First of all, please realize that most damage that occurs to hot tub spas is caused by improper winterization. Also realize that the damage that can be done due to freezing is very costly to repair. Be very careful if you choose to close down your own spa. If you have any doubts, it is much better to contact a local spa professional to do this for you!
2. Start off by turning off the circuit breaker for the spa’s electrical line, or if possible, unplug the unit. Then remove the hard thermal cover and drain out the spa. This can be done by hooking a garden hose to the spa’s bottom drain spout, or by actually pumping the water out with a submersible pump. Either way, make sure you leave the bottom drain spout open when you are done.
3. Next, locate your spa heater, and turn it off. This is most important ! Replace the hard thermal cover on the spa and turn the spa’s circuit breaker back on, or plug the unit back in. Activate the spa’s air blower and let it run for approximately 30 seconds. This will blow all the water out of the air channel under the spa seats. If you do not have an air channel and air blower, you can obviously skip this procedure.
4. Once again, remove the cover and soak up all the remaining water from inside the spa with towels or a mop or suck it out with a shop vac. Make sure that you get all the water out, especially in the footwell. Remove the cartridge filter from the spa and make sure that all the water is out of the filter canister compartment. Leave a large terrycloth towel in a lump in the bottom of the footwell to soak up any additional water that might get in.
5. Go to your spa equipment pack. Trip the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This is usually done by pressing the TEST button.
6. Turn off the circuit breaker that is used for the spa in your home breaker box. Also unplug the spa if it is a 110 volt unit.
7. Loosen or unscrew any fittings on your spa equipment that look like they could be loosened or unscrewed. These are usually quick disconnect fittings on either side of the heater and on either side of the pump. As you loosen each fitting, water will come out. This is what you want ! Leave all fittings unscrewed. Remove any drain plugs that may be on your pump housing. This is most important ! Pump housings crack easily with only a small amount of water in them. Make sure you also drain out the filter canister and the heater and remove any drain plugs that are there.
8. Next, you’ll want to blow out any residual water from the jet piping. This can be done with either the “blowing” end of a shop vac, an air compressor or some types of leaf blowers. Get into the spa and put the blowing end of the hose up against each jet. Make sure that the jets are all open as wide as possible, and make sure that the topside air controls are closed. Start with the jet closest to the exhaust side of the pump and work your way around the spa, jet by jet. As you do this, more water will pour out of the various fittings you unscrewed at your equipment. After you do this to each jet, you will have removed most of the water from your entire jet system and there is little chance that any pipe or piece of equipment will still have enough water in it to freeze and cause any damage. Please do not put any type of pipeline antifreeze in your spa, pipes or equipment. It is very difficult to get this liquid completely out of your system come Springtime, and it really is not necessary, provided that you have performed all of these winterizing procedures properly.
9. Get out of the spa and put the hard cover back on the unit. Secure the cover to the spa so that wind will not flip it up.
10. On portable, cabinetized spas, close and secure the equipment hatch door. Often, vermin will try to nest inside spa cabinets over the winter. They can chew wires and cause expensive damage !
11. On portable, cabinetized spas, it is a good idea to protect your spa cover and wood cabinet with a Winter Spa Cover (see article called “What is a Winter Spa Cover ?”). Install Winter Spa Cover or other type of tarp over the hard thermal cover to ensure that no water leaks through the seam in the hard cover. This is most important!
12. On inground or indeck spas, you must also place a tarp or Winter Spa Cover over the hard thermal cover. Placing the Winter Cover over the hard cover and laying swimming pool type water tubes around the perimeter of the spa on your decking will keep any rain water from getting into your spa over the winter.
Remember – If you are worried or hesitant about closing down your spa by yourself, we strongly suggest that you contact a local spa professional to perform the service for you. Most companies will guarantee their winterization against any freeze cracks to your spa, pipes or equipment