If you live in a cold climate, having a hot tub to use is a great way to relax when it’s chilly outside. It’s great for holiday gatherings too. But for when it’s really cold, I’ve wondered can you put antifreeze in a hot tub?
Here’s what I discovered after digging in:
Yes, you can put antifreeze in a hot tub if you are closing it down for the winter. Winterizing a hot tub prevents pipes from freezing and bursting when the temperature drops well below zero and antifreeze can be used in this process as long as no one uses the hot tub once it’s been added.
But there’s a lot more to know about winterizing a hot tub, when and where to add the antifreeze and some of the possible concerns of using it.
So, in this article, I am going to show you how to prepare your hot tub for winter to protect your pipes and equipment.
That way when you’re ready to use it again, it will be in perfect working condition.
How Do I Winterize My Hot Tub?
For those who may not be entirely sure what the word winterizing means, it means preparing your equipment for the upcoming winter when it is not in use.
So while you can use antifreeze in your hot tub, you should only do that if you plan to not use it. Never pour in any chemical to your hot tub water and use it unless it’s one of the chemicals designed to treat hot tub water for normal usage.
Here are the steps for winterizing your hot tub and using antifreeze to help avoid blocked or frozen pipes:
1. Prepare The Hot Tub For Winterization:
To begin, you need to prepare to winterize your hot tub well before winter arrives.
We have to thoroughly drain the hot tub first. This is to mitigate the risk of bacteria growing and thriving in the empty pipes during the period of non-use in the winter.
Also, be sure to choose a day where it is not too cold outside. When it’s below freezing, the water can freeze while draining.
Before draining the hot tub, be sure to get these pieces of equipment as they will be needed:
- A wet and dry vacuum cleaner to suck out as much excess water in the pipes, jets, and hot tub as possible.
- A garden hose to help with draining from the hot tub’s drainage plug.
- Towels to assist with absorbing the water from the bottom of the hot tub.
- Propylene Glycol Antifreeze/Non-Toxic Antifreeze to keep the hot tub’s pipes from freezing during the winter. This is a very specific type of antifreeze that is sold for hot tubs. Do not use the type that you would use for your vehicle as it is toxic.
- A long funnel to assist you in pouring antifreeze into the hot tub’s narrow openings.
The best propylene glycol antifreeze on Amazon is from Engine Ice.
It’s an Amazon’s Choice product, has hundreds of near 5-star reviews, comes with free Prime shipping and is at a great price (especially compared to the others on Amazon).
2. Begin Draining The Hot Tub:
Now that you have everything you need to get started, you are now able to begin draining the hot tub. Here’s how to do so:
- Turn off power to the hot tub at the dedicated breaker box located near the hot tub. This is often on the outside of your house. Check to make sure the display panel on the hot tub is no longer working.
- Get a submersible pump. This is essentially a pump that can be submerged in water and is used to pump water out of areas like flood basements. If you have one, it will be useful in quickly pumping out the water in your hot tub. More on this below.
- If you don’t have a submersible pump, simply unscrew the hot tub’s drainage plug and attach a garden hose to allow the water to flow out of the hot tub. This, however, takes a lot of time. Have your wet/dry vac ready to suck out the remaining water when most of it has drained out of the hot tub.
- Use a wet/dry vac for the remaining water – there may still be a few gallons of water left in the hot tub after you have drained it. Use your wet/ dry vac to suck up or blow out the remaining water in your actual hot tub, its jets, filter standpipes, or any other areas water may be.
I mentioned a submersible pump above, and these things are lifesavers and not that expensive!
Just plunk this thing in your hot tub and watch it drain in under 15 minutes!
Normally with just a garden hose, my hot tub might take an hour or more to drain. The one I got has great reviews, is an Amazon’s Choice product, and comes with free Prime shipping.
Do be aware, it has to be underwater before it will turn on. And, course, when the water gets down to the bottom, it will turn off, leaving a small amount of water in your tub.
But that can easily be handled with a wet-dry vac.
CLICK HERE to check current prices on Amazon on the submersible drain pump.
Is there anything more relaxing than a hot tub in winter? 🛁
— Mosquitobuzz (@themosquitobuzz) February 22, 2019
Clean and Protect Your Hot Tub:
Finally, after you have completely drained your hot tub, continue the winterization process by cleaning your hot tub and adding antifreeze to keep it protected while it is shut down.
Here are the next steps:
- First, you need to screw the drainage cap that you removed earlier back into place.
- Next, with the absorbent towel that, we said you would need earlier, you need to wipe and soak up any remaining moisture that could still possibly be in the hot tub to prevent freezing.
- Use the long funnel to pour in the non-toxic antifreeze. Specifically, use the Propylene Glycol Antifreeze that I told you about earlier. Pour it into the hot tub’s jets, filter standpipes, and any other area that provides openings for water to enter or exit your hot tub. This is to prevent freezing in these particular areas.
- Once you have completed these steps, place the hot tub cover back on top of the hot tub. Also, take care to place plywood on top of the hot tub cover to prevent it from being damaged by the weight of snow and ice over the winter. If the hot tub cover becomes damaged, it can potentially become waterlogged and that is a whole other situation to deal with. Be sure to cover it with a tarp as well.
If you have a waterlogged hot tub cover, you don’t have to buy a new one!
I cover every step you need to know about fixing them in a recent article, so just click the link to read it now on my site. What really surprised me was how quickly that can be fixed as long as the damage isn’t too far gone.
How to Get a Hot Tub Ready Again after Winter
This is important information to know. After all, you don’t want you, your family members or any guests soaking in antifreeze!
So first, you are going to have to remove all traces of the antifreeze from your hot tub before it is safe to use.
To do this, you need to fill the hot tub with water. Then add 2 times the amount chlorine or bromine that you would normally use to neutralize the antifreeze.
After that is done, you will need to repeat the steps above to drain the hot tub. Then refill it again before placing your clean filter cartridges into their places.
Not sure how to treat your water or what to do if you have sensitive skin?
I have a recent article which goes into great detail on both all of that, including whether bromine or chlorine kills more of the bacteria and viruses that can live in hot tub water.
Did I cover everything you wanted to know about whether or not it’s OK to add antifreeze to a hot tub?
Because of the work involved, make sure that winterizing your hot tub is even worth doing.
Even if you are not going to be using your hot tub during the winter, it may be more efficient and make more sense to just keep the hot tub running.
The process of winterizing a hot tub can be time-consuming and complicated. And won’t save you much money when it comes to your electric bill.
After all, even in the heat of summer with my hot tub running the whole time, my electric bill for a 2,500 square foot house rarely goes over $200 for a month. Turning off the hot tub impacts that very little.
The hot tub will keep itself hot as long as it is on. So unless there’s an extended power outage, there’s no danger of pipes freezing.
Unless you plan on going on an extended trip somewhere, there’s no reason really to winterize it. However, if you are going to be gone for an extended trip, then this may be a good option for you.
Wondering whether or not you need to winterize the hot tub, check out this recent article where I break it down into 7 simple steps. Just click the link to read that on my site.
You know your situation better than anyone else so proceed as you see fit and enjoy your hot tub!
Lastly, in case you haven’t done it recently, make sure to change your hot tub filter once every 1-2 years depending on how often you use your hot tub. I wrote a recent article which goes into great detail about that.
I cover how to know when it’s time to change the filter. But I also cover how to clean filters periodically to extend the life of it. Just click the link to read it on my site.