Can You Use a Hot Tub Without Heat? (Yes, here’s how!)

In the summer it can get too hot to soak in your hot tub. Other times, it’s just nice to have a cold soak. So many hot tub owners have wondered can you use a hot tub without heat.

Here’s what I’ve learned in owning 4 of them:

You can use a hot tub without heat, but do not cut power to the hot tub. You need the pump circulating the water through the filters to ensure proper water quality. Switching the mode to economy or sleep will reduce heating cycles and lower the temperature by as much as 20 degrees.

But that’s just the beginning!

In this article, we’re exploring hot tubs and temperature. We’ll get into how to lower the temp, whether you can use ice to cool it down, and if there are chillers you can buy.

Not having your hot tub set to 104° F in the heat of summer is a great thing!

Using a hot tub without heat is great for those hot and humid summer days where all you want to do is swim but don’t have access to a pool. The cool water can also help with sore muscles, as well as relaxation.

Enjoy your hot tub in the dead of winter or the height of summer heat with this guide!

Does a hot tub have to be hot?

A hot tub does not have to be used hot. The heater can be bypassed, the mode can be switched to economy or sleep mode, or a chiller can be installed.

Don’t, however, just cut the power to your hot tub.

The lack of water pumping through the filters could lead to bacteria build-up. If you feel confident, you can open up the side of your hot tub and see if there’s an easy way to simply turn off the heater.

Summer has returned! And with it, the heat has ratcheted up. Are you sick of the heat, and desiring some way to cool yourself down?

Your hot tub will be able to help you out! Many people prefer a hot soak to relax in, but that may be uncomfortable for many people during the summer.

But enjoying your hot tub in the heat is no problem.

Turning down the heater for your hot tub is a common tactic to enjoy your hot tub or spa during the summer heat. The refreshingly cold water, paired with the hot tub jets, creates a fantastic relaxation experience.

For the middle of summer in an extra hot area (like Texas where I live), I like to switch my hot tub setting to sleep or economy mode. While this is designed to help save electricity, it also prevents your hot tub from getting as hot as it normally would.

Check your manual to see how to set yours as every brand will be a little different.

And if you’re curious about hot tubs and how much energy they really use, check out this recent article. What really surprised me was how much the electric bill fluctuates from summer to winter.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

It may take a little while for your hot tub water to cool down from its original temperature. This can take anywhere from an hour to five. It really depends on the temperature that your hot tub was set at before you decided to cool it down.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that your hot tub’s heat-absorbing cover is off of it. The cover’s main function is to retain heat. So,  if it’s on, it will take longer for your hot tub to cool down.

Can a hot tub be used as a pool?

It may sound like an odd question, but it has been frequently asked over the years.

So here, we’re getting into some of the things you can do in your hot tub that are similar activities to what you would do in a pool. Then further below, we’ll get more into how to lower the temperature in your hot tub.

There are a few ways in which a hot tub can be used as a pool:

1. Relaxing

To begin with, pools are used by many people to relax. But any hot tub owner knows that hot tubs are better to relax in! Use your hot tub as a pool and relax! Soak in the warmth (or cold, if its the height of summer) and sip on a beverage!

2. Exercising

Another way a hot tub can be used as a pool is to exercise in it. While you can’t swim laps like you can in a pool, you can still exercise. The warm water will help loosen cramped muscles.

3. Yoga

Additionally, you can practice water yoga, and even tread water for long periods.

4. Night-time swim

A fourth way to use your hot tub as a pool is to take a soak at night. There was nothing quite like taking a night swim when you were younger. Now you can have a great relaxing soak, and listen to the sounds of the night.

Can I put ice in my hot tub?

You can add ice to a hot tub to rapidly drop the temperature as it will not harm the hot tub. Depending on the volume of ice added, it could overfill the hot tub. It will also require minor chemical adjustments after adding the ice.

One way to cool it off is to simply lower the temperature via the temperature dial. You’ll have to wait, and it could take a few hours.

Do realize though, if you live in Texas as I do, in mid-July when daytime temps can be over 100° F, you can turn the dial down all you want and the water temp may never get much below 96° ° F.

But don’t worry, there are several things you can do to drop the temperature below that. If you’re curious about those other ways to cool down a hot tub, check out this recent article.

But additionally, make sure your hot tub cover is off, and ensure the jets are running.

