Jan 04
tips for winter hot tub operation

5 Tips For Winter Hot Tub Operation

5 Tips For Winter Hot Tub Operation

Hope you had a happy New Year!

Just wanted to shoot out a quick post regarding winter storm hot tub care. We are getting a HUGE New Year’s blizzard here in Massachusetts and New Hampshire as I write this blog, so it felt like good timing.

First off, your spa is built for this and is designed to operate in extreme cold and hold onto its heat.

However there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1. Please keep an eye on the snow build up on your cover

Your cover is meant to insulate and hold in heat, not carry a snow load. I would say 4″ max, especially if we get any heavy wet snow.

Make sure you use a brush  or a broom, NOT A SHOVEL to clear the snow off your cover.  If you pierce a hole in the cover it will suck up moisture and get extremely heavy and lose its insulation value.

Most of the spas we sell use a 2lb density foam core cover, which is the best insulation value you can get in a foam cover. However some entry level or mid level spas use a 1lb or 1.5lb density foam cover.

These covers need to be watched even more closely for snow load.

That is is why whenever I sell a replacement spa cover I always quote the 2lb density foam. Even to customers who may have purchased a spa from me that came with a 1.5lb density cover. It is just the right choice for our New England climate.

One side note – If you don’t want to EVER have to worry about snow on your hot tub cover I urge you to check out the Leisure Concepts SmartTop Covers.

These things are built tough and can handle a ton of weight, you could probably have 10 people STANDING on your hot tub cover and it would not flinch.

These systems come with different types of built in cover lifters as well to make opening and closing very easy.

They are not cheap but knowing you have to replace a regular spa cover every 3 to 5 years, and the SmartTop will last 10 to 15, it basically pays for itself.

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2. If you lose power, DON’T PANIC . Your spa is well insulated and will retain its heat for a long time without running. Just think your spa is at 102 or 104, will take a long time for that to freeze solid.  If you don’t open the cover and just let it be it can sit for days without needing to worry.

3. When the power comes back on, do not assume your hot tub breaker turned back on as well. Go out and check that the spa is in fact on and if not go over the the power disconnect and turn it on and make sure it starts up ok.

4. Make sure you are not running your spa in economy or REST mode. These types of running modes are great for the shoulder seasons but should not be used during the dead of winter.


Always run your spa in Standard or READY mode during the winter months.


Well, economy modes only run the spa and heat the spa during filter cycles, this means your spa will not work to maintain temperature. If you run 2 1 hour filter cycles a day that means your heater will only run 2 hours  a day and then be off for 18 hours during the day.

This type of operation will lead to a drop of a few degrees in temperature. So if we have a storm and do lose power, you are giving the cold a 5 to 10 degree head start.

AND the worst part is your spa may no be ready to use right when you want it, you will have to go out an hour or 2 before and turn up the heat. Not a really efficient way to run the spa in this weather.

4. Finally this is the most important thing to do during a winter storm…….


There is NO better time to enjoy your spa then right now with the snow falling on your head, get out there have some fun, grab a drink and enjoy the outdoors!

Enjoy your hot tub, and if you have questions about winter spa operation please leave a comment below and I will try to answer as soon as possible.

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  1. Doug Righter
    January 21, 2018 at 8:38 am · Reply

    Jay…We are considering buying a free flow watkins model. Here where we live in Missouri, it can often get well below freezing, and I’m worried about possible damage due to power loss. Do these cheaper models have less resiliency during power loss? I also wondered about the pump and other components during a powe loss. Thank you for your help. Doug

  2. JayB
    January 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm · Reply

    Hi Doug,

    The Freeflow models are fully foam insulated just like acrylic spas. The one thing to consider however is when running a spa 110v it will not run the heater and the jets on HIGH SPEED at the same time.

    So when you are using your spa in the winter, you will lose heat a lot quicker than a 220v model. The nice thing is you can easily convert the Freeflow spas to 220v.

    If you lose power you have a couple days before you have to start worrying. Just leave the cover on tight and check it every 24 hours.

    Freeflow is a great rotomold line with high end components under the hood. You are saving base on the manufacturing process.

    good luck and enjoy you new spa!

  3. Tyler Johnson
    February 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm · Reply

    That’s good that the hot tub would keep its heat for a long time without any power. I’m glad that it wouldn’t freeze solid since I feel like it would take all summer to melt that thing. I’ll have to make sure that I try and keep the power going to it, but I’m glad that it won’t freeze right away if I do get one.

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