Can Hot Tubs Be Used Cold?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

If the summer heat has been getting to you, there are days where you may not feel like taking a soak in your hot tub. While hot water is relaxing, after weeks of soaring temperatures, jumping into cool, refreshing water may be the only thing on your mind and how you want to enjoy your hot tub. We can’t blame you!

So if you have asked yourself, “can hot tubs be used cold?” then you should know the answer is yes.

We know this because we have tried it ourselves at Hydropool in the summer months and because we are asked routinely by customers who come to our stores shopping.

In most cases, all you need to do to use your hot tub cold is to turn down the temperature on the digital display. Some manufacturers have settings to turn your hot tub into a cold tub during different seasons. At Hydropool, we provide you with a wide range of temperatures, so you can pick the one you like for whatever season you’re in.

We have a few more tips and tricks to help you turn your hot tub into a cold tub in the summertime. So in this article we will cover:

  • How cold can a hot tub get?
  • How can your hot tub cover help you cool off in the summer?
  • Can you add ice to a hot tub?
  • Can you fill a hot tub with cold water?
  • Can you add hot tub chemicals to cold water?
  • Can you turn a hot tub into a cold tub?

By the end of it, we hope you’ll have a good sense of how to get your hot tub to the cooler temperature you’re seeking!



How Cold Can You Set Your Hot Tub?

In general, we recommend turning your hot tub down to no lower than 75F. This is the lowest temperature where chemicals can be incorporated into your water to keep your water sanitized.   

How Can Your Hot Tub Cover Help You Cool Off in the Summer?

This is our first tip. When the hot summer days show up, keep your cover open:

  • Open your cover (just a bit): A hot tub cover is designed to trap and re-use heat. If you want to keep your water cool, after you drop the temperature, keep the lid slightly ajar when not in use. By not having your hot tub cover completely seal the hot tub, the heat will be able to escape and help you stay cool. While you don’t want to leave off the cover entirely as dirt, debris or other objects can end up in the hot tub, slightly propping the cover-up on a corner by a few inches will do the trick. Just like opening a window a crack in the winter, you don’t need to let in a lot of air to have a major effect.

Can I Add Ice to a Hot Tub?

Yes you can! Here are a couple more options for you to try and cool your water off when it’s too warm to get in:

  • Cool your jets: After turning down the heat and opening your lid, run the jets to circulate the water as it cools. This will speed up the cooling process in your hot tub. Keeping your filters clean will help this process, so in the summer be sure to keep up the rinsing process weekly (or more frequently).
  • Add ice: Put in a few bags of ice for cooler water! Watch your water balancing, as if you add a considerable amount it may throw off your water chemistry. You can try keeping the ice in any bag it comes in or in a sealed cooler. Some people have used frozen milk cartons or other containers to keep the ice out of the balanced water.

Once you’ve cooled your hot tub down, reducing the warm water temperature, your hot tub’s insulation will help work in reverse, keeping the hot tub at the same temperature you’ve worked to set it at.  

Can You Fill a Hot Tub With Cold Water?

Yes. We recommend using cold water in most cases. It’s better for your hot tub and your heater if the entire unit adjusts its temperature at the same time. What you want to avoid are things like a cold shell and plumbing with hot water or cold water and a hot shell. The best practice is to keep all parts working together at roughly the same time and temperature.

Can You Add Hot Tub Chemicals to Cold Water?

In general, we advise against this. Most chemicals need to be added to water at least 85F, so they can mix properly in the hot tub and be absorbed by the water. We advise you to check the labels of any product you’re using for complete instructions.

Can You Turn a Hot Tub Into a Cold Tub?

Yes. If you’re looking to make your hot tub into a more permanent cold tub then there are after-market products on the market called “chillers” that allow you to turn your hot tub into a tub that is permanently cooled. They will flash-chill your water in your hot tub as it circulates, reducing the temperature quickly. If you’re looking at adding one, we’d advise you to talk to your retailer to see how this may affect your warranty before going ahead but we understand the need here.

Some manufacturers, such as Caldera and Hot Springs, also offer this function within their hot tub lineups as an option (at Hydropool, this is available by ordering a bypass valve: we’d encourage you to talk to your local retailer about how to get this done).

Can a Hot Tub be Used Cold?

The answer is yes and there’s a wide variety of ways to achieve this. When it’s hot outside, you want water to help cool and relax you, and it’s entirely doable after learning a few tips and tricks. Keep your cover slightly open, use your jets more frequently and crank that heat down!

Adding ice can certainly help and there are a number of after-market products that are also available if you’re looking to introduce a more permanent chilled experience to your hot tub.

As always, keeping your filters clean and your water balanced is something to watch for whenever you’re adjusting your water temperature. If you’re adding ice straight to the hot tub, for instance, your water balance will be affected.

We are asked about finding ways to chill out in a hot tub on a regular basis at Hydropool and we hope we answered your questions here! But if there’s one we missed, we have experts standing by at our retail locations who will happily answer any questions you have. Find the one nearest to you here.  

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