good measure. It will prevent little critters looking for shelter during winter from climbing inside the tub.
For added protective measures, try to use tarps and other extra fastenings to ensure the cover stays shut the whole winter season.
Step 15: Check the Surrounding Area
Now that you have completed the actual winterization process of your hot tub, it is best to check its surrounding areas.
Check for anything that can damage the hot tub, including accumulated ice and snow, animals, falling branches, and winter storms.
Remove any hazardous objects around the hot tub that can potentially damage your spa.
Successfully Winterizing Your Hot Tub
Now you know how to winterize a hot tub, remember that you only need to do so if you will not use it for more than three months. Otherwise, you can just leave it as it is.
Also, although the winterizing process is straightforward, one wrong procedure may damage the tub or one of its components, which can cost you more.
If you have doubts about your skills, would rather not deal with all the above procedures, or don’t have time to winterize your hot tub, you can call a professional to do the job.
These people have the knowledge, tools, and materials to complete the winterization process without hassle.