should i empty my hot tub in winter

Using Your Hot Tub in Winter

Hot Tubs


October 1, 2020

Winter is coming! Though many people dread this time of year, hot tub owners know that winter is the best season for using their spa. Enjoying invigorating cold air while submersed in soothing hot water is irresistible! However, winter presents a unique set of challenges for hot tub owners. There are a few things to keep in mind when using your hot tub in the cold weather.


  • Stock extra maintenance supplies (sanitizer, chemicals, test strips, an extra filter cartridge) in case weather makes it difficult and/or impossible for you to venture out. Don’t let low supplies keep you from enjoying your hot tub all winter.
  • Clean the filter: If not cleaned regularly (every 30 days) the filter clogs, the water stops circulating properly, and this can cause your spa to overheat or stop heating.
  • Turn the air controls off when the hot tub is not in use. When open, added air cools the water requiring your heater to work harder to maintain your set temperature, increasing the cost of operating your hot tub, increased evaporation and long icicles to form on your cover.
  • Pay attention to your cover: Invest in a good cover that is waterproof and fits snugly. Lock the straps on the edges of the cover to form a tight seal, help keep in heat and reduce heating costs. To make the cover easy to maneuver and avoid damage, keep it clear of snow and ice.
  • Check water levels regularly: Cold, dry outdoor air can make your spa water evaporate more quickly than normal. If the water level falls too low there is a risk of flow issues that can cause your heater to stop working. Look for a mark on the side of the hot tub shell indicating the recommended fill level for the spa. If you can’t locate this mark, consult your manual or your dealer. Keep the water level as close to this mark as possible.
  • Use Enzyme Water Conditioners to extend the water life in your spa. Products like Spa Marvel will increase the effectiveness of your chemical program and keep your water clean and clear for longer periods of time, should spring come a bit late to drain your spa.
  • Stay Safe: When the air above the water is freezing and the water below is hot, your body’s internal calibration can get confused. If you soak for an extended period of time, pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you’re tired, short of breath, dizzy, light-headed or experience any discomfort, it’s time to get out.  Stay hydrated to help your body regulate. Twenty minutes is a good soak time for relaxing without causing problems.
  • Keep the water clean: Winter offers few opportunities for a drain and refill. Skip deodorants, lotions, shampoos and perfumes before using the hot tub or have a quick shower before jumping in. Keep your head above water to avoid hair products in the tub. Hand wash swimsuits in freshwater without detergent. Keep a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Wear a hat: To help your body regulate its temperature and keep your hair dry, wear a warm hat or toque when using the hot tub in frigid temperatures.
  • Wear sandals or slippers if your hot tub is more than a hop, skip or jump from the nearest door. They’ll keep your feet warm as you go to and from the spa and reduce the dirt and debris carried into the water.


A hot tub makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors in winter. Be aware of the unique maintenance challenges that winter brings. Use caution when using your spa during cold weather. Follow our advice and beat the winter blues with a soak under the stars!

Need help maintaining your hot tub in winter weather? Call Alberta’s premier hot tub store, RnR Hot Tubs at (403) 203-0860 or fill the request form. We are a leader in spa technology and education. With over 30 years of expertise in the field, we know how hot tubs stand up to the elements. We are the trusted provider in Alberta, ensuring quality, longevity and affordability to all of our customers.

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