Inflatable hot tubs are a great way to get into hot tubbing on a budget. But they do have their limitations. So, do blow up hot tubs work in winter?
Blow up hot tubs can work during winter. However, they are not designed for weather that is regularly below 40° F as they are poorly insulated. So, while they can be used, the heater will struggle to get the water temperature to the setpoint and will likely be as much as 5 degrees lower.
But there’s a lot more to know.
In this article, we’ll explore whether they deflate in cold weather, how you can insulate them better, and if they work if the temperature goes below freezing. But we’ll also find out if you should winterize them.
Let’s get started.
Do inflatable hot tubs deflate in cold weather?
No, an inflatable spa does not deflate in the winter months. The inflatable shell will be just as rigid in winter as it would be in summer. However, they will struggle to maintain the set water temperature when the air temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the challenges with blow-up (inflatable) hot tubs is that, unlike regular tubs, the jets, and the heater cannot work at the same time.
So, if you’ve got the jets on while soaking, the pump can’t pump water through the heater! Therefore, the more frequently you soak, the harder time the unit has in trying to maintain the water temperature.
In addition to this, inflatable hot tubs are made with vinyl. So, they’re not as insulated as their hard-sided cousins that are made with acrylic and have sprayed-on insulation under the shell. So the heat loss is significantly greater.
Having said that, inflatable hot tubs can stay warm-ish in cold weather.
Ensure that you take advantage of the many ways through which you can insulate them. But if the temperature is below freezing for an extended period of time, it’s best to save them for warmer times.
Of course, if you live in a warm climate or have your hot tub indoors, you won’t have to worry.
And some people just move their inflatable hot tub to the garage for winter. It may be chilly in there, but it won’t be nearly as cold as outside.
I bet there is other stuff you’d like to know about hot tubs in general.
That’s why I’ll suggest that you check out a recent article where I shared 23 crucial things to know before buying your first hot tub.
In it, I revealed what kind of hot tub to buy and if it’s okay to buy a used tub. But I also shared other vital info, such as whether you’ll need a concrete slab as a base. I cover both “regular” hot tubs as well as blow-up/inflatable hot tubs.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Trying to replace the dreadfully designed and leak-prone inflatable cover on Amelia’s hot tub. Picked up a couple sheets of foam insulation board, cut them to length, and wrapped them in waterproof tarp. Fingers crossed! pic.twitter.com/04OwvLcf0d
— Philip Palermo (@Philip_Palermo) January 2, 2022
How do you insulate an inflatable hot tub?
Insulate an inflatable hot tub with an insulated ground mat. Typically, this mat comes with a new inflatable hot tub. However, since most mats are nothing more than a tarp, using a padded but waterproof blanket on top of the mat can improve the insulation.
Also, make sure to use the inflatable bladder on the surface of the water when not in use. Let’s dive deeper into some of those solutions, plus a few others.
A ground mat prevents heat transfer from your hot tub to the surface on which it is placed.
As you know, heat moves from where there’s intense warmth towards a cold part. Without a ground mat, a part of the heat would be escaping, as it were.
A lot of hot tubs come with ground mats, but you can easily purchase one if yours did not.
Foam base sheet
Foam sheets are an excellent way to add more ground insulation, and you can easily put them yourself. You can buy them at Home Depot and place them under the hot tub.
Ideally, you want foams that are an inch thick. You can also use old foams as long as they are thick. Any thick foam would work well as an insulator.
Because of its thickness, it would also protect the base of the hot tub from debris and punctures.
Hot tub pad
Hot tub pads are great for hot tub insulation. They can be a tad expensive, but they are worth it. They are highly durable and are made of plastic.
CLICK HERE to see the best-selling one on Amazon.
At the risk of stating the obvious, heat can be lost if the hot tub is not covered.
So, it’s smart to place a thermal blanket over it before placing its cover. The blanket traps steam preventing it from leaving the tub.
The base is not the only pathway through which heat can escape from your hot tub.
The sides are another path. This is why an insulated jacket that can be wrapped around your hot tub is also a wise investment.
It can be foam insulation or partial foam insulation using foil or bubble material. The jacket can be left in place even while the tub is in use.
