Being Canadian, our winter activities aren’t restricted to skiing, snowboarding, or skating. When the cold weather hits, we also like to barbeque, go hiking, or entertain friends and family in our backyard hot tub. Relaxing in temperature-perfect, bubbling water during a light snowfall is the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon or evening.
However, some hot tub owners prefer to shut their hot tub down for the winter months, due to travel or for other various reasons. The process of shutting a hot tub down for the winter is called “hot tub winterization”.
Many hot tub owners who want to winterize their hot tub take the three-step approach of draining the water, putting on the cover, and making sure the power supply is turned off.
Sounds easy in theory, right? But in practice, not so much. There are some important things you need to think about before attempting to winterize your hot tub on your own instead of calling in a qualified hot tub technician.
Doing it yourself might seem like a low-cost option when you’re considering it. But come springtime, your garden won’t be the only thing blooming: your hot tub repair bill will be as well.
You Can’t Drain All the Water
The most important part of the winterization process is draining the water. Not just the water you see, but even the water you can’t see. There is over 100 feet of pipe in the average hot tub system. These pipes will be holding onto water inside your hot tub that you can’t see, but will certainly turn to ice when the temperature drops.
The scary part is that when the ice expands, it has the strength to break anything. Think about it: ice can break through rocks, mountains, and the hulls of ships. The pipes and the plastic in your hot tub will be no match for ice!
Even scarier is the fact that once the ice melts, you could be left with a large repair bill. Typically, hot tubs that are not correctly winterized incur a minimum of between $1000 and $1500 in repairs. In a worst-case scenario, your hot tub may not be worth fixing, or even fixable at all, which means you’ll have to literally throw out your hot tub and start shopping for a new one.
Every spring, we get dozens of calls from folks who tried to winterize their tub by simply draining the water, only to find leaks from freeze damage awaiting them after the melt. But how could they remove water they didn’t even know was there?
Experienced hot tub technicians know what signs to look for if water is still present in your system, and have the ability to drain all the remaining water from your hot tub to completely clear the plumbing lines. It’s one of the most important reasons to call in the experts.
Hot Tub Covers Aren’t Always Enough
Hot tub covers do a great job to protect your hot tub from falling debris, such as leaves and twigs, and help keep the heat in to make your unit as energy efficient as possible.
But during the winter, using a hot tub cover alone could potentially do more harm than good.
Unbeknownst to many hot tub owners, your hot tub cover will actually let water from rain, freezing rain, or melting snow seep through to your hot tub. During the warmer months, or if you’re using your hot tub through the winter, this isn’t a major threat to your hot tub. But if water gets in after your hot tub has been winterized, that water will freeze, thwarting the purpose of winterizing it in the first place.
To minimize this risk, we recommend covering your hot tub with a tarp or a cover cap. Cover caps are specifically designed to protect winterized hot tubs and help you avoid a rain or snow leak. You can buy them at specialized hot tub stores, or we’ll offer to bring you one if we winterize your hot tub.
Every Hot Tub is Different
We work with every brand and type of hot tub, including Beachcomber hot tubs, and our technicians have serviced hundreds of units. If there’s one thing each type of hot tub has in common is that they can be very unique.
Different hot tubs require their own unique strategy to properly winterize them. Depending on how access to the equipment is set up and where the hot tub pumps are, a different sequential process to drain all the water from the tub must be used.
So you might be familiar with your previous hot tub, or one owned by a friend, but you might find yourself spending hours relearning everything to work on your current unit. And even then – you still might not get all the water out!
Your Manufacturer’s Warranty
Another aspect of winterizing your hot tub on your own is whether you’ll be voiding your manufacturer’s warranty. Some hot tub manufacturers require you have any and all service performed by qualified hot tub technicians to keep your warranty valid. Before you drain that tub for the winter, be sure to read your warranty to see if this applies to you.
But even if there is damage to your hot tub from freezing temperatures, won’t your homeowner’s insurance policy cover the repair costs? Not necessarily. Most policies don’t cover freeze damage to pipes if your hot tub wasn’t properly winterized by professionals, so you’ll have to float the money for this repair bill yourself. It’s a good idea to do your due diligence here too, and call your insurance broker or read your insurance policy for details.
In any case, the cost of a professional hot tub winterization will be much less than the repair bills you could be facing as a result of not having it done properly.
If you’re still thinking of winterizing your hot tub on your own, call our award-winning team for some quick insight into what can go wrong if you don’t do it right. Knowing that your hot tub is winterized properly will feel a lot better than waiting to see if there major repair bill awaits you in the spring.
Since 2004, our award-winning team has been servicing and winterizing hot tubs in Mississauga, Oakville, and the Western Greater Toronto Area. If you have questions about winterizing your hot tub, or need hot tub shopping or maintenance advice, call our hot tub experts at (905) 891-8818, or visit us at 309 Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga. We’re here to help!