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Jack Stone's Posts

Top Spa Repair Forum Discussions

June 24th, 2013 by

spa-repair-forum

When we started our Spa Repair Forum in early 2009, we did so to add value to our website, to bring to our visitors another layer of information, to go along with our Hot Tub Blog and our Hot Tub Toolbox.

Today, our Hot Tub Forum has over 1100 posts, on over 440 topics related to spa and hot tub care and repair. Currently, as I write this, there are 23 people browsing the system, from all over the country, and the world.

Our Forum is built on the popular vbulletin platform, which has a lot of great features. If you’ve never used a Bulletin Board or an online Discussion Forum, users can view and reply to posts, called threads. You can also attach images, rate posts and search the database for keywords related to your specific spa problem.

Spa owners post their problems, and other spa owners, spa techs or our own moderator MaryH will respond to the posts. The person who starts a thread (by making a new post) gets an email when a reply has been made to the thread.

In today’s blog post, I’ve curated the best threads from the last 4 years. These forum posts were the most popular, in terms of views, replies, and ratings. Click the posts below to view the entire thread.

 

TOP 9 SPA REPAIR FORUM POSTS

 

 #1 – Spa Motor Cycling On & OffAfter a drain and refill, this problem resolved itself. Air lock?

spa-repair-forum-thread-1

#2 – Panel flashes OH, and then Everything Stops. Most likely a circuit board (pcb) problem here…

spa-repair-forum-thread-2

#3 – OH reading, after Spa Cools Down – In this case, the High Limit may be causing the OverHeat (OH) code

spa-repair-forum-thread-#3

#4 – Coast Spa: Blows Filter Off when I start Pump - Turns out the filter lid was installed backwards

Filter lid blows off of spa filter

 #5 – My Spa Heater Has Power, but No Heat – Tested the heater element for volts/amps, then Replaced.

Spa Heater has 240V, but No Heat Output

#6 – Water Level Mysteriously Going Down in Spa – A bad spa cover allows heat loss and water loss.

Water Leak in Hot Tub

#7 – Spa Water Odor – Could be the water, the spa cover, the spa filter, or poor water sanitation.

Spa water smells

#8 – New Spa, Heater Not Always Coming On – Faulty Chip used on PCB caused erratic heating.

Heater Not Always Coming On

#9 – Vita Spa Trips Circuit Breaker - Ozonator or Spa Blower causing main breaker to trip

spa-repair-forum-thread-9

Our Hot Tub Repair Forum is a resource for you! The next time that you are having spa difficulties, be sure to search our forum for problems similar to your own, or start your own thread, and post your problems!

- Jack

 

12 Spectacular Spas & Hot Tubs

June 3rd, 2013 by

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs

 

I have always admired unique designs in spas and hot tubs. There are so many creative ways to enjoy hot water – indoors or out! With much respect to these hot tub designers, who unfortunately will have to remain nameless, as I don’t  know who they are!

Maybe these spa designs will spark some ideas about your own backyard hot springs. For most of us, (myself included), we have these boxy, aboveground spas. Functional, practical, every bit as soothing – but these spas below, they have something special.

 

Here’s a few images of some of the world’s top hot tubs – the most luxurious, alluring and peaceful places of hot water heaven. These are some of my favorite hot tub designs, and I’m glad to share them. You can share these, too!

Round cedar hot tub flanked by large outdoor wood deck.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-7

 

Another traditional wood hot tub with steps and lighted surround wall.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-8

 

Natural rock spa quarried from behind the house? Built from concrete and stone!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-9

 

Vinyl swim spa with auto cover, surrounded by wood deck & bamboo.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-10

 

This stone spa is fantastic! Love the unique fence, too.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-11

 

Another great use of wood decking to surround a hot tub. This one floats over the lake!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-12

 

And this spa floats over the ocean, with hues of blue to match!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-13

 

Tranquil, serene oasis overlooking the woods. Very zen.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-14

 

For a touch of elegance, the winner of the tile category, with classic roman ends.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-15

 

This combination swim spa and hot tub has built in music, tv and bar! Party spa!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-16

 

California design? Would love this in my Californian backyard!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-19

 

I don’t see this in my backyard, but this resort sure has it going on!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-20

Thanks for checking out my gallery of spectacular spas and jaw dropping hot tubs! If you know where these tubs are, or were involved in the design of these fantastic hot tubs, we’d love to give you credit – leave a comment below!

