Free Shipping on all Spa Covers and orders over $100 Weekly Specials - 10% Off Covers & Lifts PLUS 20% Off Accessories!
1-800-770-0292
M-F - 7am-7pm CST
Sat. - 7am-4pm CST
Sun. - Closed

Archive for the ‘spa covers’ Category

Spa & Hot Tub Information for Realtors

July 14th, 2014 by

home-for-sale-with-hot-tubLocal area Realtors have come to my husband and me for years, to perform hot tub integrity inspections, or to remove spas from homes being sold.

Surprisingly, very few people take their hot tub with them when they move, even though most are portable.

Listing a home with a hot tub or spa can be good or bad – good if it’s a beautiful, fairly new spa in a great location, but bad if run-down; in need of some TLC.

Some wise realtors may ask the seller to remove the spa if in very bad condition, while other spas can be spruced up with a new spa cover, and a quick coat of stain on the cabinet.

 

spa-movingMoving a Spa: Most moving companies can handle the transfer, although folks moving locally may use a local spa company with special dollies and trailers to transport it, who then can also hook up the spa at the new location, if proper power is available. Moving a spa usually costs $400-$600, depending on the size of the tub and the distance being transferred, more if electrical work is needed.

Removing a Spa: The same spa service companies can be called for a removal price. If the spa is in good condition, they may even remove it for free, if they are in the business of refurbishing and reselling used spas. If not, the cost for removal to a landfill should be less than the cost to move a spa to a new location, which any junk removal company can do.

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, it has to be clean, hot and in full working order to be an asset to the home.

[] Spa pump(s) should operate on command, and be fairly quiet.
[] If equipped, blowers should operate on command; and be fairly quiet.
[] The water should be 104°, hot and steamy when the cover is lifted.
[] The water quality should appear clean and clear.
[] Cabinet, cover and interior surfaces should be clean and bright.
[] Inspect electrical connections and look for any leaks or puddles.

Other advanced features that you may find on late model spas include small waterfalls, lighting and music. Some even have small televisions that pop up from beneath the cabinet.

If the seller is not occupying the home, you can arrange for a pool or spa service company, or your knowledgeable handyman, to clean and maintain the spa water. A basic spa service call would include: spa-repair-forum-guy

[] cleaning the spa filter
[] cleaning the spa
[] testing the chemistry
[] balancing chemistry
[] adding sanitizer
[] checking heater, blower
[] adding water if needed
[] Securing the spa cover
[] Report any problems

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, the buyers may want to know that an average spa uses $100-$200 per year in electricity, $100 per year in chemicals, and another $100 per year for replacement of spa covers or spa filters, and the occasional, hopefully rare spa component repair. Total ownership costs for a spa or hot tub should average around $300-$400 per year.

What’s the difference between a spa or a hot tub? Well, we wrote an entire blog post on the topic, but basically, a hot tub is a wood structure with a simple bench and a few jets. A spa is an acrylic or fiberglass tub or shell, with a blower, and multiple jets, some with as many as 90 jets!

A word on the spa cover. An ugly spa cover really makes the entire spa look junky and funky. Insulated spa covers can last 5-7 years before needing replacement at $300-$500. A spa cover in good condition will fit the spa well, and attach to the cabinet or floor via locking strap clips. It should not be waterlogged, or excessively heavy, nor have any tears in the material, on the outside or underside of the cover.

Dull & ugly spa covers can be spruced up with our spa cover cleaners and conditioners, to like-new condition. Covers that are broken, waterlogged or torn can be replaced quickly using our online spa cover order page.

One more tip – if the spa pump or heater is not working, it may be better to drain the spa, if it cannot or will not be repaired. Then gives buyers the option to ask for spa repair or removal before closing, or take it in as-is condition.

When Should a Realtor Advise a Seller to Renovate or Remove the Spa?

:-) Here’s some examples of when you might want to have that conversation – from uglyhousephotos.com

ugly-spa-1 ugly-spa-2 ugly-spa-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ugly-spa

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Covers – Design & Manufacture

June 26th, 2014 by

three_simple_gears_turning_300_wht_14495 - image from PMThe design and manufacture of hot tub covers has come a long way since the early days. Hot Tub Works is proud to use a fully computerized design, cutting and sewing process to ensure that covers are made to exact dimensions.

But computers can’t do it all, we tried computerized stitching, and you know what? Our seam team does a better and faster job. And our designers double check all designs before it is sent into production. In other areas of production, we have other vital team members that perform precise functions, as your new hot tub cover moves through our state of the art assembly line.

