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Can You Turn Your Hot Tub Off in Summer (or cool it down)

Taking a dip in a hot tub after a long, tiring day is pure bliss. But in the summer in warmer climates, the water temperature can get way too hot. So can I turn off my hot tub in the summer?

It is not recommended to completely turn off a hot tub in the summer as this can cause issues with bacteria build-up due to a lack of filtration and circulation. Instead, lower the temperature and use the economy or sleep mode which allows the heater to kick on less often.

Turning off a hot tub during the summer heat may seem like a good idea to save on your electricity bill or keep the water temperature lower.

However, it’s vital to know that simply cutting the power and turning your hot tub off can lead to excessive bacterial build-up due to the lack of water circulation.

In this article, I will provide you with an overview of the temperature range for hot tubs in the summer, how long you can leave it turned off before there’s a danger of harmful bacteria, whether you can turn off just the heater, whether you should drain it and shut it down for summer, as well as simple ways of lowering the water temp.

Keep reading to discover why it’s not a good idea to turn off your hot tub and what steps you can take to enjoy a fabulous soak in your hot tub during hot summer nights without compromising its cleanliness and hygiene.

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What is the minimum temperature for a hot tub in summer?

As hot tub owners, we know how great a soak in warm water can be on sore muscles after a long day.

To maintain a comfortable temperature range, most hot tub manufacturers recommend setting its temperature to around 85-98°F during the hot summer months.

However, if the outside temperature increases and the heat of the day becomes intolerable, like they sometimes get here in Central Texas where I live, just bumping the set temp down doesn’t always work.

Although you might be tempted to entirely turn it off, doing so might end up being the last thing you ever do because it fosters the growth of bacteria and algae.

Fortunately, with the proper techniques, it’s possible to maintain your hot tub cool without sacrificing its cleanliness. An excellent way to do this is by switching its mode to economy or sleep, which reduces energy consumption and lowers the water temperature below the set point.

More on HOW to do that below.

How long can you leave water in the hot tub turned off?

Suppose you don’t see yourself using your hot tub for an extended period, like during the summer season.

In that case, it’s worth considering switching it off entirely to save on energy consumption. However, allowing water to remain stagnant in your hot tub can cause various issues.

To avoid these issues, drain, clean, and refill your hot tub if you plan to keep it unused for over 2 weeks.

This will prevent harmful organisms from growing in the stagnant water and ensure a fresh, clean soak upon your return. Clean water just sitting won’t create bacteria. That has to be introduced into the water by people.

Two main ways to drain the water in a hot tub are using the drain plug and a garden hose or a submersible pump like this one on Amazon that I bought, the latter being more effective and quick.

Suppose you only plan to leave your hot tub unused for a short period, such as 2 weeks or less.

In that case, leaving the water in is generally okay, but make sure and shock the water right before you leave and then again when you come back, in addition to checking the pH and alkalinity levels.

Can I turn the heater off on my hot tub?

Whether or not you can cut the power to just the heater while leaving power to the filter and pump system depends on the brand of spa control pack you have.

The control pack is located behind one of the removable panels on the side of your hot tub.

In many cases, you simply slide these up and then pull out at the bottom. But sometimes they do screw on. Either way, remove the panel in front of the control pack.

Then examine the control pack and look for a heater power switch or something that allows you to turn the heater off. As long as yours has that, you can cut power to the heater, but the pump and blowers for the jets will still work along with the filtration system.

But that won’t mean the temperature will drop 20 degrees overnight.

Depending on the ambient air temperature, it may take several days before you notice a significant difference. And if it’s over 100 degrees outside, it might well be worth a partial drain and then top off with water from your hose which will likely be 77 degrees F or under.

Should I drain my hot tub during summer?

When a hot tub is drained and left unused for a long period of time, the gaskets can dry out, causing leaks, damage, and costly repairs. Additionally, it can take a lot of water to fill the hot tub again, leading to wastage and higher water bills.

Instead of draining the hot tub, it is better to maintain it properly during summer.

First, make sure to keep the hot tub cover on when the tub is not being used. This can help remove debris from the tub and prevent direct sunlight from overheating the water.

Next, check the hot tub’s water temperature regularly and adjust accordingly. If the temperature is higher than desired, switch the hot tub’s mode to economy or sleep mode to help reduce the temperature while maintaining proper filtration and circulation.

Finally, keeping the hot tub’s water chemistry balanced throughout the summer is a good idea. Warm water can cause chemical imbalances to escalate more quickly. Testing the water regularly and adding appropriate chemicals is vital to avoid bacteria growth and skin irritation.

I recently wrote an article about using your hot tub in the summer. I get into greater detail on changing modes on your hot tub as well as whether it works to add ice to a hot tub.

Just click the link to read that on my site.

How can I lower the water temperature in my hot tub during summer?

Fortunately, there are methods for lowering the hot tub’s water temperature without turning it off.

The best way to do this is to access the topside control panel and switch to economy or sleep mode. This reduces energy consumption, reducing the heater’s frequency of turning on and off. As a result, the water temperature can stay below the set point, ensuring a comfortable soak even on the hottest days.

I wrote about hot tubs and if they have cooling settings in greater detail in a recent article. I even cover which brands (Hot Spring Spas is one) have chillers built in and if you can add one to your hot tub after the fact.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Another great way to lower the water temperature is by using a hot tub cover.

This provides an additional insulation layer, preventing the hot tub water from heating up too much. On top of that, investing in a cover also helps lower electricity bills, as the hot tub doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a lower temperature.

Frequently asked questions

Is it okay to switch off the hot tub?

It is more time and money efficient to raise the temperature from a slight decrease than to reheat a fresh batch of cold water. Thus we advise against turning off your tub completely.

Should I turn my hot tub off when I go on vacation?

Don’t turn off the hot tub. Your water will stagnate if you turn it off because there won’t be any water flow. Additionally, stagnant water in your pipes could lead to problems after your vacation when you return. However, if your stay is extended, shutting your hot tub completely is best.

Check out my recent article if you need information on shutting down your hot tub when it’s not in use.

Should I keep my hot tub running at night?

Yes! Hot tubs are intended to be employed continuously, which is how they perform at their finest. They must, of course, be drained and cleaned periodically, but for the most part, they are left on continuously.


Ultimately, hot tub owners who reside in hot summer climates may question if they may turn their hot tubs off to save energy and cut their electricity expenses. However, there are better ideas than simply cutting the power as it can lead to a breeding ground for bacteria due to lack of water circulation.

The best way to achieve cooler temperatures is to switch the hot tub setting to economy or sleep mode. This will allow the heater to kick in less frequently, reducing the water temperature below the set point. You can also use hot tub covers to keep the water cool by shielding it from direct sunlight and the day’s heat.

Following these tips, owners can enjoy their hot tub on a summer night without worrying about high energy bills or uncomfortably hot water temperatures.

Image by Russell Moody from Pixabay

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Jeff Campbell