How to Winterize Your Outdoor Hot Tub

If you’ve never experienced the joy of lounging in a hot tub during the Colorado winter, surrounded by mounds of snow while soaking in the soothing, bubbling heat, then you have not lived my friend. Owning a hot tub in Colorado can be one of the most luxurious experiences when the weather turns frigid, and it’s an opportunity you should certainly consider investing in. 

However, not everyone is interested in braving the sub-zero temperatures, and would rather take the necessary steps to winterize their hot tub for the season and fire it up again in the spring — this is totally understandable! Our team at Mountain Mist Pool and Spa want to make sure that all of our customers are equipped with the knowledge of how to properly take care of their outdoor spa systems. With that in mind, here are the necessary steps you should take when it’s time to wrap up your hot tub for the cold season.

Are You Sure You Want to Winterize?

We’d be remiss if we didn’t take one more stab at it — are you positive you want to winterize your hot tub? If you’ve never experienced the bliss of a midwinter hot tub soak, you’re missing out. If you make the decision to invest in your comfort this winter, it’s recommended that you keep your hot tub running constantly and filled with hot water, maintaining your current testing and treating cycle. There are several energy-efficient models available that require minimal electricity to maintain their heat levels, so in the long run, the money you’d save by fully winterizing may be marginal compared to simply keeping the party going.

Preparing Your Hot Tub for Winterization

If you’ve decided after all to go ahead with winterization, it’s completely understandable, especially if you’re planning on extended vacations or long periods of time away from home. Winterization isn’t a job that you should save until the snowflakes start falling, however. We recommend planning ahead and getting an early start if you choose winterization. Look at the weather forecast and pick a nice day with temperatures above freezing to avoid any water freezing while in the draining process.

To most effectively winterize your hot tub, there are a few pieces of equipment that you’ll need:

  • Wet/dry vacuum cleaner for removing water from as many places as possible
  • Standard garden hose to assist in draining
  • Absorbent towels to soak up any remaining standing water
  • Propylene glycol antifreeze (NEVER ethylene glycol, which is toxic)
  • Funnel for pouring antifreeze into small openings


Draining Your Hot Tub

Here are the four steps to draining your hot tub:

  1. Turn off the electrical power supply to your hot tub through your unit’s electrical panel. If you’re unsure of how to do this, we recommend consulting your owner’s manual or contacting one of the professionals here at Mountain Mist Pool & Spa or Bear Naked Hot Tub Company to assist you. 
  2. If you happen to own a sump pump, the next step will be very simple, as it just involves immersing the pump and removing the hot tub’s water. Otherwise, you can use a standard garden hose attached to the drain valve nozzle and let gravity do its thing while you go take a break. When the majority of the water has drained, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to finish up any remaining standing water in your hot tub.
  3. Remove all of your filters, take the time to clean them, and store them in a warm, dry place.
  4. Even when your hot tub looks completely drained of water, it’s possible that there are several gallons still hiding in the inner workings of the system. Purge as much of this water as you can with your wet/dry vacuum cleaner through the jets, filter access, and any other opening where water could remain hidden. Your owner’s manual may have specific instructions for this step as well.

Cleaning Your Hot Tub

Once the water is removed from your spa system, the job is only half done. To maintain the health of your system, continue the whole winterization process with these next crucial steps:

  1. Ensure that the drainage cap is back on the valve securely.
  2. Using a handy absorbent towel, soak up any remaining water from the hot tub interior.
  3. Using a funnel, pour a small amount of non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze into your hot tub’s jets, filter standpipes, and any other nooks and crannies where water could collect and freeze.
  4. Secure your hot tub cover over your spa, ensuring that it’s locked in place. If you have it available, use plywood boards and a plastic tarp to cover your whole system to prevent it from being damaged by the several inches of snowfall that Colorado experiences on a regular basis. 

Special Note

Before you use your hot tub again in the spring, you’ll need to remember to remove or neutralize the antifreeze in the system. To do this, fill your hot tub as usual and add double the amount of chlorine, which will neutralize the antifreeze. Once this is done, drain and refill your spa again, and finally fit your filter cartridges back into place. Again, the professions at Mountain Mist Pool & Spa can assist you with this process if you’re unsure.

Your Northern Colorado Hot Tub Resource

We hope that you choose to enjoy your outdoor hot tub year-round, even during the coldest winter days that Colorado throws our way. Imagine how jealous your neighbors will be when they see you relaxing in a steamy spa as the temperatures plummet! But for every hot tub owner, seasonal or year-round, we want to be the company you trust with all of your spa needs. Everyone’s preferences are different, and we want to help you by answering all of your hot tub winterization questions. Contact our professionals or visit our locations in Loveland (Bear Naked Hot Tub Co.) and Longmont (Mountain Mist Pool & Spa) today, and prepare to experience the joy of winter hot tubbing this year. 


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