What are the benefits of using my spa or swim spa in winter?

Discover the benefits of using your spa pool in winter, learn how to prepare your spa for winter, and find helpful tips to save energy costs.

spa in winter

Winter is a season when many people prefer staying indoors and avoiding outdoor activities. Thankfully for most of Australia, the winters are very mild, so many Australians enjoy using the spa pool, hot tub or swim spa all year round, including in the winter months.

In this article, we cover answers to these questions:

And more!

What are the benefits of using my spa or swim spa in winter?

Soaking in a spa or hot tub on a cold winter day can be a very relaxing experience for several reasons:

  • Warmth: One of the main reasons why soaking in a spa is so relaxing in winter is the warmth. Cold weather can make our muscles tense and our bodies feel tight. The warm water helps to relax our muscles, which can reduce the tension and stress which we may feel in the colder weather.
  • Hydrotherapy: Spa pools are known for their hydrotherapy benefits. The jets can provide a massage-like effect, which can help relieve muscle soreness and stiffness. The warm water can also increase blood flow, which can help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
  • Stress relief: Soaking in warm water can also help relieve stress. The warm water and soothing jets can help to calm the mind and body, which can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Socialisation: Spa pools can also be a great place to enjoy the company of others and spending time with family or friends in a relaxing environment can be a great way to unwind and de-stress.

Power tip: Watching the rugby or footy from the spa with a group of friends is the perfect combination for a great night of hanging out!

  • Star gazing: In winter, it gets dark much earlier - making it easier to check out the stars. On a clear winter night, there’s nothing better than relaxing in the spa with someone special and looking up at the expansive starry sky!
  • Possible health benefits: There is evidence from studies that using a spa regularly can help boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to colds and flu. Continue reading below for information on studies that have been undertaken on this.

Can using my spa in winter help with the winter blues?

Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months.

There is some evidence to suggest that using soaking in warm water can help alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression.

One study compared the impact of a 30-minute hot bath with aerobic exercise in 45 patients with moderate depression. The study concluded that the use of a hot tub or spa may “be a fast-acting, safe and easily accessible method leading to clinically relevant improvement in depression severity after 2 weeks; it is also suitable for persons who have problems performing exercise training.”

Individuals with SAD should consult their healthcare provider before using a spa pool as part of their treatment plan.

Can using my spa pool in winter improve my physical health?

There is some evidence to suggest that using a spa pool in the winter may have a positive effect on other areas of health. One study titled “The Thermal Effects of Water Immersion on Health Outcomes” concluded - “One of the noteworthy points regarding water immersion was that warm water immersion was effective for cardiovascular function improvement…”

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479732/

What precautions should I take when using my spa in winter?

  1. Avoid getting too cold: While it may be tempting to stay in the spa for an extended period during winter, you should limit your time in the spa and get out if you start feeling too cold.
  2. Prevent slips and falls: Winter weather conditions can make surfaces slippery, so be sure to take extra precautions when entering or exiting the spa. Wear appropriate footwear and use handrails when possible.
  3. Protect your spa: Snow and ice can damage your spa cover and plumbing components, so it's essential to take precautions. Keep the circulation and filtration cycles running to keep water moving and keep it covered when not in use, and remove any snow or ice buildup regularly.
  4. Keep the water clean: Winter weather can lead to more dirt and debris in the water. Make sure your cover is sealing properly or replace your spa cover if you need to. Regularly clean and maintain your spa water balance to prevent bacterial growth.

Can snow or ice cause damage to my spa cover in winter?

Australia does experience colder temperatures in some areas, particularly in the mountain ranges in the southeast of New South Wales and Victoria. If you live in these areas, here are some things you should be aware of to protect your spa in winter.

Many spa and hot tub manufacturers include warnings in their manuals or on their websites about the potential damage that snow and ice can cause to hot tub covers. For example, the owner's manual for the Jacuzzi® J-400 series states, "Do not allow snow or ice to accumulate on the cover. This can cause damage to the cover and/or cover lifter."

