Protecting Your Pool & Hot Tub/Spa During Inclement Weather.
Winter wonderland is a great description of the Christmas season when you're singing a carol. But it isn't always the best description for snowy, icy, or downright dreary conditions that can wreak havoc on your backyard oasis. Protecting your swimming pool, hot tub / spa, or swim spa from inclement weather can be daunting if you're aware of what can go wrong. Here's a few tips to help you better understand the issues and remedies when weather hits that will cancel school...
Loss of Power / Heater Dies on Your Hot Tub / Spa
This is likely the most common issue with hot tubs over the winter. If you lose power, eventually the water in the plumbing will freeze and bust. This is obvious. What is less obvious is what action to take, or even taking the right action: Many will compound the problem. First- Identify the source to the problem (beyond inclement weather).
IF your heater died on your hot tub / spa
This is the easiest of the fixes as most hot tubs have heaters that universal. Most brands carry 4.0 or 5.5kw heaters. If you're heating coil has gone out, hang a drop light in the cabinet (outfitted with at least a 60 watt but no more than a 100 watt incandescent bulb) and close the cabinet as much as possible. This will generate enough heat to keep things from freezing and should suffice until a spa tech can come out and fix your unit.
If your power is out at your house
This is much trickier. Power outages can last hours or stretch into days. If there is a power outage in your area be sure to keep your cover closed at all times. Every second your cover is opened it invites a faster drop in your water's temperature. Do not encourage this at all.
If you have a generator that isn't being used to run something in your house while your power is down, you can use the same method mentioned above regarding a drop light.
Keep Your Cover Free of Large Debris
The added weight from ice and snow will snap limbs when the winds are calm, let alone if the weather turns blustery. This encourages larger twigs and branches to fall upon your hot tub / spa or swimming pool cover than normal. Both covers should be kept free of as much debris as possible.
swimming pool cover debris
If you have the traditional tarp cover, you know that the more debris (twigs and branches, leaves, additional weight of rain/ice/snow, etc) will eventually split your cover and allow for your all of the build up to pass right into your water. This will cost a lot in both time and money to clean up in the spring.
Spring-loaded safety covers are more durable than the traditional tarp covers but can also be effected by the added weight. Standard aluminum coping is usually painted white and the extra weight can pull on the cover, discoloring the white coping. As more and more homeowners are building pools with cantilever coping the need to keep excess debris off the cover intensifies, as the weight will rub along the coping and damage your safety cover. Safety covers are expensive to both mend and replace so be sure to notice if your cover is sagging dangerously enough to cause damage.
Hot Tub cover debris
While not much can be done with falling debris, some customers take steps to make sure that the vinyl hot tub cover is properly sealed. 303 Protectant is the preferred sealant for your hot tub cover and is handy when there may be long stretches of rain, snow, or ice atop your cover. Long term it resists water absorption on the top portion of the cover.
Some customers will even purchase a cover for your hot tub cover to limit divots from falling branches or to otherwise protect their cover from the external moisture onslaught. A quick google search and I found some rather inexpensive options from Amazon here. (You may want to do further research as to what works for you and your tub as we have never sold that specific product and therefor cannot blindly endorse it, but for $37 how bad can it be?).
Watch Your Water Levels
Most safety covers will allow precipitation to pass through, increasing your swimming pool's water level. You may need to eventually drain your pool to bring the water level lower. Failure to do so could allow skimmers to freeze and crack. Another solution is to use an Skimmer Plug to save the skimmer. Eventually thought (and especially if you have a liner pool) the water level can get to high and overflow (or drain down behind the liner) and cause additional damage.
Hot TUb water levels
Monitor your water level in your hot tub and overfill if necessary: Most people want to limit the number of times they use their hose in the cold temps to limit exposure of the spigot to freezing.
For fast draining of your hot tub you may want to purchase a pump to bypass the slow process of using the gravity-fed drain all tubs are outfitted with. You may want to also try and time your fills and drains so that you bypass the winter completely. Hot tubs need to be drained every four months and setting up a drain in early November will allow you to not have to revisit a tub drain until early March.
-Salt the path to and area around the hot tub. Hot water and snow/ice will eventually cause problems if left unchecked.
-Make sure your drain hose is completely free of water when stored. The more water left in it the hose, the greater the risk of damaging your hose.
-Don't simply drain your hot tub in the winter, as you run a high risk of freeze damage within your tub. Have a professional winterize your tub to limit the adverse effects of lower temps.
-Your hot tub motors will run more often in the winter, as the temps are colder and your tub has to work harder to maintain your preferred heat setting.
Any Further Questions?
Give us a call! 314.821.6660 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always here to help! From all of us at Prestige Pools and Spas: Happy New Year and STAY WARM!