Winterizing a hot tub is not on our minds as we bask in the summer heat. And the best solution is not to winterize your hot tub at all, but to run it through the winter. Sure it may cost more to heat, but there is that great feeling of being out in the snow in the hot tub and many Canadians prefer to do just that. For some the question is how do I summerize my hot tub?
“Summerize” Your Hot Tub
In the summer, it is not a problem to drain the spa and shut it down. You will need to clean it out upon your return, but as long as there is a cover on it, the spa should be fine. Never leave an acrylic spa standing out in directly sunlight when empty because that can damage the acrylic surface and also cause bubbling in even the best built hot tubs. If you look at your warranty closely, you will notice that acrylic damage caused by exposure to direct sunlight when the spa is left empty will void your warranty.
In case this has already happened to you and you have bubbles in your acrylic, then there are still ways to repair this, but for the most part you are on your own as manufacturers and dealers will usually not honor any warranty claim related to leaving the spa uncovered when empty.
If the spa is full of water and the cover is off, that is not a problem. The warping and bubbling of the surface issue happens when the acrylic spa is empty and the sun’s rays tend to get magnified in corners of the spa, especially in the corner of the footwell and on seats. Problems can even occur in a short time span of 15 minutes depending on the direction and intensity of the sun. This also means if you are planning a water change on a hot summer day, it is best to do it in the morning or in the evening.
When the spa is empty for a prolonged period of time, you may even want to fill it halfway and then drain again to be sure there are no leaks in the main plumbing, but also to clean out the lines of any bugs or others who have decided to call the plumbing lines home. A shot of chlorine can do good to “superchlorinate” the pipes before draining.
A cover cap can help protect the spa cover from bleaching out or fading in harsh sunlight. These also work to protect the cover in the winter and save energy too.
Refill the spa and enjoy the fall weather!
Winterize Your Hot Tub
The best way to run your spa over the winter is to keep it full. You can always dial down the temperatures during an extended absence or when the weather is too terrible to soak, but crank it up again to enjoy the fresh air surrounded by snow. This gives you the ski resort feeling right in your back yard.
Hot tub equipment will not freeze as long as the spa is kept running.
If you have to shut the spa down for the winter, first turn the power off at the subpanel and breaker. Then remove the cartridge filter and filter basket. Drain hot tub completely and use a wet/dry vac to get the water out of the lines. Also disconnect the heater union and pump unions and allow rest of the water to drain out. There are even drain plugs on the pumps that can be removed to assure pumps don’t freeze up.
Some go as far as using RV antifreeze in the lines, but you will have to be sure to get the lines rinsed out good in the spring if you do that.
If you use the RV anti-freeze solution, then pour it into the filter canister , jets and other orifices until it comes back out the openings or out of the drains. That is quite a bit of antifreeze to go into the pumps and plumbing. Again it is best to just run the spa through the winter months.
Otherwise if done incorrectly, you may find yourself with some cracked hot tub PVC parts in the spring. In that case, you will need some PVC glue, a bunch of PVC parts and some patience.
Protect your spa cover with a cover cap. This adds an additional layer of protection for both cover protection and energy savings. Use the shorter skirt length 12″ version for spas that stay operational over the winter months, and the longer 38″ skirt length when closing the spa over the winter. Sure beats those unsightly blue tarps and they come with tie down ropes or elastics depending on the model.
You can also call a local pro to close the spa for you and save you the hassle. Contact us if you need the number of reliable service people in Southern Ontario. For your online hot tub parts, your best bet is Canada’s The Hot Tub Superstore.
When you are done draining spa, then cover it with a solid hot tub cover and add an all-weather type tarp so that rain or snow can’t get into the hot tub.