If you live in an area where you experience snow or ice during the winter, you should clear it off your cover immediately to avoid the extra weight cracking the internal structure of your spa cover.

Pro Tip: Place some lengths of timber across on top of your spa cover with sheets of plywood on top, this will take the weight of snow off the cover and avoid damaging it.

Can cold weather damage my spa or hot tub plumbing?

Cold weather can damage spa plumbing, particularly if the tub is not properly winterized. If the water freezes inside the pipes or plumbing components it will expand and can crack and cause damage.

Many manufacturers include warnings in their manuals or on their websites about the potential damage that cold weather can cause to spa plumbing.

If you’re not planning on using your spa in the winter and you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, it's essential to properly winterize your spa to prevent freezing and potential damage to your plumbing and equipment.

Read on to learn about winterising and draining your spa over winter.

Should I drain my spa in winter?

If you are not planning on using your spa in winter, It is generally recommended to drain it. This is particularly important if you live in an area with freezing temperatures. When water freezes, it expands, and if it is in your spa's plumbing, it can cause damage to your spa's components.

If you do decide to drain your spa, it's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to avoid damaging the equipment.

  • Add a pipe degreaser to clean out any biofilm in your spa plumbing system, and circulate for 30-40mins
  • Turn off the power to your spa before draining the water. Disconnect it from the electrical outlet or turn off the breaker.
  • Drain the water: Locate the drain valve on your spa, which is usually at the bottom of the tub. Attach a garden hose to the valve and turn the valve to open it. Allow the water to drain out completely, taking care to direct the water away from the spa area and any nearby plants or landscaping.

Pro tip - use a submersible pump to help drain your spa more quickly.

  • Remove any remaining water: Even after draining the water, there may be some residual water in the plumbing or equipment. Use a wet/dry vacuum or a sponge to remove any remaining water from the tub and equipment.
  • Clean the interior shell: Once the tub is drained, use a mild cleaner and a soft brush to clean the interior and remove any debris or buildup. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry the tub with a towel.
  • Clean your filters. Take the opportunity to remove your filters and soak them in an approved filter cleaning solution, then rinse them off
  • Cover the spa with a suitable cover to stop dirt and leaves from blowing in and protect it from the elements.
  • Winterize the plumbing: Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for winterizing the plumbing and equipment

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If you live in an area with mild winters and your spa is well-insulated, you may be able to leave the water in the spa.

However, you should monitor the water temperature and ensure it stays above freezing. If you choose to keep the water in your spa, make sure to maintain proper chemical levels and circulation to prevent algae growth and other problems

How much electricity does my spa use in winter?

The amount of electricity a hot tub uses in the winter will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the spa, the temperature it is set at, the ambient air temperature outside, how often it is used, and the efficiency of the hot tub's heater and insulation.

To get a more accurate estimate of how much electricity your hot tub will use in the winter, you can check the manufacturer's specifications or consult a professional technician. It's also a good idea to monitor your electricity usage and bill to track how much energy your hot tub is using over time.

Read the detailed article below on spa running costs.

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How can I save money on heating my spa in winter?

There are several ways to save money on energy costs while still enjoying your spa in the winter. Here are some tips to help you save money on heating your hot tub in the winter:

  1. Lower the temperature: Lowering the temperature of your hot tub by just a few degrees can significantly reduce energy usage. Consider setting the temperature to around 36°C instead of the typical 38°F.
  2. Check your spa cover: A well-insulated cover can help retain heat and reduce energy usage by up to 50%. Ensure the cover fits properly and is in good condition to maximize its effectiveness.
  3. Use energy-efficient equipment: Consider upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, such as a high-efficiency heat pump. These can reduce energy usage and save money over time.
  4. Insulate your spa: If your spa is not well-insulated, consider adding additional insulation inside the cabinet to reduce heat loss and energy usage.

How does a spa heat pump save money?

