Last Updated on December 8, 2020
People that want to experience the relaxation and comfort of a hot tub but want a pocket-friendly model are usually advised to go for inflatable hot tubs.
An inflatable hot tub is not as costly as a regular hot tub but then comes the concerns of if an inflatable hot tub can work as well as a regular hot tub under different weather conditions.
One of such concerns is if an inflatable hot tub is good in winter. So, are inflatable hot tubs good in winter? This is what I found out.
Inflatable hot tubs are good in winter but not all of them. Generally, inflatable hot tubs aren’t built for freezing temperatures so if the weather temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius), inflatable hot tubs find it difficult to maintain the set water temperature.
However, different models now come with modulations and additional features that make them more capable of coping with lower temperatures such as better insulation and multi-layered vinyl walls.
But what if you have an inflatable hot tub without such modulation? Does that mean you drain your hot tub, deflate it, and pack it up when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit?
Not quite, there are certain ways to improve the working condition of your inflatable hot tub during the winter season. Keep reading to know more about using inflatable hot tubs during winter as well as an expert tip on how to keep your inflatable hot tub warm.
Related Read: Can I Put My Inflatable Hot Tub In My Basement?
How to Use an Inflatable Hot Tub in Winter?
Using an inflatable hot tub in winter is possible. However, if you suspect the weather is getting very cold for an extended period, it’s best to pack up the hot tub or place it indoors where the temperature is warmer.
If the temperature isn’t too cold, maybe a few degrees shy of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use an inflatable hot tub but you need to modify the tub first. Highlighted below is the best way to use your inflatable hot tub in winter.
Insulate the Hot Tub
One of the biggest cons of inflatable hot tubs is that they aren’t as insulated as regular wooden hot tubs. Inflatable hot tubs typically have vinyl walls, unlike the well-insulated acrylic shell that comes with the wooden frame of a non-inflatable hot tub. To use an inflatable hot tub in winter, you need to ensure the hot tub is well insulated.
Though most inflatable tubs come with an insulation mat or pad that helps keep the hot tub warm, these mats wouldn’t do much in cold temperatures.
The mats serve as a base for the hot tub. It is what you place the inflatable hot tub on so it doesn’t sit on the cold bare floor. The first step to using your hot tub in the winter season is to upgrade that insulation mat. How do you do that?
- Buy an insulation board, most preferably, a foam board insulation. You will need this to improve the insulation of the mat.
- Drain your hot tub. Inflatable hot tubs though lighter than regular hot tubs can still weigh between 2000 to 3700 pounds depending on the model you have. Making adjustments to the hot tub with such weight will be very difficult. You should drain the tub so it is easier to move or lift.
- Measure the base of your inflatable hot tub. The hot tub is going to be placed on the insulation foam you bought so you need to ensure it is the same size as the base of your hot tub or a little bit wider. If the insulation board is small or not wide enough, the tub wouldn’t sit well on it and this will damage the frame of your inflatable hot tub when you fill it with water.
- Cut the insulation board to size. Unfortunately, insulation boards don’t come in sizes suitable for hot tubs. The boards are usually having a square shape, so you need to trim them to size. There are different methods to do this. The method you use to cut the insulation board might even allow you to skip the measurement part.
An easy method is to pick up the insulation mat that came with your inflatable tub and place it on the insulation board.
Then use a knife or a sharp object to cut the insulation board to the same size as the insulation mat. You might need two insulation boards depending on how large your hot tub is.
The detail is important, so ask for help if you aren’t quite sure of your cutting skills.
- Put the hot tub on the insulation board. Place the mat that came with your hot tub on the ground, then place the cut out insulation board on the mat, and then put the hot tub on the insulation board. As a safety precaution, do ensure the mat and insulation board are well mounted.
Give the Tub Another Heating Element
Inflatable hot tubs do not have a pump and a blower. So if you have the heating mechanism on, you can’t use the jets and the jets keep the water evenly heated and circulated.
This means the inflatable hot tub already has a hard time heating the water evenly. When you couple that problem with the cold outer temperature during winter, the hot tub will struggle to maintain the set water temperature, so it’s advisable to get another heater to supplement the one designed with the tub.
There is a wide array of hot tub heaters available in hardware stores and you can get someone to help you with the instructions from the store if you aren’t sure.
Keep the Tub Running
An effective way of keeping water hot is to ensure the water keeps moving or remains bubbly while it is being heated.
This will ensure that the water is heated evenly and the tub stays warm enough. Unfortunately, an inflatable hot tub doesn’t have a pump – bummer! Not to worry though, you can get a pump to move the water around.
