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Can You Use an Inground Hot Tub in the Winter?

You can buy a hot tub, off the shelf and install it on your patio or swimming pool deck. Or you can go the extra mile and have a custom designed inground hot tub. Soaking in a hot tub is a great joy, an antidote to sore muscles. But can you use an inground hot tub in the winter?

You can certainly use an inground hot tub in the winter. Prepare the hot tub for winter use and take a few safety precautions, and you are set to have a blissful soak.

Using Inground Hot Tub in Winter

It is a lot easier to maintain and use an inground hot tub during winter than a swimming pool, mainly due to its smaller size. An average family sized swimming pool may contain 30,000 gallons of water, but a hot tub for 6-8 persons will have around 500 gallons.

While you almost never drain a swimming pool, you can drain and clean up an inground hot tub quite easily, if required. The quantity of sanitizing chemicals required to maintain a hot tub is a lot less than that required for a pool.

Having said that, you still need to make preparations and take adequate precautions to maximize the benefits when you use your inground hot tub during winter.

Here are my 7 Super Helpful Tips:

  1. Prepare Your Inground Hot Tub For Winter Use
  2. Cover Your Inground Hot Tub
  3. Hook the Backup Generator to the Hot Tub
  4. Remove Snow Gently
  5. Always Use Good Judgment
  6. Come Back to a Warm Room
  7. Set the Right Hot Tub Temperature

1. Prepare Your Inground Hot Tub For Winter Use

If you have no plans to use your inground hot tub during winter then it is best to winterize it. However, if you plan to use the inground hot tub, quite frequently during winter, then you must prepare it.

You should take the following steps before winter sets in:

  • Drain the water completely from the hot tub 
  • Clean the hot tub thoroughly 
  • Fill up the hot tub with fresh water
  • Add the required dose of sanitizing chemicals
  • Test run the hot tub to ensure all parts are working

2. Cover Your Inground Hot Tub

While above ground hot tubs usually come with a cover, this may not be the case with an inground custom designed hot tub. Without a cover the inground hot tub is exposed to the harsh winter weather. 

Snowfall can be quite damaging to an inground hot tub. You most certainly have to have an inground hot tub cover. And a sturdy one at that! A hot tub cover that may seem adequate in summer, will likely fail under the weight of heavy snow in winter.

It is worth considering installing a hard top gazebo over your inground hot tub to prevent snow from falling directly into it. A gazebo will also make your hot tub experience much more enjoyable.

You can also reduce the heat loss from the inground hot tub during winter by using a floating thermal blanket such as that from Spa Depot.

3. Hook the Backup Generator to the Hot Tub

Unless you are super confident that there will never be a power outage, a backup generator is essential for safety. The role of a backup generator becomes even more important when the weather outside is freezing cold.

The backup generator should be able to provide power to the HVAC, garage doors and other critical equipment in the house. 

An inground hot tub may not be considered as critical equipment but you do need to make sure that the water pipes do not freeze. A winter freeze damage can cost you a whole lot of money in repairs and replacements.

So make sure that your backup generator is hooked to the inground hot tub too!

4. Remove Snow Gently

It is natural to expect snow to pile up on the hot tub cover during freezing winters. Remove the snow by using a long handled bristle broom. Do not use a sharp metallic object such as a garden shovel.

Use winter gloves for lifting up the inground hot tub cover. You should not be touching very cold metal with bare hands.

In case you’ll find ice or snow within the hot tub, then remove it with a plastic shovel (not a sharp metal shovel).

5. Always Use Good Judgment

When the weather is freezing outside, you really enjoy the warmth of the hot tub, while you are in it. You may even forget that it is cold outside. But you should never do that. Always be aware of the weather outside!

Once you are out of the hot tub, make sure that you get into a warm absorbing bathrobe immediately. Do not spoil the pleasure of soaking in a hot tub by freezing, once you’re out of it. 

At the very least, stepping out in the cold and making a dash for the house is quite unpleasant. Worse, you run the risk of catching a cold and falling sick. You certainly don’t want that!

This is where a gazebo is quite helpful too. Add hooks and shelves so that you can hang your towels & bathrobes and keep your slippers or shoes there.

6. Come Back to a Warm Room

Sitting in the hot tub warms up your body. You don’t want to shock it by exposing it too much to the cold outside. Make sure that when you get back to the house your room is  warm and cozy.

Hot tubs do have some chemicals, so it is best to take a shower after soaking in the hot tub. The shower will remove chlorine from your body & hair. A hot shower will get you all cleaned up and prepare your body for room temperature.

Keep your bedroom heated too. Hot tub to a hot shower to a warm bed should be a smooth transition. Do this and your soak in the inground hot tub in winter will be blissful. 

7. Set the Right Hot Tub Temperature

The temperature at which you set the hot tub is very important in any weather. In winter it becomes critical. The ideal temperature setting for the hot tub in winter is 98°-100° F.

To be honest, you will get an initial sting when you enter the hot tub set at this temperature. That’s OK. It is natural and you should be prepared for it.

However, do not set the temperature at higher than 100° F. You may be tempted to do so if it is really cold outside. This comes at the risk of inducing you into sleep while in the hot tub. 

Falling asleep in a hot tub can be dangerous. There have been cases of people falling asleep and drowning in the hot tub.

Setting the temperature too low will not let you enjoy the benefits of a hot tub. In fact, going lower than 80° F can actually be risky. Your body will get rapidly cold when you step out of the lukewarm hot tub.

Being wet and exposed in harsh winter is not just unpleasant, it is risky too. So be very careful about the temperature setting of the hot tub.

NOTE: Tempting as it may be, do not stay too long in the hot tub in winter. For healthy adults 100° F & 15 mts should be just right!

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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