 

- Jack

 

Measuring for a new Spa Cover

May 23rd, 2013 by

measure-spa-coverThe easiest way to order a new spa cover is to order by make and model from our database of over 100 different spa manufacturers and over 1000 different models. But, when your not sure, or want to make sure you get the best fitting spa cover, the best thing is to measure your existing hot tub cover.

In just a few steps, and with just a tape measure and our order form, I’ll show you how to order a perfect spa cover every time.

 

The most common question we get is “What should I measure?” If your current hot tub cover is in pretty good shape, you can just measure the existing cover. If it’s in really bad shape, then you’ll measure the tub instead.

The most important thing is that your measurements be from outside acrylic to outside acrylic. Don’t measure to the outside of the spa cabinet, but just to the point where the spa shell ends.

The most common shaped hot tub is a square or a rectangle, that’s about 85% of hot tubs. If you have a hot tub made after 1985, chances are it has rounded corners. The most common hot tub covers we make are rounded square, or rounded rectangle. If you have a different shaped hot tub, don’t worry, these principles will apply as well. spa-cover-measurement-form

The first thing to make note of is where the fold is, or which direction the fold of your spa cover is running. On our measuring form, you’ll notice that the “A” measurement is always cut in half by the fold of the spa cover. So the first measurement of a spa cover is straight across the cover, and across the fold. Write down this first measurement down.

The next measure is the “B” measurement, taken across the cover, perpendicular to the first measurement. Write down this measurement.

C” is the third measurement that we take is to determine the radius, or the curvature of the rounded corner. There are two ways to measure this, with a carpenter’s square, or with a measuring tape. The measure is taken from where the curve begins to the point where it intersects at a 90 degree angle, with a straight edge, or yard stick held on the adjacent edge of the cover, as shown in the image above.

The curve could be very slight, a 4″ radius, or they can be 12″ in some cases. It’s important to carefully measure the corner radius, to have the best fitting spa cover.

 

Spa skirt measuring

Next, we’ll measure the length of the spa cover skirt and the straps. On our website, we have default values – for the most common measurements, but you can enter your own. The skirt should hang down long enough to cover the acrylic on the spa, to protect it from the UV rays. Measure the length of your current spa cover skirt, from the bottom of the cover to the edge of the skirt. Shown in this image, we have a 5″ spa cover skirt length.

 

spa-cover-safety-straps

Now you can measure the safety strap, in the same manner, from the bottom of the spa cover, and including the skirt, to the buckle – but not including the buckle. Our new spa covers include 2 safety straps, with standard buckles to fit your existing strap locks. We also include the complete hardware kit if you want to change the entire lock. Write down the measurement of your spa straps. Shown in this image, we have an 8″ safety strap length.

 

And that’s it! Just 5 pieces of information necessary to order a replacement spa cover from Hottubworks. You can always order by make and model, but if that information isn’t handy, you can measure your own hot tub in just a few minutes.

Here’s Jerry from Hot Tub Works, in a video about how to measure your current spa cover for a replacement cover

- Jack

Spa & Hot Tub Parts: Air Switches for Spas and Hot Tubs

May 13th, 2013 by

spa air switch informationAir Switches have been used for spa side controls for as long as I can remember – probably after early hot tubbers got tired of having to get out of the tub to turn on jets, air, or lights!

Using an air switch provided a safe means of turning on hot tub equipment with wet fingers. Air switches for spas have come a long way since the early days, and many spa manufacturers are now controlling many spa functions with micro circuits on PCB’s (printed circuit boards).

However, there are still LOTS of spa switches out there; some showing their age. This post has information on troubleshooting, identifying, ordering and installing spa air switches.

 

Types of Spa Air Switches

SPDT-AIR-SWITCH

Air switches used in spas are used as a break in a circuit, just like a light switch or a circuit breaker. There are several types of switches that are used on spas and hot tubs. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of spa air switches.

