Can You Install a Hot Tub in the Winter? (Yes, if you . . . )

Nothing beats a nice relaxing soak in a hot tub on a cold winter night after a hard day’s work. But if you live somewhere with extra harsh winters, you’ve probably wondered can you install a hot tub in winter?

Here’s what I know from owning and installing 4 of them:

Yes, you can install an above-ground hot tub in winter. For in-ground hot tubs, especially in areas prone to inclement winter weather, waiting until early spring is advisable. For above-ground hot tubs, just ensure the installation area is free of ice and snow and accessible to the work crew.

But that’s just a quick answer.

If you want a hot tub, you’re probably wondering when the best time to install it is. And for that matter, is there a better time of year to buy one?

The good news is that any season, yes, even winter, are great times to install a hot tub!

Getting your hot tub installed on a deck or patio can happen any time of the year, even during winter! Keep on reading to find out all things related to winter and hot tubs!

How cold is too cold to install a hot tub?

There isn’t a “too cold” temperature to install your hot tub in unless of course, you are installing in-ground. This is only because the ground will be frozen, making it harder to dig.

For above-ground hot tubs, it really isn’t too hard to install a hot tub at any time of year. The primary things the delivery crew will need are:

  • The ability to drive the truck close to the site of the tub
  • No active snow or rain
  • The surface of the hot tub pad to be free of ice, snow, or standing water
  • No deep snow on the ground which could prevent the delivery of the hot tub to the pad

So in short, it’s not so much the temperature as it is how much snow or ice is on the ground which could prevent them from getting the hot tub from their truck to where you want it installed.

Remember that regardless of wherever you place your hot tub, the hot tub must be on a level surface. A dip in the surface your hot tub is on can cause the hot tub to crack. Additionally, do not place your hot tub on the grass.

In general, it should never be placed on the bare ground at all.

But where to put your hot tub is just one of 23 crucial things you should think about before buying your first hot tub. To see the other 22, just check out this recent article. From the average cost to the best time of year to buy, to what you can expect to spend operating it each month, I cover it all.

Just click that link to read it on my site!

Do I need to do anything special to prepare for a hot tub installation in winter?

To begin with, you can’t install an inground hot tub in the wintertime. At least if you live somewhere with really harsh winters. Luckily, that’s not the case for me in central Texas.

This is because the ground freezes during wintertime, so it’s too hard to dig. If this is the case for you, you should take these few extra months to find the perfect hot tub for your needs. 

Once you’ve made a purchase, book your installation for early spring after the ground thaws but before customer demand spikes. If you book your installation ahead of time, you are sure to be at the top of the list once spring hits.

If you are going to install your above-ground hot tub on a deck or patio during the wintertime, here is what you should do.

First, ensure that the installation area is completely cleared of snow and ice

Your hot tub must be installed on a completely flat surface, making even the smallest amount of ice or snow problematic. If you live in a harsh winter area, you probably already have some road salt handy you can use to melt the ice on your pad.

Then just use a push broom to sweep all the salt and ice crystals away. Or (if it’s above-freezing), clean off the salted pad with your hose).

Second, check the weather

You don’t want to book an installation on a day that extreme cold, freezing rain, or a blizzard are forecasted to occur.

The crew will need to be able to drive their vehicle up fairly close to the installation area. Or, will at least need to be able to slide the tub on its side from the truck to the pad. Snow that’s several inches deep or solid ice will make this pretty challenging.

And no installation crew will want to work during sleet, snow, or blizzard conditions.

Always check the area you have chosen to place your hot tub in before installation.

Make sure there are no overhead power lines.

Additionally, make sure trees or shrubs are not close by. Tree roots could grow over time and cause the ground to become unlevel.

You will also want to make sure that the chosen site would not block your access to your septic tank, sewer lines, or any other utilities. Additionally, ensure the site of the hot tub is close to a hose spigot that can refill it as needed.

Lastly, think about where the hot tub will be in relation to power. Some hot tubs plug into outlets, and some require electricity connected by an electrician.

Not sure if you need a disconnect box or not?

Luckily, in a recent article, I break down all there is to know about hooking up hot tubs, disconnect boxes, GFCI breaker panels, and more.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Are hot tubs less expensive in winter?

Hot tub dealers have a stock of inventory that they need to move before new models come in, just like car dealerships. So yes, the 4th quarter of the year can be a much better time to buy a hot tub.

Specifically, the best time to purchase a hot tub is between fall and winter. The selling season for hot tubs begins in spring. This is when people begin to venture outside and enjoy the warmer weather.

So, hot tub dealers will want to begin clearing out their excess inventory in late September.

This makes fall and winter the perfect time to purchase a hot tub because there will be deals going on due to the excess inventory that is needed to be purchased.