From design and layout, to boxing for shipment, we have used the Kaizen method of continuous improvement to fine tune every step of the process. If you’re interested in how we do it ~ how we make America’s most popular hot tub cover, and do it with the highest marks for customer satisfaction ~ read on.

ORDER PROCESSING

htw-order-processingWhether you are ordering online, or filling out our spa cover dimensions form, or just calling us with dimensions and some information about your spa, your order begins with our experienced team of cover techs – who know all the pitfalls of spa cover ordering, and have a process to root out errors – even if your dimensions are wrong!

Our order team can process over 250 spa cover orders per day! We’ve recently added yet another team member in this dept. (10 people now!) to help customers with order placement. They carefully check each order and confirm all details before forwarding your spa cover onto our production team.

 

PRODUCTION CONTROL

production-control-htwIn Production Control, our hot tub cover designers take the measurements and information about the spa, along with all of the specifications for the cover design and feed it into our CAD program. A CAD file is produced which is the digital design of your spa cover. using computerized design, we are able to send the measurements to our cutting machines, which begins our manufacturing process.

 

MANUFACTURING

htw-foam-roomThe CAD file is first sent to the Foam Room. Our technicians load the proper size, thickness and weight onto the cutting machine, which verifies the correct foam core is being used. The computerized cutting table quickly cuts the foam into the exact shape specified by the CAD file, with a least amount of waste possible. After the foam is cut and tagged with the manuf. number, it rolls down the line to be reinforced with a steel channel, and then vacuum-sealed. Wrapped in one or two layers of 6-mil vinyl sheeting, the ends are double heat welded, and then the air is sucked out, resulting in a super snug plastic barrier around the foam core, which prevents tears or rips, and locks out moisture.

htw-vinyl-room-Next, the CAD file is sent to the Vinyl Room. Technicians choose the correct color vinyl, and lay the bolt on the feeding machine. As it rolls out across the table, the vinyl is inspected for any imperfections before the automated cutting machine carves a quick and correct cut, in just the exact size. The vinyl is tagged with the same manufacturing number as the foam, and the vinyl heads to the Sewing Room.

htw-sewing-room-2

 

In the Sewing Room, our seam team takes pride in the quality of their stitches, between top and side panels, skirts, handles, zipper and scrim. With over 25 seamers in this department, it’s one of the largest (and noisiest). Besides sewing the ‘bag‘ for the foam cores, there are 27 different reinforcement points that are stitched up tight by the seam team. With the integration of the original CAD file prompting the sewing machines and seamers, we have the most state of the art sewing room in the business.

 

htc-ca-cover-inspectionsOnto the Assembly Room! In here, we ‘marry’ the vacuum-sealed foam cores with the vinyl bag and zip up the reinforced edge. Now, two quality control inspectors view every spa cover from all angles, making 24 different quality checks on every cover. After the cover is certified as ready to ship, it makes a short trip via rolling cart to the packing and shipping area.

 

SHIPPING

semi_pull_into_warehouse_anim_150_wht_14384In the Shipping Room our team packs your cover in a heavy gauge plastic, and then slides the cover into a right sized box, choosing one of 30 different box sizes we stock. Once it’s boxed up, it’s ready to go, and is immediately weighed and labeled for shipment, and rolled down the gangway for one of our 3 daily pick-ups.

 

~ The manufacturing process for spa covers seems complicated, but we have it down to a science of efficiency. But that’s not our only secret – people love working here. We try hard to create a low-pressure manufacturing environment. We don’t bonus our teams on increasing production, we bonus them on reducing mistakes, material waste and accidents.

Here’s a video of our hot tub cover factory, if you want to really see how the best hot tub covers are made!

 

 

- Jack

 

Outdoor Spa Covers – Indoor Spa Covers

June 16th, 2014 by

indoor-spa-covers-inground-spa-coversWelcome back class, we have another distinction to make in the use of spa and hot tub lexicon. My last post detailed the differences between a spa, a hot tub and a Jacuzzi, and this time around we look at the distinct differences in design and construction for indoor spa covers, and inground spa covers.

The first thing you have to know is that an ASTM safety standard is the same for indoor or outdoor spa covers. There are a half-dozen ways to make a cheap spa cover, but if you want to sell ASTM spa covers, you have to follow the standard. You can’t make an indoor spa cover less strong, or make it without safety straps to buckle it down.

We could make an “indoor spa cover‘ with lower weight and density of foam, or a thinner grade of vinyl, but we make all of our covers to meet the ASTM standard, and provide the best durability.

But there are a few distinct differences between an indoor and outdoor spa or hot tub covers.

