Can You Keep Your Hot Tub Cool In The Summer? The sun’s bright. The glare’s unrelenting. The heat’s unbearable. You’ve gotta cool down, gotta get some shade.
As summer comes the beating sun can be overwhelming and if you are older or have sight defects, the glare can make it agonizing to be outside without your shades on.
You can’t move without becoming wringing wet-through with sweat and more than anything you want a cooling dip, but you’ve got no pool and the hot tub’s too hot or maybe you’re unsure whether you can run it unheated?
With most hot tubs you can switch off the heating and just leave the pumps running to keep the water circulating with the bubbles in action so the water doesn’t get too warm and remains sanitized, but if your air temperature is above body heat, then the water will get that way as well and that just won’t cool you down, especially with direct sunlight penetrating the water.
Many hot tubs have a lower limit setting on their gauges, often around 32 degrees C (around 90F), which is just about nice to cool off, but others are set at a higher temperature than that, which means the water never really falls below body heat.
And the daft part of it is, you have to take a dip in the morning after the night-time temperature has cooled the water and skip the dip when you need it most in the afternoon or evening when the water’s too hot. That’s assuming your nighttime temperature dips in the hours of darkness and you leave your air pumps running 24/7.
If you’ve missed it, we’ve already covered reducing the temperature of a hot tub in summer with our article https://lazeetimes.com/hot-tub-temperature-too-high/
But perhaps what you need is some sort of shade to keep that penetrating sunlight off your spa, or maybe you burn easy?
You have four options to combat this and we’ll start with the least expensive one first.
These are basically a sheet of material, much like a sail, suspended above your hot tub or pool to give shade to anything below it.
The really inexpensive ones are usually a durable ultra-violet resistant hdpe material while the better ones are produced from a fine woven material which comes in various colors and sizes, usually square or rectangular although there are other shapes available, with reinforced corners with eyes to attach tensioning ropes or some even come with nylon cord ready-fitted.
Don’t get us wrong – the hdpe ones are fully capable of doing the job properly and are weather-resistant and durable, so do you really need to go in for the more expensive ones? After all, you more than likely will take it down and store it once the sun has weakened towards late fall.
There have been some cribs about these nylon cords stretching and the material shrinking when put up, with the shade sail sagging a little, so buyers have replaced their cords with 1/8th inch steel wire and the appropriate shackles to tighten their shades properly.
They are not waterproof, as you can imagine if you don’t have a slope to allow rain to run off the top, there will be a puddle forming and this would add weight considerably and put a great deal of strain on the mounting points.
For mounting points, you can use the side of your building, fencing, trees, even erecting poles to fasten the corners to secure the lines provided.
They can be waterproofed using the same waterproofing spray used on tents for camping purposes if that’s what you want, but make sure you have a good slope to clear the rainwater.
They are highly recommended as the price is minimal owing to their simplicity and they are well proven in windy areas as they do not flap about in the breeze, although having them able to be pulled down ahead of severe storms is a benefit.
One other use for these simple shade sails is to suspend them above cars (car ports) as they can get like ovens with even the lightest sunshine, even in moderate climates, and the best of it is they come in many different sizes.
Heck… If you wanted, you could even get a larger one or a group of triangular ones to go over a patio to cool one side of your property.
Hot Tub Umbrellas
Moving up in the price range a little, but not much, hot tub umbrellas come next.
They usually either have a toe that sits below the hot tub, that way keeping it upright and virtually wind-proof owing to the weight of water on the toe, or they have ballast weights (sand or water) in the base. Some use concrete castings and the better ones use a cast iron base.
The second sort is often referred to as a patio umbrella as they are relatively easily mobile.
Either way, they are a little bit awkward to move around and the toed ones are fixed semi-permanently to the hot tub itself, so these are especially useful for inflatable hot tubs that are stowed away for the winter season.
The ones with weights can usually have the weights lifted individually – usually four or six sections, which makes them easier to move around or disassemble.
As a tip, the ones you fill with sand can have more stability if you fill them first and then add extra water into the weight pods – but watch your backs.
Both types provide different diameters or shapes to provide the best shade area, while some have cantilevered fixing which generally means they are fixed to one side of the stand and cannot be pivoted away for different positions of sun shading.
To overcome this, make sure you find one that can be clipped to the pole in different directions.
Another common fault with the cheaper ones is the cantilever opening and closing mechanism failing which means your umbrella will be useless unless you are handy with tools.
Our best recommendation is the Le Papillon Side Umbrella which can be tilted and rotated through 360 degrees, comes in 7 different colors to try to match your existing hot tub or surroundings and is made with a sturdy powder-coated steel upright, although this one is not supplied with the necessary matching weights for the base which are sand filled and need to be purchased separately.
Again, prices vary as some of the cheaper ones are manufactured from the flimsiest materials, so please do make sure you read the customer reviews before purchasing any hot tub umbrella.
In fact, one review I read showed that a single aluminum pin had been used in a square section upright to hold the $200 umbrella up on its stand and had lasted a mere two weeks of use when a steel pin would have seen a far better result and was replaced by the customer as a repair. Cutting shipping costs from the far East, I believe.
Have you considered a temporary gazebo to keep the sun off your hot tub?
They can be like a glorified tent, pegged in place, taking only a few minutes to set up and easily removed if needed.
These are a great option if you don’t want the hassle of buying and erecting a permanent structure around your hot tub as they can be taken down, moved around very easily and used for other activities as well as screening your spa from insects with mosquito netting sides and the sun overhead, plus the odd light shower of rain.
If you are looking for an inexpensive canopy or spa cover for occasional use around your yard then our top recommendation is the Coleman Instant Screenhouse produce by the same company who make Coleman hot tubs.
It comes in three sizes and you can put up these roughly 45lbs shelters in around three or four minutes from start to finish on your own, although Coleman’s say one minute, but, by the time you’ve faffed about a bit and trailed it out from your garage in its wheeled storage bag, then set it up and pegged it down secure, that is a bit far-fetched!
We’re not trying to put you off, or anything, as it’s great once you have it in place.
This Screenhouse is not designed to be up all year round and it most definitely is not storm proof, but is a flexible and appealing solution when the weather gets unbearably hot.
If you are looking for something a little more sturdy to keep your hot tub cool in the summer that accommodates a wider range of weather differences and also can remain erected that bit longer, take a look at the Sunjoy 10’x 10′ Lansing Soft Top Gazebo with Netting (shown below, although not over a hot tub).
Being made with a sturdy powder-coated steel frame it is much stronger and has a far more stable canopy than the Coleman Screenhouse above.
With two people erecting this one it only takes around five minutes to put together so still is capable of being moved around, but not so easily as the Coleman Screenhouse.
There are many others to choose from if these do not meet your needs – just take a look here.
If you are looking for a more semi-permanent structure, there are lots that can be delivered to your property just like a self-assembly shed would.
They tend to be a little more expensive again, but they last for years and the suppliers can provide replacement fabric should the need arise.
A permanent gazebo structure, on the other hand, will definitely keep your hot tub cool in the summer as well as looking great while being a valuable addition to both your hot tub experience and your property as well.
Most permanent structures are built from wood, usually to match existing decking or other landscaping you may already have.
You can have a bespoke designed gazebo or there are also a large number of kits available that come ready for self-assembly like most garden structures and there are lots of designs like the following.