How to Cool Down a Hot Tub

A hot tub is a great place to unwind after a long day. But when it’s hot outside, sitting in a hot tub is the last thing we want to do. So I decided to look into how to cool down a hot tub.

Here’s what I figured out:

While a hot tub temperature panel typically allows you to bump it down to 60° F, when it’s warm outside, the actual water temp will never get that cool. Cool it down further by switching the hot tub mode to sleep or economy mode, and consider buying a hot tub chiller if you live in an unseasonably warm area.

But there are a lot more tips you can try to drop the temp of your hot tub, so let’s keep going!

If you’ve ever been sitting in a hot tub, then you know sometimes it’s easy to get overheated.

So what if there was a way to cool it down a bit, but not ruin the mood?

Well, believe it or not, this is very possible. You don’t need to cut your quality hot tub time short if you can’t handle the heat. And, it’s not too difficult to lower the temp.

If you’re someone who has a hot tub and wants to truly enjoy it, then please pay close attention.

So without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in, and take a look at how you can keep your hot tub at the temperature you love.

If 104° F sounds too hot for you, then you’re definitely in the right place. You’re about to learn all you need to know about how to cool down a hot tub.

Can you keep a hot tub cool in the summer?

The summer is a hot time of the year here in Texas (and probably where you live too).

Sometimes it can feel unbearable and might make you feel like my hot tub is useless. After all, why would you want to feel even hotter when it’s already 100° outside?

Well, believe it or not, there are methods you can use to reduce the temperature in your hot tub.

All hot tubs have a control panel where you can bump the temp up or down. But when it’s super hot outside, bumping it down may not change the water temp much. So, if you really want to cool down your hot tub in the summer months, you’ll need some extra help.

Let’s take a look at how to cool down a hot tub.

The first thing you can try to keep your hot tub cool in the summer is to turn the temperature setting down below 85° F.

That may not do much if you live someplace super hot as I do. But in many locations that might be all you need to do. This method might take some time. So just know that while you can raise a hot tub temp 10° in just a few hours, dropping the temp takes a lot longer.

If you’re confused about what the best temperature is for your hot tub, check out a recent article where I go into great detail about that. I even include a visual chart showing the max time you can safely use yours at all of the most common temperature settings.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Does sleep or economy mode lower a hot tub temperature more?

Yes, is the short answer.

Depending on the model of hot tub you have, there might be a hidden gem you’ve been missing out on.

I’m talking about sleep and economy modes, which many hot tubs have.

While these are designed to save energy, they can also make it easier to drop your hot tub temperature by a larger amount than using your hot tub in the standard mode.

As an example, this past summer, when temps hit 100° F almost every day, I bumped the temperature down to 85 on the panel. Yet, the actual water temp was still about 104° F.

Then I switched ours to sleep mode, and found within a few days it was down to 97° F!

As we headed into fall, and the weather started to cool off, the water temp actually got into the 80’s and I had to switch it back to standard mode as it was too cold for my wife.

Find your manual and see how your model allows you to change the mode. But many offer this and for me, it worked within a few days, even in the summer heat.

How to cool down a hot tub with a chiller?

If you’re out of options or will be cooling your hot tub down often, you might want to look into a chiller.

You can generally find them at your local pool supply store, or online. They can definitely help you keep the temperature bearable in the hotter months.

In some cases, you can even reach about 60° F with ease. So if a hot tub chiller piques your interest, be sure to keep reading, because we’ll explain hot tub chillers in more detail below.

Is there a DIY way to cool a hot tub down?

Going the chiller route could be costly, so if you’re looking to save some of that hard-earned cash, a DIY option might sound more appealing.

Now, this is going to require some real creativity. It might also require some unconventional tools like empty milk gallons and umbrellas.

Your best friend in the summer is shade.

If you don’t want to move the tub to a shaded area, you can always try to create your own shade with a large umbrella. You might be surprised how far a little bit of shade will go.

My hot tub sits directly in the sun, at least from sunrise through late morning. A little shade makes a big difference, and the surface of the cover can easily drop 20° F with proper shade.

You can also try freezing water in empty containers, like gallon milk jugs before you take a jump in.

Just plop them in and it will drop the temperature by a few degrees fairly quickly. Unfortunately, this fix will likely only be temporary. But when done, just throw those gallons back in your freezer for next time.

Plus, as an added bonus, you can try adding cold water to your hot tub with a hose for a nice little temperature drop. City water temps vary by both source and time of year but typically range between 55-75° F.

So no matter what, tap water will be considerably colder than your hot tub water.

You shouldn’t have to avoid your hot tub just because it’s hot outside. Plus, the beauty of a hot tub, is that you can utilize the therapy jets in any temperature setting.