SKIRT LENGTH

The skirt is the flap of material that hangs down from the edge of the spa cover. Most indoor spas will still have a lip, if an acrylic tub was placed in the floor. Order a skirt length based on the measurement from the spa lip to the floor. Other spas may have the floor cantilevered over the edge of the spa, in which case a skirt length of 0.0″ can be ordered.

FOAM PANELS

In a true indoor hot tub or spa, (not a screened porch), but if you have a climate controlled room, and excellent insulation around the shell of the hot tub, you could buy a spa cover that has thinner foam panel inserts, of a lighter weight. Because your spa cover won’t have to contend with sub zero temperatures, an easier to manipulate, lighter weight spa top can be used. This can save up to $250 on your spa cover cost.

The taper of the foam panels is really not necessary for rain run-off on an indoor spa, so a flat cover could be used on an indoor spa. However, all of our foam panels are cut with a taper, thicker in the middle, thinner on the edge – to provide extra strength where it’s needed most, along the center fold of the cover.

SAFETY STRAPS

The safety straps that are used to buckle the spa cover to the spa cabinet are very important, to keep the cover in place during high winds, and to help keep children out of the spa without an adult around. For indoor spa covers, keeping them from being pushed or lifted, they should be strapped in place with the safety straps. Drill a small 1/4″ hole in the deck, and use an anchor to hold the screw for the strap clip. Spas at ground level present a particular safety challenge, especially if the hot tub room or area is not locked and monitored at all times.

INDOOR SPA COVER LIFTERS

Another distinction is that many spa cover lifters cannot be used for a spa cover that is laying on ground level. And bending over to fold, lift and carry an indoor spa cover is a real drag. Inground spa covers can use the Cover Valet to secure the fulcrum plates to a wood or concrete deck, but read the instructions first!

So, bottom line is ~ we don’t sell an indoor spa cover, or an inground spa cover, but you can order a cover without a skirt around the edge, and you could go thinner if you prefer. I would also recommend a floating foam spa blanket for indoor spas, to reduce evaporation indoor spaces.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Automatic Spa Cover Lifts

June 12th, 2014 by

hydrocover_anim2We have blah-ged many times about spa cover lifters, how to select the best one for your spa, or how to install or repair.

Now for something completely different!  Have you seen AUTOMATIC spa cover lifts? Motorized spa cover lifters that do all the work for you! Especially needed for large and bulky spa covers, or 3 and 4-panel covers for swim spas.

Another great thing about some of these cover lifters is that the key operated system may provide a great deal of security for the spa, and prevent unauthorized use. Some are even tough enough to keep bears out of your spa!

 

Auto Spa Cover Automated Spa Cover Lift System

Fits with nearly any size spa cover, lifting even this 3-panel swim spa cover off the spa in 30-40 seconds. Use the waterproof remote control to open and close the Auto Spa Cover.

 

The Scorpion Automated Hot Tub Cover Lifter

This Canadian spa cover and lifter is a sleek, modern system that replaces a vinyl covered spa top. Very heavy duty construction and microprocessor controlled motors. Scorpion

 

NerokLift Automatic Spa Cover Lift

Colorado made remote controlled spa cover lifter is fast, and even handles a snow load with no problem. Sensors stop the motors if snow load is too great. Neroklift

 

The Covana automated hot tub cover lift

The Covana is part cover, part cabana. Heavy duty roof and frame comes in a variety of colors to match your home. Privacy shades and very heavy duty, nearly impenetrable. They also make a flat version for swim spas, new this year. Covana

 

Derolo Spa Cover

I told you this was something completely different! The UK design is similar to a pool auto cover. Rolls up the heavy duty cover in a low profile housing on one side, in under 20 seconds! Derolo

 

Spa Cover Power Lifters are Fun

I’m not sure what make and model of spa cover lifter this is – but this guy sure is having a good time opening and closing this key operated, solar powered automatic hot tub lifter! Great feature that it doesn’t bend the spa cover as it’s removed.

 

How much you say? Well, we don’t sell any automatic cover lifters currently, so I can’t say for sure, but I would guess that these are in the range of $1500-$5000.

I hope you enjoyed this video-blog on automatic hot tub cover lifts. They are fun to watch, aren’t they?

 

- Jack

 

Hot Tub Covers – Measuring, Ordering, Dancing

May 22nd, 2014 by

spa-covers-newBack in the old days, ordering a new hot tub cover was such a hassle. I am old enough to remember when you had to call someone from the spa store to come out and measure, and then a few weeks later you’d get a price quote in the mail. Ah, the good ole’ days.

