Can You Use a Hot Tub in the Rain? (Yes! But here’s how to stay safe)

I love using my hot tub all year, whether hot or cold. But one thing I wasn’t sure about was can you use a hot tub in the rain?

Here’s what I learned:

You can absolutely use a hot tub in the rain and a minimal amount of rainwater in your hot tub will not have a significantly negative impact on the pH in your hot tub. Do not, however, ever use a hot tub during a thunderstorm due to the dangers of electric shock.

But there’s a lot more to know about rain, hot tub use, the 1 time you should never use a hot tub when it’s raining and how it can affect the pH of your water.

So let’s keep going!

The idea of a hot tub brings about images of crisp sunny days or cool clear nights. Most people don’t imagine rain- whether it be pouring rain or a slight drizzle.

However, hot tubbing in the rain can be incredibly relaxing.  Now, remember, there is a big difference between a rainstorm and a thunderstorm.

Keep reading to find out how to make the best out of your rainy hot tub experience, including some do’s and don’ts that will keep you safe!

Is it safe to use a hot tub in the rain?

Imagine the warmth of the bubbling water contrasted with the soft kisses of rain on your skin.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!

Using a hot tub during the rain is absolutely safe. To make the walk to your hot tub even more comfortable, follow these tips:

  • Warm-up bathrobes and towels in your dryer (keep them nearby but out of the rain)
  • Next, drink some warm tea or hot cocoa to warm up further. Make sure you keep your hot drink in a stainless steel thermos, broken glass and a hot tub don’t mix well!
  • Make sure you wear slippers, or if you don’t have a pair you can get wet, wear some old shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Slippers or shoes will help you from slipping and getting injured on the wet ground. The last thing you want is a sprained ankle! Also, bring out an umbrella or hat in order to shield yourself from the rain.

A good idea is to purchase an umbrella that you can simply leave hanging over your hot tub.

This way you won’t get absolutely soaked can keep your slippers or shoes dry, and if you have an open drink, rainwater won’t get inside.

If it’s really cold out, after you get out, put on some moisturizer that is designed for cold weather. This will protect your skin from cracking.

Is it safe to use a hot tub during a thunderstorm?

One of the best parts about hot tubs is the fact that you can enjoy them in nearly all weather conditions.

Sitting in a hot tub during a snowstorm is relaxing, breathtaking, and a great way to spend some free time. The same can be said of a cool, starry night, or even a rainstorm.

However, you should never, ever, use your hot tub during a thunderstorm. It may seem like common sense, but there are those who do it. There are serious risks that come with using your hot tub during a thunderstorm.

This is because water is a great conductor of electricity.

If lightning struck your hot tub and you were in it you would get a serious electrical shock. This is because all of the electricity would be concentrated in the tub.

Each year the United States sees between ten and twenty people suffer injuries caused by a combination of lightning strikes and domestic water usage.

Even if there is a storm miles off, and it hasn’t yet arrived near you, it is still a good idea to not be in your hot tub.

Lightning can strike up to ten miles away from the storm center, so it is best to not be in your hot tub when one begins to come in.

This even applies to indoor hot tubs!

If lightning strikes nearby there is the chance it will travel through electrical lines and plumbing. When that happens, electricity can reach the water you are in. Then it will pass through your body too!

Even if the plumbing in your hot tub plumbing is all PVC (plastic), it’s still safest to not use it when it’s lightning outside.

So, if the distant rumblings of a storm begin, it is best to get out of the hot tub and get inside.

Is it bad to get rainwater in a hot tub?

Getting rainwater in your hot tub is no big deal.

It happens a lot, especially if you like to take a warm soak during a rainstorm. However, it will affect the chemical balance of your water. You will want to regularly check the water chemistry to ensure everything is balanced.

So, while rainwater isn’t bad for your hot tub, it will force you to do some maintenance to ensure you are soaking in clean water.

The rainwater in North America is slightly acidic. Rainwater almost always causes pH levels to rise and TA levels to fall. TA stands for total alkalinity. We’ll talk more about alkalinity in a minute.

When pH levels become out of sorts, it causes discomfort in the form of skin and eye irritation.

