How to Keep Your Hot Tub from Freezing

A hot tub can be one of the biggest boons during a harsh winter. You can run the jets and take a dip in some comforting hot waters, perhaps even sip a cup of hot chocolate while you are at it.

However, the only way to enjoy that hot tub session is if the water has not frozen over in the winter.

A frozen hot tub is not only inconvenient because it cannot be used, but also because the water will expand in the pipes when it freezes and may cause equipment to get damaged.

If you do not want to incur even more expenses, you should take the required steps to prevent your hot tub from freezing.

how to keep hot tub from freezing

Freeze Protection for Your Hot Tub

One of the best ways to prevent your hot tub from freezing is to use freeze protection. If you have a new spa or it has an updated design, it is likely to have a freeze protection mode.

This is an intelligent and efficient mode where a sensor detects if the temperature has dropped under a certain degree. If yes, the sensor triggers the pump to come on and initiate circulation.

If your spa controls do not already have a freeze protection option, then you likely have to get equipment that will do this for you. Give your spa manufacturers a call and they may be able to offer you a good deal.

Keep the Hot Tub Active

As long as the tub is active and all the pipes have water running through them, you should be able to prevent the pipes from freezing in the winter months.

It is advisable to open all the jets up so there is a constant circulation in the pipes.

Even if the water is not heated, as long as it is moving it should be fine. If the spa equipment is under a closed skirt, then the running pump will also generate some heat and will help prevent the water from freezing.

You can even set a timer for the jets to turn on for a few minutes every hour or so when the mercury drops. If you live in an area that experiences especially harsh winters, you may even need to keep the jets running for 24 hours.

However, in addition to running the pipes, you should also invest in a good spa cover that will keep the tub insulated and will prevent ice from forming on the surface.

Thaw out the Pipes

If you notice that the water has already started to freeze, it is possible to thaw the water out to prevent further damage. This is, of course, if the water has not frozen too much and there is still space in the pipes for it to expand without the equipment breaking.

You can introduce some hot water into the spa to thaw out the pipes. Even submerging the frozen pipes in warm water will help thaw it out, but do this slowly so that the sudden temperature difference does not cause the pipes to burst.

If you are an outdoors enthusiast and have a large tent handy, then you can even cover the hot tub completely with the tent. In a few hours, the tent should be able to insulate the spa and cause the frozen water to thaw out.

If the equipment has already been damaged or you notice cracked pipes, do not use any electrical heating (including the spa’s pump). It is best to call for professional help so that you can care for the situation with utmost safety.


This is the last resort, but if required, you should consider winterizing your spa. This option has been reserved as the last resort simply because winterizing the spa is a time-consuming activity and it also means you won’t be using the spa too regularly.

It is an option best suited for those who use the spa only in the summers or if this is a spa in a vacation home that stays largely inactive through the year.

Winterizing the spa would involve draining the tub of all water, then blowing all the residual water out of the pipes to ensure that everything is truly dry.

Once this is done, you can put the spa cover back on and leave it as it is until you want to refill the spa again after a few months.

This is a time-consuming process and may sometimes even require professional support.

Final Thoughts

Remember that no matter what method you use to prevent the spa water from freezing, you will need to cover the spa not only to keep the water from freezing but also to avoid impurities like dust entering the water in case it is an outdoor tub.

A good spa cover will be able to insulate the tub well and is a must especially if you live in a cold region. If the surface of the water freezes, it will not allow heat to pass through the water and may accelerate the freezing process.

So no matter what you do, invest first in a good spa cover.

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years experience in pool care, plant care and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!