There’s no better way to leech the winter chill from your bones than taking a steamy soak in the hot tub. Not only can a hot tub on your deck add a little extra zing to your holiday festivities, but you can enjoy the crisp winter air — and even watch snow fall around you — all while comfortably submerged in a hot, relaxing tub.
If you’re one of the lucky homeowners with a hot tub to come home to this winter, get the most out of it with these winter hot tubbing tips:
Stock up on maintenance supplies. If you plan to keep your hot tub running through the holidays, stock up now on all of the chemicals, filters, sanitizer and other supplies you’ll need to get you through the winter. You never know when the power might go out or the roads will become impassable during a winter storm, so it’s best to be prepared in advance for all contingencies.
Keep up on maintenance. It’s essential during the cold months to be diligent about filter maintenance and chemical balancing. Don’t neglect your hot tub maintenance chores, no matter how busy the holidays get. In freezing temperatures, you should check your hot tub daily to ensure it’s functioning and maintaining its proper temperature.
Operate your hot tub wisely. Heating experts say it’s more efficient (and less costly) to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the winter than to let it get cold and have to reheat it every time you want to use it. This also helps to prevent freezing. If your hot tub has an auto heat or freeze protect system, make sure it’s activated. Otherwise, set the cycle timer to come on for 15 minutes every hour.
Keep it covered. It’s especially important in the winter to keep a good-quality cover on your hot tub whenever it’s not in use. A good cover should be sturdy enough to stand up against heavy winds, with an insulating layer to prevent heat loss and water evaporation. You can also purchase a thermal blanket to use under a hard cover. If your cover has begun to sag (one sign of this is when rain begins to accumulate on your cover) then it may be time for a replacement.
Stay ahead of the snow. If people will be walking on your deck to get to the hot tub, avoid nasty slips and falls by keeping the area clear of ice and snow. You can use rock salt or de-icers on a composite deck (provided you rinse off the residue), but these products can damage or stain a wood deck. Cedar deck owners should try to prevent ice buildup by removing snow promptly whenever it falls.