For many hot tub owners there is nothing better than getting into a warm hot tub on a cold winter nights. Winter also offers some unique challenges, however. With that in mind, here is a list of winter hot tub tips to help you successfully navigate these challenges and enjoy your winter hot tubbing experience to the fullest!

Wear A Toque

Our first winter hot tub tip is also the simplest; wear a toque when you use the hot tub in below-freezing temperatures. Wearing a toque helps your body regulate its temperature better and keeps long hair dry; leaving you comfortably warm while you enjoy all the benefits of your hot tub!

Wear Sandals Or Slippers

Wearing sandals (or slippers) not only helps to keep your feet warm as you move from your house to your hot tub, it also stops you from tracking dirt and debris into the water! You can also put them on in the hot tub so you spend less time in the cold when you’re ready to go inside!

Get Some Heated Mats

We offer customizable heated mats that keep the pathways, stairways and steps leading to your hot tub warm and clear of snow and ice buildup. No more shovelling, salting or slipping on the way to your hot tub. Simply turn them on 20 minutes before you plan on using your hot tub and let them take care of the rest!

Make Sure That Your Hot Tub Cover Is In Good Shape

Worn out, inefficient hot tub covers can cost you hundreds of dollars in added energy costs over the course of a single winter. As winter approaches, you therefore want to make sure that your cover is in good shape. If your cover is starting to cup in the centre (and therefore isn’t able to form a good seal around the edge of the hot tub) or is simply waterlogged and heavy, you should really consider replacing it before the winter comes.

Lock Your Hot Tub Cover

Another thing that is much more important in the winter is making sure that you lock your hot tub cover when the hot tub isn’t being used.

When locked, the locking straps on your hot tub cover pull down on the edges of the cover. The pressure from this forms a tighter seal around the edge of the hot tub, keeping more heat in and preventing moisture from escaping. Without the straps being locked, the edges of the hot tub cover tend to lift off of the edge of the hot tub; allowing heat to escape.

If your cover’s locking clips are broken, replacement clips can be bought from your local hot tub retailer.

Add A Floating Thermal Blanket

Buying a floating thermal blanket is another way to ensure a lower monthly energy bill over the winter months. These “blankets” are simply thin sheets of waterproof insulation that float on the surface of the water.

Most of the heat loss in a hot tub is lost through the cover (even if the cover is relatively new). By adding a 2nd layer of insulation to between the water and the cover, you can dramatically reduce this heat loss and decrease your monthly energy bill.

Keep Jets and Waterfall Valves Open

With most modern hot tubs there is little danger of the plumbing lines freezing during the winter. That said, some small lines – like those that supply water to your jets or waterfalls – do still run the risk of freezing in some hot tubs.

The problem arises if these lines are kept closed for extended periods of time. If the line is closed, warm water is no longer allowed to move through it. This means that the water in the line will continue to get colder and colder until it eventually freezes.

To prevent these small pipes from freezing up, you’ll want to make sure that you have all jet and waterfall valves open when you’re done using your hot tub. This allows new, heated water to flow through the pipes and all but eliminates the chances of your pipes freezing.

Read more: What to do if your hot tub is leaking.

Turn Air Controls Off

The air controls in your hot tub work by taking air from inside the hot tub cabinet and forcing it through the jets. While this added air makes for a better massage, it can also increase your heating costs.

As you can imagine, the air in the cabinet of a hot tub is quite a bit cooler than the water in the hot tub; especially in the winter. If left open, the air added by the jets slowly cools the water, causing your heater to work harder to maintain your set temperature.

Not only that, the added air can also slightly push up on the bottom of the hot tub cover, breaking the seal and allowing more heat to escape, costing you even more money!

Don’t Change Your Water If It Is Very Cold Outside

Conventional wisdom says that you should change your hot tub water every 3-4 months. Depending on the timing of these water changes, however, this could mean having to change your water in the dead of winter.

While having fresh water does make for a more enjoyable hot tub experience, changing your water in -20C weather is never a good idea. When it is that cold, it doesn’t take long for water to freeze. No matter how hard you try, you will never completely remove all of the water from your hot tub. If you’re not quick, you run the risk of the remaining water freezing solid and potentially damaging the hot tub.

If you absolutely need to change the water, do so in small batches. Remove 6″-12″ of water at a time; refilling – and reheating – the water in between these partial drains. While this won’t get you the same results as completely draining and refilling the hot tub, it will get you by until the weather starts to warm up.

Don’t Use Snow To Refill Your Hot Tub

While we’re on the subject of refilling hot tubs; we also don’t recommend using snow to refill your hot tub.

While this may seem like a good idea at first, the reality is that melted snow doesn’t make good hot tub water. First off, the water balance of snow is completely wrong, meaning that you will be constantly adding balancing chemicals to the water. Not only that, snow usually also contains a lot of organic impurities which can eat away at your sanitizer and cause the water to go cloudy.

To refill your hot tub in winter we recommend either using a garden hose connected to a compatible faucet inside the house or filling an 18-litre bucket using that same inside faucet. No matter which method you use, we recommend using hot water to fill the tub. If you’re using a hose don’t forget to drain it before storing it.

Don’t Use A Shovel To Remove Snow From Your Cover

Heavy snow loads on a hot tub cover are never a good thing. Over time that added weight can begin to “cup” the cover; pushing down the centre of the cover and lifting up its edges.

When removing the snow from your hot tub cover, avoid using sharp tools like metal or hard plastic snow shovels. If you’re not careful, these shovels can dig into the cover, ripping through the vapour barrier and causing the hot tub cover to quickly take on water. Not only will this dramatically reduce the lifespan of the hot tub cover, it also dramatically reduces its ability to insulate.

Instead we recommend using either a broom or a brush (like the one that you use to clean your car) or a soft edge plastic shovel to clear snow off of your hot tub.

Get A Cover Cap

Brooms or brushes won’t remove built up ice on your cover. If there is an ice storm or freezing rain coming, the best thing to do cover the top of the hot tub with a cover cap. Cover caps are fitted woven polyethylene covers that fit over your existing hot tub cover. Once the weather clears up a bit, remove cover cap and the ice will come with it (without damaging your cover)!

The durable construction of cover caps also partially protects the cover from falling debris like small tree branches or icicles that commonly fall on hot tubs over the course of the winter.

Don’t Forget About Your Hot Tub

Our last winter hot tub tip is also the most crucial; don’t forget about your hot tub.

For most hot tub owners, there are times in the year when you’re just too busy to use your hot tub. While there is nothing wrong with this, you don’t want this lack of use to turn into a lack of maintenance. There are a few reasons why you don’t want to neglect your hot tub; the biggest being the amount of time and effort required to fix a hot tub once it develops water quality issues.

Even if you’re not using the hot tub, you should still try to get out at least once a week to check on it and add your maintenance chemicals. Doing this can save you a massive headache later and makes sure that your hot tub is ready to use when you’re ready to start using it again.

Wrapping Up

While hot tubbing in the winter is great, the cold weather also brings some unique challenges to hot tub owners. Following these winter hot tub tips will allow you to avoid these challenges and focus on enjoying your hot tub!

Orleans Hot Tubs & Pools

We specialize in the sale of Hydropool hot tubs & swim spas for Central/East Ottawa, specifically Orléans and parts of Eastern Ontario. We carry a variety of water care products and specialize in water testing.


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860 Taylor Creek Drive
Orleans, ON
K4A 0Z9

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(613) 590-2400

(289) 216-4782 (text only)