A standard air switch controls a single load, that is – just the light or the blower, for example. They are sold in a few distinct types – Single Pole – Single Throw or SPST (one wire in, and one wire out), or the Single Pole – Double Throw SPDT (one wire in, two wires out). A Double Throw can be used for a two-speed pump to operate high speed and low speed, each on separate outputs.

DPDT-air-switchYou may also see a switch that is like a “Double SPDT”, with two wires in, and four wires out. This is known as the DPDT, or that’s right… the Double Pole – Double Throw air switch – pictured here on the left. Multi-function switches can have even more terminal sets, you may have larger switches with 4 sets of terminals, which can turn several items on or off, at the same time, or in sequence.

Air switches will also have a “Spout” or a small ribbed opening – where an air hose pushes on to the air switch. The location of the Spout can make a difference, some are side mounted and some may be bottom mounted, as on our image examples.

Another distinction between spa air switches is in their operation. Latching type of air switches are “Push On – Push Off” activated, such as a single color spa light. These are also known as Alternate or Permanent air switches. Sequencing switches, mentioned above, control several functions at once, such as selecting a “SPA” function, which will turn on jets and blower and heater, for example. Multi-function sequence switches have multiple terminals for wire connections. Momentary spa switches close the circuit (On) only while the air switch is depressed, and opens the switch when the button is released. These are also known as Non-Latching switches for spas.

Trouble Shooting Spa Air Switches

Basic: Your first indication of a problem may be that you push the button and nothing happens, or the result is different than what you expected! First step in diagnosis would be to remove your equipment panel and locate the thin air hose connected to the spa side controls. Make sure that they are all connected, on both ends, follow the hose from the button to the switch.

Next, push the button and listen for the switch to “click”, or make a small noise (you may need to turn off the spa to hear it). If you hear no noise, inspect the air hose for cracks or splits. If OK, inspect the air switch with a flashlight, looking for insects or disconnected wires.

You may have an air switch with an adjustable dial, over a threaded body. Spa air switches come factory calibrated, and there is usually no need for adjustment. However, during troubleshooting an air switch, you may turn the dial in one direction or the other, but track the number of revolutions, so you can return to the starting point if adjustments make no difference. Resistance in Ohms

Advanced: Shut Off power to the spa at the incoming circuit breaker. Use a multi-meter to check continuity through the switch. Place your meter on the Ohms setting, to check the resistance, and place meter leads onto each incoming (common) terminal and also on the terminal just below it. You may need to remove the wires from the terminal, but only do one set at a time, and remember which is which, or label them with masking tape.

While you are holding the meter onto the terminals, have a helper push the air switch button up-top (or clamp your meter leads). While connected, your meter should  read continuity/no continuity, as the button is pushed on and off. If any of the pole/throw sets do not display this behavior, the switch has failed.

Identifying your Spa Air Switch

It’s important to select a replacement switch with the exact type – not necessarily the same brand, but the same number of Poles and Throws, the same voltage and amperage, the same Operation Type and the same Spout location.

If you identify a faulty spa switch, remove and label each individual wire, and unscrew the switch from it’s mounting (power is still Off!). Put your glasses on and write down all identifying information – Volts, Amps, Type and Manufacturer.

Usually, searching these numbers on Hottubworks will pull up pictures of possible replacements. Look at the pictures to try and positively identify your switch. If you have questions, you can always call our tech support center.

Buying a New Spa Air Switch

We sell dozens of air switches every day. Of these, about 10% of orders are returned – with customers selecting the wrong one. We don’t want you to lose any time with your spa, so if you have a question or are just unsure about what type of spa air switch you have, please give our team a call.

Of course, our spa air switches are very easy to order online, with large pictures and full descriptions – and a friendly return policy. So, if you’d rather not call us, make your best selection and let us know if you have any questions while installing the new air switch.

Installing a New Spa Air Switch

You’ll normally find all of your air switches housed in a central control box, with a uniform mounting method. Some are screwed in place or clipped in place. Remember to have the power Off during switch troubleshooting and replacement. Label all wires that are removed, and proceed in a logical forward and reverse order. After removing wires and air hose, the switch can be removed, replaced, re-wired and re-hosed.