High pH levels can cause calcium buildup, which can make the water cloudy and cause scale to form. The calcium that forms can cause yellow flecks to appear in your hot tub’s water. It can also negatively affect your jet performance.

I go into all the negative aspects of high pH in a recent article.

But I even cover how to fix pH that is too high quickly and easily and also what different symptoms are based on the level of the pH. Just click that link to read it on my site.

The majority of the time, light rainfall will most likely temporarily affect water chemistry. Most of the time everything balances back to normal.

If you want to avoid getting rainwater in your hot tub, there are a few options for you.

One option is to purchase a large umbrella. There are ones specifically made for hot tubs. These will cover the hot tub and protect the water from the rain.

Of these, the best one on Amazon is by Abba (click to see the current price on Amazon).

It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and almost 200 near-perfect reviews. The fabric offers 98% UV protection, so it’s also great when the sun is beating down too. Steel poles that are bronze coated ensure that the wind won’t break this thing the 1st time out.

And you can easily angle this thing in the direction of the sun or rain.

Another option is to purchase a water or weatherproof cover that you can simply flip up over the hot tub. Any good hot tub will have weatherproof equipment and parts.

These most likely will come with a cover similar to this.

Does rainwater raise or lower alkalinity?

Rainwater lowers alkalinity. Alkalinity is the capacity of water to resist changes in pH that would make the water more acidic.

The alkalinity will lower when rainwater enters the hot tub. This is due to dilution. When TA (total alkalinity) levels fall, it destabilizes the pH levels. This actually allows the pH levels to rise rapidly.

Alkalinity is referred to as a “buffer” because of how it helps resist drastic pH changes.

Unbalanced alkalinity can give your tub’s water a green tinge. It can also have a drying effect on your skin. Low alkalinity is more serious than high alkalinity. This is because it will cause rapid pH fluctuations, which means it cannot counteract the effects of acidity.

Low alkalinity can cause corrosion of your hot tub’s internal equipment if left unchecked for a long period of time. High alkalinity will cause green water and will reduce the effectiveness of the sanitizer you use for the water. It also causes very high pH levels.

Total alkalinity should be kept at 80-120 ppm.

In order to raise low alkalinity, and therefore stabilize your pH, use Alka-Plus. The best way to increase alkalinity is to gradually increase it over a period of time.

The best way to lower high alkalinity is to use pH reducer. You will need to test the pH level the day after to see if you need to increase your pH level to an acceptable range.

pH and alkalinity are honestly w of the most confusing things about a hot tub or pool.

After all, how many of us have chemistry degrees? Luckily, I take all the mystery out of those in a recent article. I explore how they differ and how one impacts the other. Believe it or not, it IS possible to have a high pH and low alkalinity or vice versa.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about using hot tubs in the rain and if that’s OK?

Relaxing in your hot tub in the rain is a great activity.

But you should never relax during a thunder and lightning storm. Because water conducts electricity, you should never be in your hot tub during a thunderstorm, you can get seriously injured.

To maximize your enjoyment, heat up some towels and a bathrobe.

Bring out a hot drink with you, such as tea or hot cocoa. Ensure you wear slippers or shoes so you don’t fall and hurt yourself, as well as a way to avoid cold and wet feet.

While it isn’t necessarily bad to get rainwater in your hot tub, it forces you to do a bit of maintenance. Rainwater will affect the chemical balance of your water. You must ensure both pH and TA levels are within acceptable ranges.

You always want your water to be clean and safe, otherwise, it can adversely affect you and the spa equipment.

Do you find hot tub chemicals confusing?

Hot tub chemicals are definitely confusing. We often have no idea how much or how little to add. So we just sprinkle a little and then test again.

But for that matter, many of us aren’t even sure which ones should you buy or are even necessary?

Luckily, I take the confusion out of hot tub chemicals in a recent article.

I not only get into exactly which chemicals you need but also which ones you don’t need that can be a waste of money.

Then I also look at which chemicals are best for sensitive skin and how to avoid hot tub rash.

Just click the link to read that on my site.


Photo credits which require attribution:

Hoffell hot pots by James Brooks 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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