Can You Use a Hot Tub in the Summer? (yes, here’s how)

I love our hot tub. But with summers often being over 100° in many places, jumping into a hot tub at 104° on a hot summer day isn’t very appealing. So can you use a hot tub in the summer?

As a general rule, hot tubs can be used in summer, and throughout the entire year. But a hot tub will be more enjoyable by lowering the temperature to 95 degrees. And in extremely hot climates, switch the hot tub’s mode to economy or sleep which drops the temperature below the set point.

Having a way to enjoy your hot tub at any time of the year, including the summer, can help you to remain relaxed and refreshed no matter what the temperature is outside.

In this article, we are going to show you how, even in the middle of the summer heat, you can still have fun with your hot tub.

hot tub cheat sheet banner Hot Tub Owner HQ

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

Table of Contents:

What temperature should a hot tub be set at in the summer?

Generally speaking, many people set their hot tubs to 95° F (5°C) during the summer months in warmer climates. While it can be set lower than that, if outside temperatures are over 90° F, the water is unlikely to drop below 95° F.

That’s why I like switching the mode on mine to economy or sleep.

Those modes only kick the heater on during the filter cycles instead of kicking on every time a temperature drop is detected. While it won’t keep the water at 75 when it’s 100 outside, you could set yours to 90 and have the actual water temp in the low 90s even if it’s 100 during the day.

Personally, with 3 daughters who love to soak, I set mine to 98° F (36.6°C). That way we can soak longer and there’s less risk involved. But ultimately the best temperature of a hot tub is all a matter of personal preferences.

But in the heat of a Texas summer (we live outside of Austin), even setting it to 98°, the actual temperature of the water will still be well over 100°.

Now you may like it hot, even in summer. But the water temp also affects how long you can soak. Obviously, the higher the temperature, the shorter the soak time needs to be.

So to start with, as the hot summer months are getting close, I would bump the temperature on your control panel down to at least 98°, if not cooler.

After all, as the sun beats down on your lid all day, it will heat the water like it’s under a giant magnifying glass.

So getting a jump on the temperature before temps soar up high will help it stay cooler.

Below I get into a few cool tricks that can allow your hot tub to actually run much cooler in summer. But to check out recommended soak times by temp, check out a recent article where I break it all down. I cover maximum safe soak times and concerns by age as well as the most common health concerns.

Just click the link to read that on my site.

How do I cool down my hot tub?

A lot of people decide to shut down their hot tub once those sweltering summer months start to come around.

I used to do that, but there’s a better way.

While you could just cut the power and let the water temperature drop, that’s not very safe. The reason is the same as when you see a pond or lake that looks stagnant. With no power, there’s no circulation, jets, or pumps.

The water just sits still.

Then if you add dead skin flakes and body oils and you have the ideal recipe for bacteria growth. Even if you keep adding chemicals, without the pump to circulate it, you run the risk of not all the water being treated.

But all is not lost! You can cool down a hot tub and there are several ways to do that.

One of the best ways to get the water cool (or cooler at least) is to switch your mode on your control panel. My hot tub (a Master Spa Twilight series) has both an “economy mode” and a “sleep mode”. Yours might also have a summer mode (more on that below).

But switching to economy mode (what I did this past summer) actually kept the temperature about 15 degrees cooler than what it was set to. The reason is it’s designed to save on electricity costs, so the heater doesn’t run 24/7 as it might otherwise do.

With the heater on only occasionally, it just doesn’t heat up as much as it would otherwise. Bad in colder months, but great in summer!

Check out all the ways to cool down a hot tub, including 1 really cool (pun intended) ninja trick, in a recent article. Just click the link to read that on my site.

hot tub cheat sheet banner Hot Tub Owner HQ

What is summer mode on a hot tub?

Summer mode is available on some brands of hot tubs, and this mode uses a timer that shuts off your pump for 8 hours which allows the hot tub to cool down significantly.

Having those 8 hours at night is ideal for this since the lid isn’t baking in the summer sun and preventing much of a temp drop.

Not every hot tub has this mode (mine doesn’t). But it is becoming more common. I believe this was pioneered by Spring Dance Hot Tubs. They simply have a feature on their Hot Spring and Caldera models that allows you to run your hot tub more like a pool.

It doesn’t get cold, per se, but then neither does a pool in the heat of the summer.

Don’t have a Spring Dance Hot Tub?

No problem. The economy or sleep mode many other brands use (like mine) works very similarly. No matter which of those modes you use, you may be able to get your hot tub water temperature down into the 80s. While that may not sound cool, it will feel great when it’s 95° outside!

Summer mode or not, you also need to know how long it’s safe to stay in a hot tub, especially on a hot day.

