Can You Use a Hot Tub in Winter (Yes, Find Out How…)

By Dillon •  Updated: 03/29/21 •  14 min read

Can I use a hot tub in winter?

Yes, you can use a hot tub in winter. The spa water should be set to a temperature of 104° F if the air temperature is below freezing. Hot tubs that are well insulated and rated by the manufacturer for winter conditions offer a great luxury to people who use them. Hot tub manufacturers such as Arctic Spas design their hot tubs to withstand the coldest of temperatures.

Check out my list of high-quality hot tub products to help keep your hot tub clean and running great all year long!

I also recommend the ULTCOVER Waterproof Hot Tub Cover.

A few months ago during the winter months, I wondered about using a hot tub in the wintertime. I wanted to know more about how to winterize a hot tub and what temperature is too cold when using one.

This is what I found…

Indeed, winter can be the best season to use your spa. Whether your hot tub is in-ground, outdoor, or indoor, using your hot tub in the winter is a great way to relax. But there’re a few things you need to know about soaking in winter to ensure that everything works out perfectly.

Read on to find everything about how you can use a hot tub in winter.

Let’s get started!

Can You Use a Hot Tub in Winter?

Indeed, winter can be the best season to use your spa. Whether your hot tub is in-ground, outdoor, or indoor, using your hot tub in the winter is a great way to relax. But there’re a few things you need to know about soaking in winter to ensure that everything works out perfectly.

Suppose you have a spa that’s located in an area where temperatures drop below freezing for at least four months out of the year. In that case, it’s important to keep it in good working order to prevent injury to both the inside and outside components.

Because you won’t be able to use your spa throughout the winter months, it is vital to ensure that any routine maintenance such as cleaning and sanitizing is done regularly to protect both the interior and exterior surfaces. It’s also important to pay attention to how your hot tub is heated to prevent low-temperature damage. These are just some of the things you should consider in maintaining a hot tub in winter.

How Cold is Too Cold to Hot Tub?

Often the coldest air temperature a hot tub can handle is -25° Celcius or -13° Fahrenheit. Always check with the hot tub manufacturer to know exactly how cold it is too cold for the spa. If temperatures go below -13° F, it’s best to keep the water temperature at 104° F and have the insulated cover over the hot tub at all times.

Winter remains one of the best hot-tubbing seasons for most people. But owning a hot tub is also associated with specific challenges, including the freezing temperatures experienced during this season. Most people wonder how cold it is too cold to a hot tub.

Check out this great article from Arctic Spas about hot tubs in cold temperatures for more information.

There are no minimum temperatures for hot tubbing. You’d only have to be concerned that your hot tub could freeze. This can usually happen when you experience prolonged power outages. Water in the spa must be kept above freezing temperatures. If not, the components inside the hot tub can be severely damaged. But suppose everything is working correctly and the water remains warm. In that case, you have nothing to worry about hot-tubbing in winter.

Check out our full article on hot tub insulation for more information on how to to keep your hot tub warmer in the winter.

How Do You Maintain a Hot Tub in Winter?

Here are seven tips for maintaining a hot tub in winter:

  1. Using a Well-Insulated Cover
  2. Buying a Thermal Blanket
  3. Maintenance of Water Temperature
  4. Maintain and Clean the Filters
  5. Preventing Pipe Freezing
  6. Maintain Proper Water Levels
  7. Good Overall Maintenance

can you use a hot tub in winter

Using a Well-Insulated Cover

A well-insulated cover is recommended for your hot tub in winter because it will protect the water from brutal temperature, sleet, and ice. The cover protects heat loss from the hot tub water through its surface. Importantly, keeping the ice and snow from collecting on the hot tub cover is discouraged. You should sweep the ice from the cover when it contains a thickness of 6 inches or more using a broom. I discourage the use of a shovel because it can lead to ripping of the hot tub cover.

I recommend the SpaSheild spa foam cover from In the Swim for a proper two-piece foam cover.


foam spa cover

I also recommend the ULTCOVER Waterproof Hot Tub Cover.

Buying a Thermal Blanket

A thermal blanket is usually placed on top of the water surface directly below the cover. The covering provides the hot tub with an extra layer of insulation against the freezing weather. When you use an insulation cover over the winter, the hot tub water will not lose the temperatures quickly. As a result, you will lower extra bills on energy. It will also safeguard the hot tub water against freezing even under frigid temperatures.

