should i empty my hot tub in winter

Should I Empty My Hot Tub in Winter?

Hot Tubs


November 1, 2023

Winter has arrived! Some people hibernate through this season, spending their time indoors in the cozy warmth. But many hot tub owners know that winter is a great time for using their spa. Breathing invigorating crisp air while submersed in relaxing hot waters is irresistible! However, some spa owners don’t enjoy and/or can’t spend time in their spa during the cold of winter. The question they ask is, can I leave my hot tub empty in the winter?  

Can I leave my hot tub empty in the winter?

Some hot tub owners prefer not to use their hot tubs in winter. Possibly they go away for long periods during the winter months. Maybe they dislike the cold. Perhaps they wish to save on heating costs. No matter the reason, you can leave your hot tub empty through winter. However, it’s important to drain it completely (including the plumbing) to ensure that it’s not damaged by the cold weather. 

Should I empty my hot tub in winter?

Whether you continue to use your spa in the cold weather or drain and turn it off for the winter is entirely a personal choice. Many hot tubs are designed for freezing conditions, having adequate heat pumps and sufficient insulation to handle winter weather.   

How to drain a hot tub for winter?

Draining your hot tub for winter is not a difficult task but must be done properly to ensure no damage occurs during the cold months. The following are some tips and steps for correctly draining your spa in preparation for freezing temperatures. 

  • Add a spa flush to your water and turn on your jets. This cleans the plumbing system before draining. 
  • Turn off the power supply to your hot tub. 
  • Use the gravity drain or a submersible pump to drain the bulk of the water. 
  • As every drop of water must be removed to prevent damage from freezing, try a wet/dry vacuum for draining the jets and pipes.
  • Use absorbent cloths to remove any remaining water from the bottom of the spa.
  • Clean the tub with a spa cleaner and a soft cloth. 
  • Remove the filter. Clean it using a filter cleanser, then dry and store it. 
  • Wipe down the shell.
  • Clean your hot tub lid with a cover cleaner, place it on the spa, and lock it down.  

Tips for those who use their spa through the winter:

If you’re a spa owner who enjoys soaking in warm soothing waters during cold temperatures, the following will assist you in preparing your hot tub for use in the winter. 

  • Drain, clean, and refill: Change the water in your hot tub before extreme winter weather begins. Drain the spa, clean, and refill it.
  • Maintain adequate water temperature: Your hot tub temperature should be between 34 and 40 degrees Celsius, ensuring it’s ready for use and safe from freezing. 
  • Stock extra supplies (test strips, sanitizer, chemicals, an extra filter cartridge) in case the weather makes it difficult or impossible for you to restock. 
  • Clean the filter regularly: If not cleaned approximately every 30 days the filter clogs, the water stops circulating properly and the hot tub becomes prone to overheating or stops heating.
  • Turn off the air controls when the hot tub is not in use. When they’re left open, added air cools the water making your heater work harder to maintain the set temperature, increasing operating costs and speeding evaporation. 
  • Limit the use of your jets and blower to help maintain the water temperature. 
  • Pay attention to your cover: Choose a good cover that is waterproof, well-insulated, and fits snugly. Lock the straps to form a tight seal, keeping in heat and reducing costs. 
  • Regularly check water levels: Cold, dry air makes your hot tub water evaporate more quickly. If the water level falls too low, you risk flow issues that can cause your heater to malfunction. Look for a mark on the spa shell signalling the recommended fill level. Keep the water level close to this mark.
  • Maintain clean water: Cold weather offers few chances for a drain and refill. Skip the lotions, deodorants, perfumes, and shampoos before using the spa, or have a quick shower before getting in. Hand wash your swimsuits without detergent. Wear sandals/slippers to and from the spa to reduce the dirt/debris carried into the water.
  • Use an enzyme-based water conditioner: These products increase the effectiveness of your chemical program, keeping your water clear and clean for longer periods.
  • Consider a thermal blanket that rests directly on the water, providing an extra layer of protection, making it easier to maintain water temperature, preventing freezing, and lowering your energy bill. 
  • Prepare for emergencies: Have a backup generator on hand to heat your spa during power outages.

If you decide to drain your hot tub for the winter, carefully follow the steps for preparing your spa for a dormant period in cold conditions. This ensures that, when spring arrives, your spa is in good condition, ready for refilling and enjoying. 

Looking for a spa that can stand up to Alberta’s harsh winter conditions? Want a hot tub with sufficient insulation? Contact Alberta’s premier hot tub store, RnR Hot Tubs at (403) 203-0860 or fill out the request form. We’re leaders in education and spa technology. We ensure quality, affordability, and longevity for all of our customers. We’re the spa shop for you. We’ll make your hot tub purchase exceptional.

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