If it freezes or snows where you live, you probably “winterize” the family car each year. Meaning, you take steps to improve your car’s engine performance and drivability during wintertime.
However, “winterizing” a hot tub or swim spa means something different. It involves thoroughly draining and disabling your spa, and safely storing critical components (like pumps) for an extended period of time.
Total reading time: About 6 minutes
- Do You Need to Winterize Your Spa? (43 seconds)
- Layers of Built-in Protection (1 minute 17 seconds)
- Winterizing Due to the Coronavirus—Why? (50 seconds)
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Winterizing (1 minute 25 seconds)
- What About Draining and Refilling in Winter? (1 minute 5 seconds)
- We Care About You (38 seconds)
Do You Need to Winterize Your Spa?
Only a small fraction of homeowners winterize their spa. Why might they do so? Some people spend their winters elsewhere (such as New Yorkers who winter in Florida), so their spa doesn’t get used for several months. Others own vacation homes that sit vacant during wintertime. Still others may be forced to winterize because their spa is out of commission for some reason. (See the heading: “Winterizing Due to the Coronavirus—Why?”)
The vast majority of spa owners don’t need to worry about winterizing. After all, year-round enjoyment is one of the many benefits of owning a hot tub or swim spa. A nice hot soak and soothing hydromassage can work wonders for body and mind, especially on a cold day. As long as you maintain the water level and keep the temperature settings high enough (up to 104°F/ 40°C), you’ll be good to go all winter long.
Layers of Built-In Protection
Marquis hot tubs and Aquatic Training Vessels™ (ATV™) swim spas are sold around the world. This includes frigid climates in the United States, Eastern Canada, Austria, Finland, Sweden and beyond. A variety of premium features combine to keep heat in and freezing cold out:
- Icynene® spray foam insulation*: Conserves energy, resists moisture, and decreases noise.
- DuraCover® energy cover: DuraCover hot tub covers feature a linear heat seal along the fold, form-fitting insulated skirt, and security locks to keep the cover in place.
- SmartClean™ software: SmartClean automatically schedules filtration cycles twice per day. In Marquis hot tubs, this circulates the entire water volume up to 34 times, while only running about 2-1/2 hours per day (total). During filtration cycles, the water gets reheated.
- Control pack: This is the ‘brain’ of your spa. Sensors in the control pack monitor the water temperature. If it drops below 55° F (13°C), jet pump(s) will automatically engage to circulate and reheat the water.
As an added precaution, your local dealer can install an accessory freeze sensor. Located outside the control pack, this additional sensor helps to monitor rapid weather changes. It is most commonly used to safeguard the MicroSilk® pump (on equipped models), so dealers usually call it a “MicroSilk freeze sensor.”
*Full-foam insulation is standard on Signature Series hot tubs, ATV swim spas, and V150P/W hybrid swim spas. Foam-over plumbing insulation is standard on Celebrity Hot Tubs® (2019 and newer), Marquis Elite Series, and Vector21 Series hot tubs. Upgrading to full-foam insulation is optional on Marquis Elite and Vector21 Series. Holiday Park models (UK) feature Vap-R-Lock™ low-E wrap insulation.
Winterizing Due to the Coronavirus—Why?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through pool or hot tub water. However, in terms of supply and demand, the coronavirus has caused a ripple effect across the entire pool and spa industry. Especially when it comes to replacement parts.
Instead of travelling, many people are staying at home and investing in their backyard. Since more hot tubs and swim spas are being sold, manufacturers are consuming more parts. Meanwhile, parts suppliers are facing slower production due to the coronavirus and social distancing. The combination of higher demand and slower production has created a shortage of replacement parts, which may delay your spa repair.
If your hot tub or swim spa is awaiting service (or is otherwise “out of commission”), you may not be able to get it up and running before winter. In other words, you may be forced to winterize your spa to avoid freezing damage. If you find yourself in this predicament, the best solution is to hire a professional.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Winterizing
If winterizing your hot tub or swim spa is absolutely necessary, please consider the following:
- DO hire a professional: You may not want to spend $200-400 to winterize your spa. But when you consider the risks of doing it yourself, it is money well spent. Cracked plumbing lines, cracked pumps, and a cracked heater could cost you $2,500 or more!
- DO consult the owner’s manual: Your owner’s manual includes important instructions and warnings related to “Suspended Use or Winterizing.” (Download it here.)
- DON’T try to do it yourself: Trying to do it yourself can lead to costly repair bills later. Always consult your local independent Marquis Dealer or another qualified spa professional. Typically, they guarantee their work and cover damage if it occurs.
- DON’T ignore your spa: Winterized spas are not immune to damage. For example, falling roof melt or excessive snow accumulation can damage the cover, exposing your spa to the elements (and pests). Regularly inspect your spa’s condition, especially during winter. If you are out of the area, ask a neighbor or family member to check on it for you. If snow has accumulated, don’t use hot water to remove it. Scalding water may damage the vinyl cover, and melting snow will turn into ice. Instead, gently remove snow with a shovel or broom.
Professional winterizing removes all residual water from the seating, footwell, and plumbing lines. Pumps are removed and prepared for storage in a climate-controlled room. The breaker associated with the spa is turned off. The ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is disconnected or locked off to prevent accidental power-up. The cover is cleaned and secured in place, and the entire spa is wrapped in a durable spa tarp cover.
For more information, please contact your local Marquis Dealer.
What About Draining and Refilling in Winter?
What if you plan to use your spa, but want to drain, clean and refill it during wintertime? For good reason, the best seasons for spa maintenance are spring, summer and fall. Anytime outside temperatures can drop below 40°F (5°C), draining your spa is a risky idea. Why so?
- Unpredictable weather: If an empty spa is left overnight, freezing temperatures can cause residual water behind seats, inside pumps, or within plumbing lines to freeze. Since ice expands, it can crack these components (which is not covered under warranty).
- Reheating takes time: Refilling a hot tub with cold water requires hours of circulation to reheat it. Even during summer months, it can take 12-24 hours for a hot tub to reach its operating temperature. When the outside (or, “ambient”) temperature is colder, it can take even longer. If a spa does not have sufficient time to reheat the water, and the outside temperature drops quickly, it could pose a freezing risk.
As an alternative to wintertime draining and refilling, ask your local dealer about Marquis® Non-Chlorine Shock Oxidizer (“spa shock”), or Frog® Maintain MPS Shock. These products reduce the concentration of organic dissolved solids, boost sanitizer efficiency, and help to keep spa water crystal clear, odorless, and feeling silky, fresh and clean. To purchase a small supply, contact your local Marquis Dealer.
We Care About You
As we have considered, the vast majority of hot tub and swim spa owners don’t need to worry about winterizing. However, for those that do, it’s important to hire a professional. We want you to enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy and aquatic fitness all year long. We publish these articles because we care about you, even if you are in the minority.
Our network of authorized Marquis Dealers also cares about your ownership experience. Given the challenges everyone is navigating, the best thing we can do is work together. The key to success is developing a good relationship with your local dealer. Anytime you have questions, concerns, or maintenance needs, your local Marquis or ATV Dealer should be your best resource. For local contact information, please go here: