When the weather outside turns frightful, the hot tub makes a perfect retreat. Hot tubs in the winter months are not just for ski hills, they are also for everyday use in the backyard.
When installing a hot tub in colder climates, it is best to locate the spa near the house so that the trek to and from the spa in minus degrees is not too much. Otherwise, future use may be discouraged by remembering how it felt to have to run through deep snow in bare feet.
There are a few things to consider when operating a hot tub in the winter time. First, it is best to plan water changes around the season so it is not too terribly cold out when emptying and refilling the spa. The hose will have to be stored in a warmer spot in the basement or garage so that it does not freeze. Otherwise you won’t be able to refill the spa if ice is clogging the hose.
You can use a submersible pump and separate hose to drain the spa quickly, but refilling is done with the standard garden hose, so it helps to make sure you have an unfrozen type of each to use.
Planning for winter repairs is also a good thing by having a small electric space heater on hand. In the remote chance that the pump, heater or circuit board goes bad, the first order of business is to call a spa pro to come out asap and repair the spa. However, luck having it, the problem will occur on a Saturday night in freezing temperatures with no repair person available until Monday. In that case, simply plug in the space heater (for spa types that have a dead air space in the cabinet – not fully foamed spas) and allow it to keep the plumbing from freezing until repairs can be done. In that case it is best to leave all the water in the spa and use the space heater as otherwise the alternative is to completely drain the spa including the air lines and that is something that is hard to do in freezing weather without having the pipes freeze or at least a manifold crack.
Most of the time, it is best to operate the spa all the way through the winter. If you must “winterize” the spa, then take all precautions to assure there is no rest water in the plumbing lines.
For those that choose to soak in the snow covered ambience, enjoy the hot tub in the winter months knowing you have covered all bases by assuring you have the right emergency equipment on hand as well as a person to call in case the hot tub should go down, have a space heater and a submersible pump, have the needed chemicals and filter, and have company to enjoy the hot tub with!