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Should I empty my hot tub in winter?

Posted by Tom Smith

Should I empty my hot tub in winter

It’s certainly getting cold out there, and the thought of getting cosy inside on a dark evening sounds more inviting than ever. When it comes to winter, many people start wondering what to do with their hot tubs. In this blog, we’re answering the question, should I empty my hot tub in winter?

Year-round hot tubs

Hot tubs are an amazing investment for both your home and life. Having a hot tub in the garden immediately provides wow factor and is always a talking point among guests. Hot tubs can also offer many health benefits, including leaving you more relaxed, improving sleep and improving your cardiovascular health.

Another huge advantage of owning a hard-shell hot tub is that it can be used all year round. Hot tubs aren’t just a summer thing, as many people assume. You can step into your hot tub when the sun is shining or even when the frost appears!

Of course, some people have a preference for when they use their hot tub, which can lead to people questioning what to do during the other months of the year.

Should I empty my hot tub in winter?

There are a few situations whereby you would be better off draining your hot tub in the winter months.

Going away for winter

If you’re heading away for a week or so, you might be better off leaving your hot tub full of water and heating it to a slightly lower temperature. This means your hot tub will still be ready and waiting for you to use when you return.

If your holiday is going to be over a longer period, you may consider switching off the tub, but you must empty it properly first. We’ll be letting you know more about this later in the blog.

Not going to use the tub

If you know for sure that you aren’t going to use the hot tub, you may decide to drain it and turn it off.

Deciding that you aren’t going to use the tub is risky because it doesn’t always last. All it takes is for you to see someone else enjoying theirs for you to want to hop into your own. Hot tubs in winter are a true luxury when it’s cold outside, and you can stay warm soaking up the bubbles.

Minimum temperature for a hot tub in winter

When using your hot tub in winter, you should set the temperature to around 38 degrees Celsius.

If you know that you aren’t going to be using your hot tub every day, but you’re keeping it full, you must continue circulating the water. This means having the water heated to a slightly lower temperature than normal.

Setting the temperature too low may lead to your pipes freezing. This can cause a lot of damage and end up costing a lot of money. Lowering the temperature means the hot tub doesn’t need to work as hard, which may reduce your energy bills when not using your hot tub. Find out how much it costs to run a hot tub in winter.

shutting down hot tub for winter

Tips for shutting down hot tub for winter time

It is usually recommended that you leave your hot tub running but at a slightly lower temperature during winter to avoid damaging your tub. However, sometimes it does make sense to turn them off.

If you decide to drain and turn off your hot tub, it is extremely important that you drain all remaining water out of the hot tub and its pipes. We recommend using a professional service for this.

Fully drain your hot tub

You must empty the hot tub completely if you are turning it off. Some find it much easier to use a submersible pump, which we stock on our website. You will also need to flush through all of the pipes and the air blower to ensure that there is no water left inside of them. Every drip of water must be removed. It’s not a good idea to leave even the smallest amount of water in the bottom of the tub.

Remove filters

You should check your filter regularly to ensure it is in good condition. If your filter is ripped or dirty, it will not be able to work efficiently, and this could lead to higher heating costs.

Hot tub filters are easy to clean. All you need to do is rinse off any dirt and debris and leave the filter to dry before replacing it. Of course, if you’re turning your hot tub off, you won’t need to replace it until you turn it back on.

Flush the jets

After you have emptied the hot tub, loosen all of the fittings. Then, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any excess water from the jets.


Once you’re confident that all the water has been removed and there is no risk of frozen pipes over winter, you should clean the tub. Check out our online shop to see a wide range of cleaning products specially designed for hard-shell hot tubs. Emptying your spa is the perfect opportunity to give it a good clean too.

Drain hot tub jets

Looking after a hot tub in winter

Leaving your hot tub full and turned on in winter means that you must ensure it is heated to an appropriate temperature.

Drain your hot tub and refill

As a hot tub owner, you will know how important it is to empty and refill your hot tub multiple times a year. This is so that you can keep the water clean and ensure the water chemistry is correct. You should change your hot tub water every 3 – 4 months; therefore, it tends to run in line with the seasons.

We can understand that you might not want to stand outside in the freezing cold emptying and refilling your hot tub, so some choose to do it a little earlier before winter truly hits. This generally works well and is more pleasant than waiting until it’s freezing outside.

You must keep an eye on the water level throughout the winter. If your water drops below a certain level, there may be frost damage to your tub.

Keep your hot tub spa cover on

You should use a high-quality hot tub cover all year round. Using a cover helps you to maintain a set temperature which can help to lower your hot tub running costs. Make sure that you replace your cover if it becomes ripped or broken in any way.

If you experience snow, try to remove this from the hot tub cover. The weight and extra pressure can lead to the spa cover ripping.

Energy efficiency

Searching for a new hot tub in the current climate means that hot tub energy efficiency is likely a top priority for you. All of our Master Spas™ hot tubs use high-quality Icynene foam insulation, which helps to maintain temperatures and reduces cold spots during the cold weather.

Spa cover energy efficiency

What you choose to do with your hot tub over winter is totally up to you. Some people are not around to use theirs, so it makes more sense to empty and turn off the hot tub. Other owners will leave their hot tubs on, ready to get more use out of them than in the summer months!

We’re always happy to offer advice on hot tubs and swim spas, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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