Staying too long at too high of a temperature has some real safety concerns. So make sure to check out a recent article where I break down the best time and temperature strategies to avoid the most common issues.

I also break down those health concerns and the symptoms you might see. Just click the link to read that now on my site.

What is the best time of day to use a hot tub in the summer?

The best times to use a hot tub during warm summer months are first thing in the morning and again in the evening once the sun has gone down. The water temperature will not be significantly different, but the experience will be more enjoyable without the sun’s rays beating down.

Even during the summer season, there can be some days that are a cooler temperature than others.

Especially in the early mornings and late evenings. With that being said, there are still some opportunities for your hot tub to actually be a hot tub!

The best way for you to use your hot tub and avoid getting too hot is to remember those early mornings are typically fairly cool in summer. This allows you to get a good, relaxing, hot soak in before you begin your day.

The same applies to the late evenings as well when the sun sets and is no longer beaming down on your house. Take advantage of these cooler nights to be able to relax and decompress after a long day at work.

Mornings or a beautiful summer evening are the perfect time to soak!

Remember too that when using a hot tub in summer, even in the morning or evening, you may be tempted to soak longer than is safe!

Didn’t know a hot tub could make you dehydrated?

In a recent article, I break down how a hot tub can make you dehydrated and what the symptoms are to look out for. But I also break down how long you can soak at the temperature of your hot tub and still be safe.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is a hot tub good for aching muscles in summer?

In the heat of summer, there’s nothing better for sore muscles than the warm water from a hot tub. So after mowing the lawn, gardening, or other strenuous activity, soaking can soothe aching muscles.

Turn on the jets for a complete massage hydrotherapy experience!

While hydrotherapy is particularly beneficial for the elderly, as shown in studies, it is also a great way to relax after a workout or doing yard work.

It is important, however, to not soak longer than the recommended soak times, and to make sure and drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated.

Here’s a handy chart for recommended soak times at different temperatures:

Hot Tub Temperature Max Soak Time
98° F (36.6°C) 30 Minutes
99° F (37.2°C) 28 Minutes
100° F (37.7°C) 25 Minutes
102° F (38.8°C) 20 Minutes
104° F (40°C) 15 minutes

Just remember that this is a guide.

What is water circuit therapy and how does that work in a hot tub?

Simply alternate between 10 minutes of hot water and 10 minutes of cold water. Starting in your hot tub and then moving to a cold shower is perfect for this activity.

Water circuit therapy is also a great way for those who are looking to improve upon their self-care habits and take care of their bodies. It provides these health benefits:

  • It is great for reducing muscle soreness, especially if you are extremely active or have a very laborious career.
  • Excellent for reducing fatigue and the effects of burnout, giving you the physical and mental capabilities to power through your day
  • It provides remarkable pain relief, which is great for those who deal with chronic conditions like arthritis or are recovering from injuries or medical procedures.
  • It is capable of improving your range of motion, which is a great benefit for those looking to increase flexibility, going through physical therapy, or are managing musculoskeletal issues.

The cool thing about this is that even though you don’t reduce the temperature of the hot tub, you don’t put yourself at risk of overheating.

This is due to taking a cold shower after getting out of the water to regulate your body temperature.

Here is a great schedule you should adhere to when getting started with water circuit therapy:

  • Take 10 minutes within the hot tub to move around and loosen joints and tight muscles.
  • Upon getting out of the hot tub, take ten minutes in a cold shower to bring your body temperature back down to normal levels.

Water Circuit Therapy Quick Note!

The 10 minutes in the cold shower, provides another purpose aside from bringing your body temperature back down to normal levels.

It also assists with reducing inflammation and provides stimulation to your body’s nervous system. (source)

Does a hot tub help with summer allergies?

In a controlled study conducted by the Journal of Integrative Medicine, they found that steam from a hot tub is effective in controlling and reducing the effects of allergens, and can reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, nasal itching, and congestion.


What does this mean?

Hot tubs produce steam! Starting to succumb to the effects of your summer allergies? A quick dip in your hot tub can quickly get that under control. And get you back to enjoying your summer with friends and family. That’s better than hiding out in your house.

Summer is supposed to be one of the best times of the year for most people. But that is not always the case, especially if you’re an allergy-prone individual.

If you have a hot tub, however, you can change all that and enjoy what the summer has to offer!

Can you use a hot tub as a cold tub in the summer?

As a general rule, most brands of hot tubs cannot switch to a cool mode in summer, and most hot tub chillers are built into specific brands. However, switching the mode to economy or sleep will allow the heater to come on less frequently and can drop the water temperature by as much as 20 degrees.

Just don’t be tempted to turn the power off to lower the temp.

