Everything you need to know about winterizing your hot tub

A hot tub offers the perfect backyard winter sanctuary. How else can you enjoy the beauty of a snow-filled world in complete warmth and relaxation? Whether your hot tub gets frequent usage during the colder months, or you plan to drain it when the weather starts to cool down it’s time to winterize your hot tub. Taking a little time to follow these simple steps will go a long way in protecting your investment to help you get enjoyment and rejuvenation for years to come.

The following walks through the basic steps of hot tub winterization, but you should always consult the winterizing tips that are detailed in your Caldera Spa owner’s manual.

Keep Your Spa Water Clean

Like any time of year, winter is a time where you’ll want to be mindful of keeping the water clean and well-balanced. Your FreshWater® Salt System is designed to keep your water safe and gentle on the eyes and skin with no harsh odors. Just stick to this basic routine and your hot tub will always be ready when you are to take in those snowy vistas from the comfort of your deck.

1. Adjust your water care based on usage

Keeping the water clean and well-balanced will ensure your Caldera spa is ready to enjoy, whenever the mood strikes. Prepare for the winter months by adjusting your water care. This varies by the type of system you have.

FreshWater® Salt System

The FreshWater Salt System makes winter water maintenance pretty simple. This system sanitizes water by using a disposable cartridge to generate chlorine from salt. These cartridges last four months which means less frequent cartridge changes.

FROG® Water Care Systems

Here’s one clear winter advantage to your FROG @ease In-Line System with SmartChlor® Technology: It keeps the water clean automatically, meaning you’ll spend less time standing out in the cold, fussing over controls, and more time enjoying your soak. Just set the dial on the cartridges, insert them in the spa, and you’re good to go. Set a reminder to replace chlorine cartridges for four weeks, and the mineral cartridges for four months.

2. Rinse off before entering the hot tub

Clean skin is key to maintaining clean spa water. Yes, it’s winter and it’s tempting to slip into the hot tub without showering. However, lotion and soap residues left on the skin, along with any other unwanted substances, can negatively impact water balance. Even if you don’t feel like it, rinse off in the shower; that extra minute will do a lot of good. (Tip: When laundering your swimsuit, try using less laundry detergent followed by a thorough rinse. This will also prevent soap residue from seeping into your spa water.)

3. Drain and refill at the right time

Draining a hot tub can be a challenge in the cold winter months. Depending on your water care system, you might be able to wait longer between draining your hot tub. If you do find that your tub does need a drain and refill, save it for a day when temperatures will be above freezing for several hours after you perform the task. Also, if you live in an area with high calcium hardness in the water (also known as hard water), be sure and use Vanishing Act® calcium remover. This will reduce mineral buildup on hot tub surfaces as well as water lines.

Here are the basics of draining a spa:

  • Use a shop vac to vacuum out all openings and orifices. This removes any remaining water that’s trapped inside.
  • Dry the shell thoroughly with a soft towel.
  • Replace the main drain cap.

If your Hot Tub has the FreshWater® Salt System, your hot tub water can stay clean and fresh for up to a full year*.

*Factors such as bather load and water chemistry can impact water life. When the spa is properly maintained, a 3-pack of cartridges with the FreshWater Salt System will keep water clean and fresh for a full year. Product availability depends on your region. Please check with your local dealer.

Hot Tub Winter Maintenance Tips

To keep your tranquil retreat in good working order, basic maintenance is an important component of winterizing. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Replace worn or damaged hot tub covers

When you’re winterizing your Caldera Spas hot tub, don’t neglect the cover. This does a lot more than keep dirt and debris from getting into the water when you’re not using it.

Hot tub covers are custom fitted and filled with high density insulation, designed to form a tight seal and keep heat from escaping. When the seal and insulation are working as they should, the water maintains its temperature longer and helps you conserve energy.

So, replacing a cracked, torn or damaged cover isn’t just a cosmetic fix. It will keep energy costs low and keep your hot tub from overworking.

2. Keep snow and ice out of your winterized spa

While replacing a worn cover can improve a spa's insulation and keep costs down, there are a few additional things you can do to ensure you’ll keep snow and ice out of your spa and keep your spa is protected all winter long.

  • Close the cover and fasten the tie-downs.
  • Cover the spa cover with plywood. This will evenly distribute the weight of any snow and ice.
  • Then, secure a plastic sheet or tarp over the top.

3. Monitor the temperature

Set a reminder to check the water temperature daily. This will provide peace of mind that everything’s working properly, while giving you time to react should something go wrong.

4. Monitor the water level

The water in your hot tub will evaporate much more quickly during cold, dry weather. Keep an eye on the water level, and make sure it doesn’t fall below the skimmer level. If this happens, the water can’t circulate and won’t be heated.

How to Take Care of Your Spa While On Vacation

If you’re embarking on a winter getaway, make sure your hot tub is still being monitored. Some people ask a friend to stop by on a regular basis. However, a more convenient option is using our Connextion Remote Spa Monitoring Service. This gives you the option to keep an eye on your hot tub using our exclusive mobile monitoring option. If the system detects signs of trouble, like falling temperatures and plunging water levels, you and your Caldera dealer will be notified so your spa can be serviced at the earliest available time.

Even if you do use the service, you may still want to enlist a friend as a backup in certain situations. In the event of a lengthy power outage, for example, it’s worth having a friend you can call who knows how to drain your hot tub and remove water from all pipes and openings.

Need to close up your winter home this year? Be sure to drain the hot tub.

Spas are designed to be used year-round in cold climates. However, if your hot tub is kept at a vacation home and won’t be used during the cold weather months, winterizing your hot tub by removing all water and shutting it down completely is the best way to protect your investment. This should be done before temperatures fall below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Taking time to winterize your hot tub will keep your investment in good working order, and ensure years of backyard enjoyment.

Have more questions about winterizing your Caldera Spa? Contact a dealer.