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Winter Hot Tub Care Tips

Winter Hot Tub Care Tips

In Ontario and other cold regions, there's nothing like taking a dip in your outdoor hot tub or spa. Soaking in the steamy waters beneath the night sky is a great way to escape the polar extremes of the long winter.

Unlike a pool, which should be closed during the winter, there's no reason not to enjoy your hot tub in the cold months, writes Alan E. Sanderfoot in his book "What Color Is Your Swimming Pool? A Homeowner's Guide to Trouble-free Pool, Spa & HotTub Maintenance "

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High-density covers

In a cold climate, a cover must keep your hot tub insulated. High-quality covers help save you money through energy efficiency and ensure that your hot tub is ready when it's time to take a dip.

Most covers have a foam core surrounded by a vinyl liner. The foam comes in various densities, usually either 1-, 1.5- or 2-pounds of material per cubic foot. "The greater the foam density, the stronger the cover will be and the more insulation it will provide," writes Sanderfoot.

Image of a Hot Tub: This article is about Winter Hot Tub Care Tips
Winter Hot Tub Care Tips

Lifting your high-density cover

A cover removal device may be needed if your cover is especially heavy due to high-density foam. Covers usually absorb some water over time, adding to their weight. "That's when some people simply fold open half of their spa cover and enjoy only the exposed portion, rather than struggling to remove the entire cover," writes Sanderfoot.

Cover-removers like this stainless steel lifter are available on the market to help make this task easier so that your hot tub is more accessible and enjoyable to use.

Quality vinyl

Exposure to the elements will cause a hot tub cover to deteriorate over time. The extreme climate of Ontario will accelerate that process. That's why it's important for the vinyl liner to be made of tough marine-grade vinyl that's also protected from UV rays.

"Under normal wear and tear, the cheapest of covers should last a couple of years," writes Sanderfoot, adding that "high-quality covers can last more than five years before showing signs of deterioration."

Caring for your cover

Cleaning the top of your cover regularly will help keep the vinyl from breaking down too fast, especially in the harsh winter climate. Shops specializing in hot tubs often sell special fluids for cleaning and conditioning spa covers.

The underside of your cover can also become a bastion for troublesome moulds or other growths. This is a year-round problem. Applying a disinfectant like Lysol can help you with this problem.

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Keep the power running

Heating your hot tub throughout the winter will cost you just a few cents a day, he writes. This keeps your pipes from freezing, preventing your hot tub's pipes from getting damaged.

But that means you need to consider the risk of a power outage. If you're away from your hot tub during the cold months — if it's located at a summer getaway, for example — winterizing your hot tub may be a smart move. "Even a little water in the lines or equipment can cause extensive damage that's costly to repair," writes Sanderfoot.

Don't get shocked

Unplug your hot tub, or, if it's hard-wired, find your circuit breaker and flip off the power. You should also trip the ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI notes Sanderfoot. This device is meant to protect you from an electric shock.

Draining the hot tub

Draw the water off of your hot tub with a garden hose. Just hook it up to the drain spout — siphoning or pumping the water probably won't be necessary, assuming the spout is higher than the end of your hose. Otherwise, a small underwater pump could help.

You should make sure all remaining water is removed. Using a towel can help you to soak up any puddles once you're done draining the spa. Leave the spout open so water doesn't accumulate.

Other tips

In some cases, you may have air channels containing water that need to be blown out. You'll also need to remove the cartridge filter and remove water from the filter canister compartment.

Make sure you remove any fittings and drain plugs to let the trapped water flow out. Finally, blow out the plumbing with a compressor or shop vac. Consult your hot tub accessories manufacturer or dealer to learn these procedures.

Author Byline:

Lavonne Wafford is an ardent writer and a home improvement freak. She loves to write about all the topics that come to her mind. Being a research student in interior designing, she tries to find modern and artistic opportunities to beautify residential as well as commercial properties. If you are more interested in such topics, follow Lavonne in her Twitter profile @Lavonne.

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