The damage cold can inflict on your hot tub can get costly. Especially in New England, where temperatures can get low and winter can last a long time. In New Hampshire, temperatures start to dip as the leaves begin to change in October, slowly rising toward spring by the end of May. In the coldest months, December – February, temperatures hover in the low twenties so it’s important to think about protecting your hot tub in every season.

Protecting Your Hot Tub with a family playing football in the background

Owning a hot tub in weather like this may mean a little extra attention to maintenance, but it’s a good rule of thumb to address hot tub issues as soon as you discover them, no matter the season. While some problems are easy to fix yourself, there are certain situations where you should call a professional. Knowing which is which allows you to save a little money and keep your hot tub in top condition. That way, whenever you’re looking for a warm, relaxing soak, your hot tub will be ready and waiting.

Hot Tub in Snowy BackyardFixing things yourself

Not every issue with your hot tub requires a formal maintenance call. Here are a few things you can take care of yourself, either with preventative steps or by simply addressing the issue when it arises.

Protecting Your Hot Tub: Poor water flow or jet function 

The first step is to check your filter. It’s most likely clogged and should get thoroughly cleaned out. This is easy to do yourself. Simply remove the filter and rinse it with your hose. If it has been a while since you’ve cleaned it, like more than a few months, consider a deep cleaning. You can purchase a special hot tub filter cleaner for this or make a homemade solution of a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. Soak for at least two hours and rinse clean.

To prevent this issue from happening, remember to clean your filter regularly, about every two weeks when in regular use, with a deep cleaning once a quarter. A dirty filter doesn’t function right and leaves contaminants in the water, which can lead to other issues. Keeping a spare filter on hand allows you to swap out filters while you clean the dirty one without losing the ability to use your hot tub.

Protecting Your Hot Tub: Water doesn’t flow 

If you turn on your jets and no water flows through at all, you’ve got an air lock. This can happen if you’ve recently emptied your hot tub to clean it. Between finishing the cleaning and refilling it with water, air can get trapped inside the pipes. This is an easy fix, you just have to release the air to get the water flowing again. You have two options:

  • Open all jets completely and let them run on high for about 15 second intervals until you see air bubbling from the jets. Once you get bubbles, leave the jets on until all the air is released.
  • Loosen, slowly, the nut that connects the spa plumbing with the motor until water begins to leak out, then tighten things back up. The water flow is a signal that all the trapped air is gone.

Calling in a professional

Beyond handling the basics yourself, it’s important to know when it’s time to call in the professionals to keep your hot tub running. Great Bay Spa & Sauna not only offers hot tub service and repair, but are able to provide standard maintenance if you’re not comfortable handing things yourself. Especially it you can’t find the root of your problem, we can come out and do a full evaluation to diagnose and then repair any issues, from bad filters or pumps to an actual equipment malfunction. It’s easy to schedule a service visit should the need arise.

Protecting Your Hot Tub: Water isn’t hot enough 

Often it’s a result of heater failure, typically caused by corrosion to the heating element. This is a chain reaction that starts when the pH level in the water is off. Low levels of pH, over time, can damage the heating element which will trip the breaker and stop the heater from working. Filter and thermostat damage can also occur. 

Damage varies, and checking for the culprit to identify where things need fixing, begins with a few things you can do yourself such as:

  • Resetting your heater.
  • Testing wire connections.
  • Checking for an air lock.

Beyond that, the situation may be more severe and a professional should come in to evaluate and, if necessary, replace your heating element.

To help avoid issues like this from the start, regularly check the water in the hot tub, keeping the proper chemicals on hand to make adjustments to ensure the right pH level.

Hot tub water temperature

Protecting Your Hot Tub: Inconsistent water temperature

Unlike the above issue, if your hot tub water gets hot, then goes cold, then warms up again, the troublesome equipment isn’t your heater. It’s most likely your pump. Once you notice this issue, check to see if your pump is turning on and off when it shouldn’t. If it’s not working correctly, it may need replacing.

If it’s not the pump, it may be your thermostat or heat sensors. When either of these malfunctions, the hot tub can’t regulate temperature. The thermostat triggers your heater to go on when the water gets too cold, but if it’s not working, the heater won’t get the message. Heat sensors stop water temperatures from getting too high, but if they’re not operating properly, neither will the heater. 

With the variety of elements that could go wrong in this instance, a professional repair person can easily verify what’s not working and replace the item without you having to spend time trying to self-diagnose the issue.

Protecting your hot tub in the winter

Preparing your hot tub for the heart of a New England winter requires a few extra steps that don’t worry hot tub owners in warmer climates. You can do these yourselves, although companies like Great Bay Spa & Sauna offer winterization services to ensure the full checklist is complete to keep your hot tub safe throughout the coldest parts of the winter. 

To properly winterize your hot tub:

  • Flush your system and drain out all the water. Hot tubs should stay completely empty in the cold.
  • Drain the water out of your air blower if you have one.
  • Remove, clean, and store air filters for the winter away from the hot tub.
  • Loosen fittings for any excess water to run out.
  • Blow out jets to remove excess water.
  • Dry everything out completely and cover with an all-weather cover.

Couple relaxes in a well maintained hot tub

Maintaining your hot tub 

With the right combination of DIY maintenance and professional check-ins, your hot tub will stay in perfect condition to run whenever you’re ready for a hot soak. While many issues are easy to prevent with regular attention to certain parts of your hot tub, situations will arise when you’ll need to call in a professional to assess the situation and suggest the right repairs.  If you find yourself in need of professional maintenance on your hot tub in or around Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Great Bay Spa & Sauna is here to help. With an extensive list of hot tub services available, we’re here year-round for your maintenance needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.