How to prepare your hot tub for winter

RWallin

Many hot tub enthusiasts like to use their tub year round. In fact, many people enjoy the relaxing warmth of a hot tub the most with snow drifts piled around them in the dead of winter. However, if you're not one of those types and want to shut your hot tub down during the coldest months, you will need to take special precautions to make sure that freezing weather does not damage your spa.

Even if you choose not to use your hot tub, you can still keep it running during the winter so freezing weather does not damage the equipment and plumbing. If you prefer to completely shut it down, then you should follow these steps when winterizing it. A shop vac that can vacuum water, a few large towels, and a garden hose are helpful items to have on hand.
* Turn off all electricity by switching off the circuit breaker. If it's a portable model that is not hard wired, just unplug it. Removed the hot tub cover completely, and also remove or open all the access doors to the areas housing the plumbing, pump, and heater.
* Locate the hot tub drain and connect the hose. When the drain valve is opened the water should start to flow out if the hose is stretched out and is below the water level in the tub. When the flow of water stops, disconnect the hose but leave the valve opened.
* Some hot tubs have an air channel under the seats to provide bubbling action. You will need to switch off or disconnect the spa heater and water pump individually and then turn the power to the tub back on. It's important to make sure that there is no electricity to the pump and heater because both could be damaged if run without water.
* Turn on your hot tub blower and let it blow the water out of the air channel for 30 seconds or so. When finished be sure and turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker again.
* Remove the cartridge filter and store it in your garage or basement.
* Look carefully around the pump and heating filter for any fittings that you might be able to take apart. Sometimes these have tabs on them that stick out slightly to make it easier to grab and turn by hand. Remove any of these you can find along with any drain plugs and let the water drain out.
* A shop vac really comes in handy at this point. You need to close the air control inlets usually located on the top edge of your hot tub, and the set the hose on the shop vac so it will blow. Get into your spa and put the hose against the jets, one by one. As you do this water will be forced out of the remaining jets and also out of the fittings you removed around the pump and heater. Continue from one jet to the other until no more water is coming out.
* Reset the hose on the shop vac and suck out all the water in the bottom well of the tub and that might be on the seats. A quick rub inside with a soft towel should finish the job.
* Put the hot tub cover back on the spa. Because most hot tub covers will leak some water back into the tub, it's good to cover the entire spa with a tarp or specially designed winter cover.
There you have it. You've invested thousands of dollars in your hot tub and with a few hours work you can make sure it will hold water when you fill it back up in the spring, without leaking due to freeze damage.


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About the Author
2006 All rights reserved
Rodney Wallin writes on a wide variety of subjects and has enjoyed hot tubs for over 20 years. For lots of additional information on choosing the right hot tub cover, head over to his website at www.spa-hot-tub-covers.com.