Again, if you need any help in diagnosis, identification, ordering or installation of a new spa air switch, you can always call or email Hottubworks for friendly spa support at 800-770-0292, 7 days per week.

 

How to Buy a Spa Cover

May 2nd, 2013 by

how-to-buy-a-spa-cover

Spa covers last for many years, but eventually – they become broken or water logged. Replacing a spa cover, or buying your first cover, can be a simple, fast and inexpensive purchase ~ if you know what to look for.

In this post, I’ll tell you how to quickly find your exact fit hot tub cover online, and how to decide on the many features and options – so you can compare spa covers from many dealers, and find the best price on the best fitting spa cover that best fits your needs.

Discover Your Spa Cover

Spa Cover Make & Model

Spa Cover Make and Model

Every spa or hot tub has a make and model, just like an automobile. “Make” refers to the manufacturer of the spa, and “Model” is the name of the spa. Most online spa cover stores will allow you to choose your Make, and then provide a list of Models made by the manufacturer.

This is by far the easiest way to order a spa cover. If you don’t see the Make and Model listed on the outside of the tub, open the service panel to look inside for a placard or sticker. Or, if you have the original spa invoice or owner’s manual or a brochure, this should also give you the information needed.

 

Spa Cover Shape & Dimensions

spa-cover-shapes-sizes-2

It happens that many folks can’t find the Make & Model of spa, so you’ll find that most hot tub cover sites will allow you to order a spa cover by choosing the shape of the spa cover and then filling in some simple dimensions.

Our website asks you to pick from 11 common spa cover shapes, and also has an option for “Unusual or Oversized” cover shapes, which are used more for freeform inground spas, than for portable hot tubs.

After you pick the shape of spa cover that you have, you will be asked to take 2-4 measurements – of the spa shell, not of the existing spa cover, but the outside to outside measurement of the spa shell.

We’ll also ask for the measurement of the existing spa cover skirt length and strap length. The skirt is the material that hangs down to help seal up the spa. Most skirt lengths are about 4″, but you can specify, from 2 – 6 inches. The spa straps are sewn onto the skirt, and these have clips that attach into buckles attached to the spa sides. 7 inches is standard, but you can specify longer or shorter spa straps.

 

Spa Covers Features & Options

So that you can compare Apples to Apples, you’ll want to understand the various features of better spa covers. Some of these may be included “standard” on your spa cover, or may be an optional expense.

Spa Cover Colors

A color choice is standard with all hot tub cover dealers. You should have at least 8 colors to choose from; at Hottubworks, we have 14 colors available, from Almond to Walnut. Choose a color that complements your patio decor, or your particular taste.

spa-cover-color-choices

Foam Density & Thickness

Inside of your marine grade vinyl spa cover are rigid foam panels, which taper to a smaller thickness near the outside of the cover, to allow water to run off easily. The thickness of the foam panels will affect it’s strength and it’s heat retention ability. Thicker spa covers are stronger and keep more heat in the spa, but they’re also a heavier when moving. We have 3 thickness available – 4 inch tapering to 2 inches on the side, or a 5 inch tapering to 3″, or our thickest, a 6″ foam panel, tapering to 4″ inches.

Foam Density is another selection to make. Denser foams hor heat retention, and can resist damage more easily. Denser foam panels also resist water absorption better than a foam with more air pockets. We also have 3 Densities available – 1 lb. foam, 1.5 lb. foam and our 2 lb. foam density.

Hottubworks always use virgin foam core stock, made without any ozone depleting CFC’s or HCFC’s

Spa Cover R-Value

The R-Value of a spa cover is a measure of it’s thermal resistance. You’ve seen R-value on other products as well, such as windows, wall materials and home insulation. Essentially, the R-Value of a spa cover is it’s resistance to heat loss. I like to also call it the “Retention Value”, for how much heat a spa cover will Retain.

