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Why You Shouldn't Pack Away Your Hot Tub for the Winter

Why You Shouldn't Pack Away Your Hot Tub for the Winter

If you think hot tubbing is only for warm weather, you are missing out. Soaking in a hot tub during winter has many physical and mental benefits. In this article, we will explore why you should use your hot tub in winter, plus how to prepare and maintain your hot tub during those cold winter months.

As you read through, I will answer these essential questions on how to Hot Tub in the winter

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Wellness

If you are a winter person who can’t wait for the first snowflake to fall, a hot tub can be a great retreat after a day of your favorite winter sport. During winter, your cold muscles are more likely to pull or strain. What better way to prevent injury than a hot water soak before any workout? Better yet, a second soak when you come home and relax in your tub to soothe aching joints and stiff limbs. 

If you are not a winter person like me, a hot tub lets you spend more time outside with fresh air in the warmth and comfort of a hot tub instead of huddling indoors. It’s great after you clear the snow away. What better way to thaw your frozen toes and fingers? Hot tubs are also ideal for managing arthritis flare-ups from the cold, damp weather. The heat of the water not only relaxes muscles but also diminishes painful inflammation by increasing blood flow to injured joints. 

Winter hot tubbing is healthy hot tubbing. Winter brings cold and flu season. Aside from getting a flu shot, eating well, and getting enough sleep, a hot tub can boost your immune system. Regular dips in the hot tub can help elevate white blood cell production. 

Heated water also improves your circulation, and the level of these tiny healing cells is accelerated. The blood carries them throughout the body, attacking germs and toxins, reducing your chances of winter illness. In addition, daily dips in the hot tub are a great way to manage stress levels. The heated water and jets activate feel-good hormones in your body, bringing you a sense of calm and well-being.

Preparation

While soaking in a hot tub has many benefits, you should be prepared and have a plan. While there is no consensus on how cold is too cold for hot tubbing, I have some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

My advice would be that as you clear your driveway, get your hot tub ready by keeping your path and hot tub area clear of snow. Consider investing in heated snow mats to make the job easier. When you clear the cover, DO NOT use a shovel. You will tear at the encasement and will have to replace your cover. A push broom is a much safer and better choice to get the snow off

Why You Shouldn't Pack Away Your Hot Tub for the Winter

Footwear should be easy on and off your trek out and back to your hot tub. You want something that will keep your feet warm as you move from your house to your hot tub. A heavy bathrobe would be a good choice for outerwear as you get out of the hot tub. It can be easily stored in a tote next to your hot tub, along with your towels. Another option could be a free-standing heater, a great place to set up a coat rack to keep your belongings warm while soaking. If you want to splurge a bit, use a towel warmer.  

While soaking, wear a hat or a Toque for my Canadian readers. This will help regulate your body temperature. I recommend something that covers your ears. You will find yourself comfortably warm while you enjoy your hot tub! If you have long hair, keeping it out of the water is a good idea.

When running the jets, be mindful that if you have an air blower or air mixes, these will cool your water when they are on. I also recommend turning on any waterfalls, to both refresh the water in those lines and to move cold water out to prevent potential freezing.

Stay Hydrated. Staying hydrated when using your hot tub during the winter is important. A room-temperature beverage will keep you warm and hydrated while soaking. Reminder: drinking alcoholic beverages in your spa can increase the effects of dehydration.

Don’t stay in too long. The longer you stay in your hot tub, the higher your body temperature climbs. While it may be tempting to soak in the comforting warmth of your hot tub when the outside air is cold, limit your soak time to about 20 minutes. Moving from extreme heat to extreme cold can place stress on your body.

Have an exit Plan. After your soak, when you leave the protective warmth of your hot tub and face the winter air, shield yourself from the cold immediately. Keep a bathrobe, towels, and slippers nearby, and get indoors as soon as possible after leaving your hot tub

Winter Playground

While soaking in a hot tub has many physical benefits, it is also a great place to socialize with friends and family. Not every winter day is cold and windy. A patio can be a great place to set up an outdoor sanctuary, complete with an outdoor fire pit or freestanding heater. Another idea would be a free-standing structure like a Gazebo over or next to your hot tub to enhance your outdoor gathering. 

Why You Shouldn't Pack Away Your Hot Tub for the Winter​

Maintaining

Just as in the warm months of the year, maintaining your hot tub for cold weather has a few more challenges and requires additional preparation. 

