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Running The Hot Tub In Winter, Power Goes Out Then?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 johnh

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 05:46 AM

So my Caldera Niagra is up and running perfectly.

I plan on using it in the winter time here in Michigan and it got me wondering--

What happens if the power goes out (eg. from Ice Storm etc..)?

A few hours, no problem, shouldn't have any issues with freezing...

But what if the power is off for longer? Or the Electric company has no estimate on repair?

I do have a portable generator, but no way to hook it up to the spa.

Now the power doesn't go out very often but on the off chance we get a bad storm, I don't want the Tub freezing (which I am sure won't be covered by Warranty or my Homeowners Insurance...).


#2 Roger

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:49 AM

QUOTE(johnh @ Sep 2 2008, 08:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So my Caldera Niagra is up and running perfectly.

I plan on using it in the winter time here in Michigan and it got me wondering--

What happens if the power goes out (eg. from Ice Storm etc..)?

A few hours, no problem, shouldn't have any issues with freezing...

But what if the power is off for longer? Or the Electric company has no estimate on repair?

I do have a portable generator, but no way to hook it up to the spa.

Now the power doesn't go out very often but on the off chance we get a bad storm, I don't want the Tub freezing (which I am sure won't be covered by Warranty or my Homeowners Insurance...).


First off think to yourself how many times the power has gone off in the last ten years and for how long it was off. Then think of the time of year ice storms typicaly happen. Ice storms and the power outages associated with them are typical to early winter and spring. Daytime temps in the 40's and night time in the 30's. At those temps you have several days before freeze up and if it happens to take longer a simple trouble light will delay freeze up for weeks. But again the power is never or very seldom off for more than a few hours. Now lets talk dead of winter with highs in the 10-20 degree range and lows below 0. In this case, first off you have bigger problems than your hot tub with surviving and your home plumbing taking precidence, and a simple drain on your tub if required will be an easy option. Just make sure you know what is required of your particular tub if a cold weather water evacuation is required. I have lived in Northern Minnesota for 35 years and have seen a power outage or 2 every year with the longest lasting 3 days because of ice. Daytime temps 30-40 night time 20-30 no worrys. 99 percent of the outages were an hour to 4 hours.

Now if you are talking a catastropic tub failure and not an power outage then we have another animal and it is likely to be a bigger worry as a repair from a qualified tech will need to be facilitated ASAP or...the same drain and water exac as before.

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#3 spatech (the unreal one)

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:38 AM

QUOTE(johnh @ Sep 2 2008, 06:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do have a portable generator, but no way to hook it up to the spa.

Now the power doesn't go out very often but on the off chance we get a bad storm, I don't want the Tub freezing (which I am sure won't be covered by Warranty or my Homeowners Insurance...).


If you think the power may be off for an extended amount of time hang a light (obviously an old style bulb that gives off heat and not a twirly compact fluorescent) in the equipment compartment, close the door and run that off the generator. The heat from the light plus the heat from the spa water will cover you for days.

#4 ChicagoMike

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:29 AM

Can you really drain a tub when it is below freezing? Wouldn't the drain hose freeze and clog with ice?

#5 r5ran

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 06:29 AM

I would think that the warmth of the water and more importantly, it's continuous movement, would prevent it from freezing. we have a small fast moving creek at the end of my street that never freezes, even when it's 30 below!
I have yet to drain mine, but when I do, I plan on using a spare sump pump I have instead of just relying on gravity and a garden hose or 2. It will probably empty my tub in minutes versus hours via a hose.
My question is, if you were in a freezing situation, does opening the drains completely and reliably drain all the water out of the pumps and various small passages, or do you need to use air or some type of antifreeze to insure you don't freeze up? Just like a boat, those are the spots that trap the water and are the first to freeze and cause major and expensive damage.

Thanks,
Randy

QUOTE(ChicagoMike @ Sep 3 2008, 06:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can you really drain a tub when it is below freezing? Wouldn't the drain hose freeze and clog with ice?



#6 Roger

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 06:35 AM

QUOTE(r5ran @ Sep 3 2008, 09:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would think that the warmth of the water and more importantly, it's continuous movement, would prevent it from freezing. we have a small fast moving creek at the end of my street that never freezes, even when it's 30 below!
I have yet to drain mine, but when I do, I plan on using a spare sump pump I have instead of just relying on gravity and a garden hose or 2. It will probably empty my tub in minutes versus hours via a hose.
My question is, if you were in a freezing situation, does opening the drains completely and reliably drain all the water out of the pumps and various small passages, or do you need to use air or some type of antifreeze to insure you don't freeze up? Just like a boat, those are the spots that trap the water and are the first to freeze and cause major and expensive damage.

Thanks,
Randy

QUOTE(ChicagoMike @ Sep 3 2008, 06:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can you really drain a tub when it is below freezing? Wouldn't the drain hose freeze and clog with ice?



Almost all of the water needs to be evacuated and yes there are several places where water can get trapped causing a possible freeze situation. A shop vac works good to evac alot of the lines where trapped water persists. Also the drain plugs on your pumps need to be removed or the unions opened. All tubs are different and have there own places where problems may exsist. But a small amount of frozen water may not cause a problem if there is room for the expansion that occurs when water freezes. RV antifreeze is a good idea but also a problem to remove.

By the way I have photos of a 50 foot frozen water fall.

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#7 ChicagoMike

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:54 AM

QUOTE(Roger @ Sep 3 2008, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
By the way I have photos of a 50 foot frozen water fall.


Post em up! I'd like to see it.

#8 Roger

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:20 PM

QUOTE(ChicagoMike @ Sep 4 2008, 10:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Roger @ Sep 3 2008, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
By the way I have photos of a 50 foot frozen water fall.


Post em up! I'd like to see it.




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#9 Roger

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:22 PM

QUOTE(ChicagoMike @ Sep 4 2008, 10:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Roger @ Sep 3 2008, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
By the way I have photos of a 50 foot frozen water fall.


Post em up! I'd like to see it.



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#10 johnh

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 02:30 AM

Ok thanks guys.

Yes its been pretty rare for the power to be out for too long. But I can remember in the last 8 years there were two times it was out longer than 8 hours. One time, was my old house and it was 2 1/2 days! You can run most furnances off a generator...the blower motor doesn't draw that much current (mine was 4A), most of the heat energy comes from Gas--so that saves the house.

Hopefully, I won't have to worry about it--but just in case its too big an investment not to.




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