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Can you use a hot tub in winter? Sure you can. Hot tubs are brilliant all the year round, but we particularly enjoy using a hot tub in winter.  So our experts are going to share with you some their tips and techniques they use for winter hot tubbing. 

You’ll see that for a few dollars and a small investment in time you can enjoy using your hot tub outside all winter long without needing to face huge energy bills at the end of it.

Preparing Your Hot Tub For Winter

WATER CHANGE AND DEEP CLEAN

It’s always good practice to change the water of your hot tub at regular intervals, but many owners do manage to run their hot tub through the summer season without a water change and a deep clean.

If we are thinking about enjoying your tub outside all year round then definitely plan to change the water and perform a deep clean some time in the mid or late fall, before the real cold weather arrives in your state.

Maybe surprisingly many plug and play hot tub owners do actually plan a relocation of their hot tub for the winter and of course that’s the time to do the water change.

LOCATION AND RELOCATION

If you’re not planning to relocate your hot tub for winter then assess its exposure to the elements; in particular the wind. There are plenty of inexpensive methods to erect some kind of wind break around your hot tub.

Think carefully about that, wind is a really important element to consider in your year round hot tubbing strategy. We all know wind multiplies the chill factor, so protecting your hot tub from it in the winter is a no brainer, and a money saver.

If you’re planning to relocate your hot tub for winter then you’ve probably chosen a sheltered spot for it already. If you’re lucky enough to have a choice of locations then again just bear in mind the prevailing wind and block it.

TEMPORARY REFUGE AND WIND BREAK

A number of inflatable hot tub owners have opted for what we consider a really innovative and quite compelling method of protecting their portable spa through the winter. 

A temporary winter hot tub home constructed in minutes !!!  It might look a tad flimsy,  but in fact it’s very tough and sturdy indeed, and its wind cheating shape means it can withstand quite severe weather conditions. We think it’s great.

Alvantor Winter Screen House
1,202 Reviews
Alvantor Winter Screen House
Some innovative inflatable hot tub owners have used the Alvantor Winter Screen House to protect their tubs from the elements. It can withstand quite harsh weather conditions and windy conditions. It comes in three sizes that can easily accommodate most hot tubs with room to spare

Variations of this product idea could conceivably be used by plug and play hot tub owners too.

How To Insulate A Hot Tub For Winter

ADD EXTRA THERMAL INSULATION THIS WINTER

All hot tubs can use a little help to get through the cold winter months.  The quality plug and play hot tubs we recommend already come quite well insulated, but an adding extra thermal protection will almost certainly reduce your energy bills.

Most inflatable hot tubs basically haven’t been manufactured to use outside in winter so they’ve no real defence against the winter.

So no matter what type of hot tub you own a little or a lot of extra thermal insulation is a great idea that will certainly cut energy costs. 

The investment in some insulation materials will quickly be repaid when your electricity bill hits your mail box. Less pump / heater running time also prolongs the life of these core tub components too.

So with a little planning all this is easy enough to implement.  Let’s see how….

THERMAL WRAPPING

Think of your hot tub as a large domestic water heater. This is essentially what it is. Your domestic water heater comes completely surrounded with some form of insulation to retain heat, and that’s what we need to achieve with our hot tub.

So to use a hot tub in the winter we need to insulate it on the bottom, around the sides and ideally add an extra insulation layer to the cover.

The Smart Shield Insulation Blanket
696 Reviews
The Smart Shield Insulation Blanket
There are plenty of thermal blanket options to choose from. This example comes particularly well recommended for general exterior and interior thermal insulation.

The architecture of a plug and play hot tub makes it quite easy to add an extra insulation blanket around the exterior we’re essentially just wrapping up a box.

An inflatable tub is more challenging because the pump and heater combo is generally housed separately from the tub body but with a little ingenuity it can be done.

ADD A SOLAR BLANKET

They’re called solar blankets but they don’t actually require sun to effectively help keeping hot tub water up to temperature.

These blankets float on top of the tub water and act as a direct insulation layer protecting the water from the cold, and they also reduce evaporation.  We always recommend using these blankets all year round but they’re particularly important if you’re planning to use your hot tub in the winter.

Blue Wave 12-mil Solar Blanket
807 Reviews
Blue Wave 12-mil Solar Blanket
A well proven highly recommended product. Easy to cut to size and once installed it will start saving you money on electricity and chemical bills.

Inflatable Hot Tubs In Winter

We need to make it clear that inflatable hot tub manufactures do NOT recommend using their 3 ply fabric products below 40ºF or Drop Stitch fabrics below -10F. So any suggestions that homehottubguide.com gives in this article are simply methods that have been successfully used by some hot tub owners for winter hot tubbing.

