Top 5 Winter Hot Tub Tips Some people don’t consider optimal hot tub season to be in full swing until the temperatures plummet, while others feel it’s time to shut it down when the temperatures drop. Whether you basically live in your hot tub all winter or shut it down for the season, here are 5 maintenance tips to keep your hot tub running smoothly all year long.
1. Drain It
Most hot tubs will not need to be winterized if you plan on using them regularly during the winter. If you are not planning on using your spa for 6 weeks, you can just let your hot tub run but keep it on the lowest temperature setting. Only do this if you’ll be home to check on your hot tub regularly. If you plan on not using it for several months, you should winterize your spa or have our team of experts winterize it for you. If your hot tub has an air blower, you’ll also need to drain that as well. Shut the heater off and run the blower for about 30 seconds. This will push the water out of the system and dry it out. You’ll also want to pull the filters out and chemically clean them as well. This is a good time to inspect them and replace any that are worn out. If you are closing your hot tub for the winter, don’t replace them, but put them away somewhere dry and safe for the winter.
Even if you have drained and winterized your hot tub, however, you still want to regularly check it and remove any water that collects in the tub with a sponge. This is particularly important if you live in an area where the temperatures drop below freezing. If even a small amount of water freezes inside the tub, it can damage the acrylic surface. Remember that moisture and water can still accumulate even if you keep it covered, so just make it a point to uncover it every few weeks and mop up any water with a sponge. If you aren’t planning on using it over the winter, or regularly, shut it down for the winter. You may want to consider investing in a hot tub cover cap, as this will not only protect your hot tub, but also your hot tub cover as well.
Here at Seven Seas, we sell only the most trusted, high quality hot tubs including Hot Spring®, Caldera®, and Freeflow®. These spas are incredibly energy-efficient and when combined with a hot tub cover, your spa will stay toasty all winter long.
2. Change Your Water Early
If you plan on using your hot tub during the winter, you want to drain it completely and change the water. Once the cold weather sets in, changing the water will be difficult, so do it early. Changing out your water before it gets cold will help ensure your hot tub is in the best possible condition so you don’t have to spend a great deal of time outdoors maintaining it over the winter. When refilling the hot tub always fill the tub through the filter area to eliminate an air lock in the plumbing lines.If for some reason you do get an air lock you will need to bleed the air out of your plumbing lines. You can do this by turning your system off and opening the small bleed screws at the end of the pump to let the air out. Some systems have a screw on the top of the pump as well. Once you have opened them, be sure and close them quickly to prevent water from spraying once the air has escaped.
3. Check Water Levels Regularly
Even the most experienced hot tub owners will sometimes forget to check their water level. Low water levels can not only cause major water flow issues, but can also cause your heater to shut down as well. Needless to say, with no heater, sitting in your hot tub will not be so hot, so make sure your hot tub is always topped up to optimal levels. This is particularly important if you live in an arid climate. When the temperatures dip, it can be harder to remember that dry air absorbs moisture just as readily in the winter as in the summer. You should check your water levels at least once a week, but twice a week is better - particularly if you live in a dry or arid area or use your hot tub frequently. The more often you use it, the more often you need to check water levels. You also need to check your water levels regularly even if you aren’t using it regularly. Even with a cover, your hot tub will still lose water over the course of a few days.
During the cold winter months, it’s also important to keep in mind the massive headache that frozen pipes can cause. To avoid this hot tub emergency, it’s best to have an experienced professional perform any winterizing or spa maintenance. To schedule your hot tub service, give us a call at 888-317-7327
In addition, if you are going to be using your hot tub for an extended period of time during the winter, or simply leaving it open for several hours for guests to come and go, you also want to check water levels every few hours. Remember that hot water in cold air turns to steam, so your water levels will drop much more rapidly in the cold than in warmer temperatures. If your water levels are good, but you are having water flow problems, check your skimmer and jets to see if there is any debris obstructing them. Then, check your filter cartridges which may need chemically cleaned or even replaced with new ones.
4. Protect Your Hot Tub
Your hot tub cover does far more than just protect the water in your hot tub from dirt and debris. The majority of temperature losses will occur closest to the surface of the water, so if you want to keep your energy bills low, it’s important to trap this heat in. This is actually the primary purpose of your cover. In the winter, you may want to invest in a good floating thermal blanket that sits right on top of the water and traps heat in right where it escapes.
With or without a thermal blanket, you will want to invest in a high-quality cover and inspect it carefully before the weather turns cold. Make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or tears through which heat can escape. If it does, you will want to replace it before the temperatures drop or your energy bills can skyrocket. You can tape or patch any small tears in the plastic lining under the hot tub cover and any tears or rips in the cover material can be patched with a “liquid vinyl” kit used for automotive upholstery. This is also a good time to inspect the handles or straps used to remove your cover. If any are loose or torn, you can sew them back on with an awl or staple them into place using stainless steel staples. You may also want to give your cover a good cleaning and treat it with a good conditioner. A hot tub cover conditioner will help protect the vinyl from harsh weather conditions and keep it soft and supple, which in turn helps keep it from tearing or cracking.
You will want to always clear away any snow or debris before removing the cover, but it’s also a good idea to clear snow away regularly even if you aren’t planning on removing the cover. Use a soft bristle brush or broom to clean off your cover, as a hard scraper will damage the vinyl. The weight of the snow can cause your cover to crack, but it can also pull out the resins over time that keep your cover soft and supple. When that happens, it also causes cracking and tearing in the liner that traps in heat. Your hot tub cover is your main line of defense against high energy bills, so inspect it regularly and take good care of it.
5. If your hot tub isn’t working…
DO NOT DRAIN THE SPA.
Even if your hot tub isn’t working in winter, it is important to still keep it full of water. If it is not working at all, then you can place a small space heater or 100 watt service light inside the access door to the equipment area. Make sure the light or heater is not near or in direct contact with anything that could melt or burn, such as the shell, wires or foam. You can then place a heavy blanket over the door to keep the area from accumulating any ice build up or freezing, but make sure the blanket is not close to or touching the light or heater. Call us to schedule a service as quickly as possible.
If your hot tub is working, but you just have low or weak water flow, here are some common issues and things to check:
- Water levels: Once again, low water levels equals low water flow, so always keep water levels topped up.
- Filters: Clogged or dirty filters can cause low water flow, so check them and give them a good chemical cleaning if necessary.
- Water pump: If you’ve checked your water levels and filters, you may have a problem with your pump. If you are comfortable using a voltage meter, you can check to see if there is voltage. If there is, you may need to repair or replace your pump. If not, you may have a larger electrical issue.
- Air locks: If you changed out your water and didn’t bleed the air out of the system, you may have an air lock. In that case, you just need to bleed the air out of the system with the bleed screws.
- Air Jets: Sometimes, the problem is just a clogged or worn out jet. If you have good flow from some jets but not from others, check the seals.
Our hot tub experts are here to help. To book your hot tub repair or hot tub service, give us a call at 888-317-7327