When and how to winterize your spa

Unlike pool winterization, which is imperative, outdoor spa winterization is less frequent, as many of you appreciate its benefits in a snowy setting! Keeping the water at an ideal temperature in winter means your spa consumes more energy, so watch out for an increase in your electricity bill! Use a winter cover to maintain water temperature.

If you're not going to be using your spa for several weeks, winterizing is recommended to preserve your equipment for the long term, and to maintain water quality when you start up again. Here are our practical tips for protecting your hard or inflatable spa from freezing.

The importance of wintering for water quality

Winterizing your spa is necessary if you use it less frequently or in the event of prolonged frost. Indeed, in regions where frosts are frequent, the cold can damage the tank or the hydraulic circuit. In this case, winterizing an outdoor spa is strongly recommended.

Winterizing your hot tube can take a few hours, as it involves thoroughly cleaning your pool and equipment, and storing the equipment for the winter in the right conditions. These steps are important because they determine the quality of the water for the next season, and avoid the use of maintenance products when the spa is restarted. 

What type of winterization to choose for what type of spa?

If you have an embedded or hard-shell spa you can choose to winterize your outdoor spa in passive or active mode.

Active winterization

This process involves keeping your outdoor spa filled with water, while maintaining a minimum level of operation. To do this, you'll need to activate your spa's filtration regularly, and heat the water from time to time to keep it at around 15 degrees Celsius, especially in the event of frost to prevent damage to your equipment. Finally, you'll need to check and maintain the pH level regularly throughout the winter. In addition, there are special winterizing products for spas that protect against frost and help maintain water quality. The use of a thermal cover is recommended to maintain water temperature and insulate it from the cold.

Passive winterization

If winters are particularly severe in your area, with repeated freezing episodes, or if you're away from home without being able to keep your spa running at a minimum, we recommend shutting down your spa after draining all the water.

If you have an inflatable hot tub, go to the dedicated paragraph below.

Winterize your outdoor hot tub in active mode

  • The right time from early to late October depending on the temperatures in your area.
  • Draining: Start by draining the water from your spa completely.
  • Cleaning: apply the quarterly cleaning procedure (tank, lid and water line) without forgetting to clean the filter and change the cartridge if needed.
  • Add water: Refill your spa with water (about 2/3 full).
  • Measure pH : it should be between 7.2 and 7.9 .All about pH on a spa
  • Water temperature: raise the water temperature to 35°C
  • Disinfection: add your usual disinfectant (salt, bromine, chlorine,...)
  • Filtration: activate filtration for 8 hours.
  • Winterization product: pour the product according to the manufacturer's directions directly into the water to prevent scaling, algae and other bacteria.
  • Set the filtration time to one hour per day.
  • Cover your spa with a suitable cover.

Winterize your spa in passive mode

  • The right time? As soon as the water temperature reaches 12°C.
  • Turn off the power then turn off the waterjets.
  • Drain all the water: you can use either a flow-through method (if your spa is equipped with a suitable valve) or a pool vacuum pump, along with a suitable garden hose.
  • Clean the hull and nozzles by following our step-by-step guide to quarterly emptying then dry them.
  • Remove filters: after thorough cleaning, dry them thoroughly. Store them in a clean, dry place until the next season.
  • Purge the pumps and pipes (hydraulic circuit): using a vacuum cleaner or cloth, clean and dry carefully to preserve them from freezing. There should be no trace of moisture left!
  • Cover your spa with a suitable cover.

Winterize an inflatable hot tub

  • The right time? Early to late October. Choose a sunny day to dry your spa.
  • Unplug the power
  • Drain all the water: open the drain valve and connect it to a suitable garden hose.
  • Clean the shell and mat: Clean the outside and inside of the spa with a damp sponge and cleaner, not to mention the floor mat.
  • Remove filters: after thorough cleaning, dry them thoroughly. Store them in a clean, dry place until the next season.
  • Dry the structure with a soft cloth. If possible, leave your hot tub in the sun to prevent mold from forming during storage time.
  • Deflate and store the structure in a dry place using the manufacturer's recommendations.

Spa in winter: tips and advice

Here are a few tips regularly shared by our community of ICO Spa users that can be of use to everyone:

Which covers to choose?

In winter, you can opt for a winter cover or an integral spa cover that will protect both the structure of your pool and prevent dirt from polluting your spa. If you have pets or small children, there are models with straps and padlocks for added security. Last but not least, in the event of heavy snowfall or severe frost, don't hesitate to add an anti-freeze cover (like those used for cars) over your isothermal cover. This allows you to remove the snow/ice without having to scrape your tarpaulin and risk damaging it.

Protect pool house from frost

The main risk of freezing is in the technical room and piping. It's important to insulate the room as much as possible from the outside air. We recommend using rock wool or insulating sleeves adapted to winter conditions around the pipes. Protect all piping from freezing by using insulating sleeves. 

To conclude

As you can see, winterizing your spa depends on the region where you live, your usage and is optional. Whether you choose to winterize your spa passively or actively, it's imperative to protect the pipes from freezing to preserve your equipment, and to use appropriate protective covers. If you have an ICO connected sensor, read this article to find out how to winterize your ICO..

if you winterize your spa, it is also necessary to winterize your ICO Spa connected sensor. Follow the procedure on in the support section.