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Keeping an Eye on your Hot Tub in Winter

Once winter has arrived, there is always the concern that a spa that has stopped running can be damaged by freezing. A frozen hot tub is among the hardest things for it to be a one visit repair. Once a spa or hot tub has frozen, to repair in cold weather one must first thaw the piping on the hot tub, fix or repair anything that is obviously broken or freeze damaged, fill the tub, and try to run it to see if there is other damage that may not be obvious on a visual inspection. Since parts and labor for repair vary greatly, due to the severity of the damage and accessibility for repair, repairs such as these are impossible to estimate.

The best protection against a freeze damaged hot tub is to maintain the spa at a usable temperature (usually 97 – 104 degrees) at all times during cold weather. If not in use, it should still be checked regularly (daily) for proper chemical balance and to make sure it is still running and heating normally. If you are using and/or checking the spa regularly, you will notice any problems immediately and can, hopefully, schedule repair service before the spa would ever have a chance to cool off and, subsequently, “snowball” what could be a simple problem into a catastrophic repair bill.

Avoid the temptation to “save money” by turning down the temperature too low during cold weather. In our service area, if your hot tub is around 100 degrees and something should fail mechanically or the power goes out in winter weather, the mass of heated water in your insulated, properly covered hot tub can radiate enough heat to usually help prevent freeze problems for at least 24 hours. If you are keeping the spa cooler than that and something happens or the power goes out, you usually do not have long until something (usually the stainless steel heater housing) freezes and develops an ice blockage. Once frozen, even if the power comes back on, the spa cannot circulate and thus cannot heat. All of a sudden, many months or even years of “energy savings” can be quickly undone.

We hope you are among those that love their outdoor hot tub and use it regularly year round, but if you find that you no longer have the gumption to go out and use the spa in winter, you should consider having technicians come out in the late fall or pre-winter to winterize your spa and again in the early pre-spring to reassemble it and give it a proper start up for use in the warmer weather. Both of these services can usually be performed within the bounds of approx. 1-2 hour service call with few, if any, additional materials. Once winterized, you do not have to worry about checking the spa and taking a chance of damage from weather, power outages, equipment failure, improper water chemistry, and/or neglect.


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