How to winterize a spa – Forbes Advisor

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  • Work time: 3 to 6 hours
  • Total time: From 6 hours to 1 to 2 days (if steps must be left overnight)
  • Competence level: Beginner
  • Project cost: $ 100 to $ 250

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One of the perks of owning a hot tub is that you can enjoy a warm, relaxing bath on a cold winter day. But if you happen to be out of town for the winter, or if you just don’t use your spa for three to four months, you will likely have to winterize it. Just like you need to winterize your home or even your sprinkler system, your spa also needs some attention before temperatures drop below freezing.

Winterizing your spa simply means draining it and winterizing it to prevent freezing or other damage to its system.

When to winterize a spa

Winterizing your spa is not necessary for many spa owners. You should only winterize your spa if you will be away from your spa for three to four consecutive months (for example, if you have a vacation home or if you are wintering elsewhere). You should also winterize your spa if you are sure not to use it, even if you are at home. This applies both if you are making this decision for yourself or if your spa is damaged and needs to be repaired.

If you plan to winterize your spa, plan it for late fall or early winter, ideally before the first frost or frost arrives. If you wait until the temperature is already below freezing, the water in the pipes can freeze, causing cracks and long-term damage.

If you are wintering near or near your home, there is no need to winterize your spa, especially if you plan to use it regularly. Just make sure your spa is within normal specifications and all pipes are properly insulated and you are good to go.

Security considerations

Although winterizing your spa is a relatively safe procedure, there are a few things you should pay special attention to. Always make sure that the power to your spa is turned off before starting to drain the spa or before performing any other serious maintenance on it. In addition to the standard risk of electricity and water, the pump system can be damaged if it operates in an empty spa or sucks in air.

If you use chemicals (for example, rinse aids, filter cleaners, antifreeze, or general cleaning solutions), be sure to carefully read any warnings or safety information on the labels. Follow appropriate safety precautions if necessary. Note that this may require you to purchase additional equipment, such as gloves or goggles.

Finally, always consult your spa owner’s manual for model specific safety precautions, instructions, and warnings that you should pay attention to. Hot tub manufacturers detail all of the information you need to know before performing maintenance, and most manuals will also include model-specific winterizing instructions.

If you no longer have access to your physical manual, most companies will provide the manual online for free or for a small fee.

Tools

  • Garden hose
  • Wet / dry workshop vacuum (with blowing adjustment)
  • Towels
  • Non-abrasive sponges
  • Additional protection / fasteners (e.g. tarpaulins, ratchet straps; optional)

Materials

  • Sump pump (optional)
  • Rinse line product
  • Spa shell cleaner
  • Spa cover cleaner
  • Filter cleaner or new filters
  • Non-toxic antifreeze

Instructions

1. Check your owner’s manual

Many manuals already include a list of step-by-step instructions for winterizing your spa. While the basic process remains the same for all spas, you will want to make sure that your spa does not require anything specific.

2. Let the chemical levels drop

Especially if you plan to drain in your garden, start wintering preparations ahead of time by allowing the chemicals in your tub to dissipate. Chlorine is particularly toxic to plants and animals, so wait until the levels are near or zero before continuing.

3. Rinse and clean the pipes

Add a flushing product to your spa system to clean the plumbing. This will help prevent the growth of mold and bacteria during the winter. Follow the directions on the flush line product (you may need to let it circulate for a few minutes to overnight).

4. Turn off the power

Depending on your spa configuration, you will need to turn off power directly at the GFCI breaker or simply unplug the spa. If in doubt, call your electrician for instructions on turning off and unplugging the circuit breaker.

5. Drain the spa

Draining your spa can be a fairly complex process, as you want to make sure your spa is completely empty before continuing. This will help prevent freezing damage to your spa.

TIP: Use a garden hose or sump pump to drain most of the water. Attach the garden hose to the lower drain spout and allow your tub to drain (one to two hours). You can also use a sump pump instead of a hose (about 10 minutes). Make sure the water is draining into an appropriate area, such as a driveway or other area with proper drainage.

6. Drain the air blower

If your spa does not have an air blower, you can skip this step.

  • Unplug or unplug the heater. Leaving your heater on during this step will damage your spa.
  • Replace the spa cover. You will also need to temporarily turn your spa back on.
  • Run the air blower for 30 seconds to one minute. Stop after all the water has been blown out of the air channels.
  • Turn off the hot tub again. Remove the cover.

7. Loosen the fittings / couplers and the drain plugs.

By loosening the fittings around the pump and the water heater, you will be able to drain any remaining water from the spa tubing. You can let these hoses drain naturally or use a shop vacuum to blow out the water. Tighten the unions and plug the drains when finished.

8. Remove and clean or discard the filters.

If you plan to store your filters, place them in a chemical bath for maximum protection. Otherwise, you can use a standard filter cleaner or just throw away your old filters (meaning you’ll need new ones when you reopen your tub). Remove the water remaining in the filter.

9. Drain water from jet hoses

If your spa is equipped with jets, you can use a shop vacuum to remove the water from the hoses. Make sure the jets are fully open when doing this. Repeat until all the water is gone.

10. Remove any remaining water with a shop vacuum.

If any water remains in the spa or spa hoses after the above steps, use a shop vacuum to get rid of it. Make sure your tub is completely empty before continuing.

11. Clean the shell and dry the spa.

Now is the perfect time to deep clean your spa. After cleaning, dry your spa completely. You can leave a towel at the bottom of the tub to absorb any water that might get inside during the winter.

12. Add non-toxic antifreeze to the spa (if necessary)

If you have completely drained and dried your spa, this step is not necessary. Consult your owner’s manual to see if you need to add antifreeze. If so, follow the preparation and dilution instructions on the antifreeze bottle and add to the filter and pump discharges according to the instructions in your manual.

13. Clean and secure cover

Use a blanket cleaner, ideally which also provides protection from the sun and the elements, to prevent mildew. When finished, put the cover back on the spa. Secure with straps and locks if necessary.

14. Check the area around your spa

While your spa is now winter-ready, it can still be damaged by falling branches, winter storms, animals, or even ice and snow buildup. Add extra blanket if needed and remove any potentially damaging objects from the area, especially if you won’t be there to check in person during the winter.

When to call a professional

If you are short on time, new to DIY, do not have all the materials, or are unfamiliar with your spa system, we recommend that you bring in a professional to help you winterize. your spa. While winterizing your spa is straightforward, any damage that occurs during or as a result of the process will add up to an expensive bill. Replacing cracked or broken pumps and heaters alone can cost thousands of dollars.

Hiring a professional will ensure that the winterization process is done correctly and that your spa will be ready for you, with no additional complications, any time you want to use it again. Professionals will also have access to supplies and equipment that you may not have and some companies will offer a flat rate service that will again include winterizing your spa. Professional services will generally cost between $ 200 and $ 400.

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