How To Use Your Hot Tub During The Winter

hot tub

Use Your Hot Tub in Winter

A great way to escape the cold is to create a warm haven in your backyard. Your hot tub or spa are the perfect ways to stay warm in the winter.

Here are our tips for using your hot tub in the winter.

Invest in a Good Cover.

Make sure your cover is well-insulated and has a tight-fitting seal. A high-quality cover in good condition will help your hot tub maintain a constant high temperature, even when the weather is frightful.

Hot tub covers insulate much better when they’re locked. When locked, the straps pull down on the edges of the cover, forming a tight seal that keeps heat in. Without the straps being locked, the edges of the hot tub cover can lift slightly; allowing heat to escape.

Not only will this cost you money in extra heating costs, but a bad seal will also allow steam to escape. This means having to top up the water level more often and having to add more chemicals to balance the water.

Monitor the Water Level.

Check your water level frequently and add more as necessary. If the water level falls too low in cold weather, the components may freeze, which could damage your hot tub.

If the water level drops too low your pump and heater could shut down resulting in frozen water and possible damage to your hot tub.

For most hot tub owners, there are times in the year when you’re just too busy to use your hot tub. The problem comes when that lack of use becomes a lack of maintenance. There are a few reasons why you don’t want to neglect your hot tub, the biggest being all the time and effort required to fix a hot tub with water quality issues.

Even if you’re not using the hot tub, you should still try to get out at least once a week to check on it and add your maintenance chemicals. Doing this can save you a massive headache later and makes sure that your hot tub is ready to use when you’re ready to start using it again.

Keep the Water Clean.

Make sure you clean and maintain your water and filters according to your usual schedule. Simple problems can become more complicated to fix in subzero weather.

Change Your Water Early.

If your tub will be due for a scheduled water change during winter, it’s a good idea to shift it to earlier in the year.
Changing water while the outside temperatures are low can be particularly challenging, as there’s a risk of water freezing and damaging your spa.

Conventional wisdom says that you should change your hot tub water every 3-4 months. For some people, this means having to change your water in the dead of winter.

While having freshwater does make for a more enjoyable hot tub experience, changing your water in -20C weather is never a good idea. The risk of your pipes freezing greatly outweighs any benefits that changing the water has.

If you need to change the water, do so in small batches. Remove 6″-12″ of water at a time; refilling – and reheating – the water in between these partial drains. While this won’t get you the same results as completely draining and refilling the hot tub, it will get you by until the weather warms up.

Turn Down the Jets.

Use the jets to a lesser extent than you would in other seasons, and don’t forget to turn them off when not in use. The jets work by blowing air into the water, which can lower the temperature.

Be Smart About Soak Times.

The longer you stay in your spa, the higher your body temperature climbs. While it may be tempting to linger in the comforting warmth of your hot tub when the outside air is cold, try to limit your soak time to about twenty minutes. Moving from extreme heat to extreme cold can place dangerous stress on your body.

Have a Plan for Retreat.

Cold weather can be dangerous, particularly when you’re wet and wearing a bathing suit. After your soak, when you must leave the protective warmth of your spa and face the icy winter air, make sure to immediately shield yourself from the cold. Keep a bathrobe and shoes or sturdy slippers nearby, and get indoors as quickly as possible after leaving your hot tub.

Enhance Your Outdoor Sanctuary.

Use accessories to add warmth and comfort to your outdoor hot tub environment in the winter. Consider adding heating lamps, or a towel warmer, or maybe simply a weatherproof rug to protect bare feet from the frozen ground. Just make sure all electrical devices are either battery-operated or are placed far enough away from your hot tub to avoid any possible risk of electrocution from contact with water.

Closing Your Hot-Tub

If you won’t use it in winter, you can save money by closing it. However, you can’t just close the cover and forget about it. You need to take the time to properly drain and dry out your hot tub before it gets too cold. If you don’t, you could end up with an expensive repair in the spring.

Flush and Drain Your Hot Tub

First, you must flush your system and drain all the water from your hot tub. During the cold winter months, uncirculated water can freeze and cause damage to the pumps.

Air Blower

If your spa has an air blower, you need to take the time to drain it too. Shut off the heater and run the blower to push all the water from the system.

Remove the Filters

Closing your hot tub for the winter is a good time to pull out and clean the filters. If they are worn out, now is the perfect time to replace them. Clean and dry them and put them somewhere safe during the winter.

Loosen Fittings

After you have drained your hot tub, there could still be water in many of the plumbing fittings as well. Loosen these fittings and allow all the water to drain out of them. If you have a gas heater, shut it down and drain the water from any valves.

Blow Your Jets

You need to be sure there is no water in the jet system as well. Using a wet-dry vac, blow air through each jet to make sure all water has been blown from the system.

Final Clean Up

Mop up any water and make sure the inside is dry. Once it has been dried, give it a good cleaning before putting your cover on. Locking it for the winter will make opening the hot tub in the spring much easier.

Interested in learning more? Contact us here. 

Tips For Grilling In Winter

grilling in winter

Tips For Grilling In Winter

When the temperatures start to drop, our first reaction is to escape to our homes and avoid braving the cold as much as possible. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to become a recluse this winter! You can enjoy a delicious grilled meal just like summertime! Yes, you can enjoy grilling in winter.

Keep it Covered

Getting a cover for your grill before winter is important because it not only will protect your grill from the elements, but a cover makes grilling more convenient during the months of heavy snowfall. Simply dust the snow off the cover with a shovel or brush, then remove the cover, and you have yourself a snow-free grill. We always recommend keeping a shovel or brush right outside your back door to clear a path to your grill as well.