We are not recommending any of them and if readers choose to use any of the ideas, techniques or products written about here it is entirely at their own risk.

With a couple of brilliant new exceptions inflatable hot tubs are not rated by the manufacturers for use below 40ºF. There are two main reasons for this. 

INFLATABLE HOT TUB FABRIC

Plastics and PVC becomes brittle at sub zero temperatures. Nearly all inflatable hot tubs are made from a 3-ply laminate, that’s a polyester mesh, sandwiched between a tough PVC sandwich.

So obviously freezing temperatures could make the hot tub carcass susceptible to splitting, especially when entering or exiting the tub.

PUMP AND HEATER

Now here’s the main reason for the 40ºF ambient temperature low limit. It’s pretty simple, if the heater and pump can’t heat the water faster than the ambient temperature is cooling it then we’ve got a cold tub or at best a warmish tub.

Yikes, that’s that’s not what we signed up for !!

So a powerful heater combined lots of extra insulation is what you are looking for if you want to try enjoying your inflatable hot tub in the winter months. Obvious !!, Of course it is.

All hot tubs have heaters, but some are more powerful than others, and a extra insulation is easy enough to add. Pump rate and hot tub water capacity are also factors, but let’s not over complicate things.

SaluSpa Helsinki 6-Person Inflatable Tub

WINTER HOT TUBBING ?

The Brilliant Year Round Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub
1,500 Reviews
The Brilliant Year Round Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub

  • DIMENSIONS: 71 x 71 x 26 inches.
  • AIR JET COUNT: 83 x Bubble jets situated around the internal perimeter of the hot tub. The jets give a really invigorating hot tub experience that many folks enjoy better than fixed hydro jets.
  • WATER CAPACITY: 297 gallons.
  • WATER FLOW: 350 gallons / hour.
  • FILLED WEIGHT: 2548 lbs.
  • HEATER:  The built in freeze shield winterising technology automatically prevents water from reaching  freezing point. It also increases water circulation when temperatures are approaching zero to prevent inner plumbing and pump/heater from being damaged.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Super rigid drop stitch material, long lasting and very durable. Specifically excellent for lower ambient temperatures.
  • COLOUR OPTIONS: Just the strikingly authentic pine board finish.
  • PERSONS: This inflatable hot tub can easily hold six people in comfort.
  • POWER: 110-120V 15a
  • WARRANTY: 1 Year Limited.

What Owners Like

  • Excellent manual and set up instructions. Expect between 30 and 60 minutes from unboxing to being ready for water.
  • Brilliant for taller people, really spacious interior allows an un-cramped soak.
  • Good air jet power gives a relaxing experience rather than a therapeutic hydro jet pummelling.
  • Holds heat well when up to temperature.

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • Some owners were surprised at the amount of time it takes to heat the water.

This is a common owner observation with most inflatable hot tubs, often caused by unrealistic expectations. Always remember these types of tubs hold nearly 300 gallons and are heated via a 120v 15a power source. Expect 1-2º per hour build rate.

Vancouver Inflatable Tub

The Brilliant Vancouver Portable Hot Tub
452 Reviews
The Brilliant Vancouver Portable Hot Tub
  • ATTENTION: Shipping restrictions may apply. This model is not available for sale in the following states: CA, MA, ME, NJ, NV, NY, OR, RI. Residents of these states may select the comparable Bestway model sold with energy-efficient EnergySense thermal cover to avoid cancellation.
  • ENJOY THE ULTIMATE SPA EXPERIENCE: Receive total relaxation when you slip into this soothing Bestway SaluSpa Vancouver AirJet Plus Inflatable Hot Tub after an exhausting day
  • EASY TO OPERATE: The digital control panel allows you to change the water temperature (up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and flow of the jets without stepping out of the spa
  • SUPERIOR STRENGTH & DURABILITY: The inflatable spa walls are made of drop stitch material, providing a strong and durable hard-sided spa
  • SIMPLE SETUP & MAINTENANCE: No extra tools are needed to setup this portable spa. This spa's inflated dimensions are 61 in. x 24 in. and holds 213 gallons of water (80% capacity)

What Owners Like

  • A very quiet hot tub indeed. Just the sound of the bubble jets. Conversation easy when enjoying a soak.
  • Plenty of bubble jet coverage throughout the entire hot tub especially the legs.
  •  Build just takes 45 minutes. Most owners were astonished by how easy it was.
  • Easily hold four people. 

What Owners Don’t Like So Much

  • Minor rain pooling on cover, some owners need to insert an inflatable cushion between water and cover to create a fall,

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