The R-Value for hot tub covers is influenced by 3 things – the Foam Density and the Foam Thickness, discussed above, and the Continuous Heat Seal, discussed below. Here’s a chart I made containing R-Values for spa covers, from 12 – 30, depending on the foam thickness and density.

spa-cover-r-value-char-t-2

Continuous Heat Seal

Every spa cover has a fold, and some larger spa covers can have more than one. At this junction of the two foam panels is a weak spot for heat retention. Most spa covers use two pads at each end of the fold, to keep heat from escaping, but this leaves a large gap through the rest of the fold. A Continuous Heat Seal keeps heat from escaping through the hinge, or fold of the spa cover. It’s a dense pad that runs the entire length of the hinge, sewn in place, and it really improves heat retention, especially in colder climates.

Double Wrapped Foam Core

double wrapped foam core

The foam core on spa covers is wrapped in a thick plastic to prevent moisture from working it’s way into the foam. If you’ve ever struggled with a soggy, water logged spa cover, you know how important this plastic cover can be. Having a Double-Wrapped foam core simply means that the core is wrapped twice, for more moisture and vapor resistance and protection from accident prone people who may nick, burn or tear the plastic.

Spa Cover Dealers

Finally, to make the best comparison of hot tub covers, consider the expertise and reputation of the company that you are buying a spa cover from. There are many ways to make cheaper spa covers, simply by using cheaper materials, weaker construction and lax quality control. Using cut-rate shippers is another way that some spa cover dealers shave a few bucks off their cover cost.

Hottubworks uses computer aided design and manufacturing processes, top grade materials and quality construction. All covers go through a 16 point quality inspection and are shipped with national carriers that you know and trust.

Here’s Drake, from Hottubworks, with some video tips for you on How to Buy a Hot Tub Cover. You can see more spa cover videos on our YouTube Channel.

How to Buy Spa & Hot Tub Parts

April 22nd, 2013 by

 

Hot Tub parts for DIY spa repair
If you are a Do It Yourself type of spa owner, (and most of our customers are) – you’ve probably seen our huge selection of parts for spa and hot tubs.

Spa Parts are my favorite category of spa stuff that we sell, probably because it’s a bit more challenging to know the intricacies of spa parts. We found out early that to sell spa parts, you have to have people in the call center that understand such things. Our tech support staff actually know how to repair spas and hot tubs.

Spa and Hot Tub parts are something we understand very well at Hot Tub Works. Our staff is trained to help you select the proper spa part, and our inventory investment means that we likely have the part you need, when you need it – often shipping the same day.

 

How to Order Spa Parts

Spa and Hot Tub replacement parts

On Hottubworks.com, we have designed a logical spa parts storefront. We don’t ask you to search by sku, or p/n. Instead, we have broken down our spa parts into 12 logical categories, shown right. These spa part categories represent different systems of interconnected equipment or parts – so you can find what you need fast.

Another way we made parts buying simpler was to throw out the schematic! They can’t be displayed clearly anyway, and with thousands of parts to list, it gets real confusing, real fast.

Instead, what we have are pages of similar parts, with thumbnail images – to quickly spot the correct replacement part for your spa or hot tub. We have 37 pressure switches for instance, all listed on one simple page, with detailed descriptions, measurements and an image that you can enlarge to see more clearly.

Most web users are very visual, and using high quality images in our parts department helps our visitors to feel confident that they’ve chosen the right part. This saves us both money and hassle, in shipping parts back and forth.

Other spa parts websites have black and white parts images that look like they were taken in the 19th century! Instead, we decided to do something different, and 5 years ago, launched a parts image improvement program; completed in early 2012.

Some of the other guys have out of date parts databases, selling items that have been obsolete for 10 years. They can’t get the part, but yet they take the order as though they can. A week later, you find out that the part is no longer made, and without a substitute available.

Instead, We continue to add to our spa parts selection every year, as new spas and new spa products are introduced and clean up the database of NLA (No Longer Available) and OBS (Obsolete) spa and hot tub parts. And, when there is a generic replacement, or a similar substitute, we code that into the database, so you know what the options are. And, our website never displays obsolete or unavailable spa parts.

