The weather forecast for Central New York is calling for plenty of snow over the next 36-hours; but, It's the cold that could cost you money.

Last night, as New Year's Day came to a close, I noticed the absence of a low-level humming sound that normally comes from the vicinity of our patio.  Sure enough, our hot tub was off because the GFI breaker that powers it had failed.  This could be a real problem and I had no idea how long it had been off.  With a Nor'Easter on the way and temperatures in single digits, the hot tub could very well be ruined.

When I tried to lift the cover off, it didn't budge.  It had frozen to the top.

I grabbed an extension cord to plug it into another power source and the motor wouldn't run.  Everything was frozen up.

Once I was able to get the cover off, I discovered the water temperature was down to 40 degrees; but, it was the pump and the piping underneath that was frozen.  The hot tub needs heat and it has to be circulating.  I had neither and temperatures over the next 3 days have been predicted to drop as low as 15 below zero.

I'm assuming the power had been off for only about a day because the water in the piping, which is exposed to the air, was slushy and not completely frozen.  I was able to run some high temperature light bulbs and a small heater into the casing of the tub near the piping and the pump.  It took about 6 hours, but the ice melted and I was able to turn on the pump and heater at about 3 a.m..  It's been about eight hours and the temperature is now up to 60 degrees and climbing.

The experts say when it's very cold, it's important to keep an eye on the hot tub, especially if it's only used periodically,  It's also best to turn off the air jets when it's cold, because they actually inject cold air into the water.

Ultimately, we were lucky that we discovered the power outage when we did.  Had the tub continued powerless into last night's frigid temperatures, the expanding ice in the pipes and pump would have caused severe damage.

Here are some tips for winterizing and winter use of your spa in cold weather areas.