The internet sure has changed everything. Our spa covers and hot tub covers ordering pages were just ‘optimized’, to make them more user friendly and faster to complete. It’s now just a 3 step process to order – actually, it’s more like a 2-step process, if you skip over the last step of adding spa cover accessories to your order.

Measuring a Spa Cover

It depends on the shape of your spa cover,  as to how much measuring is needed. If you know the make and model of your spa or hot tub, we provide you the measurements, and you can just double check them (please double check them).

radius-measureFor round tubs, we just need a diameter. For square spa covers, we need a length and width. If you have curved corners, we’ll need to know the radius of the curve. This is easily figured by measuring from the start of the curve to the intersection of the other side of the curve. Basically, for all spa covers that aren’t round, we’d like a measurement of each side, and any corner radius that is not a 90° corner.

You can use a simple tape measure to measure a spa cover, the flexible or rigid type. Just be sure to double check your measurements before entering them into the website. Measure your old spa cover if that was a good fit, and you still have it, otherwise, measure to the outside edge of the hot tub, or to the outer lip of your spa.

Special Spa Covers: Give us a call if your spa cover is:

  1. A curvy, freeform shape
  2. Is over 96″ on any one side
  3. Has more than two panels
  4. Has special cut-outs or flaps

We’re here from 7am-7pm, M-F, and 7-4 on Saturday. 800-770-0292. If you’re a little shy on the phone, you can do it all through email, send us a note!

Ordering a Spa Cover

next-Step One: After you’ve selected your spa shape or selected your spa make and model from the drop down list, Click Next, you’re already done with step one!

Step Two: In the first section, you’ll start by entering the dimensions (if you selected a spa shape), or confirm the dimensions (if you selected a make/model). Then confirm the length of the skirt (the flap that overhangs the side of the cover), and the length of the safety straps.

In the next section, you can choose a color for our 30 oz. marine grade vinyl. With 14 colors to choose from, you’re sure to find one to match the tub, the house or the patio furniture. If your spa gets a lot of rain and tree litter, a darker color will show stains less.

In the final section, you select your insulation weight and thickness. 6 variations available, with options like double wrapped foam core,  a continuous heat seal and heavy duty windstraps available.

  1. Economy Spa Cover: 1.0 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 12. 1 year warranty.
  2. Standard Spa Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 13. 3 year warranty.
  3. Deluxe Spa Cover: 2.0 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 15. 5 year warranty.
  4. Energy Saver Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 5″-3″ taper, R-Value 20. 5 year warranty.
  5. Ultra Spa Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 6″-4″ taper, R-Value 24. 5 year warranty.
  6. The Works Spa Cover: 2.0 lb foam, 6″-4″ taper, R-Value 30. 5 year warranty.

next-When you’re done with the selections on page two, you’re over halfway done! Hit Next to Advance to step three ~

Step Three: The third step in ordering a spa cover has some offers for bundling a spa cover lift, and other accessories that you may find useful like a floating spa blanket or spa cover care kit. If you want any of these items,next- click the Add to Cart buttons, or just hit Next again, and you’ll be transported to our shopping cart to review the spa cover order, in glorious detail with over 30 line items.

Dancingdancing for a new spa cover!

The reason for “dancing” in the title?

I just ordered a new hot tub cover about 2 months ago. When we clicked the final submit button on our new spa cover order, I leapt up into my husband’s arms and we did a quick happy dance!

It’s not like it used to be – it’s amazing, to be able to order a new hot tub cover in 10 minutes!

Isn’t technology wonderful?!?
Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Choosing the Best Hot Tub Cover Lift

April 21st, 2014 by

spa-cover-lifts

Hot tub cover lifts are the best aftermarket item you can buy for your spa or hot tub. When I originally bought my Baja spa, my husband and I thought we didn’t need a lift, and saved a little money on the overall cost.

We quickly discovered how important a cover lifter is; it’s pretty much impossible for one person to remove a spa cover by themselves. If we didn’t get injured, our spa cover probably would get damaged.

But, how to choose the best hot tub cover lift for your particular spa? After all, there are a lot of differences between the 10 hot tub cover lifts that we sell. Here’s a guide to help you compare spa cover lifts, narrow down the choices, and find the hot tub cover lift that’s best for you.

Shape of Your Hot Tub

Some of our hot tub covers are meant to fit round tub shapes, and others won’t work on round at all. In our spa cover lift comparison chart, below, you can see that we have about 4 hot tub cover lifts that fit round and square spas, and another 6 cover lifts that will fit onto square spas, or straight sided spas.