Spa Parts Technical Support

spa-repair-forum-guy-smOur spa and hot tub technical support staff can often help you identify the correct spa part, or verify that your troubleshooting process was logical and correct. We can’t guarantee that the spa or hot tub part you are ordering is the one that you need – we’d have to come to your house and perform a spa diagnostic to be sure!

We don’t make house calls, but you can call us anytime to speak with one of our spa techs about your symptoms, diagnosis, and the parts or supplies needed to make a successful spa repair.

 

I hope you like our Spa Parts Department – we’ve spent a lot of time designing the most user-friendly and complete online spa parts catalog.

- Jack

 

Signs That You Need a New Spa Filter Cartridge

April 4th, 2013 by

spa-filter-cartridges

 

At Hot Tub Works, we spend a lot of time thinking about spa filter cartridges – maybe too much time! They are one of our largest selling product lines, and a topic that our customers bring up quite a bit.

The question is “How do you know when to replace the spa filter?” Aside from indications of total failure, such as rips in the fabric or a cracked end cap – how can you determine when the filtering ability has diminished?

 

 

How Long Do Spa Filters Last?

I wish that they cartridges would change color or something, so that spa owners know – that their filter has reached it’s “half-life”. Fact is, each time you clean the cartridge, the fabric fibers are stretched apart a little bit more, which reduces dirt trapping ability.

By the time you have cleaned your cartridge a dozen times, it can be allowing twice the volume of matter to slip through the material, passing right through your hot tub filter. So, one way to determine when to replace is to set a schedule for cleanings, and when you reach 10-15 cleanings, it’s time to replace the cartridge.

Many of our customers have a schedule where they simply replace the cartridge on an annual basis, at the same time each year.

How Often do You Clean It?

Another way to easily tell when the spa filter has reached it’s half-life, is when the time interval between cleanings increases. If you were formerly able to maintain water clarity or proper filter pressure with a monthly cleaning, but now it has to be done every two weeks, you can assume that your filter cartridge is clogged with minerals or oils.

Spa filter cleaners can help remove this gunk, or it may be time to just replace the hot tub filter(s).

Spa Water Clarity

A third way to measure your cartridge effectiveness is to look at your spa water. Is it as clear and sparkly as you want, or does it look dull and dirty?

You may find yourself compensating for a weak spa filter by using more sanitizer than you used to use, or having to run the spa filter longer – in order to achieve the same degree of water clarity in your spa.

Spa Filter Tips

To help your spa or hot tub filters last longer, follow these tips:

spa-filter

  1. Always have a spare spa filter to use while cleaning and drying the dirty spa filter
  2. Drying after cleaning helps kill any remaining bacteria and contaminants
  3. Use a spa filter cleaner every 3-6 months, to remove oils and mineral deposits
  4. Don’t use a brush while cleaning, and don’t use a pressure washer
  5. Don’t use any household chemicals, soaps or detergents

To keep your spa sparkling and safe to use, replace your spa filter cartridges every 12-24 months. With our low prices, at up to 50% off retail – there’s no excuse not to buy new filter cartridges for your spa or hot tub!

- Jack

Spa Cover Lifter Reviews

March 21st, 2013 by

spa-cover-lifts

Hot Tub cover lifters are essential for most people to comfortably handle a bulky spa cover, and also to prevent damage to your spa cover. You may be surprised to know how often spa covers are broken during movement, or while not on the hot tub – about half of the replacement spa covers that we sell.

Reviews are popular nowadays, with nearly every product we sell, but the best reviews come from you, our customers via email – the unsolicited customer feedback. I have collected hundreds of these over the years, and have hand picked a few of the most useful reviews, or those that really highlight the features of each of these very different spa cover lifters.

Hot Tub Cover Lifter Reviews: 2008-2012

Cover Valet Reviews

  1. Works like a charm. I was nervous about installation, seeing that the other models you just slide under the spa, but this one seemed more sturdy than those. The video you guys did was very helpful. Installed in under an hour.
  2. Instructions were a bit lacking, but once I had the the side bracket installed, the rest was a breeze. It’s very sturdy and easy to use with the piston assist. I like how it sits up next to the spa, adds a bit of privacy on one side.
  3. I didn’t want to drill into the wood around my spa, fearing it would crumble on my old Coleman spa. The bolts were big enough to bite into the small pilot holes I made, and no cracking. This is a much improved spa lift, over the last model we had. Appreciate the fast shipping too.

