Winterizing your Hot Tub
When the colder months start to roll in, you may start using your hot tub less. At some point, you may want to switch it off completely until the spring and summer months roll around. If you are going to do that, then you need to learn how to winterize your hot tub.
What is Winterizing?
When you winterize a hot tub, you are essentially preparing it to be out of use for an extended period of time. When you are winterizing, you will need to do several tasks. A lot of this will boil down to completely removing water from the hot tub, as well as removing some of the parts which are likely to freeze as the colder temperatures start to set in.
The Importance of Winterizing Your Hot Tub
Winterizing your hot tub will help protect it during the winter months. If water is left inside of the hot tub and temperatures start to plummet, then the water could freeze. This could damage the plumbing. The result would be a rather costly repair bill once you start your hot tub up again during the warmer months of the year.
It is important to note that not all hot tubs will need to be winterized. If the weather where you live doesn’t get particularly cold during the winter (i.e. things do not start to freeze), then there will be little point to the process. If you are planning on running your hot tub throughout the winter no matter the weather then, once again, there will be no need to winterize it. Running the hot tub is enough to ensure that nothing freezes and breaks.
Preparing your hot tub for winterizing
Winterizing will begin a few days before you switch off your hot tub. In these days, you will be letting the tub work through the chemicals in the water. You will be waiting for the chlorine levels to fall to zero. This is important. When you are winterizing, you will be releasing water from your hot tub. You do not want that chlorine to get into the soil of your garden. It will kill anything growing there, and it will make it very difficult for you to grow things in that soil for the foreseeable future.
Once you have managed to get the chemical levels down to zero, you can switch the power off. There should be absolutely no power running to your hot tub. It is incredibly dangerous!
Draining the tub
You have a couple of jobs to do here.
The first is to drain the bulk of the water from your hot tub. This should be rather easy. There will be a cap on the side of the tub. If you can’t find it or are unsure how to release it, then check your hot tub’s manual.
Once the cap has been released, quickly place a hose into the hole. You should ensure that this is a fairly lengthy hose. It will allow you more control over where the water is draining. We can’t stress enough that you need a lot of control over this. You will be releasing a LOT of water from the hot tub, and you probably do not want to be flooding your yard. Since you will be releasing a lot of water from the tub, this is something that could easily take a few hours. Some people will use a sump pump here, but even using that will not speed up the process all that much.
If there is a blower in your hot tub (most will have one) then you will need to clear this out too. You will need to plug in the hot tub briefly for this. Running the blower for 30 seconds to a minute should be more than enough to empty it of water. Don’t forget to switch the power off again i.e. unplug the hot tub from your power supply.
Not just flipping the off switch!
The final part of your water drainage now will involve you needing access to the inside of the hot tub. You can get in through the access panel. Check your hot tub’s instruction manual here, because you will need to unscrew a few things to allow the remaining water to drain from the plumbing. In some cases, there may also be a drain cap that you need to remove. Do this.
Cleaning out the rest of the plumbing
Since you want your hot tub to be up and running as soon as the warmer months appear, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. It is likely that you will have removed all of the water at this point, but why risk it? There is still a little bit more to do. For this, you are going to need a wet and dry vacuum. It will need a ‘blow’ setting.
Your job now is to go and find every single hole in your hot tub. You will then want to point the vacuum towards that hole for at least 30 seconds to a minute. As you do, you will likely see small amounts of water shoot out of your plumbing. It is likely that this water will land in your hot tub. This is great. Keep blowing until no more water appears. That is the only way to know that the plumbing for your hot tub is completely clean of water. It also negates the need to put any anti-freeze anywhere.
There will now be a lot of water left in the hot tub. Well, not a lot, but a good couple of inches. Thankfully, you have your wet and dry vacuum here. You just need to switch it to ‘suck’ and allow it to gulp up all of the water that has been left behind. Obviously, you will want to ensure that you completely empty the vacuum cleaner after. You do not want to leave water hanging around in it, do you? After all, if you are winterizing your hot tub, you don’t want your vacuum cleaner to freeze instead!
Removing the filters
By now, the only major thing you will need to do is remove the filters. You can clean them, or dispose of them. If there is any water left behind the filters (or there is a bit more pipework behind there), then you may need to pull out the vacuum cleaner again. In some cases, just giving the area a wipe down is more than enough. Chances are that you will have already cleaned this part already.
We recommend that you dispose of your filters. It is going to give your hot tub a nice fresh start when you start running it again. The whole purpose of winterizing is to prevent your hot tub from breaking down, and poor quality filters can cause this to happen. What is the point in winterizing if everything is just going to stop working when you start everything again?
Cleaning your hot tub
The last part of the process is to simply clean your hot tub down. Make sure that you pick up a quality hot tub cleaner for this. It is going to make the process a whole lot easier, although you will still need to put a lot of effort into it! Any sponges that you use should be non-abrasive (make sure that they say they are this!), if you use an abrasive sponge, then it will cause tiny little scratches on the hot tub shell. Not only is this going to be unsightly, but there is a chance that it could end up compromising the integrity of the hot tub after a while. Replacing that shell is going to be a rather expensive repair indeed.
Don’t forget that it isn’t only the hot tub’s shell that needs to be cleaned. You will also need to clean any covering that you have for your hot tub. You can use the same hot tub cleaner for this.
Do bear in mind that since you will have been allowing the chemicals in the hot tub to dwindle down over the past few days, there will likely be bacteria lurking in the hot tub. This is why it is important that you use a quality hot tub cleaner. It will ensure that this bacteria is killed. Don’t forget to wear gloves here!
Once everything is done, you now need to allow the cover of the hot tub to dry out. It doesn’t matter so much about the top of the cover. This is going to be subject to the elements throughout the winter. You need the cover’s interior to be completely dry. If you place it on the hot tub before it is dry, then all your hard work will have been in vain. Mold will start to form inside of the hot tub, and if this happens over the winter, then you are going to be looking at an expensive repair for your hot tub. If things get out of hand, then your hot tub could be out of commission for a long time (or may even need to be replaced). Basically, mold is not going to be a good thing!
That is all you need to know. Yes. We know that winterizing your hot tub is going to be a lot of effort. You will need to set aside a good half a day to complete the process. However, it is completely worth it. Just make sure that you do it properly.