Simple Checklist On How To Winterize A Hot Tub

This checklist on how to winterize a hot tub will come useful especially if this is your first year owning a hot tub. 

Here are quick steps you should follow when winterizing your hot tub:

  • Turn off the power
  • Remove the water from the bath area
  • Remove the filters
  • Remove the remaining water from jets, filters, and pipes
  • Wipe any remaining moisture
  • Use antifreeze 
  • Close the lid and put the plywood boards on top of it

More About How To Winterize My Hot Tub

Let me expand the notes from above. Before you drain your hot tub, you’ll need to get some equipment in order to do so:

  1. A wet/dry vacuum cleaner. It will be useful to remove water from your jets, and your pipes.
  2. A garden hose will help with draining the hot tub water from your hot tub’s drainage plug.
  3. Absorbent towels will be necessary if you want to collect any lingering water from the bottom of your spa.
  4. Propylene Glycol antifreeze will be required in order to keep your hot tub pipes from freezing. For safety, remember to never use an antifreeze containing Ethylene Glycol, which is the one you use in your car. It’s toxic to your body.
  5. A long funnel for pouring the antifreeze into narrow openings.

Stage One

You would definitely start by turning the power off. It can be done by tripping the GFCI breakers at your hot tub’s electrical panel. Feel free to help yourself by reading the user’s manual.

In case you have a sump pump, which is a submersible pump specifically designed to remove all the water from your flooded basement, you can use that one to quickly get the water out of the hot tub. Otherwise, you can use a garden hose in combination with gravity, which will take some time before you can see all the water drained

After that, use the towels to wipe the moisture that’s left sitting in the tub. 

Then you want to remove the filter cartridges, get them clean and restore them back in a nice, warm place until you return. You want to make sure they are dry. In case your hot tub’s control panel has a wireless remote, place that somewhere indoors as well.

Remember that even after, what appears to be drained to you, there are probably a few gallons of water still present in the system, which really pose the biggest risk of freezing and damaging your hot tub system. What you want here is to use a wet-dry vacuum to either blow or suck the remaining water from your filter standpipe, jets and cavities that your system has.

Stage Two

Once you are done with the first stage which is generally the cleaning and wiping phase, you can then continue with the winterization of your hot tub by following the next steps:

  1. Put the drainage cap back into place.
  2. Remove any leftover moisture from your hot tub shell using clean, absorbable towels.
  3. Using a simple funnel, pour some of propylene glycol antifreeze into any opening through which water may enter or leave your hot tub.
  4. Strap your hot tub cover in place. Additionally, it would be great to have some plywood boards on top of your cover. It will help to prevent your hot tub from being damaged by the weight of the snow and ice. Finally, secure a plastic tarp over the entire top of your cover.

Keep in mind that once you are back from your vacation, you will want to remove any trace of antifreeze from your hot tub before it is safe for you to use it. 

What you can do, is to fill your hot tub with water as usual. Then double the usual amount of chlorine in order to neutralize the antifreeze presence. Then drain and refill your hot tub again before fitting your clean filter cartridges back in place.

More Detailed Steps on How to Winterized your Spa

Turn Off the GFCI Switch

Before draining your spa or performing any maintenance, be sure to turn off the power at the switch.

Remove the Side Panel of your Spa

Most hot tubs have an access door on the side. In some cases, you will have to remove the entire side panel to access the spa’s equipment.

Connect a Garden Hose to the Drain Hose

There is a hose connection in the spa’s access area that you can use to drain your spa. Connect a garden hose and turn the valve to drain the water. If you have any water in your hot tub that is not draining through the hose, use a wet vacuum to remove it.

Loosen heater accessories and pumps

You will need to loosen the fittings to drain the water from the lines. Remember that your hot tub may have several pumps. Repeat this process for all the pumps so that you can drain the water from the lines.

Remove the Drain Plug from the Pumps

Remove the lower drain plug on the front of each pump. This will allow water to drain from the inside of the pump.

Use a Wet Vacuum to Remove Water from the Pipes

You need to remove the water from the spa lines or they could freeze and damage your plumbing. Insert a wet vacuum into each drain, jet area, port, inlet, and filter cavity. Keep the wet vacuum cleaner wet for 10-15 seconds at a time to ensure that all water is vacuumed up.

Replace Pump Drain Plugs

Once all the water has been sucked out of the spa’s lines, replace the pump drain plug. Tighten all fittings and make sure all door valves are open.

Fill with Spa Antifreeze

Add one pint of spa antifreeze to the top of each pump and one pint to the filter chamber.

Close the Spa Cover

Close the spa cover and start counting the days until you can open it again.