I recommend the In The Swim’s Thermal Blanket.

Maintenance of The Water Temperatures

The recommended temperatures of the hot tub water are 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold outside temperatures affect the heating of the hot tub water in winter. However, maintaining the hot tub temperatures at this range will make your hot tub ready for use at any time.

Maintain and Clean the Filters

Maintaining the cleanliness of the filters should be done even in the winter. This should be carried out as a routine practice all year round. You should create and follow a regular schedule for cleaning and maintaining the water and filters. The problems associated with hot tub water can become complicated to solve under the freezing outside temperatures.

Check out our in-depth article on how to clean your hot tub filters for more information.

For proper cleaning of a hot tub filter, I recommend the Lalapool Spa Filter Cleaner to get the job done right.

I also recommend Leisure Time O Filter Cleaner to soak your hot tub filters for the best results.

Preventing Pipe Freezing

The hot tub pipes are at risk of freezing in winter. But you can protect against this problem by making sure you activate the freezing system of the hot tub. Suppose your hot tub does not have a freeze protection system. In that case, you should set the timer to activate every 15 to 20 minutes to facilitate warm water circulation through the pipes. Ensure that your filtration system is running at least three times a day for a total of two hours.

Maintain Proper Water Levels

You should ensure you maintain the recommended water levels in the hot tub in winter. Allowing the water to get too low levels can make the heater and the pump freeze. Consequently, this can lead to permanent damage to the entire system. Keep checking and adding more water as recommended, even when you’re not planning to use the hot tub.

Proactiveness in Overall Maintenance

Proper maintenance of the hot tub is recommended when you plan to close the hot tub over the winter. I usually recommend carrying out an adequate winterization because failing to do so might cause cracking and freezing along the plumbing lines. Consequently, costly repairs not covered in the warranty terms may arise.

Still, you could take specific maintenance measures when planning to use the hot tub over the coming winter. For instance, you can change all the water in the hot tub because it’s usually unpleasant and difficult to do so over the winter.

Before draining your hot tub, I strongly recommend using the hot tub pipe cleaning solution. The product will help in removing any biofilm accumulated in your plumbing fixtures. You can also take your time to clean the hot tub before refilling. Ensure you maintain the cleanliness and the proper chemical balance in the hot tub water over the winter for use. If necessary, you can do partial water changes.

The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for pools, hot tubs, and inflatable spas continuously tests the water and alerts you when to add chemicals with the integrated mobile app.

The mobile app will inform you when to add chemicals such as chlorine, and how much chemical is recommended. This is done by entering your hot tub or pool’s unique dimensions.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Hot Tub in Winter?

The average monthly cost of running a hot tub is usually $30. However, this cost can change to $2 per day or $50 to $60 a month in winter. These numbers will depend on the hot tub size, the insulation, municipal electrical cost, and manufacturer type. 

When buying a hot tub, you should ensure that you purchase a high-end system. This is because it is constructed with high-quality materials that support sufficient heat maintenance. High-quality hot tubs are designed with base pans to facilitate heat insulation. Since the base pans prevent heat loss, less energy will be required to run a hot tub in winter, reducing costs.

I also advise using a thick, durable insulation cover for the hot tub to seal the hot tub’s surface securely against heat loss. The fiberglass insulation and other materials between the hot tub shell affect the system’s ability to retain heat.

The cost of running a hot tub is affected by use frequency, the temperature level of the spa water, and the local area’s electricity cost.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Hot Tub in Winter?

The average temperature for a hot tub in winter is usually 102° F to 104° F—the colder the air temperature, the hotter the water. Never drop the temperature of the hot tub below 90° F in the winter.

I usually recommend keeping the hot tub at a constant temperature. Ensure you understand the temperatures that work out the best for you by making adjustments to different temperatures.

The hot tub temperature in the winter should exceed your body temperature, usually 98. 6 degrees Fahrenheit. I highly discourage keeping the temperatures low in winter because it can make the water freeze when there is an extended power outage.

It’s always good to remember that you hydrate your body correctly when getting into the hot tub. Also, make sure you take 15 to 20 minutes of soaking because prolonging the bath can be dangerous.