Some models are made from high-quality weatherproof material, so they are very durable and also make your tub more attractive.
Hot tub bladder
A hot tub bladder provides support for the hot tub cover such that it helps with heat retention and prevents rainwater from pooling on the hot tub. And it will help a hot tub heat faster. Usually, your blow-up hot tub will come with one.
The hot tub bladder is inflated and placed on top of the water (under the cover).
It serves to preserve the heat and prevents the hot tub from sagging, as unwanted rainwater can easily run off of the bladder. It’s one of the important insulators you’ll want to get for your hot tub.
Those are the main ways to insulate your inflatable hot tub.
Note that an inflatable hot tub should never be placed directly on grass or gravel. Stones, the sharp chips of gravel, could easily puncture it. Always place a ground mat underneath to protect it.
But can you put a hot tub on a deck?
In a recent article, I shared the weight of an inflatable hot tub and if hot tub water has a harmful effect on the wooden deck. But I also shared whether you have to reinforce your deck if you’re going to place an inflatable hot tub on it.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
This inflatable hot tub is amazing !!! It’s a 6 person intex and it goes back in a bag when it gets cold. pic.twitter.com/7wdhIB1Y9o
— JJ (@MeepMaker) June 8, 2018
Do blow up hot tubs not work if the temperature goes below freezing?
Blow up hot tubs will work if the temperature goes below freezing. However, the lower the air temperature, the more the heater will struggle to maintain the set point of the water. But the heater could fail in temperatures below 25° F.
This is why it’s advisable not to use them when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The main challenge is that the motor mechanism is not really designed for use in cold conditions and could be damaged. In most inflatable hot tubs, the pump cannot run when the air jets are expelling the bubbles and vice versa.
In winter, the water cools down rapidly when the lid is taken off, as it’s not possible to run the water heater and the air jets at the same time.
Many owners of blow-up hot tubs move theirs to a garage in winter.
Someone gave me an inflatable hot tub. Best cold tub I’ve ever had. pic.twitter.com/WmaLPBHZZN
— Nick Edwards (@NicksEdwards) June 20, 2021
Can an inflatable hot tub get to 104° in winter?
It is possible for an inflatable hot tub to get to the maximum temperature of 104° F in winter as long as the air temperature is 40° F or above. Below 40° F, or in constant freezing temperatures, the unit is unlikely to maintain a water temperature of 104° F.
It will still be warm water, but it might be 5° lower than the set point.
Hard-sided hot tubs don’t have the same issues in winter time as inflatable ones. And the reality is you’ll still have those issues with expensive inflatable hot tubs. But even then you’re still spending hundreds instead of thousands.
Of course, if your hot tub is not situated outdoors (like in a garage or sunroom), you’ve got nothing to worry about. It should be able to reach the set temperature which is 104°. As long as the ambient temperature is at least 40 degrees, it should be able to reach the desired temp.
Want to know more about inflatable hot tubs and how they function?
You’ll enjoy a recent article where I explained how inflatable hot tubs work. I shared info about whether it’s okay to use them in winter and if you can leave them on all the time. But I also shared how they affect your electricity bill.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
During the winter do you winterize your hot tub or leave it running? pic.twitter.com/HGrtJpxN8x
— RoyalFiberglassPools (@rfpools513) October 12, 2018
Should you winterize an inflatable hot tub?
Winterizing is not necessary for an inflatable hot tub.
In the colder months, especially if the outdoor temperature will be freezing for much of the winter, and you don’t plan on using it, you can just pack it away for the season. Simply drain, deflate, and pack away until spring. Do this once the temperature is consistently well below 40° F.
But most hot tubs, including traditional hot tubs as well as inflatable models are designed for year-round use. So try it before you decide to shut it down and deflate it.
But if you plan to own a regular hard-sized hot tub someday, and you live somewhere where the outdoor temperature gets well below freezing in winter, it’s good to know what winterizing a tub is all about. It’s a way of protecting your investment. As you know, regular hot tubs can cost a pretty penny.
What’s winterizing? Let’s have an overview.
Essentially, it’s about preparing the hot tub before it’s stored away for the winter. In a portable hot tub (hard-sided), that entails blowing the lines and removing every drop of water from the tub. This is because if this is not done, frozen water can easily damage it.