A spa heat pump is an energy-efficient way to heat a hot tub or spa, and it can help save money on energy costs in several ways:

  1. Uses less electricity: A heat pump uses electricity to transfer heat from the outside air to the water in the hot tub, rather than generating heat through electrical resistance. This can be more energy-efficient than traditional electric heaters, which use a lot of electricity to generate heat.
  2. Integrates with your spa controller: Many spa heat pumps including the SpaNet® SV series can integrate with your spa controller. This means they can take advantage of the intelligent load control to only kick in at a time when heat energy is needed to maintain the desired temperature.
  3. Can also provide cooling: A spa heat pump can also provide cooling in summer by operating in reverse mode - meaning your spa can become a cold plunge pool in the warmer months too!

It's important to choose a heat pump that is the right size for your spa and to follow proper maintenance and winterization procedures to ensure safe and efficient operation.

As a general rule, a portable spa pool up to 2,500L will need a heat pump up to around 5.5kW while a larger spa or swim spa may need up to an 8kW heat pump.

Learn more about spa heat pumps in the article below.

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Can I use my swim spa in winter?

Yes, you can use your swim spa in the winter. Many people enjoy using their swim spa year-round, even in cold weather. Here are some tips to help you use your swim spa safely and comfortably in the winter:

  1. Keep the water temperature consistent: It's important to keep the water temperature in your swim spa consistent, especially in cold weather. This can help prevent freezing and damage to the equipment.
  2. Check your spa cover: A well-insulated cover can help retain heat and prevent heat loss, which can save energy and keep the water temperature consistent. Make sure your cover is in good condition and sealed properly around the spa to ensure heat does not escape.
  3. Consider adding a heat pump: If your swim spa does not have a built-in heater, consider adding one to help maintain a consistent water temperature and extend the use of your swim spa during the winter.

Should I change my spa filters in winter?

Yes, it's a good idea to change your filters in the winter, as filters can become clogged with debris and contaminants more quickly in colder weather. When a filter becomes clogged, it can restrict water flow and put extra strain on the pump and heater, which can lead to increased energy usage and potential damage to the equipment.

To keep your spa running smoothly in the winter, it's recommended that you check your filters regularly and replace them as needed. This may involve cleaning them more frequently than in the warmer months, as debris and contaminants can accumulate more quickly in cold weather.

What temperature should my spa be in winter?

In general, the recommended temperature for a spa or hot tub in winter is between 38-40 degrees Celsius (100-104 degrees Fahrenheit). Some people may prefer a slightly lower temperature to save on energy costs.

It's important to keep the water temperature consistent, especially in cold weather, to prevent freezing and damage to the equipment. Remember to always follow the manufacturer's recommended temperature range for your spa.

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What should I wear in my spa in winter?

When using a hot tub in winter, it's important to dress appropriately to stay warm and comfortable while also maintaining safety. Here are some tips on what to wear in your hot tub in winter:

  1. Swimsuit: You should wear a swimsuit or other appropriate swimwear while using your hot tub, even in winter.
  2. Warm clothing: To stay warm before and after using the hot tub, it's a good idea to wear warm clothing such as a bathrobe, slippers, or a warm hat. This will help you retain heat and avoid getting chilled.
  3. Towels: Bring a few towels to the hot tub with you to dry off after your soak. You may also want to bring an extra towel to wrap around your head or shoulders to keep them warm while in the hot tub.
  4. Footwear: Consider wearing waterproof or slip-resistant footwear when walking to and from the hot tub to avoid slipping on icy or wet surfaces.
  5. Safety precautions: Be aware that wet surfaces can be slippery, especially in cold weather. Be sure to use caution and hold onto handrails or other supports when getting in and out of the hot tub.

In Summary

Using your spa pool, swim spa or hot tub in winter can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience with many benefits for your physical and mental health.

By following the guidelines we have explained in this article, you can enjoy the benefits of relaxing in your spa during the winter months.

Got more questions?

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