Once you properly insulate the inflatable hot tub, keep the water circulated, and get another heating source for the water, you should be able to use the hot tub even if the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though some of these modifications will cost you a few dollars, it would be worth it in the end because after, you will have an inflatable hot tub that has an improved heating mechanism, an improved pump, and improved insulation. That will give even the regular non-inflatable hot tubs a run for their money.
Related Article: How Thick Does A Concrete Need To Be For A Hot Tub?
Can an Inflatable Hot Tub Stay Warm in the Winter?
Yes, an inflatable hot tub can stay warm in the winter season but you will need a few modifications to ensure it does just that. However, if you live in cold regions or you notice the weather is getting frosty for a long time, it is best to move the hot tub indoors if you have enough space and a strong base to support the weight of the tub or just pack it up and wait for the weather to become tub-friendly again.
Inflatable hot tubs aren’t as tough as regular hot tubs. A major letdown with inflatable hot tubs is that you can’t use the jets and heater together and normally, both work together to ensure the water stays warm.
This means it is already hard enough for the tub to keep water warm without the jets and the cold outer temperature of the winter season just makes that task harder for an inflatable hot tub.
At best, your inflatable hot tub will keep the water temperature at just over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in very cold weather, and that’s not even near hot enough for a normal day not to talk of the winter season when you need your hot tub water temperature at a 100 degrees Fahrenheit to keep you warm.
So inflatable hot tubs try but they can’t keep up with the freezing weather in the winter season on their own. This is why you need to consider a few modulations to your inflatable hot tub if you want to use it during the winter season.
If you keep the water hot enough, well circulated, and insulated, you shouldn’t have any problem keeping the inflatable hot tub warm.
Are Inflatable Hot Tubs More Expensive to Run During Winter?
To be honest, inflatable hot tubs are more expensive to run during the winter season. But the price difference depends on some factors including the cost of electricity in your area and the extra electrical appliances you are using with the inflatable hot tub.
On average, inflatable hot tubs will cost you about $30 per month. This price rises a bit during the winter mainly because of the extra appliances you are using to keep the hot tub warm.
Inflatable hot tubs ordinarily can’t maintain the set temperature during the winter season so you will need to use an extra hot tub heater and a water pump amongst other devices to keep the tub warm enough for you. These appliances will spike up your electricity bills a bit.
You might also need to use things like insulation boards, hoses, and the likes to keep water flowing easily through the filters. Buying these products will also cost you a few bucks. If you suspect the hot tub is costing you relatively more funds, you can reduce the cost by:
- Setting a lower water temperature. This may not be the best option for most but it may be your gig. Hot tub temperatures can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit and many of us set it that high. Reducing the water temperature to 96 degrees Fahrenheit or 98 degrees Fahrenheit will save you some cash. It means the tub doesn’t have to heat the water to 104 degrees and thus it will use less energy. 104 degrees might be too hot for you anyway.
- Cover the hot tub when not in use. Covering your hot tub when not in use can help you save a lot of energy and consequently, cash. If the hot tub lid is kept on, heat will be well retained inside the tub so your hot tub doesn’t have to use much power to heat the water every time you want to get in. It’s just a case of maintaining the set temperature with less energy since the water will still be considerably hot.
Also, leaving your hot tub open during the winter season isn’t the best idea. The inner part of the tub can get damaged by dirt that flies around and ice getting in the tub means the water will get cold easily.
- Keep the tub running. Contrary to beliefs, keeping your hot tub either inflatable or not running will NOT cost you more. It will cost you less. If you switch the tub off when not in use and on when intended to be used, the heating element in your tub will have to heat the water all over again and that will cost more than maintaining the water at the set temperature. There is a lot to know about leaving your hot tub on all the time.
- Use energy-efficient appliances. As stated earlier, keeping your inflatable hot tub warm during winter will likely require a few extra appliances such as a heater and a pump. These appliances also use electricity to function so if you get products that are energy efficient and use less energy, you wouldn’t have to spend much on their functionality.
How Hot Can an Inflatable Hot Tub Get in Winter?
Inflatable hot tubs would function well in temperatures at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Any weather or room temperature at 40 degrees or higher and the inflatable hot tub will get to 104 degrees Fahrenheit easily.
If the temperature drops below 40 degrees, then the hot tub will have a hard time maintaining the set temperature because inflatable hot tubs aren’t fashioned to work in freezing temperatures.
So how hot your inflatable hot tub can get in the winter season depends on how cold the weather is where you live.
If the inflatable hot tub doesn’t maintain the set water temperature, then you can use any of the methods listed above and if you suspect the weather is getting too cold, pack the tub in or pack it up.
Is There a 4 Season Inflatable Hot Tub?
Yes, you can get a 4 season inflatable hot tub. A 4 season inflatable hot tub is a hot tub fit for all seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) and there are many of them in the hot tub market.