Cover Caddy Reviews

  1. The cover caddy was easy to put on the spa, once we figured out how to lever the spa up slightly to slip it under. Once in place, it seemed secure so we tested it out. Worked the first time, no adjustment needed.
  2. Looks a bit flimsy in the video, but it handles our cover well. I like how it holds the cover along the side of the spa. We replaced the cover at the same time, and maybe the new one is lighter, but this is a lot easier to manage than before.
  3. Cover Caddy was fast to set-up. I had to move the bottom plate at first, I didn’t have it centered. But installing it in under a minute still counts as fast to me!

Cover Rock-It Reviews

  1. “Rock-on cover rock-it! I can’t believe I went this long without a spa cover lifter thingy. It’s so easy now, I don’t need to get someone to help me remove the spa top!”
  2. “Just fold the cover, and step on the little lever and ‘pop’! The cover opens instantly. Very ingenious device. I shoulda thought of that!”
  3. “Best $100 I ever spent. I was so tired of struggling with our cover before. I’m also convinced that not using a spa cover might have led to our spa cover’s demise. No one will take the blame of course, but they don’t just break themselves!”

CoverMate Freestyle Reviewscovermate-freestyle

  1. “Not the cheapest spa cover lift made, but works well. My previous cover lift (same model) lasted almost exactly the same amount of time as the spa cover (5 years). Is that on purpose?”
  2. “Love the new cover lift that I ordered. So mush easier than the other style you have for round covers – I had that one before, and my cover would always fall off (roll-off), which is not good for your spa cover! We love it, thanks for sending.”
  3. “I very much appreciate the replacement spa lift. The first one was defective on the hinge, but this one has been working fine for 30 days. I told you I’d update you – I guess you could say we are happy with the replacement.”

 

Cover Rx Reviewscover-rx-spa-top-lift

  1. Works great on my Softub. No other cover lift can be used with these. Slid right under, worked immediately. THANKS!”
  2. On our traditional wood slat hot tub, we wanted something inexpensive and easy. The cover rx was the prescription! Tell thanks to Dr. Alea!”
  3. There’s not a lot of choice for spa cover lifters for aboveground round spas. This one, and another one that was twice as much money. Glad we went with this one – it’s simple to use and looks durable. It’s easy enough for an 81 yr old grand mom to use (that’s me!).”

 

I hope you enjoyed a look at some quick reviews for our most popular spa cover lifts. Full disclosure, I edited these reviews, some of them were quite long! I also didn’t include any negative reviews, but there were some.

If you have a review of your spa cover lifter, Good or Bad, leave it in the comments below, along with the Make and Model, to let others benefit from your experiences!

- Jack

Hot Tub Cover Care and Maintenance

March 18th, 2013 by

Before and After using Leisure Time Spa Cover CleanerYour spa or hot tub cover fights the weather all year long, and like any Marine grade vinyl, cleaning and conditioning will make it last much longer.

Sun, rain and snow pull out the resins that keep vinyl soft and pliable. Over time, spa covers that are not cleaned and protected become brittle, and soon develop thin spots, rips and tears.

Fortunately, maintaining your hot tub cover is easy. I clean my cover once every few months, and it looks as good as the day I bought it (from HotTubWorks, of course), 3 yrs ago.

 

How to Clean a Hot Tub Cover

Start with a dry spa cover (use a towel if it’s been raining). Although you can use other vinyl cleaner and conditioner products, we have two products that are specifically meant for use with spa covers.

Just wipe it on the surface, and use a soft cloth to remove any excess. Apply more on seams or low spots that puddle water. It’s quick and easy to apply to both the top and the sides – but don’t use it on the inside of the spa cover.

Hot Tub Cover Cleaners303-spa-cover-wipes

303 Spa Cover Wipes – These are even easier. Pre-moistened towelettes meant for one time use. Wipe it on the surface of your spa cover for an instant shine and cleaning. This is the product I have at home for my hot tub cover.