Without power, there will be no circulation and no filtration. It won’t take long for the water to build up with bacteria or become stagnant. Even if you still add chemicals, there will be no way for it to circulate.

What brands of hot tubs come with the option for a chiller?

Most don’t, but Hot Springs Spa, Caldera Spas, and Watkins Wellness are the best-known brands that feature what is called the COOLZoneTM System that can lower your hot tub water to as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

How does the CoolZone system from Hot Spring Spas work?

The CoolZone system from Hot Spring Spas is the perfect way to enjoy a hot tub without the heat, any time of year, but especially during the heat of the day when warm weather hits.

It allows users to cool the water down to as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, providing a refreshing and comfortable experience.

The system has three modes:

  • Chill
  • Auto Saver
  • Auto with Boost

In Chill mode, the CoolZone system is used to cool the water down to the desired temperature.

In Auto Saver mode, the CoolZone system chills the water and then automatically heats it back up with its own heating element. Finally, in Auto with Boost mode, both the CoolZone system and the hot tub heater are used to heat the water back up after chilling it.

In order for this system to be installed in an existing hot tub, it must be an Eagle model from Hot Spring Spas manufactured in 2012 or later.

Additionally, an HVAC technician must be hired for the installation of this system. This ensures that all components are properly connected and functioning correctly for optimal performance and safety.

Overall, the CoolZone system from Hot Spring Spas is a great way to enjoy a hot tub without worrying about overheating or uncomfortable temperatures. With its three modes of operation and easy installation process (1-2 hours typically), users can enjoy refreshingly cool water in their own backyard!

Can you turn off a hot tub’s heater?

Most hot tubs do not have an on/off switch just for the heater, but it may be possible to unplug the heater from the control pack without affecting the other systems.

And if you’re thinking you will simply just cut the breaker inside the disconnect box, think again!

That will cut power to everything, and without the pump and filtration cycles, dangerous levels of bacteria can build up in the water over time.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that these systems are running regularly even when the heater is not in use. If the water can’t pass through the hot tub filter, that water will get nasty pretty quick!

Every brand of hot tub is different, but many newer models simply have plugs on the side of the control pack box located behind the hot tub’s removable panel.

While the concept is the same as any electrical appliance, the actual plugs look different.

Before doing anything, cut the power at the disconnect box. Then remove the panel from the front of the hot tub and find the plug coming from the silver heating tube and simply unplug it from the box.

Turn the power back on at the disconnect box and verify the topside control panel and jets still work.

Any be aware that it could take hours or even days for the water temperature to drop if it’s warm outside. Leaving the hot tub cover off can help with that although it will also invite leaves and debris into the hot tub.

Will putting a roof over my hot tub keep it cooler in summer?

A roof over your hot tub can help keep it cooler in the summer.

Being in the shade can make a huge difference in how hot a surface is during the summer. On a hot day, a surface (like your hot tub’s cover) in direct sunlight can reach temperatures of up to 140°F, while one in the shade may only reach around 90°F.

The amount of cooling that shade provides depends on the type of surface and how much direct sunlight it is exposed to. For example, dark surfaces absorb more heat than lighter surfaces, so they will be hotter than lighter surfaces even when they are in the shade.

Generally speaking, a surface in the shade on a super hot day can be up to 50-60°F cooler than one in direct sunlight.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider when putting a roof over your hot tub.

If you live in an area with high humidity levels, a roof over your hot tub could actually make it hotter in summer due to trapped moisture and heat buildup. So in that case, consider adding one or more weather-proof fans around the hot tub to help circulate the air.

That will help keep low humidity levels.

Overall, putting a roof over your hot tub can be beneficial in keeping it cooler in summer if done correctly. Since you need a fence around a hot tub anyway, it’s often not that hard to add a roof which can both help keep your hot tub cool, but also increase the privacy around your hot tub.

Just don’t completely enclose it.

The air being able to circulate around the hot tub will ensure you aren’t trapping the heat and humidity around and in your hot tub.

Final thoughts

The good news is that just because it has gotten a little warm outside doesn’t mean that hot tub owners can’t enjoy their hot tubs anymore.

In fact, it can provide you with opportunities to better enjoy your life and still relax at the end of a long day without the hot tub temperature being unbearable.

With the knowledge that you are now armed with, you can go forth and conquer the summer!… Er… I mean enjoy the summer!

There are a lot of different things you can do to get a cool tub so you can enjoy your hot tub year-round, from switching modes on your hot tub’s topside panel to putting a roof over it, or disconnecting the hot tub heater (but leaving the rest of the system powered).

Thanks for reading and happy tubbing!

hot tub cheat sheet banner Hot Tub Owner HQ

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a 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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