Size of Your Hot Tub

This is not usually a concern, unless you have a very large tub, like a swim spa. Most of our hot tub cover lifts will work on a spa up to 8′ across, and a few cover lifts will fit spas up to 10′ across. If your spa is larger than that, you probably have a 4-panel or larger cover, in which case, you may use two cover lifters, one on each end of the spa.

Clearance Required

This one is super important – some hot tub cover lifts require very little clearance, or space beside the spa to flip and store the cover off of the spa. But other cover lifts can require as much as 4 feet of space, because they hold the cover parallel to the floor. Some cover lifts also require side clearance, for the arms to swing on either side of the spa.

hot-tub-cover-lift-comparison-chart-5

Assisted Cover Lifts

All of the covers use a fulcrum principle, or lever, to assist in the opening and closing of the spa cover, but those with gas shocks give an extra assist when opening the spa cover, and then allows the spa cover to close more gently. Gas shock assistance is especially helpful when a spa cover begins to take on some moisture and the weight increases.

Cover Lift Costs

Not a huge difference in prices, but spa cover lifts currently range in price from $100-$225. The cheaper hot tub cover lifts are still very durable, but have a much simpler design, and may have fewer materials. Since they are all fairly close in price, may I suggest that you focus on features and what will seem to work best on your spa.

Warranty

The warranty for hot tub cover lifts are either 1yr or 5 yr, but unlike our spa cover warranties, lift warranties are pretty tight – you know, “Acts of God, Vandalism, Neglect, Abuse, Modification are not covered by this warranty…”. But, from my experience here in our returns/warranty department, warranty issues are rare anyway for spa cover lifters.

hot-tub-cover-lift-comparison-chart-3

Cover Lift Attachment Method

Most people cringe at the idea of drilling large bolts into the side of their new spa cabinet. About half of our spa cover lifts require drilling into the cabinet, to mount the mechanism in place. The other models slide under the spa, with a large plate to keep it in position – and some cover lifts have the option of installing into the cabinet, or under the spa.

Cover Storage Position

Some hot tub cover lifts place the cover down against the side of the spa, some stick up just a foot or so, and other spa cover models hold the spa cover in a full, upright position. The upright spa cover can be good for privacy and as a wind block – unless you are in an area of very high winds! Most of the above-spa stored covers warn against using the cover in winds over 10 mph.

If you have specific questions about your spa cover lifts  – please give us a call. We have experts with all the information at their fingertips, to answer any question or concern you may have and help you select the best hot tub cover lift – for you!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Increasing the Energy Efficiency of your Hot Tub or Spa

April 10th, 2014 by

thermospas-hot-tub-instlation-cutaway

Hot tubs and spas are more energy efficient than ever, and manufacturers have made great gains in efficiency in the last ten years. New insulation materials and better methods of applying it, and energy star certified pumps, blowers and heaters are leading the charge.

How energy efficient is your spa or hot tub? A spa uses electricity to power the pumps, blower, heater and lights. A well insulated spa, with a good spa cover should be able to operate for about $20 per month in electricity. If you spend more than that – read-on for tips on greater hot tub energy efficiency.

Spa Insulation

The price of a spa, in part, depends on how well it is insulated. Top of the line models have “Full Foam” insulation, injected between the spa shell and cabinet. When the quality and density of the foam is very high, that temperature loss out the sides and bottom is very low. A cheaper method of spa insulation is to simply spray the underside of the spa shell with half an inch spray foam. Lining the cabinet interior walls with foil covered fiberglass insulation or a rigid insulation panel is another way to reduce spa insulation cost, and spa efficiency.

To improve your spa insulation, you can buy DIY spray foam kits, or use rigid insulation panels to line the inside of the cabinet. You can also use fiberglass insulation bats, laid around the spa shell or up against the cabinet.

Spa Coverdollar_sign_with_wings_150_wht_13589 - purchased from PresenterMedia (PM)

How’s your spa cover doing? What’s on top of your spa makes a big difference in the energy consumption of a spa. It’s unfortunate that most spa manufacturers include a flimsy spa cover with their new spas. It’s common that these last only a few years, and that’s good, because the R-value of such spa covers is very low. A waterlogged spa cover is even worse. If you can feel steam or heat coming out of gaps in your spa cover, imagine it as dollar bills with wings.

A new spa cover is a sure way to dramatically effect your energy usage. The thicker the foam, the more heat trapping ability a spa cover has, so get a good one! Another way to reduce heat loss from the top is to use a floating spa blanket. It floats on the water, reducing the workload of your spa cover, while also protecting your spa cover from excess moisture.

