Do Hot Tubs Have a Cool Setting?

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If like me, you live in a place that gets super hot in the summertime, it is oftentimes too hot to get in a hot tub that is 100° F. But do hot tubs have a cool setting?

Here’s what I have learned:

Some hot tub brands offer the option of what they call a ‘CoolZone’ system which allows a hot tub to operate as low as 60° F. But this cannot be easily added to an existing hot tub. However, there are other ways of cooling down a hot tub in the summer to make it more enjoyable to soak in.

So in this article, we’ll get into the Cool Zone system, but we’ll also look at what I do here in Central Texas to keep my hot tub temps lower when it’s 100° outside, and I want to soak.

Let’s get into it!

How do you keep a hot tub cool in the summer?

Keep a hot tub cooler in summer by switching the mode to either economy or sleep mode. In either case, it has the heater only turning on during filtration cycles. This can result in a water temperature that is up to 20° cooler than the set temperature.

But where I live, you’ll never see a 20° drop. But I can get my hot tub to about 92°.

Keeping the water in your hot tub cool is a challenge in some areas, such as Texas, where I live. Mid-day temperatures get up to 100°F on a regular basis, and that soon warms up the water, even without the heater on.

Most people set their hot tub temperature to around 100°, 104° as a maximum, but the hotter the water, the less time you can safely spend in the tub, and when you want to relax after a hard day’s work, you don’t want to feel uncomfortable after just 5 minutes.

If you don’t have a CoolZone system – and let’s face it, not many of us do – then some hot tubs also have a summer mode. When you switch to this mode, the heater and the pump turn off for 8 hours, so if you do this overnight, the water will be much cooler the next day.

If you don’t have a summer mode, just use the economy or the sleep mode I mentioned – every tub should have one of these. 

First, you need to turn the temperature down to around 85° and then switch modes. The pump will run on filter cycles only, so your water will be sanitized, but it won’t heat up.

I wrote about cooling down your hot tub in greater detail in a recent article. After all, some hot tubs might not have economy or sleep mode. But if yours doesn’t you still have some options to run it cooler than normal.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is the lowest temperature for a hot tub?

A CoolZone system can chill the water down to 60°F, but for normal hot tubs, it is rare for them to drop below 90° F unless it is set well below that and the outside temperature is below 40° F.

But as I said, it’s hard to get the water much lower than 90°, but as the average body temperature is 98.6°, anything below this will actually make you feel cooler.

Here are some simple ways of getting a quick temperature drop:

  • Ice buckets – put a couple of gallon cans of water in your freezer, then plop them in the tub once they’re frozen.
  • Cold water from the garden hose. Hose water is often between 60-75° F; a good 20-40° less than your hot tub water.

Just don’t forget to check the water balance after adding water from the faucet or garden hose.

One way to stop the water from getting so warm is to provide shade, either by using a large umbrella or, better still, a gazebo. You can pick up a 13’ x 13’ gazebo for less than $200 on Amazon, and that will also protect you from the sun.

I covered a bunch of easy ways to add both shade and privacy in this recent article. I even get into the 1 solution that is practically free.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is a CoolZone system for hot tubs?

CoolZone is the registered trademark for a system developed to both chill and heat water quickly and efficiently. The CoolZone system is only available on the Hot Spring and Caldera brands, both owned by Watkins Wellness.

With this system, you can have a cooling soak in the afternoon and a warm session that same evening.

It works in a similar manner to an air conditioning unit using a heat pump condenser to chill the water temperature down to as low as 60° and then, in conjunction with the hot tub’s built-in heater, bump it back up to 100° in a matter of hours.

With a top temperature of 104°, you can use your hot tub even on the chilliest of summer nights.

The CoolZone condenser must be installed close to the hot tub, not necessarily right next to it but somewhere nearby. However, you can control it from the top set panel.

With CoolZone installed, running costs can be reduced significantly because it takes a lot less time for the heater to raise the temperature of the water, and this is where the main costs are.

It is not something you would consider retrofitting on other brands because of the installation cost and the modifications required to your hot tub.

Besides, unless you are a professional athlete, who would want to sit in water as cold as 60°?

When should I put my hot tub in economy mode?

When the air temperature tops 95° F, your spa water will quickly warm up to around 99° even if you set the temperature to 85°. This is the best time to switch modes to economy or sleep.

Generally, I switch mine at the start of June and switch it back in October.

Remember, it takes longer to cool down than it does to heat up in high temperatures. In fact, it can take a few days to drop just a couple of degrees, even in economy mode. Leaving the lid on when the tub is not in use will keep the heat in, but it will stop the sun from warming the water up.

Don’t be tempted to turn your hot tub off and allow the water to cool down naturally. 

You still need to filter the water, and that requires circulation, so you must have the pump running, which economy mode will provide.

Water at high temperatures is also a breeding ground for bacteria such as folliculitis and legionella, so it is also important to maintain the chlorine or bromine levels and shock the water more often than normal. 

Chlorine breaks down quicker in the sunshine too, so you need to check the water more often in hot weather.

Is it OK to drain the hot tub for summer?

If you don’t want to use your hot tub over the hottest months, it’s perfectly fine to switch it off and drain it. 

But before you take such drastic action, consider why you would want to do that.

In a recent article, I discussed how you could use your hot tub in the summer, including the 1 surefire way to get the temperature down in the low 90’s.

Just click on the link to read it on my site.

There are pros and cons to using your hot tub in the height of summer, and it’s not just the temperature of the water. Even if you manage to get that down to a manageable 85-90°, the upper half of your body will be exposed to the sun’s rays.

Sunscreen and hot tubs don’t mix well because when you sweat, most of it will end up in the water, and that will clog the filter. If you don’t use sunscreen, you run the risk of severe sunburn, even after just 30 minutes.

If you still think you can’t use your hot tub in the summertime, and I’m talking 4 weeks or more, then you should consider shutting it down completely.

I wrote about this in a recent article, where I get into all the steps to successfully power down and drain a hot tub. After all, it’s not just as simple as cutting the power and draining it. There’s 1 more step in making sure you avoid bacteria build-up.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about cooling down your hot tub?

There is no reason to stop using your hot tub in the summertime, even if you live in Texas or Arizona.

You just have to look for ways to cool the water down as much as you can. Try switching to economy mode and dropping the temperature setting to 85° or less.

You should also consider investing in a gazebo for extra shade. Not only will this keep the surface temperature cool, but it will also protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.

If there is anything I missed, or you have any questions on this subject, just drop me a line, and I will do my best to answer it.

And don’t forget to check out the other related articles here on my site. Just click on the links.

Another benefit of keeping your hot tub temperature lower is for those that like spray-on tans or use tanning beds. The higher the temp, the more the color wears off. Check out my recent article where I share all the tips on how to tan and soak without damaging your tan or your hot tub!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

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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