Should I Winterize My Hot Tub?

Will you be gone for more than 2 weeks? Then the answer is probably yes, you should think beforehand and take the time to winterize your hot tub. Otherwise, you might not want to do it, in case you will be around your hot tub, maybe even using it once a week.

So it all depends on the usage and your time. In general, winterizing your hot tub can save you a lot of money in hot tub repairs and component replacements. If the temperature comes down to freezing levels, that can cause significant damage to your hot tub, particularly the plumbing lines.

Winterizing your hot tub is certainly about protecting your investment. Taking a day of your time, if it is your first time winterizing your hot tub, is worth the savings and equipment longevity you’ll get in return for years to come.

However, if you know that you will be around and maybe even using it, then you will need an eye on your hot tub all winter long. That will include testing the water, adding chemicals, cleaning it, and paying for the electricity to run it when you’re not using it.

Can You Put Antifreeze In A Hot Tub?

It is very important to understand that you cannot use the same antifreeze you use for your car. It is toxic for people and animals and can cause real issues if you drink it.

How To Winterize A Hot Tub With Antifreeze?

The only way you can put antifreeze in a hot tub is when you winterize it. That means that you have properly drained your hot tub and now you want to pour some antifreeze into your heater area, filter and pipes to prevent them from damaging during winter in case of extremely low temperatures and any moisture that was left behind.

Some people ask if they could put antifreeze in the full hot tub. The answer would be that it wouldn’t make sense because you would need to have a proper mix of water and antifreeze. Even then it wouldn’t guarantee that if you reach extremely low temperatures, that your hot tub wouldn’t freeze.

The reason for this is that pure antifreeze usually protects against freezing at a maximum of -40 degrees. It would cost you a real fortune to buy enough antifreeze liquid to fill up your hot tub. At this point, it really makes more sense to just drain the hot tub. 

If you can’t do it yourself, there are services out there that you can use to get this done.

How To Remove Antifreeze From Hot Tub?

If your hot tub has been winterized, you must remove the antifreeze from the system before filling it with water. The easiest way to do this is to spray water on the seats and footwell and spray water into each jet of the seats. Once the antifreeze is out of the lines, you must drain the water before refilling. This will allow your tub to return to clear water in a short time.

How do I Keep my Hot Tub Pipes from Freezing?

As long as the water flows through the pipes – all pipes – the water does not freeze. Open all jets if your spa has the ability to isolate the jet banks. A low speed can be used as long as all the pipes are in use.

In most cases, the water does not need to be hot or even heated. As long as it moves through all pipes and equipment when the temperature is below 32 degrees. The heat from the spa pump, under a closed skirt, is also useful for heating the equipment. Of course, a spa cover should be used in the winter to prevent ice from forming on the spa surface.

In winter, in cold northern climates, it may be helpful to run the pump 24 hours a day or set the timer to turn on for 10 minutes every half hour.

What temperature is too cold for hot tub?

There is no fixed minimum outdoor temperature for your spa, and you do not have to worry about the spa freezing. Only in the event of a prolonged power outage should you be very careful and ensure that all water-carrying parts and pipes are kept above freezing. If the temperature gets low in the winter, it is advisable to use a hot tub that is designed for these low temperatures with additional insulation.

Can I Leave My Hot Tub Empty in Winter?

Yes, you can definitely leave your hot tub empty, however, you want to take some precautions to make sure it does not get damaged during cold weather.

As a first-time hot tub owner, you probably never imagined a time where you would want to leave it empty and not used. However, there are some reasons why you may want to drain your hot tub for a period of time. 

The two most common reasons one might want to leave a hot tub empty would be when winterizing or summerizing their hot tub. Despite the fact that a hot tub could be used all year round and in any type of weather, some owners really prefer not to use during winter or summer, depending on where they live and why they got the hot tub.

How to Winterize a Hot Tub With a Compressor?

Remember a moment during the second stage where you needed to blow out any residual water from the jets and filter standpipe. 

The most common tool people use in DIY section to remove the water is an air compressor or some types of leaf blowers. What you want to do is to get into the hot tub and put the blowing end of the hose up against each jet. Don’t forget to open the jets as wide as possible, and make sure that the topside air controls are closed. 

The best thing is to start with the jet that is the closest to the exhaust side of the pump and then move around the tub, jet by jet. While you are doing this, more and more water will start leaking from the various fittings you unscrewed at your equipment. Once you have done this to every jet, you will have almost all of the water from your entire jet system removed.

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Emily Williams

Emily is a passionate Hot Tubs researcher who loves writing about all things Hot Tubs! She has years of experience and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, these articles are here to answer all your burning questions in a simple and easy to read style.
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