If you live in a region of the country where the snow sticks — meaning the air temperature drops below freezing long enough to freeze the ground — you have a hot tub season and you have winter! Now, you can run up your electric bill to crazy sums by leaving your hot tub running all winter — day and night — so the water doesn’t freeze and damage it (which doesn’t just drain your account, but the life out of the hot tub’s pump and the heater) or…

You can winterize your tub!

Winterizing your hot tub simply means getting all of the water out of it. In practice though, it’s a little more complex. However, it doesn’t take a genius to winterize your tub. There are four places from which you must drain the water:

  • tub
  • pump
  • heater
  • lines

Emptying the Tub

Access the drain plug on the bottom of the tub or siphon the water out from the top with a hose. It’s that easy!

Draining the Pump and Heater

Drain the water from both the pump and the heater using the petcocks (bleed valves) found on the bottom of each unit’s casing. First however, disconnect both units from the lines. With a pipe wrench, loosening the connecting couplers.

Draining the Lines

To drain the lines completely, — most of the water actually drains out once you disconnect the heater and the pump — use a shop vacuum, on the ‘‘blow’’ setting. Press the end of the vacuum hose up against the jets and it blows the water out the bottom of the pipes (where they were attached to the heater and the pump before you disconnected them).


The hot tub froze and you think there might be damage. DO NOT TURN IT ON! If there is ice in the system and you turn it on you may ruin the pump and the heater.

Remove the heater and the pump, open the petcocks and put both units inside your house to drain. Inspect the lines for cracks. Remove the jet covers and check for internal damage — cracks in the plastic — then inspect the basin of your hot tub. If there aren’t any visible cracks, you may have lucked out. Otherwise you may need to replace the cracked PVC, jet housing or have someone plastic weld the basin.

If you think your hot tub is ok, reconnect the heater and pump, fill the tub until the jets are covered using buckets of hot water from your bath tub, then kick it on. If everything seems in order, you’re set. If the pump or heater isn’t working, you need to take them in to be repaired.