Luckily in an inflatable hot tub, you just drain it, deflate it, and pack it away.
To winterize a hot tub, you wait until the sanitizer level has dropped to zero, then you drain the water into a spot where it’s not harmful to plants or pets. If the tub has a blower, that has to be drained too.
Naturally, the first thing to do is cut off the power and turn off the electricity supply from the breaker. At the risk of stating the obvious, electricity and water do not play well together.
The filters are removed, and the plumbing lines are blown.
Ensuring the lines are completely dry is one of the most vital aspects of winterizing. Then, the tub is thoroughly cleaned and wiped down. Then it is covered until the warmer times return.
How often do people use inflatable hot tubs in winter?
During the winter months, the frequency of using an inflatable tub can vary depending on several factors.
It’s worth noting that inflatable hot tubs generally struggle to maintain temperature when the air temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The insulation and heating mechanisms may not be as effective in extreme cold conditions.
Another limitation of inflatable hot tubs is that the jets and heater cannot be used simultaneously. This means that while you’re enjoying the massaging jets, the water temperature may decrease slightly.
However, this doesn’t necessarily make inflatable hot tubs unsuitable for winter use.
Despite these limitations, inflatable hot tubs can still be enjoyable to soak in during winter, especially in milder climates. They provide a warm and relaxing experience, even if the outside temperature is chilly. Many people find that soaking in a hot tub on cold nights offers a unique and rejuvenating experience.
In areas with milder winters, where the temperature doesn’t consistently drop below freezing, inflatable hot tubs can still be used regularly. They offer a convenient and affordable option for relaxation and hydrotherapy year-round.
However, in extremely cold and harsh climates, where colder temperatures regularly reach freezing or below, using an inflatable hot tub in winter may pose more challenges. The insulation may struggle to keep up, and the heater may have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Ultimately, the frequency of using an inflatable hot tub in winter depends on personal preferences, climate, and the willingness to accommodate the limitations. With proper care and maintenance, inflatable hot tubs can still provide a cozy and enjoyable soaking experience during the winter season for most individuals.
How to set up an inflatable hot tub to use in winter
1. Find a Suitable Location
Select a flat, stable area for your inflatable hot tub. Ensure there’s enough space and a nearby power source. Consider placing it on a deck, patio, or concrete surface that can support the weight.
2. Prepare the Ground
Clean the area and remove any sharp objects or debris that could puncture the tub. Lay down a ground cloth or tarp to provide an additional layer of protection against cold surfaces.
3. Inflate and Assemble
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to inflate the hot tub and assemble the components. Make sure all valves are properly secured and tightened. Fill the tub with water up to the recommended level.
4. Install and Secure the Cover
Place the cover on the hot tub to retain heat and protect it from the elements. Ensure it fits securely and use any provided fasteners or straps to keep it in place. This helps minimize heat loss and maintain water temperature.
5. Connect the Heater and Pump
Connect the heater and pump to a power source following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all connections are secure and watertight. Set the desired temperature on the control panel and allow the water to heat up.
6. Add Chemicals and Maintain Water Balance
Properly balance the water chemistry by adding the appropriate chemicals. Test the water regularly and adjust the pH and sanitizer levels as needed. This helps keep the water clean and safe for use throughout the winter.
7. Consider Additional Insulation
In colder climates, it’s a good idea to consider adding insulation to your inflatable hot tub. Insulating wraps, thermal blankets, or foam panels can help retain heat and improve energy efficiency. Check with the manufacturer for compatible insulation options.
Intex, for example, makes a basic cover for some models of their inflatable hot tubs, but the last time I bought one (I have bought them twice), it came with a nicer insulated cover which was much thicker than the one that came with the previous model I purchased.
Keep in mind that inflatable hot tubs may struggle to maintain temperature in extremely cold weather, especially when the air temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, using the jets and heater simultaneously may lead to a slower heating process. However, by following these steps and taking proper precautions, you can enhance your winter hot tub experience and enjoy soothing relaxation even when the temperature drops.
