As most residents know, winter in New York State is no joke, and can often feel never-ending. If you own a hot tub, you know that being able to take a soothing dip in the heated water can be welcome respite from all the cold weather. By following the winter maintenance tips below, you’ll be able to keep your hot tub running smoothly and show it some extra love during the season of snow, sleet, ice and brutal temperatures.  
1. Make sure you have a good insulated cover
A good cover is a must to keep your hot tub protected from the elements. It will also help keep the water up to temperature, since water loses the most heat at the surface. It’s important to keep snow and ice from collecting on the top of the cover if your hot tub is out in the open. If 6″ or more of snow accumulates on your cover, we recommend taking a broom and sweeping the excess snow off. Do not use a shovel as more than one hot tub cover has been ripped that way!
2. Invest in a thermal blanket
A thermal blanket rests directly on the surface of the water underneath the cover, providing an extra layer of protection from the cold. Using an insulated cover, particularly during the winter, will make it easier for your hot tub to retain its temperature, keep your energy bills lower, and help prevent freezing even in the most frigid temperatures. And best of all, they’re inexpensive to purchase!
3. Maintain the water temperature
We’ve mentioned water temperature above, and you may be wondering, “what is the ideal water temperature?” We suggest keeping your hot tub between 97 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. This is because the colder it is outside, the longer it will take for a hot tub to heat up. By maintaining this temperature, your hot tub will be ready for use anytime you need to unwind and warm up!
4. Keep your water and filter(s) clean
While this tip can (and should) be applied all year round, it’s important not to fall behind on cleaning and maintenance in the winter. Stick to a regular schedule for cleaning both water and filters. Problems that can come up from failing to do this can become much more complicated to fix in freezing temperatures.
5. Prevent pipe freezes
Just like the pipes in your home, the pipes in your hot tub are also at risk for freezing in the winter. To help prevent this from happening, make sure your hot tub’s freeze protection system has been turned on. Not all brands and models have this system however. Not to worry though—if this isn’t an option on your hot tub, just set your timer switch to kick on for 15 to 20 minutes every hour to keep warm water circulating throughout the pipes or contact us about adding an auxiliary freeze sensor.
6. Pay attention to water levels  
It’s important not to let the water get too low in your hot tub. Doing so can cause important components like the pump and heater to freeze and can result in permanent damage to your investment! Add more water as needed, and be sure to check levels frequently, even during days or weeks when you aren’t planning on using your hot tub.
7. Be proactive about maintenance
If you decided to close your hot tub this winter, hopefully you had it professionally winterized. Improper winterization is the number one reason for plumbing lines freezing and cracking, leading to costly repairs not covered under warranty. If you plan on keeping it open next winter season, there are plenty of things you can do before the worst of the cold weather hits again. Before the weather turns too cold, make sure you do a complete water change, as it can be much more difficult, and unpleasant, to complete this task once temperatures start to fall. We strongly advise the use of our Hot Tub Serum paste prior to draining, as this will remove any biofilm that has built up in your plumbing. In addition to changing the water, take the time to clean your hot tub before refilling. To ensure your water stays clean and usable during the winter months, partial water changes can be helpful and are advised.
Looking for more helpful hot tub maintenance tips? Check out our blog, or feel free to contact us! At Pettis Pools & Patio, our educated staff and experienced technicians are always happy to help. We view every single customer as an extension of our Pettis family.