Leisure Time Cover Care - Cleans, restores and protects spa covers. Apply it with a sponge, using the textured side if you need it to remove tough stains. Allows you to apply extra if needed, unlike the wipes.

How to Condition a Hot Tub Cover

After a cleaning of your spa cover, your vinyl is prepped to receive a protectant. Without first cleaning the spa cover, the absorption of the protectant is limited, and protection is reduced. And, if after cleaning your spa cover, a protectant is not used, you may be amazed at how fast your spa cover gets dirty again. This is because cleaning your spa cover “opens up the pores” of the vinyl (much like skin), and dirt can gain a quick foothold – if not sealed up again with a bit of vinyl protection.

Hot Tub Cover Conditionersspa-cover-conditioner

Spa Cover Conditioner – This is our own brand, and our most economical spa cover protectant. Squeeze it out onto a sponge and the cream soaks into the vinyl cover. High level of UV protection – it’s like sunscreen for your spa cover!

303 Vinyl Protectant – Not oily or greasy, like other spa cover protectants. Spray on, wipe off. Repels dirt and dust and stains from leaves or animals.

How to Clean the Underside of your Spa Cover

Normally, the underside of your spa cover should not need cleaning, but if you notice a moldy, musty smell, or see dirt or discoloration on the surface, here’s a trick from an old hot tubber. Fill a small spray bottle with a 10:1 solution of water:bleach, or a 10% solution of bleach. Do this after removing the spa cover from the spa. After spraying the plastic undersides, hose clean with fresh water.

Don’t use household cleaning chemicals on your spa cover – you may add phosphates or detergents to the spa which can contaminate the water and give you problems with algae, foaming – or both. Some cleansers can even be harmful to spa users, if it gets into the spa water.

Hot Tub Cover Maintenance

Other than cleaning and conditioning your hot tub cover every 3 months or so, there isn’t usually any maintenance or needed repairs (as long as you are using a spa cover lifter). Here’s a few tips if you have problems with your spa top.

  1. Small tears to the plastic lining under the cover should be taped or patched to keep moisture out.
  2. Spa cover handles or straps can be sewn on again with an awl, or stapled (use Stainless Steel staples).
  3. Tears or rips in your vinyl cover material can be patched with an automotive “liquid vinyl” kit.
  4. Using a Spa Cover Cap can add years of life to your spa cover, and reduce the need for cleaning.

 

- Jack

 

Bullfrog Spas Thaws out Frozen Polar Plungers

February 19th, 2013 by

bullfrog spas helps a charity event Polar Plunge

Bullfrog Spas sponsored a Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 9, a benefit for the Special Olympics.

In the frozen north, on Utah Lake near Saratoga Springs, Utah they placed a large eight person spa to allow participants to shake off the cold of the 35 degree lake water.

Polar Bear Plunges, if you are not familiar, are fund raising events, held during the coldest winter months. Participants pay a fee, and can raise pledge money from friends and family. Polar Bear Plunges, as they are sometimes called have become strong annual traditions in many northern towns.

This plunge has adopted the phrase “We’re Freezin’ for a Reason” as participants leap into icy waters. The ice is so thick that chain saws are used to open up the ice sheet and form a pool large enough to fit everyone.

And of course, the smart people at Bullfrog came up with the idea of sponsoring some of these events – what do people need the most after taking the plunge in cold water – Hot Water, of course! According to a participant who slipped into the 100 degree spa, “Your hot tub pretty much saved my life.”

Polar plungers frequently don outrageous costumes, or plan funny group plunges. Hot food and drinks are brought in by local restaurants. There are corporate teams, couples, families and individuals taking the icy plunge. Polar plunges are always a festive event, full of smiles of shrieks.

I suppose that we could do a “Grizzly Bear Plunge” here in Orange County – brrrr! 65 degree water! I wonder if Bullfrog spas would bring by their large 8-person spa? We can supply the spa cover and spa chemicals, heck, if we break it, we can even fix it with parts for a Bullfrog spa!