Best tips to use an inflatable hot tub in winter
1. Proper Insulation and Cover
Ensuring proper insulation and covering your inflatable hot tub when not in use is crucial, especially in winter. Use a thermal blanket or insulating cover to minimize heat loss and protect the tub from harsh weather conditions.
2. Choose the Right Location
Select a suitable location for your inflatable hot tub in winter. Find a spot that provides some natural windbreak, such as a wall or fence, to shield the tub from cold drafts. Consider placing it on a deck or patio that offers added insulation.
3. Preheat the Water
Before using your inflatable hot tub, preheat the water to a higher temperature than desired. This compensates for heat loss when the cover is removed, ensuring the water remains comfortably warm throughout your soak.
4. Time Your Heating
If you want to use the jets, start the heating process before turning them on. Once the desired temperature is reached, switch on the jets. This minimizes heat loss during jet operation and allows you to enjoy both the warmth and massage simultaneously.
5. Add Extra Insulation
In colder climates, consider adding additional insulation to your inflatable hot tub. You can use foam panels or insulating wraps specifically designed for hot tubs. This extra layer of insulation helps retain heat and improves energy efficiency.
6. Use a Windbreak
Place a windbreak around your inflatable hot tub to reduce the impact of cold winds. You can use privacy screens, temporary fencing, or even strategically positioned plants to create a barrier that shields the tub and helps retain heat.
7. Regularly Monitor and Adjust Temperature
Keep an eye on the water temperature and make necessary adjustments during your winter hot tub sessions. You may need to increase the temperature slightly to compensate for heat loss. Use a floating thermometer to easily monitor the water temperature.
Remember, while inflatable hot tubs may struggle to hold temperature in colder weather, they can still be enjoyable to use during winter, especially in milder climates. By following these tips and taking appropriate precautions, you can maximize your comfort and ensure a pleasant hot tub experience even in chilly conditions.
Yes, I did buy an inflatable hot tub in order to get through quarantine, what of it? pic.twitter.com/WGrIELQkP4
— Phineas Harper (@PhinHarper) March 22, 2020
How much does a blow-up Jacuzzi cost?
Blow-up Jacuzzis, also known as inflatable hot tubs, have an average price of $700. But they can range in price from $500 to $1,000 depending on the size and brand. Let’s review the best inflatable hot tub and look at their prices, star rating, and seating capacity.
All of these are 4-stars or better! Click on any of the links to see more details on Amazon.
|Brand||Approx. Price||Capacity||# of Reviews|
|Bestway inflatable hot tub
|Intex inflatable hot tub
|Coleman Saluspa inflatable hot tub
Want to know my pick of those as the best of the best? I cover that in the next section, and it’s the very same one I bought.
Is there a 4-season inflatable hot tub?
There are 4-season inflatable hot tubs, although all will struggle to maintain the correct water temperature when the ambient air temperature is below 40° F. But the best is the PureSpa Greywood Deluxe by Intex.
CLICK HERE to check out its current price on Amazon.
It provides total relaxation since it has 170 jets and comes with hard water treatment built-in. It’s suitable for up to 6 people. In fact, it has virtually everything needed for a great experience.
It’s got a highly durable extra tech construction that makes it ideal for all seasons, and it can be easily set up, so it’s ready for water in about twenty minutes. So, you get to start soaking early.
Naturally, it can also be easily packed for storage or transported.
It has a built-in hard water treatment ensuring that the experience of soaking is more relaxing. In fact, it’s got a lot of features that make it worthwhile. They include:
- Hard water system
- LED light
- Two filter cartridges
- Two headrests
- Thermal ground cloth
- Carry bag
- Floating chlorine dispenser
- Test strips
It’s got over 7,500 reviews on Amazon, and almost all are 5-stars.
CLICK HERE to check out its current price on Amazon.
In the article, we explored whether they deflate in cold climates, how you can insulate them, and if they work if the temperature goes below freezing. They do not deflate, and there are several ways to inflate them, and they do not work below freezing.
But we also found out if you should winterize them.
There’s really no reason to winterize them. Then, we considered whether they get up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit during winter and how much some of the top models cost their capacity, and star ratings.
Lastly, we found out if there are 4-season inflatable hot tubs.