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Do Inflatable Hot Tubs Work in Winter?

  • By: Adam
  • Date: October 2, 2021

Picture this, it’s freezing cold outside but a warm cozy soak is all that you can think about. What could be better than sitting in a hot tub sipping champagne, surrounded by freshly fallen snow?

Inflatable hot tubs are a great way to achieve this life goal. There are many that can be used with ease during the winter months, although there is a minimum recommended temperature for operation.

We’re here to talk you through how to inflate and use a hot tub in winter.

What is the minimum temperature recommended?

Many hot tub manufacturers give you a temperature suggestion for the lowest operational temperatures.

For inflatable hot tubs, this tends to fall at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using the hot tub below these temperatures will not necessarily break it, but it has the potential to cause issues and or damage to your tub and water supply lines. This is also the recommended minimum temperature as it ensures the water inside the hot tub will remain at a set and stable temperature.

Using your hot tub at 20 degrees Fahrenheit may well mean that the water temperature drops significantly and quickly.

Will my hot tub stay warm in the winter?

Inflatable hot tubs are much less powerful than freestanding hot tubs. This is because they commonly do not include a pump or blower, and instead contain an all-in-one motor unit.

This means that there is a blower that can inflate the hot tub, but also creates bubbles, circulates the water, and warms it.

Most inflatable hot tubs cannot run the heater as the jets are being used. This means that it is impossible to maintain a thermal equilibrium when the jets are in use.

This will lead to the hot tub water cooling very rapidly if exposed to low temperatures, such as winter climates. There is also much less insulation on the walls of an inflatable hot tub. This is because they are made from thinner layers of vinyl.

In comparison, freestanding tubs will have an acrylic shell to contain the water, set within a wooden frame and packed with insulator materials.

How do you shut down your inflatable hot tub for winter?

Your first step is to switch off the power supply and disconnect the hot tub. This will allow it to begin cooling to a safe temperature for storage. You should then drain the hot tub completely of water. You are likely to have a decent amount of chemicals in the water, so we do not advise emptying it onto the grass in your yard. These chemicals can cause serious ecological damage. You should then remove the filter or filters from your tub. They should be submerged in a cleaning solution designed for this purpose. As they are soaking, take this time to clear out the filter basket. If your pump has drainage plugs, open these to allow the water to drain completely. You should use a wet vacuum to suck out any residual moisture contained within the jet plumbing.

How do you clean and store an inflatable hot tub?

Once the tub has been drained completely you are ready to begin the cleaning process.

Mix a solution of laundry detergent or dish soap with warm water. Scrub the entire surface of your hot tub with a soft cloth covered in this solution. Try and fold back any flaps on the walls and base to get into every crack and crevice of the hot tub material. Clean both the inside and outside surfaces of the hot tub. Wipe the material dry with an absorbent cloth. If sunshine and dry spells are predicted, you can leave the deflated hot tub outside to dry naturally. It is vital to ensure your hot tub is completely dry before placing it away for storage. If it is left moist then this can lead to the growth of mold and mildew which can ruin your hot tub.

Some people choose to sprinkle talcum powder over the hot tub surface to absorb excess moisture.You should store your hot tub folded up and wrapped in a tarpaulin. We suggest raising it off the ground on a wooden pallet to protect it from vermin.

What if I want to keep it open?

If you are only expecting to experience a mild winter, you can theoretically keep your hot tub open the entire time. We do not advise doing this as it is a risky game to play, but ultimately it’s at your discretion.If you are planning on keeping the hot tub open all winter you should set it up in a location that is sheltered so there is some kind of coverage over the tub.

We would advise draining the hot tub after every use to prevent water from freezing inside and damaging any components. Your hot tub will likely have come with an insulation mat to slip underneath. This prevents thermal transfers from the tub to the ground and vice versa. This is not designed to insulate against temperature extremes and so you should beef it up a little.

Add another layer or two of an insulator material such as foam board, cut to size, underneath the base. The maximum temperature most hot tubs can reach is around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If the external temperature is low, you are unlikely to reach temperatures in excess of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The shelter will help to keep the temperature as high as possible and prevent it from being damaged by the elements.

How much will it cost to run an inflatable hot tub in the winter?

This really depends on a number of factors, but generally, you are looking at somewhere in the range of $30 – $40 per month to run.

If the temperatures in your region drop particularly low this will likely increase the running costs. Turning the hot tub on and off for each use will also end up costing you more. This is because it is cheaper to maintain the water temperature than heat it up on demand.