The weather’s getting colder and the winter season is upon us; it’s time to start using your hot tub — or close it up until spring. If your hot tub won’t be in use for an extended period, you might want to think about winterization: a valuable process done at home or professionally that protects your spa from incurring damage throughout the winter.

Who Might Want to Winterize Their Hot Tub?

Ideal candidates for hot tub winterization are people who plan on not using their hot tub for 2 weeks or more during the winter. If you’re traveling out of state for the colder months or know you won’t be spending time outdoors in the snow, winterization is the best way to keep your hot tub in good condition while it’s not in use.

Why Should a Hot Tub be Winterized?

If your hot tub is not running and temperatures drop below 32°F, water freezes and expands. Frozen water has the potential to negatively affect (crack) your pump, plumbing, filter canister, or heater, creating hefty repair costs. By winterizing your hot tub, you are protecting it against freezing weather conditions throughout the winter. 

If you plan to just keep your hot tub running on economy mode and think that it will be fine for a month or two, think again. Your water still has to remain balanced to avoid damage to your pump and filter. Water conditions can become too acidic. Again, it could be best to winterize when you’re gone and unable to maintain proper balance.

What are the Steps to Winterizing a Hot Tub?

Before you winterize your hot tub at home, make sure to check the owner’s manual for your specific model to ensure that no specific instructions are required. Generally, the winterization process can be done in the following steps:

  1. Let the chemical levels drop. If you plan to empty the hot tub’s water into your lawn or landscaping, allot a few days for the chemicals in your spa to dissipate before starting the winterizing process. Otherwise, the sanitizers can be toxic to plants and wildlife.
  2. Cut the hot tub’s power by shutting off at the disconnect and breaker. This step is incredibly important, as mixing water with electricity can make the winterization process dangerous. Ensure no power is getting to your hot tub before you move forward.
  3. Remove your filters for cleaning. Using filter cleaner or a chemical soak, clean your filters and store them in a cool, dry place for the season. This is also a great opportunity to replace your filters if you’re in need of an update.
  4. Drain the water from your hot tub. To release the water from your spa, attach a garden hose to the hot tub’s drain spout or use a sump pump to pump the water out. Most hot tubs hold 400 gallons of water, so ensure you’ve chosen a suitable location to dispense the water to before you begin.
  5. If you have one, drain the air blower. Older model hot tubs may have an air blower that will need to be blown out. Unplug your spa’s heater and reconnect it to power for this step. After placing your hot tub cover on, run the blower for 30 seconds to a minute so all water is displaced from the air channels.
  6. Loosen the pump and heater’s unions. Located in the access panel of your tub’s cabinet, find the unions on your pump and heater and loosen them to naturally drain out water.
  7. Blow water out of the lines. This is the key step in winterizing your hot tub, as it prevents your plumbing lines from freezing in the cold. Using a Shop Vac, blow air into every union, drain, jet, and filter cavity to eliminate any excess water.
  8. Clean the shell of your hot tub. Once all water is out of the tub, use sponges and a rinse-free cleaner to scrub your spa of any bacteria or grime.
  9. Add Antifreeze to the lines. Pour 1-2 gallons of antifreeze into the filter canister and footwell as an additional safety measure in case there is any residual water in the plumbing.
  10. Place your cover. Once the tub is dry, carefully secure your cover over top of it, ensuring no snow or water can seep in. Adding wind straps to the cover can further protect your hot tub from harsh elements.

Don’t want to winterize your hot tub yourself, or have questions about the process? Zagers Pool & Spa has you covered. We offer a hot tub winterization service, which includes draining and blowing lines, and are here to walk you through the transition. Contact us today and we’ll help prepare your tub for the colder months ahead.