Fuel Check

Make sure to keep extra fuel nearby during cold months. Charcoal should be stored in a dry place protected from snow or rain. When you are grilling with charcoal be sure to use a little extra because it will burn quicker in colder and windy weather. For all gas grilling, remember to preheat with all burners on high for at least 15 minutes. Having a full gas tank and extra charcoal ensures you will be able to keep your grill at the desired temperature.

The colder temperatures will mean your grill will need a little more time to get up to the temp you want for cooking. Give it a good 5-10 minutes extra from what you would normally wait. It is best to pre-heat to 400 or 450 degrees as a minimum and then adjust the temperature. When you place your food on the grill and it doesn’t sizzle then that tells you that it is not nearly hot enough. If cooking on a charcoal grill, make sure to use plenty of charcoal to get the heat needed for grilling.

Stay Warm and Safe

The Midwest hit some low record-breaking temperatures last year, so just remember if you are going out in the cold to grill, bundle up in your winter gear, tuck in any scarfs inside your coat, and use your grilling gloves when handling the grill!

Safety First

Just because it’s cold outside remember it is never a good idea to grill in an enclosed space that can trap deadly carbon monoxide, like inside a garage, under an overhang, indoors or in an enclosed area. In addition to carbon monoxide accumulation, accidental fire damage, and smoke damage are all possible to be aware of any loose or dangling clothing that could catch on fire.

Being well-prepared is the best way to avoid problems. Place your grill on a firm level surface—a wooden deck is not the best choice for obvious reasons! Keep your spare fuel away from the lit grill.

Winter clothing like scarves can trail into the flames, so be sure you’re safely dressed when grilling.

 

Good Lighting

If you’re grilling in winter after dark, you’ll need to choose outdoor lighting, both for atmosphere and practicality. Light strings are an attractive feature when draped around your deck. Don’t rely on extension cords as your power source because they are a trip hazard. And beware of naked flames like candles if children and pets are around.

For grilling, a good overhead light is best, but you can get excellent visibility with a powerful headlamp that leaves your hands free for cooking.

 

Invest in Grilling Gloves

 

Normal winter gloves might keep out the cold, but they won’t cut it for grilling. Purposely designed grilling gloves are made to withstand extremely high temperatures and have long cuffs to protect your hands and wrists against burns. Made from fire-resistant material such as silicone, they won’t wear into holes, and they often have special non-slip grip for safety when handling hot food and utensils. And best of all, they’re easy to clean—some are even dishwasher-safe.

 

Avoid Catastrophes

Planning is key: Locate your grill at least 10 feet away from fences, buildings or other flammable materials. Have a designated place for raw and cooked food and don’t mix the two—no one wants food poisoning to follow a great barbecue! Use separate utensils, too.

 

Build a Permanent Grill Shelter

For confirmed winter grilling fanatics, the best solution is to construct a purpose-built shelter that houses your grill, and also has a wide range of customizable features like built-in cooler space, storage for barware and beverages, lighting and bench seating.

Have any questions about grills, grilling in winter,  or any other products that we offer? Contact us here. 

5 Tips to Enjoy Your Backyard in Winter

backyard

Winter is here and no matter how much you are dreading the cold weather, there are always ways to continue to enjoy your backyard in winter.

For many homeowners, the backyard is a staple of summer living that may fade away once the snow starts to hit, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Winter takes away the daylight, the warmth and replaces it with a whole lot of snow. The key to enjoying your backyard in winter is to make up for what Mother Nature took away while making the most of what she provided.

Here are 5 Tips to enjoy your backyard in winter

FIND A NEW SOURCE OF LIGHT

In winter, the days are short and daylight is very hard to come by. A practical way to address this issue is by going with a neutral holiday light set and using it all winter long. Permanent lighting in your backyard is a great option to add extra light.

FIND A NEW SOURCE OF WARMTH

With temperatures plummeting, you need heat to make your backyard more hospitable. There are a variety of options on the market that can address this concern. These options include purchasing patio heaters, having a fireplace installed or even getting a hot tub, which is more affordable now than ever before. These pieces are well complemented by other winter-friendly additions such as wooden furniture and gazebos. You can enjoy the still peace of nature while thawing out by an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit. Bring the blankets and the hot chocolate for a relaxing time with your family or friends.

ENJOY THE SNOW

When it snows, you often dread shoveling your driveway, cleaning off your car and dealing with other drivers on the road. Why not take a break from shoveling and go have some fun in your backyard? You can build a snowman, construct an igloo or snow fort and have a snowball fight.

Therefore, you might as well make the most of the winter by enjoying the one gift it provides that many people don’t actually mind, the snow. The opportunities for fun are limitless, whether you want to make snow angels, a snowman, or even have a snowball throwing contest (where you aim at targets, not at each other!).

One great thing you can do year-round on your patio is grilling. Don’t let the bitter cold and snow stand in your way from eating delicious steak, chicken, and burgers. Just remember to prepare and make sure that your grill has fresh dry charcoal or a fresh tank of gas.

RELY ON WINTER PLANTS

Spring is the season of blooming for most plants, but there is still some plant life out there that can survive and thrive in winter. So head over to your local nursery to learn more about cold-resistant and winter-blooming plants, shrubs and perennials that can add some much-needed vibrancy to your backyard this winter. Look out for Red Osier, a red winter shrub, and Purple Coneflower, a perennial, two options that will compliment any winter garden.

WARM UP WITH A HOT-TUB

Why leave the hot tub to the ski resorts, when you can have one in your own backyard? Your hot-tub can provide a warm relaxation station in your backyard. Be sure to wear a winter hat in the tub. A hat will actually help you regulate body temperature in the tub, and will protect your head from any winter air.

Have any questions about getting your backyard ready for winter? Then contact us here!