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How to Winterize

Winterize Your Hot Tub in Five Easy Steps

The leaves are changing. The temperatures are dropping. Football is on TV, and the unmistakable scent of pumpkin spice is wafting through the air. There’s no doubt about it -- fall is here. And while there’s a lot to love about the transitional time between summer vacation and the busy holiday season, for some hot tub owners, fall means one thing: Winterizing.

First things first: You may not need to winterize your hot tub at all. It all depends on how much you plan to use your hot tub once the cold weather sets in. To some spa owners, there’s nothing better than a long soak in a hot tub, followed by a refreshing blast of winter air after. But not everyone feels that way, of course -- and there are plenty of hot tub owners who close down their spas until spring.

Shutting things down for the winter? Here are five easy steps to winterizing your hot tub.

Step 1: Drain your hot tub.

You should follow the normal procedure for draining your hot tub (remember, a good hot tub maintenance includes draining and refilling approximately every three months):

  • Turn on the jets and add a flushing product to remove residue and mineral deposits from the pipes and hoses.
  • Turn off all the power to your hot tub.
  • Drain your hot tub completely. You can use a hose, or -- if you want something faster -- you can use a pump or a siphon.
  • Remove the filter. If it’s more than a year old, now’s a good time to toss it -- you can replace it in the spring. If your filter is on the newer side, give it a good, thorough scrub, dry it, and store it in a secure, dry place for the winter.
As temperatures drop, energy costs rise

On the fence about whether to keep your hot tub up and running in the winter? Here’s one thing to consider: The colder it is outside, the longer it’ll take for things to heat up in your spa -- and that means you’ll use more electricity.

Step 2: Clean it.

Once your spa is empty, give it a good cleaning to remove any dirt, debris, or film. Check your owner’s manual and use the product or cleaning solution that’s recommended for your hot tub. And don’t forget to clean your hot tub cover, too!

Step 3: Make sure it’s completely dry.

As the temperatures continue to drop, any water left in the pipes can freeze, causing extensive -- and costly -- damage. Even a small amount of leftover water can cause huge problems in the form of ice, broken pipes, and more. To protect your hot tub, you’ll want to make sure that every component is 100% dry: Remove all of the hoses and fittings so any remaining water can run out or evaporate, and use a wet/dry vac to blow any excess water out of the jets.

Step 4: Check the cabinet.

If you’ve got an above-ground hot tub, it’s a good idea to do a quick inspection of your cabinet: Take a look at all panels and fittings, tighten loose screws, and secure latches and handles. In addition to protecting your hot tub from the elements, this will also help keep out unwanted visitors (think squirrels, mice, and other critters) that might be looking for a winter home.

Step 5: Cover it.

Once your hot tub is empty, clean, and completely dry, it’s time to put the cover on. Before you do, take a few minutes to make sure it’s in top condition. A cover with cracks, holes, and wear may not provide the protection your hot tub needs to survive the winter.

Considering a new cover? Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking out a replacement:

  • If you live in a place that’s prone to winter storms, consider purchasing straps that will you’re your cover stay put in high winds.
  • Make sure your cover is thick enough: If you typically get a lot of snow, you’ll want a cover that’s five or six inches thick. If snow is rare, you can opt for something thinner.
  • A polyethylene cover cap -- which fits over your actual hot tub cover -- offers extra protection from the elements and will extend the life of your hot tub cover.
  • If blizzards and high winds are a concern, add straps to keep your hot tub cover locked down.

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