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7 Steps to Winterizing Your Hot Tub or Spa

Note: Refer to owner’s manual for specific instructions on model.

During the winter months, it’s important to ensure that your hot tub or spa is properly winterized. By taking the steps below, your spa should be safely prepared for winter weather.

In order to keep your hot tub or spa in the best shape possible, you should clean out the plumbing every few months, particularly before winter. Bacteria, hair, body oils and other things can build up and get trapped in the plumbing, causing irritation or even illness. We’ve outlined how to easily get this done below.

  1. Disconnect the spa from the power supply.

    • 115 Volt Models: Unplug the power cord from the house receptacle.
    • 230 Volt Models: Trip all of the GFCI breakers located in the subpanel.
      • First, remember to turn off the electricity breaker that runs to the hot tub’s outlet.
      • Locate the electrical connection. (Note: This may require removing a panel.)
      • Detach the plumbing lines.
        • It may be easier to do this by first using a wrench to loosen the connections.
        • Disconnect the pipes from the outdoor valves and store in a dry place.

  2. Remove the filter cartridges, clean, and store in a dry place.

    • Filter cartridges work like a screen, catching any debris in the water. If the filter isn’t cleaned regularly, it will become less effective as debris builds up.
    • To clean the filter cartridge, you may spray it down in order to remove larger items, such as leaves.
    • To more effectively clean your filter, use cleaner specifically made for cleaning filter cartridges, such as Spa Perfect or cleaner tablets.
    • If your filter is over a year old, it’s best to throw it away and use a new filter when opening your hot tub in the spring.
    • For more information about filter cartridges, refer to our spa parts tips blog post.

  3. To protect your spa from freezing you must drain all lines.

    • Locate the main drain valve and remove the cap. Attach a garden hose and open the valve. The spa and plumbing lines will drain by gravitational flow.
    • Remember, the most important part of winterizing a hot tub or spa is to remove all water. If water freezes inside of your spa, it will expand and damage the unit.
      • Although the amount of time it takes to drain your spa varies due to unit size, this process should take approximately an hour.

  4. Use a shop vac after the spa is drained to guarantee there is no water remaining in the plumbing lines.

    • Using a wet/dry vacuum is a quick way to drain your hot tub.
    • Take a long vacuum hose and insert one end into your spa, connecting the other end to the vac.
    • Turn on the vac for only a few seconds - just long enough to get a flow moving
    • Turn off the vacuum and remove the hose so that the water flows out.
      • This is another method to remove any remaining water that does not require a submersible pump.

  5. Drain the power pack by opening both unions on the pump and heater.

    • You must also drain the pump. This is done by removing the drain plugs on the bottom of the pump housing.

  6. Never attempt to run the pump when it is dry. This will damage the unit.

  7. If possible, remove your power pack and store it indoors.

  8. If the cabinet of your hot tub or spa is wooden, it’s a good idea to treat the wood every year.

    • Sealing the wood with a weatherproof sealer is essential to prevent moisture
    • For other types of cabinets, clean by removing dirt and other residues.

  9. Close the vinyl thermal cover and cover it with a large board to distribute the weight from snow and ice.

    • Using your hot tub or spa cover is crucial, particularly during the winter months. Not only does it prevent objects from falling in, but also it helps to regulate the water temperature.
    • If your cover doesn’t fit properly or is damaged, there’s a good chance that cool air is getting underneath.
      • When this happens, your hot tub or spa will need to work harder to maintain the correct temperature, using more energy and ultimately costing you more money.

  10. Placing a large board over your spa cover during the winter months is essential in extending the lifetime of your cover.

    • If enough snow or water collects atop the cover of your spa, it may leak or collapse.
    • See our blog post about spa covers and accessories to learn more.

Note: Damage from freezing is not covered under warranty. If you have any questions concerning winterizing your spa, we are happy to answer. Contact us here.