Spa Heater

Most spa heaters are electrical immersion elements. These heat up, like a coiled electric cooktop burner, and transfer the heat to the water. Most spa heaters are as energy efficient as they can be – it’s up to you to use your spa heater wisely. Do you really need to have it cooking at 105° if you only use it on weekends? Or when airing out the spa cover, or after shocking the spa – might you turn down the heater?

Keeping your spa at 95 degrees, and then heating up to 105 just before getting in makes sense, unless you’re like me, and use the spa nearly every night. I turn the spa heater way down to 75 during vacations or short trips away from home. This is not only to save electricity, but to discourage anyone from using the spa while I’m away.

Spa Pump

Some spas have one two-speed pump, and some spas have two pumps, a low speed pump for circulation, and a high speed pump for jet action. Modern variable speed pumps are popular on pools, but I’ve not seen them used on spas. When your spa pump eventually fails, look at energy efficient spa pumps as a replacement. These operate with reduced amperage draw and larger capacitors to be up to 50% more efficient than standard pump motors. spa-timers-can-save-money

Spa pumps may typically run on low speed for 18 hours per day and high speed for 4 hours. You can however, make adjustments to the timer, to operate less on high speed, or have a few hours daily where it doesn’t run at all. If you experiment closely with pump run time, you can determine the minimum requirement, just before the water starts looking a little hazy. Increase run time above this threshold, and you optimize the energy usage of your spa pump.

Spa Blower

The spa blower injects bubbles into the spa jets, for real hydro-therapy. It makes the water force feel stronger, but at the same time, is gentler than water alone. Using your spa blower tends to cool off the spa water somewhat, requiring your spa heater to work a little bit harder.

When your spa blower eventually fails, you can look to an energy efficient spa blower, or downsize to a smaller blower, or just go without one! To me, a nice hot soak, without all the turbulence, is more relaxing than using the air blower. You can always open up the passive air intakes, to add air without operating a blower motor.

 

In summary, to increase the energy efficiency of your spa or hot tub:

  • Buy energy efficient pump and blower motors; look for the Energy Star logo.
  • Use a quality built spa cover, and a floating foam blanket.
  • Add extra insulation around the spa shell or cabinet.
  • Experiment with your pump run time; and operate it less.
  • Turn down the heat! 10 degrees can save 20%!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Beginner’s Guide to Spa & Hot Tub Care

April 7th, 2014 by

spa-care-and-maintenanceSpa and Hot Tub Maintenance – take a deep breath, this isn’t so hard. And if things get out of control, you can always drain the spa and start over. :-)

For the new spa owner, or for a person who is new to spa maintenance, I have some tips to maintain water chemistry and spa equipment, along with some regular maintenance and cleaning duties to keep your spa water clean and ready for use!

If you’ve seen my post on the Secret to Hot Tub Water Chemistry ~ you’d know the secret. In short, test the water and make small adjustments to pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Sanitizer level – with regularity. ideal-spa-chemical-levelsRegular testing would mean testing the spa water 2-4 times per week, and making adjustments as needed, to keep your levels in the proper ranges. Keeping a log is a good idea, just writing down your test results, and any notes on adjustment.

Tap water is pretty good spa water, in most areas. But in some areas, and you know where you are – there is soft water or hard water or high alkalinity and pH, or high levels of chloramines, or metals and minerals. You can test your tap water with your test kit, or when testing after a drain and refill, you can measure the suitability of your tap water as spa water. Using a Spa Pre-Filter removes metals, odors and the finest silt from your spa fill water.

Back to the matter at hand, in addition to testing and adjusting the spa water chemistry 2-4x per week, there are other duties and tasks that need to be done to maintain overall spa health.

Clean the Spa Filter

spa-filter-assemblyThe spa filter can be located under the skimmer basket, and accessed from inside the spa, or it can be a small tank that is opened up underneath the spa, to clean or replace the filter. If underneath the spa, you may have a valve that can be shut to prevent water from rushing out when you open the filter. Loosening a large nut or just turning the filter body counter clockwise is the usual method to access the filter cartridge. Some water spillage is inevitable when opening it up, but if you are careful it can be very little.

If your spa filter has a pressure gauge attached to it, the cartridge needs cleaning when the pressure rises 8-10 lbs, or when flow is noticeably reduced. If you have no gauge on your filter, you should clean the filter on a regular schedule. hasta-la-vista-babyI clean my own filter cartridge every 4-8 weeks, depending on how often I use the spa. If my hot tub is being used a few times per week, I’ll clean the filter every four weeks, or monthly.