These solutions won’t work as well as a chiller or sleep mode, but can help you drop your hot tub temperature by about 5° F on a really hot day.

If you anything about a hot tub on a hot day, then you know that 5° F is a big deal.

Can spas be cold? Are there benefits?

This seems like an age-old question, but it is also a bit of a personal answer.

It depends on who you are as a person, but you can run your therapy jets in your hot tub at any temperature.

It won’t cause any damage to your hot tub, and during the summer, it can actually feel incredible.

Most hot tub panels will allow you to drop the temperature to about 60° F, which is considered cold water by most. But as we got into above though, the actual water temp isn’t likely to get that cold if it’s hot outside.

Dropping the panel to 60° F turns your hot tub into a cooling spa that can aid in muscle recovery.

But if it is too hot out, your hot tub will struggle to get anywhere near that temp because it is designed to heat not cool water. Cold water is great for reducing swelling, and when you combine this with the therapeutic jets, you’ll find yourself more relaxed than ever.

Why is a cold spa useful?

Hot tubs may be marketed as a hot tub, but there are plenty of benefits that come along with a cold spa.

Have you ever wondered why athletes take ice baths or why cryo-therapy is becoming popular?

The answer is quite simple. Cold water helps quite a bit when it comes to reducing inflammation, joint pain, and swelling. All those years ago, when someone gave you an ice pack to reduce a bump, there was actual science behind that.

Pretty mind-blowing right?

So while most people prefer their spas hot, you can turn any hot tub into a cold spa.

This will help your muscles recover, and can help alleviate all types of pain. Plus, in the summer months, it can be extremely refreshing to chill the heat and humidity away.

How does a hot tub chiller work?

A hot tub chiller works in the same way an air conditioner works. But through the plumbing in your hot tub instead of an air vent.

The chiller utilizes refrigeration and uses that refrigerant to pump chilled water through your hot tub. Most chillers also have external circulation, and use advanced technology. That way they make sure none of the water contains any remnants of refrigerant.

Think of it this way.

A hot tub is designed to heat up, and cooling down is close to impossible when it’s summer in Texas. Sure you can set the temperature to a lower setting, but when it’s brutally hot outside it may never actually get to that temperature.

Enter the hot tub chiller.

You should also know that this process is not instant, and depending on how hot it is outside, the process can decrease water temperature by about 2 degrees an hour.

That might not seem like a lot, but it definitely adds up.

Can I install a hot tub chiller myself?

Is it possible? Depending on your technical know-how you could, but it is recommended that a chiller gets installed by a professional HVAC technician to get the job done.

Does it go inside or outside of the water?

While the unit is designed to cool your water, it’s not a piece of technology you want to be submerged in water. This is why you’ll find that hot tub chillers are installed on the outside of the tub.

You don’t need to suffer this summer or cover your hot tub for the summer. A hot tub chiller is a great piece of additional technology that can help you enjoy your hot tub all year long.

Can I turn my hot tub off in the summer?

When people want to know how to keep a hot tub cool, turning it off always seems to come to mind.

Depending on how hot of a day it is outside, and the amount of water you’re working with, turning your hot tub off might be a better way to manage the temperature.

Have you ever turned the flame off of boiling water? It stops bubbling almost immediately.

The same concept applies to your hot tub. But there are 2 problems with this.

First, we have the sun setting. Sure, the water will remain warm-ish throughout the night, but will it be warm enough?

The other, more important reason is that when turned completely off, the water sits still and isn’t filtered. If you’ve ever seen a stagnant pond, you know how nasty still water can get. That’s especially true with people’s oils and flaky skin floating in it.

If you do happen to turn your hot tub off during the day, you should definitely consider turning it back on at night. That way the filter cycle can run through the night and still clean the water.

If you play your cards right, you can save some money and still get plenty of enjoyment out of your hot tub. Plus, if it feels too hot, turning it off might help the water climb back down to a more manageable temperature.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how to cool down a hot tub?

Hot tubs are supposed to be hot, but they don’t have to be unbearable.

You’ll find that it is possible to maintain a comfortable temperature and enjoy your quality hot tub time even in the brutal heat of summer

It might be harder to accomplish in the warmer months. And you might consider a hot tub chiller too. But the tips on how to cool down a hot tub that we reviewed here definitely work.

So kick back, relax, and start enjoying that hot tub of yours.

Confused about hot tub chemicals and not sure which ones are the best?

I take the confusion out of it in a recent article. I explore not only what chemicals you need, but also which ones you don’t need that can be a waste of money. Then, I also explore which chemicals are best for sensitive skin and how to avoid the dreaded hot tub rash.

So just click the link to read that now on my site.

Photo credits which require attribution:

View from hot tub at Smoky Mountain Cabin by 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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