Before the snow falls, a good practice is a complete water change and filter soak.  Hot tub water is only good for 3-4 months before it becomes harder to maintain. By letting it go, you risk having problems when it is too cold to solve them.

Keeping your hot tub warm during the winter starts with a good solid cover made with high-density foam. A high-density core is far more sturdy and will help keep the heat in. It should also have strong clips or locks to keep the cover from blowing open on a windy day. Consider investing in additional cover straps in an extremely windy area. 

I often get asked whether I should turn down my hot tub when I am not using it.  It sounds like a good idea, but it will cost you more to change the temperature constantly. Most hot tubs are 220 volts with at least a 4k heater.  It takes about ONE HOUR to heat to FOUR DEGREES in a typical hot tub.  You will spend more heating your hot tub back up each time than just letting it run normally.

220 volts with at least a 4k heater.  It takes about ONE HOUR to heat to FOUR DEGREES in a typical hot tub.  You will spend more heating your hot tub back up each time than just letting it run normally.

If winter hot tubbing is something you do occasionally, don’t forget to check on it. Be sure you maintain your water balance and sanitation levels. Reminder: hot water evaporates faster when it’s cold outside. Anytime you see steam over your hot tub, you are losing water.  Pro Tip: don’t use snow to help fill your hot tub. You are asking for trouble with your water chemistry, and it is not worth it. Keep a hose ready in a warm space to make it easier to refill for any lost water.

If you are worried about a power outage, check out my article on how to handle losing power. I have several tips to help your hot tub survive without power.

Besides relaxing and enjoying your soak, my last advice is to return to where we started.  Snow! All your maintenance and preparation won’t help if you can’t get to your hot tub. So keep it cleared and ready!

Why You Shouldn't Pack Away Your Hot Tub for the Winter

In conclusion

Hot tubbing in winter is not only a delightful experience but also a beneficial one for both your physical and mental well-being. Whether you’re an avid winter enthusiast or seeking warmth in the cold, a hot tub provides a sanctuary for relaxation and health. From preventing injuries to managing arthritis flare-ups and boosting the immune system, the advantages are numerous.

 

To fully enjoy winter hot tubbing, preparation is key. Clearing snow around your hot tub, using heated snow mats, and choosing appropriate footwear and outerwear contribute to a more comfortable experience. Hydration, mindful soaking time, and a well-thought exit plan are crucial for a safe and enjoyable winter soak.

 

The hot tub isn’t just an individual retreat; it’s also a social space for friends and family, offering a winter playground for outdoor gatherings. To enhance the experience, consider adding outdoor fire pits, freestanding heaters, or even a gazebo. 

 

Maintenance during the winter months requires additional attention. Regular water changes, a sturdy cover, and proper temperature management are essential. While occasional hot tub use in winter is a treat, consistently monitoring water balance, sanitation levels, and precautions for power outages ensure a hassle-free experience.

 

In the end, amid all the maintenance and preparation, the reminder is simple: don’t let snow become a barrier between you and your hot tub oasis. Keep it cleared and ready, and let the soothing warmth of the hot tub make your winter days truly enjoyable.

Next Steps

As you embrace winter hot tubbing, consider these next steps to enhance your experience:

Winter Accessories:

Invest in winter-specific accessories to make your hot tub sessions even more comfortable. Thermal blankets, insulated covers, and hot tub enclosures can help retain heat, ensuring you get the most out of your soak.

Aromatherapy:

Elevate your hot tub experience with aromatherapy. Choose scents like eucalyptus or lavender to enhance relaxation. There are various scented crystals and oils designed specifically for hot tub use.

Entertainment Setup:

Create an entertainment setup around your hot tub. Weather-resistant speakers, waterproof LED lights, or a waterproof tablet holder can add entertainment to your winter hot tub sessions.

Regular Maintenance Routine:

Establish a routine for regular hot tub maintenance. This includes checking water chemistry, cleaning filters, and inspecting the hot tub components. Consistent upkeep will prolong the life of your hot tub and ensure a safe environment.

Winter Landscaping:

Consider winter landscaping around your hot tub area. Evergreen plants, strategic lighting, and winter-friendly decor can create a cozy ambiance, inviting your hot tub space even in colder months.

Winter-Themed Gatherings:

Organize winter-themed gatherings with friends and family. Plan hot tub parties with warm beverages, winter snacks, and perhaps a bonfire nearby. Make the most of your outdoor space during the winter season.

By incorporating these next steps, you can elevate your winter hot tubbing experience and make it a cherished and rejuvenating part of your cold-weather routine.

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