Replace your spa filter every 12-24 months, again depending on usage. Another way to do it is to change it every 10-15 cleanings, because that’s what really breaks down a cartridge. Every time it’s cleaned, fibers loosen up and it loses a little bit of dirt trapping ability. Keep track of your spa filter’s age or cleaning cycles, because at some point soon it’s gonna be Hasta la Vista, baby!

Clean the Spa

skimmer-netA full cleaning of the waterline and surfaces can be done when the spa is drained. Just be sure not to use any old household cleaner or soap. If you are going to use any chemical on your spa surfaces, use something like our Spa Cleaner, to keep out phosphates, nitrates and who knows what else.

Vacuuming the spa can be accomplished with small vacuums that are either battery powered, or garden hose powered. The Pool Blaster vacuums are battery operated and fast to use, or you can use the Grit Getter to suck up the little grains that gather in the corners. The Spa Vac connects to your vacuum hose for fast vacuuming of even large leaves.

Floating debris can be removed with a skimmer net, or if you left the cover off during a windstorm and it’s full of leaves, it can also be used to scoop up the larger leaves under the water.

Air-Out the Spa Cover

One of the most important things you can do to help your spa cover live a long healthy life of service is to remove it at least twice per week. Use the spa cover lifter to completely remove it, or gently place it off the spa if you don’t have a spa cover lift. Give your cover a few hours to breathe and shake off some of the constant heat and moisture. spacover-cleaner-and-conditionerThis is also a good time to add chemicals or shock the spa, if you aren’t using it at the time.

Another spa cover maintenance item is cleaning and conditioning the vinyl spa cover. Especially if your spa cover is outside, spa cover cleaner removes airborne oils and dirt, tree sap and pollen while cover conditioner replenishes the vinyl plasticizers that keep your spa cover vinyl covering soft, strong and looking great.

Add Fill Water

This is so often forgotten, and if the skimmer starts to suck air, in could damage the pump, in some situations. The water level should be in the middle of the skimmer intake, or a little higher. You don’t want it too high, and you never want to over-flow the spa, so keep a close eye on it while filling!remote-hose

Keep a garden hose close-by. If your garden hose is too far away, set up a sub-spigot by running a hose from a splitter on your current spigot, to a spigot that is mounted on a stake. Then you always have a hose right next to the spa for filling or topping off the hot tub water level.

To take care of 95% of spa care tasks, just remember to…

dont-forget-

  • Test and adjust your spa 2-4x per week
  • Clean the spa filter every 4-8 weeks, replace every 1-2 yrs
  • Keep the spa clean; drain & refill every 2-4 months
  • Air-Out the spa cover twice per week
  • Add water as needed to keep it full

 

Until next time;

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Five Foes of Spa and Hot Tub Covers

March 24th, 2014 by

Spy vs Spy, by Antonio ProhiasA hot tub cover that is quality made should be able to last 5 years in the outdoors, or longer if maintained well. Jack Stone likes to brag about a spa cover that he owned for 12 years, although I’m pretty sure that he replaced the foam at one point.

Our Hot Tub Covers have a five year, bumper to bumper warranty covering construction faults, material defects, and even water absorption. It’s one of the strongest warranties in the business, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – we almost never have to fulfill that warranty – because our covers are so well made!

Even though we have a long and strong warranty, and even though you’ll find our returns/warranty team very pleasant to work with on your warranty, no one wants to have to make a warranty claim, and ship a heavy hot tub cover back for repair or replacement. That is why I’ve come up with this list of warranty-busting spa and hot tub cover care tips.

Avoid these Five Foes of Spa Covers, and we may lower our warranty claim rate even lower!

5 Enemies of Hot Tub Covers

Sun

angry-sun-by-ocal-clker.comUV rays from the sun gives life through photosynthesis, but they also degrade most surfaces, even with UV inhibitors added to our 30 oz. marine grade vinyl used on our spa covers. Especially in sun drenched areas of the country, and especially if your spa has very little shade to shield it from the sun, UV rays can damage your spa cover. To keep marine vinyl soft, pliable and resistant to UV rays, protect your spa cover once or twice per year, with spa cover conditioner.  Don’t use automotive products (i.e. Armor All), which are not meant for outdoor surfaces.

Wind

angry-wind-by-ocal-clkerEl Niño is coming again later this year, which can mean higher wind speeds and more frequent storms. A strong wind can flip up a spa cover and a really strong wind can send it flying across the backyard. This usually results in major damage to hot tub covers, most commonly cracking the foam cores. Protect your spa cover from winds by always latching your spa cover clips, and if your spa is in a location susceptible to high winds, invest in a pair of spa cover wind straps, aka hurricane straps for spa covers.  Perhaps a larger danger than the wind itself, are large tree branches that are thrown down onto a spa cover.

