Hot tubs provide a convenient place to relax, unwind and ease aching muscles at the end of a long day. Many people appreciate spas the most during the winter, when the warm bubbling water offers relief from cold, wet and even snowy weather. The sensation of soaking in a hot tub when there's a wintry nip in the air is hard to resist. Proper maintenance and a few enhancements can make the experience even more enjoyable.

Maintaining Proper Temperature and Water Level
It takes longer for the temperature in your hot tub to reach and maintain an ideal setting in cold weather. Many modern spas have a controls included in the hot tub equipment that lets you switch the operation to a "no-freeze" mode. This control automatically engages the heating element whenever water temperatures drop below default temperature settings. If your spa has a timer-only control, experts recommend setting the timer to operate for around 15 minutes each hour. The tub will retain its heat better if you keep it full.

Spa Covers and Thermal Blankets
Hot tub heaters cycle on for longer periods of time in the winter, which can drive up your operating cots. A spa cover is primarily intended to help keep the water clean and sanitary, but it also helps retain heat and reduce water evaporation. The addition of an insulated thermal blanket, also called a floating blanket, further reduces heat loss and evaporation. When it comes to energy savings, covers and blankets are among the most cost-effective pieces of hot tub equipment that you can buy.

Spa Umbrellas
Specially designed umbrellas can enhance your spa pleasure in every season, keeping off rain and sleet in the winter and shading you from the sun in the summer. They are typically made from powder-coated aluminum and marine-grade vinyl or canvas. In many models, the base of the umbrella slips under the cabinet of the spa for maximum stability. Available designs include those with canopies as wide as 10 feet in diameter that rotate 360 degrees for optimal coverage.

Radiant Flooring Systems
For sheer indulgence, nothing beats a deck warmed with radiant heating. Radiant heating systems can be installed under concrete or wooden decks and patios to keep your feet warm en route to your spa. The warmth is supplied by loops of tubes containing hot water or by electrical wiring. The technology is often used outdoors to melt snow on driveways, but works just as effectively to keep your path to and from your hot tub cozy warm and free of chilling snow and ice.