How to Winterize a Hot Tub with Antifreeze? – 9 Steps

Robert Wimberly

how to winterize a hot tub with antifreeze

Winter is beautiful! However, it arrives with its share of challenges, and your beloved hot tub is no exception. Imagine eagerly stepping into your cozy outdoor oasis only to find it damaged and frozen.

Unfortunately, frosty weather can damage your hot tub if you don’t properly winterize it beforehand, as the frozen water will expand and crack the tub’s components.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to winterize a hot tub with antifreeze. With this guide, you can beat those frigid temperatures to keep your hot tub safe and functional!

Things to Prepare

  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • Garden hose
  • Screwdriver
  • Long funnel
  • Sump pump (optional)
  • Microfiber towels for drying
  • RV antifreeze (propylene glycol)
  • Filter cleaner or chemical soak

Step-by-step Guide to Winterizing a Hot Tub With Antifreeze

Winterizing spas and hot tubs is protecting your investment against ruthless winter. You can hire a professional spa winterizing service. However, if you plan to go the DIY route, we recommend following these steps.

1. Let the Chemical Levels Subside


If you plan to drain and winterize your hot tub, run the system without adding more sanitizer for a few weeks. This allows the chlorine to dissipate before the water is drained anywhere in the garden. Remember, chlorine is harmful to plants and animals.

You can test to see if chlorine levels have reached zero. If so, you can now begin to winterize hot tubs.

2. Switch Off the Circuit Breaker


Before starting the process and pouring the lines with RV antifreeze, turn off the hot tub and unplug the electricity source. However, if your tub is hard-wired, shut off the GFCI circuit breaker linked directly to your hot tub.

3. Drain the Water Out of the Hot Tub


For this step, you have two viable approaches:

  • Remove the drain cap at the tub’s bottom, then attach the garden hose to the drain spout. The other end of the hose should be in a draining area that can accommodate the volumes of water in your tub.Open your tub’s drain valve and let the water flow out.
  • Alternatively, you can use a sump pump (a submersible pump) to remove all water at a faster pace. Connect it to the garden hose, then place the pump in the tub’s lowest point.

When the tub is cleared, leave the drain spout open to allow excess water to run freely.

For some tips and ways on how to drain a hot tub, we recommend watching this video.

4. Locate and Unscrew the Unions and Drain Plugs


Unions are the fixtures that connect the pump to the heater. Unplugging these and draining them prevents freezing water from damaging the components.

Besides, remove drain plugs to let water flow out of the pumps.

5. Turn Off the Heater and Activate the Blower

Perform this step if your tub has a blower; otherwise, you can skip to the next one.

  • With the heater off, cover the tub.
  • Plug or switch on the breaker and turn on the blower.
  • Run the blower for at least 15-30 seconds. Repeat this process until no more water comes out of the plumbing lines.
  • Switch off the breaker again or unplug the spa.
  • Uncover the tub.

6. Clean or Take Out the Filters


Since your hot tub won’t be used in winter, you can remove and clean the filters.

  • If the filters are only mildly dirty, rinse them with a water hose to remove the debris and hair from their pleats.
  • For more extended storage, especially if your filters are pretty dirty, soak them in a cleaning solution for 12–24 hours.
  • If the filters are too old to clean, discard them and buy new replacements

You can refer to this tutorial video on how to clean the filters efficiently with a cleaner and chemical soak.

7. Use the Vacuum to Eliminate Any Excess Water


To completely keep the hot tub from freezing, it’s crucial to remove excess water lingering in the lines and tub shell.

  • You can wipe the tub’s surfaces with absorbent towels.
  • Alternatively, you can opt for a wet/dry vacuum to get the job done. Insert the hose in every line, such as filter cavities, jet pipes, and unions.Let the vacuum work for 15-30 seconds in each spot to ensure any small amount of water is removed.

8. Apply an Antifreeze for Hot Tubs


Many hot tub owners are confused between hot tub antifreeze vs RV antifreeze. However, they are both designed for winter use, particularly for frost prevention of lines, pumps, and heating elements. You can use either option except for a car antifreeze formula.

To do it, use the funnel to pour RV antifreeze into the pipes and filter cavities. After the antifreeze application, put the equipment access panel back in place.

As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the ideal amounts for each pipe. Typically, each pump and filter cavity needs a gallon of antifreeze.

9. Clean and Return the Cover

Finally, it’s time to bid goodbye to your sanctuary until spring rolls again! However, before closing your hot tub, don’t forget to give its cover a good shower. Then, use a towel to wipe and dry all surfaces and crevices.

Once cleaned, put the cover on and secure its lock. To provide added protection against the winter weather, consider placing a waterproof cover on top of the regular cover.


In summary, learning how to winterize a hot tub with antifreeze is crucial to ensuring your hot tub remains in excellent condition throughout winter. By carefully following this step-by-step guide, you’ll save money on costly repairs and extend the life of your soaking haven.

We hope this post has equipped you with the knowledge to tackle this process head-on. As winter flurries fall, rest assured that your hot tub is safe, snug, and ready for those warmer, soak-worthy days ahead!

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