Water

rain-cloud-by-ocal-clkerRain and snow are obvious enemies, but add to it automatic sprinklers. If your cover is in good shape, and you clean and condition it regularly, your spa cover should shed water. If water begins to puddle on your cover, you will soon be looking at a new spa cover, I’m afraid! Any type of roof over your spa, a patio, gazebo or pergola will help to keep your spa cover protected from sun and rain. A Spa Cover Cap is a wonderful invention to protect frail spa covers from rain and sun.

spa-cover-cap

Spa Cover Cap

Unfortunately, water from above is not the only liquid enemy of your spa cover – the moisture beneath your spa cover, your spa water, also can damage the foam, and grow mold and mildew. This is why our spa cover foam cores are vacuum wrapped and heat sealed, to keep out moisture. To help prevent moisture absorption into a spa cover, it is recommended to remove the cover completely from the spa, and allow it to air out. If your spa cover has become waterlogged, to the point where it becomes difficult to move, time for a new spa cover!

Animals

dog-on-spa-coverBears have been known to be attracted to a scent found in some spa cover foam panels, but this is a rare occurrence. Most wild animals will not chew or scratch a spa cover. Indeed, most damage comes from large dogs. The warmth of the spa beneath the cover is what seems to attract dogs and cats. A small pet probably won’t do any damage, but a 50 lb dog could weaken and damage your foam panels and reinforcement channel.

Party animals can be just as damaging to spa covers. Kids especially, and perhaps some adults, think the spa looks like a stage, and perfect for practicing their American Idol auditions. Keep all ‘animals’ off of your spa cover – a lot of weight is an enemy that attacks suddenly, destroying a spa cover in seconds.

Chemicals

cleaning-chemicalsChemicals beneath the spa cover, from your spa water, can be harsh to spa cover materials. Low pH or high sanitizer level, or shocking the spa and then closing the cover – all can lead to a slow deterioration of seams and vinyl.

Chemicals on the top of your spa cover can also be harmful to the vinyl. Spills of spa chemicals, or using harsh cleaners or the wrong kind of conditioner (like Armor-All), can dry out the vinyl and cause it to shrink, which eventually leads to splits in the fabric.

Don’t let these enemies of our spa covers hatch their evil plans! Protect your cover and it will protect your spa – much longer!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa Safety: Keeping Kids Safe around Hot Tubs

March 13th, 2014 by

spa-covers-newDrowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for young children, and spas and hot tubs account for 5-8% of all drownings nationwide. Other statistics, from a National Institutes of Health 26-year study:

  • 70% of spa drowning victims were 10-24 months of age.
  • Most incidents occurred during the months of May-August.
  • Half of hot tub drownings occurred between 4-8pm
  • 2/3 of hot tub drownings occurred Friday-Monday

 

Hot Tub Safety

Keeping your hot tub safe from small children is a combination of constant supervision and effective barriers to entry, and making sure that your spa has no unintentional hazards to small children living in, or visiting a home with a hot tub.

Hot tub hazards – There are two main concerns, drowning and entrapment. Entrapment is when hair, body or limb becomes suctioned down onto the spa drain. Single drains with flat grates can be unsafe, with some powerful pumps able to hold even an adult underwater. There are two other concerns for spa and hot tub safety, namely exposed electrical hazards, and poor water chemistry that can be unsanitary for young children.

Hot Tub Barriers – In the study referenced above, the authors concluded that locking hard spa covers were an effective barrier, and soft covers were certainly not. They also suggested that fencing ordinances be enforced for outdoor spas, and that spa drains be multiple (more than one), and low suction grates be installed. It is unlikely that a small child would have the strength or height needed to remove a hard spa cover, especially one that is strapped with clips. For added protection, use hurricane straps or a come-along type of ratcheting strap across the top of your spa cover.

In Ground Spas – No mention was made of inground spas during the study, but I think we can safely assume that they can be less safe than aboveground models – and most certainly when they are uncovered. Hard spa covers can be secured to the pool deck or floor surrounding a sunken spa in a variety of ways, making them non-removable by children, or even adults. Small spas can be more attractive to small children than a large swimming pool. They are so easy to cover safely, and should always be – covered safely.

Most Importantly…stay-super-safe

  • Keep your spa tightly covered with a hard cover when not in use.
  • Lock doors or gates that lead to the spa area.
  • Keep your spa electrical power dry and tidy.
  • Check that your spa drain covers are in place.
  • Test spa drains with a kitchen sponge for entrapment hazard.
  • Practice constant supervision of children (I know…)

 

Keep your Spa Safe!

- Jack