In late September you will find hot tub dealers are beginning to offer discounts on their stock. These stores are motivated to clear out their inventory they currently carry because it is often being financed.

This means the dealer will have to start paying interest on what inventory hasn’t been sold.

While it’s true that discounts can continue to increase throughout the end of the year, it’s not without its downside. Waiting too long means a sacrifice of the selection available for you to purchase.

While waiting until the end of winter could get you a great price on a hot tub, it may not be the exact model you had hoped to purchase. Make sure you balance savings with available inventory.

But just waiting until October isn’t the only trick to getting a better deal on your hot tub. To see all the tricks for getting a rock bottom price, read this recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can you use a hot tub in the winter?

Hot tubs are great for every season and almost all types of weather. The warm water against your skin feels absolutely refreshing when contrasted with the frigid cold of wintertime.

Many people don’t realize that winter is the perfect time to enjoy your hot tub. While there are some things you should be aware of, it is perfectly okay to use your hot tub during the winter.

In the wintertime, there is some additional care needed to stay safe in a hot tub. You should always follow the regular precautions of spa and hot tub use. 

Additionally, in the wintertime, you should always take the cover off your hot tub with care. Make sure you have cleaned off any snow or ice off of the top. Excess snow and ice can put a lot of extra weight on your cover, so it’s always a good idea to clear it off periodically.

You should always have an exit plan in place for when you are done enjoying your soak when it’s cold outside.

Bring out a robe and slippers so you can stay warm and dry as soon as you exit your spa. Make sure your shoes or slippers have a good tread in case there is ice on the ground.

Also, avoid the temptation to try and make your hot tub hotter in winter.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, water should never exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. High water temperature can lead you to suffer from heatstroke, or you could become drowsy and fall asleep and possibly drown.

Due to cold weather, your exposed head and shoulders may confuse your sense of internal temperatures.

This means you may be hotter than you think, so play it safe and keep the temperature of your hot tub at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, keep your soak time to around fifteen minutes.

But there’s actually a lot of common sense rules to follow when you use a hot tub during the wintertime.

So make sure and read this recent article. What really surprised me in researching that was how much of a difference a thermal spa blanket makes on your electric bill during winter.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do I protect my hot tub in the winter?

To protect your hot tub during the winter months, this is what you should do. This is assuming you are not going to be using it and want to close it down for the wintertime.

1. Allow the chemicals to dissipate

Before you drain your water, ensure the chemical levels in the water have dropped. Chlorine and other sanitizers can be toxic to grass, trees, plants, and wildlife, so give it a few days and test your water.

2. Cut power to your hot tub

Unplug the hot tub or turn off the breaker inside your disconnect box. Do not skip this step.

3. Drain your hot tub

You will now begin to drain your water. You will be releasing roughly 400 gallons of water, so make sure your drainage area can fit all of this. Remove the drain cap and attach a garden hose to the drain spout. This will take anywhere from 1-3 hours.

Or do what I do, and use a submersible pump (click to see my favorite one on Amazon) to drain your hot tub in about 15 minutes. An inch or two of water should remain on the bottom of the hot tub.

Simply mop this up or use a wet/dry vac; don’t just leave it!

4. Next, drain your blower

Cover the hot tub. Next, turn the hot tub on and turn on every jet and water feature. Just for 1 minute or less.  Then turn it off. Then remove the cover. This will help the jets spray out any excess water trapped in the pipes. Again, use a rag, mop, or wet-dry vac to remove any remaining water.

Then, open the access panel and locate the pump(s) and heater. Loosen the screws and allow the water to drip out. If the pump has a drain plug, remove this and let the water out.

5. What to do with your filters

Leaving your filters in the hot tub all winter is a bad idea too. Remove your filters and clean or replace them.

Ensure that water is not in your lines. This water can freeze and expand during the winter, which will cause the lines to break. Use the blow setting on your shop-vac and insert it into every drain, union, and jet, including the filter cavity.

Use non-abrasive and hot tub cleaner that does not require rinsing to clean out the shell. Finally, clean and secure the cover.

What we just went through is called winterizing your hot tub. So if that’s what you want to do and need more detail, check out this recent article. I was really surprised to see you can use antifreeze to winterize a hot tub.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether it’s OK to install a hot tub in winter?

Using your hot tub during the winter months is great!

If you want to install a hot tub during the winter months, and it is going to be installed on a deck or patio, then go ahead! If it’s going to be in the ground and you live somewhere with harsh winters, you’ll have to wait until the ground isn’t frozen.

Winter is not only a great time of year to have a hot tub installed, but anytime from late September to late December is a great time to buy one; that’s when dealers are most willing to drop the price, negotiate, or throw in extras!


Photos which require attribution:

Hot Tub 02 by Tom Hilton is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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