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Using Your Spa or Hot Tub During the Winter



While you probably won’t be jumping into the pool or using that outdoor entertainment center when winter hits, you can enjoy your hot tub or spa all year round, especially in the winter. However, cold temperatures and moisture don’t mix well, and even temperate Southern California can get close to freezing.  Here are a few tips to help your spa maintain proper operation and energy efficiency.


The greatest danger comes from the possibility of water freezing inside the pipes. Fortunately, most self-contained and portable spas are designed with a system to prevent water from freezing in the pipes. A thermostat or no-freeze setting on the control box forces the hot tub to maintain a constant temperature.

If your spa does not have a mode switch or operates exclusively by a timer, you will have to reprogram it during the colder months. Set the timer to come on at least 15 minutes every hour. That allows the hot water to circulate through the pipes and equipment, dispelling the potential of freezing. Remember that in even colder areas, 15 minutes each hour may not be enough.

Staying Hot and Covering Up

The colder the weather, the longer your spa will take to heat up and maintain temperature. The best thing you can do to keep your spa warm and reduce your spa’s energy requirements is to use a good insulating cover. Much like a jacket on you, an insulating cover traps the warmth. You should also consider placing a floating blanket under the insulating cover. A floating blanket does a great job of keeping in the spa’s heat and reducing the need for chemicals in your spa.

If you live in an area of snow and frost, make sure you remove it from the top of your spa’s cover periodically. Covers aren’t made to hold that extra weight. Lay a plastic tarp over your spa’s cover for easy snow removal. Consult your local San Diego pool builder for the best covers for your particular spa.

Draining and Cleaning

Spa and swimming pool designs are such that they require regular cleaning. Cleaning and draining your spa will be a big help in maintaining your spa’s performance. Wipe your hot tub’s surface with a nonabrasive bathroom cleaner and rinse thoroughly. Fill the tub with hot water above its jets. Add about a quarter cup of dishwashing detergent or half a cup of bleach, and turn the jets on for fifteen minutes before draining the water. Once the tub is drained, fill it above the jets with cold water for one last rinse. Turn the jets on for 15 minutes then drain the water from the tub.

Don’t wait until the first frost to drain and clean your spa. Preferably, you’ll want to perform any basic maintenance in the late fall, which should hold you over until the end of the colder months.