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How to Winterize a Hot Tub

Posted by Watson's on Oct 28, 2020 4:33:55 PM

Can I leave my hot tub empty in winter?

If you’re someone who lives in an area where winter is no foreign concept, then winterizing your hot tub is definitely a procedure you’ve heard of once or twice. 

Relaxing in a hot tub while snow falls gently to the ground around you is an incredibly relaxing and magical sensation.

So having your hot tub ready and functional during the winter season can be a great amenity and a great place to gather with family but it can face problems when not used for a couple months. Statistics show that the most damage that occurs to hot tub spas is caused by improper winterization. The damage that can be caused due to freezing is very costly to repair.

How to winterize a hot tub (steps)

If you’ll be away for 3 months, or not using your hot tub for any other reasons, then consider winterizing your hot tub. 

The 3 vital places of your at home spa that need protection are the pump housing, the filter housing, and the manifold that distributes the water into it. You have to remember that you must drain the hot tub, and then it has to be completely vacuumed with a wet/dry vac. In order to keep your hot tub in optimal condition for next season’s use, it is important to clean out the plumbing in the few months before winter. Hair, body oil, bacteria, and more can build up in the hot tub’s plumbing. Not tending to this backup can result in serious irritation or illness. Fortunately, cleaning out the plumbing before winter is a simple process to complete.  

Below are our recommended steps that you should take to ensure your hot tub is winterized properly during the cold season. 

1. Disconnect the hot tub from its power supply

If the hot tub uses a 115 volt power supply, unplug the cord from the house receptacle. For 230 volt power supplies, trip the GFCI breakers located in the home’s subpanel. Note, electricity running to the hot tub’s outlet has to be completely turned off. Once the electrical connection is turned off, disconnect the pipes from the outdoor valves. Be sure to store these pipes in a dry place.  

2. Remove, clean, and store filter cartridges

If the filter cartridge is not cleaned regularly, the effectiveness will worsen as material builds up in the hot tub. Spray the cartridge to remove debris such as leaves. Using cleaner specifically to clean cartridges can effectively clean your filter. Lastly, if your filter is over a year old, it may be best to simply throw the filter away and use a new one next spring. 

3. Drain all lines to keep hot tub from freezing

Find the main drain valve and remove its cap. Then, attach a garden hose, and open the valve. It is important to note that all water must be removed from the hot tub. Not doing so can result in water expanding and damaging the hot tub. This step should take just about one hour to complete.

4. Let the Chemicals Dissipate and Drain the Hot Tub

You must let all of the chemical levels to drop before dumping all the water into your yard or other location. When removing water from the tub keep in mind you’ll be releasing roughly 400 gallons of water. A sump pump can be useful when removing water quickly. 

Keep in mind that an inch or 2 of water will remain at the bottom of the tub. Do not worry about this now. You’ll take care of it later in the process.

5. Remove Remaining Water

To remove remaining water you can use your sump pump again or simply a towel or sponge to soak up the remaining water. Another effective way to drain the remaining water is to use a vacuum. If you decide to drain with a vacuum, be sure to remove the hose from the hot tub in such a way that no water flows out.

6. Clean hot tub shell and cover 

When cleaning the hot tub cover, it is important to use a cleaner that is also a protectant. This is important as to keep damage from occurring during the winter months. If it is inside whatever cleaner for the cover you want should work fine.

7. Close cover and place board on top of hot tub  

It is important to use your hot tub cover during the winter months. Covering your hot tub will prevent objects from falling in, and it helps regulate water temperature. If your cover is damaged or does not fit properly, there’s a chance that cool air can travel into the hot tub. If this happens, the hot tub will struggle to maintain proper temperature, costing more money in the long run. 

Be sure to place a board on top of the hot tub cover. If enough snow collects on a cover that isn’t protected, it might leak or even collapse. 


If you plan on spending your winters at home, it’s best to keep the hot tub constantly running. But for those who don’t need to tend to a hot tub in the winter months should make sure that their hot tub is winterized. It can save a significant amount of money on your electricity bill during the winter season.

Still having trouble winterizing your hot tub? If you have any more questions, call the experts at Watson’s for the best answer! Find a Watson’s close to you, or give us a call for answers to your questions.

Topics: Spas and Hot Tubs

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