The running jets will help the water cool down. The good news is, once you have cooled off your hot tub, you don’t need to worry about it heating up. Hot tubs are all insulated, so it will retain the cold once you have gotten it to cool down.

Additionally, if you really want a cool hot tub, feel free to throw in ice! It’s completely safe to throw ice into your hot tub to cool it down. But you may need to buy 3 or more bags of ice to see any real change.

Also, understand that you will likely need to test and adjust the chemical levels of your hot tub.

This is because by introducing ice into your hot tub you will be adding fresh water to it. This water has been untreated by the necessary chemicals you need to ensure your hot tub is clean.

The more ice you add, the more you’ll likely need to adjust.

Do they make a hot tub chiller?

Yes, is the short answer. But the 2 main ones require you to also own their brand of hot tub.

It can take the water a long time to cool down to your desired temperature. Thankfully there are cooling systems you can purchase to help with this process.

Altera Spas makes a system called AnyTemp.

Their system goes inside the tub, so you never even see the equipment. They claim a temperature range of 56°-104°.

Then there is the CoolZone hot tub cooling system from Watkins Wellness. You’ll see this listed with their 2 hot tub brands Caldera Spas and Hotspring Spas.

This system allows you to control both the coolness and warmth of your hot tub. This is not possible with the majority of hot tubs. Their equipment sits next to the hot tub on the outside.

The system can cool the hot tub’s water to as low as 60° F.

When you desire warm water, the system works with your hot tub’s heating system to raise the water temperature in a handful of hours. This system is incredibly energy efficient, and can supposedly improve the energy use of your hot tub.

Unfortunately, both the CoolZone and AnyTemp systems are only compatible with either Caldrea or Hotspring spas in the case of CoolZone or Altera Spas for AnyTemp. So if you don’t own one of those, keep looking.

In the case of either of these systems, when you first get one, if you’re starting from normal hot tub temperatures, expect it to drop about 2° per hour.

And you think you can just pop over to Amazon and order one, unfortunately, there are no compatible systems you can buy there as of this writing. The water chillers they do have are designed for hydroponic growing systems and would not be able to handle cooling down a hot tub.

What can I do with my hot tub in summer?

Contrary to popular belief, there are many things you can do with your hot tub.

For starters, as we’ve previously talked about, you can use your hot tub as a “cool” tub. Cool the water to the desired temperature, either by using ice, a cooling system, or simply turning down the heat and waiting.

Make sure you run the jets too, they will help cool down the water quicker.

You can also soak in your hot tub at night. The cool air contrasted with a warm soak while looking at the moon and night sky is a sure way to relax and unwind after a long day.

What else can you do with your hot tub in the summer?

Throw a party of course! Throwing a party is the easiest way to create friends and become the most popular person on your street. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors over for a nice barbecue and a soak in the hot tub. There’s no better way to have fun and make good use of your hot tub.

Finally, hot tubs (or cool tubs) are a great way to soothe your aching muscles. As previously discussed, you can use your hot tub to stretch your muscles and unwind. Crank up the jets and relax.

To read up on hot tubs and summertime, check out this recent article. I get more into summertime use and also have some additional tips on cooling your hot tub down.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether you can use a hot tub without heat?

Your hot tub has more uses than you think!

In fact, your hot tub does not have to be super hot. A “cool” hot tub can keep you refreshed and relaxed during those hot summer days.

You can add ice to your hot tub to help cool it down. If you add ice to your hot tub, ensure you regularly check the pH level, in addition to the alkalinity and chlorine levels.

Another way to cool down your hot tub, if you have a compatible brand, is to install a cooling system such as the CoolZone.

A third option, which is what I do, is to simply run your jets, turn down the temperature, switch the panel to economy or sleep mode, and wait until the water cools down.

Last summer, in Texas in July, I was able to get my hot tub down in the mid-80°’s which felt great.

Feel free to use your hot tub to relax. Better yet, throw a party! There are many ways to use and enjoy your hot (or cool) tub. Fight off the summer heat and have fun!

Of course, the temperature you normally set your hot tub to is crucial both for your own health and safety, but also to help determine the maximum amount of time you should soak in 1 sitting.

If you’re curious about the correct temperature of a hot tub, and how long you can soak at different temperatures, check out this recent article. Just click the link to read it on my site.

What really surprised me was how much longer you can soak just by lowering it 2-3 degrees!


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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