Protect Your Hot Tub During a Storm
This has not been the mildest winter in the United States, bringing with it winter storms that have pummeled the East coast and are expected to make landfall in the Southwest soon. Despite the craziness of recent storms, the fact is that most of us live somewhere that falls victim to some extreme weather. In the wake of this historically bad weather, people are wondering how they can protect their property, hot tubs included. With that in mind, here are a few ways to protect your hot tub during severe weather based on the most common damage-inducing circumstances.
There is nothing more beautiful than a really great snow storm when the flakes fall in large clumps and slowly accumulate on a softly-lit back porch. But I’ve also witnessed far less delicate snow storms that are aggressive and bring along wet, heavy snow. No matter which version of snow you get, you’ll always want to keep a close watch on snow accumulation on your hot tub cover. Did you know that a few inches of dense snow can weigh over 50 pounds? If we’ve learned anything about hot tub cover care, it’s that it can be very damaging to have heavy objects pressing down on the cover and snow is no exception, despite its seemingly harmless appearance.
While you can’t stop the snow from falling (unless you know very specific weather-preventing dance with which I am not familiar), you can take measures to keep your cover protected and functioning by taking the time to occasionally push the snow off of the hot tub cover. Use a broom (nothing with sharp edges that could puncture the vinyl of the cover) and clear it off once you have more than an inch or so of accumulation. Your wallet will thank you later, although your back may curse you now.
Relatedly, large snow storms also bring with it plummeting temperatures or even a day or two of power outages. If you know a storm is on its way and are preparing your home accordingly, don’t forget to take some time to care for your hot tub. A frozen hot tub can result in really expensive damage or even a broken unit that is beyond salvaging. Save yourself some headaches by preparing your hot tub before the storm hits.
Instead of waiting and hoping that your hot tub doesn’t freeze solid, you can drain your hot tub as a precaution, although it comes with its own risks. Hot tubs are not meant to sit empty, but if you’re really worried about weather and extensive power outages, it may be the best option. To winterize the tub, drain and loosen the lower pump fittings and let the water drain from the plumbing. Blow out the jets with a wet/dry vac to make sure all of the water is out.
If you want to keep the water IN the hot tub, just make sure you take steps to ensure the water remains as warm as possible while the pump and heater are prohibited from running normally. Make a small investment in a floating solar blanket, if you haven’t already. It’s a small purchase that will do a lot to help your water maintain its temperature. You should also check your cover and make sure it’s not retaining water—something that will severely affect its R-value. If it’s well insulated (and secured via clips/straps), your hot tub should be all right without power for a few days and the water shouldn’t lose heat so rapidly that it freezes solid.
If Dorothy had a hot tub, this next bit of advice would’ve been very useful. Because she lived in Kansas and was swept away by a twister. Dorothy was a character in a very popular film in 1939 called…nevermind.
Anyway, if you have been warned by your local meteorologist that you should be expecting some aggressive gusts, take the time to check your hot tub cover and make sure it’s secure enough to survive the blustery assault. Otherwise, your neighbors may be getting a free (albeit damaged) hot tub cover. Because of their shape, hot tub covers can readily catch wind in the midst of a storm and can be thrown off of the cabinet, given the right blast of air. These kinds of tosses can cause foam to crack and the vinyl to be compromised, depending on what it comes in contact with in the midst of a wind storm. Probably something pointy.
In the anticipation of a wind storm, you can help keep your hot tub cover in place by the use of some basic cover clips. If you live somewhere where the wind might get more severe, invest in some hurricane straps or some improvised version that wraps around the whole cabinet. Just be sure not to overtighten. The cover will stay in place as long as the straps are pulled taut. Overtightening may damage the foam core.
You should also NEVER place heavy objects on the cover in an attempt to keep it from blowing away. Items like cinderblocks, bricks, and other weighted objects are more likely to harm your cover than protect it.
Relatedly, if you’re expecting a wind storm, you will probably deal with some potential debris if your hot tub doesn’t have sufficient cover from above protecting it from falling objects. Tree branches and other random debris can puncture your cover and effectively destroy it if something heavy enough hits it the right way.
If your hot tub sits under a tree or could conceivably be hit by falling objects, you can put a piece of thin plywood on the top of the cover and strap it down to protect it during the storm. Again, DON’T use something like cinderblocks or bricks to hold it down. Plywood (with a blanket or towel between to prevent scuffing) can act like a shield to keep debris from tearing through the delicate hot tub cover vinyl.
We wish you good luck if you are, in fact, awaiting an impending storm. We just don’t want you to neglect your poor hot tub in case of severe weather! A bit of preparation now can save you time and money later.