Should I Drain My Hot Tub for The Winter?

Draining your hot tub in winter is okay. It is a recommended process when you will not be using the hot tub in winter. You can still drain the hot tub if you will be using it in the winter for cleaning and refilling it with fresh water. I usually recommend creating a schedule for regularly changing the hot tub water.

You should set the frequency of changing the hot tub water from the use frequency, the effectiveness with which you maintain the chemical balance, and the number of people who use the hot tub.

When you’re planning to turn the power off for the hot tub, I highly recommend draining it completely. However, there’s no problem if you allow the hot tub to run throughout the winter season. If there’s a prolonged power outage, possible freezing of the hot tub’ components may occur. But be ready for a slight increase in the power bill.

How Do You Winterize a Hot Tub?

Steps to Winterize a Hot Tub:

  1. Turn off the power
  2. Drain the hot tub
  3. Remove the filters
  4. Clearing the hot tub pipes
  5. Clean and dry the hot tub
  6. Use a well-insulated cover

Suppose you plan on draining your spa for the winter. In that case, I usually recommend winterizing the hot tub to avoid damaging the hot tub’s components. The freezing temperatures can affect the plumbing lines and other critical parts of the hot tub. When you winterize the hot tub, you will be protecting your investment. You will also save on the possible maintenance costs while prolonging the product’s service life.

If you are concerned about leaving a hot tub empty during the winter months, check out our full article on the subject for more information.

Tools and Equipment

Step 1: Turning Off the Power

You should turn off the power of your hot tub at the circuit breaker. Ensure that you cut off the power entirely for safety during the next steps of winterization.

Step 2: Draining the Hot Tub

Start the draining process by removing the drain cap. Then attach the garden hose to the drainage valve, making sure that the other part is the right place where you can drain the hot tub’s water. Ensure that the drainage area can accommodate more than 400 gallons of water because this is the amount you will be draining from your hot tub. Select a drainage spot that aligns with your local municipal laws. A pump can be used to help you speed the process of draining your hot tub water.

Check out our full article on how to drain a hot tub for more information.

Step 3: Remove The Filters

You should remove the filters from the hot tub for cleaning and storage. You can clean the filters by leaving them in a chemical soak for about 24 hours. If you notice any water after removing the filters, use the pump to remove it.

Step 4: Clearing the Pipes

You should clear water in the lines to prevent damaging your hot tub by freezing and cracking. I recommend using a shop vac for blowing the pipes to remove the water altogether.

Step 5: Clearing the Pipes

You should clear water in the lines to prevent damaging your hot tub by freezing and cracking. I recommend using a shop vac for blowing the pipes to remove the water altogether.

Step 6: Clean and Dry the Hot Tub

After removing water from the hot tub, it’s now time to clean the shell to perfection. I advise using a sponge or a towel with the cleaning products on the shell—clean around the jets and every other area to your level best.

Check out our in-depth article on how to clean a hot tub for more information.

Step 7: Use a Well-Insulated Cover

Clean the hot tub cover before spreading it on the top. Use the right cover cleaners that have protectants. Also, ensure that the cover is dry before placing it in the hot tub. More so, seal it properly on your hot tub.

Can You Use a Hot Tub in Winter: Conclusion

can you use a hot tub in winter

Can you use a hot tub in winter? Yes, you can! However, you must maintain the hot tub for optimum performance and prevent damage to the hot tub amid the freezing weather.

The cost of running a hot tub in winter is more than $30 a month because of the high energy consumption in maintaining the hot tub temperatures. I have seen that you can keep the hot tub temperatures at 104° F, avoiding below 90° F, because these levels could be damaging.

When winterizing your hot tub, drain, clean, dry, and cover the hot tub professionally to prolong its life. This will help you avoid damaging its components.

Check out this great article from Pioneer Family Pools about winterizing a hot tub for more information.

I hope you found this article on using a hot tub in winter helpful.

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Dillon

I'm Dillon, creator of SpaToolKit.com. During the day I'm a software developer for an engineering company. At night I enjoy sitting in my hot tub and relaxing. My hope is that Spa Tool Kit will be a place where you can find the best information on hot tubs, spa equipment, setups, parts, and accessories. Let's get started!