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Archive for the ‘spa covers’ Category

Winter-Proof Your Hot Tub

December 21st, 2017 by

spa-under-snowThere are two types of hot tubs, those built for hard winters, and those that are not. In fact, many hot tubs models sold in southern markets, such as here in southern California, are built a bit ‘thinner’ – not intended to handle sub-zero or high altitude climates.

A tub that works perfectly well in a Tampa or Los Angeles winter, may have trouble holding hot temps in Chicago or Colorado. Snowbelt spas are built with better insulation, around the shell, cabinet and plumbing, larger heaters and heat recapture, and a spa cover with thicker and denser foam.

Occasionally I hear about the unfortunate who buys a sunbelt spa, and/or a very cheap model, and installs it at his mountain cabin, only to find out that it tops out around 90° F, spinning the electric meter non-stop just to keep the water warm.

There are ways, however – to improve on poor spa insulation, responsible for most heat loss in hot tubs. Even if your hot tub is a well-insulated model from a well-known brand, you can improve your energy efficiency and improve your R-value.

ADD INSULATION

The number one way, is to increase the insulation inside of the spa cabinet, unless you already have a ‘fully-foamed’ spa where the shell and pipes are buried in spray foam. Don’t block air flow, there needs to be some air intake, but you can line the insides of spa cabinets with pink insulation board or bats of attic foam, held in place with construction adhesive.

Spray Foam is taking it a step further, you can thick layers of spray foam on the back side of the spa shell, the PVC pipes can be sprayed, you can even bury the spa jets in foam. Regular construction foam like Great Stuff can be used on small areas, or to encase 3/4 of a spa in foam, look at Dow Froth 200, fills 16 cubic feet of area with foam! Foam can be cut-out in the future if access to a jet is needed. Just be sure not to encase anything electric, or anything that moves or spins!

FLOATING BLANKET

floating-foam-insulating-blanketA floating spa blanket is an easier economical step to make, but no less as effective! Floating spa blankets are quite effective at reducing heat loss through spas and hot tubs. Especially if your spa cover doesn’t fit quite right, or is put on just slightly ajar – a floating blankets stops the bleeding, or most of it.

There are 3 types of floating spa blankets, which is a perfect example of a good, better and best product line. Our Good PE spa blanket has air-filled pockets on a 12 mil thick polyethylene backing. For better heat retention, our closed cell Foam spa blanket does a much better job, but the best spa blanket is the foam and aluminum, Radiant spa blanket.

NEW SPA COVER

For spas and hot tubs in the very coldest of temperatures, nothing is more important than “The Works” spa cover, made with 2 lb Foam weight, in a 6″ to 4″ taper for the ultimate in heat retention. New spa covers that come with a spa are more often than not the “Economy” spa cover, made with 1 lb Foam and a thinner profile.

When a spa cover foam panels absorb water, the heat retention of the foam is reduced, and the sagging raises the cover from the spa, allowing more heat to escape. A new spa cover is the number one way to increase your efficiency.

SPA COVER CAP

And to protect the important investment that is your spa cover, the Spa Cover Cap is a cover for your cover! Stretches over your spa cover like a fitted sheet. Shields your hot tub cover from harsh UV sun, rain and snow, birds and squirrels and more. 2 sizes are available to fit most spas, 7’square and 8′ square.

Spa Cover Caps are made in silver reflective woven polyethylene to last for many winters to come. Might add a small amount of R-value to your spa, but not much.

PROTECTA-SPA COVER

The Protecta Spa Cover is a cover for an entire spa or hot tub, available in 3 sizes. Rugged protective cover encloses your entire spa to keep wind, rain, dirt, snow, and harmful UV rays from direct contact with your spa cover and cabinet. Protecta-Spa features a Velcro closure for a snug fit, a vented area for the equipment. Like the Spa Cover Cap, Protecta Spa Cover is not marketed as a thermal cover, but every little bit helps!

SPA COVER WIND STRAPS

For spas that are in high wind areas, perched out on a high deck or cliff overlooking a fabulous view, wind can be a large heat thief from your spa. Strong winds at the right angle can work their way under the spa cover skirt and blow across the surface of your hot tub water! Adjust your spa cover clips, so that it is necessary to push down slightly on the cover to latch them. For strong wind areas, our ‘Hurricane’ spa cover straps are over-the-top straps to lock your cover down tight in strong winds of any type. Wind blocks are another good idea, privacy walls or hedges to block wind around the spa.

 

So – if your spa is struggling to heat up fully, or stay warm overnight, improve your insulation to raise your hot tub R-value. And if your spa has trouble maintaining temps when you are using the spa, or when the blower is running, you may want to look into our larger spa heaters.

 

– Jack

 

 

Hot Tub Preppers: Be Ready for Holiday Visitors

December 11th, 2017 by

December is upon us, and cars and planes will soon be packed with people, visiting relatives for the holidays. Around my house, a popular ‘amenity’ for our guests has always been our 8-person spa, especially for those that don’t have their own hot tub at home.

Now is the time to step up spa maintenance, kick it up a notch to have over-filtered and over-sanitized water, and hot water for your guests. Now is also the time to review some spa safety standards, and be sure that your hot tub will be safe for all family visitors – adults, kids and pets.

 

1. Balance the Waterphoto of nature2 test strips

Unless your water needs changing that is; if your water has 2 or 3 months of age to it already, go ahead and do a complete drain, refill and re-balancing of the water. Otherwise, balance the pH and Alkalinity to 7.2-7.6 and 80-100 ppm, respectively. The next step may be to add calcium increaser, if your fill water is below 150 ppm. In my area it comes out very soft, around 80 ppm, so I add a few lbs of calcium when refilling. Soft water can cause staining, foaming and other problems.

2. Shock the Spa

For shocking the spa, you can use either chlorine spa shock like Spa 56, or you can use non-chlorine MPS shock, but in either case don’t be shy about it – hit it hard, which is usually about 1 – 1.5 oz., see label for correct dosage. Run the pump on high when shocking a spa, and leave the cover open for 30 minutes or so after shocking with chlorine. Shock the spa after each heavy usage while visitors are staying at your place.

photo of cartoon spa filter - copyright Hottubworks.com3. Change the Filter

A new filter cartridge and a new mineral stick from Frog or Nature2 will boost the water clarity and purity, to a point where it can take a sudden increase in users, without turning cloudy or dull, or foamy and greasy. I usually replace my filter cartridge every December anyway, and use a new Nature2 stick every 4 months, so it works with my schedule.

4. Increase Filter Run time

If you do expect to have more spa users than normal this month, it may be a good idea to adjust the timer settings or the programs to filter the spa an extra 20% – 50% longer each day, to compensate for the additional bather load. A little extra insurance to be sure that the filter system can handle the increased users.

5. Add Clarifierhottubworks spa clarifier shown

This one is my little secret weapon, what clarifier does is – it acts like a magnet to tiny particles, making invisible stuff clump together until it is large enough that the filter will trap it, which makes your water look great, even with the lights shining through the water. TIP: Do Not over-dose with clarifier, follow label instructions, and treat only once weekly, or it can have the opposite effect, and make your spa water cloudy!

6. Carpet Runner

My spa sits about 8 ft from the back sliding glass door, across a fairly clean, but gritty, concrete paver patio. I buy these runner carpets at my local ‘home’ store, for about $40, and they last nearly a year. I’m due for a new one, they’re about 2’x8′ and in dark colors that look good for quite awhile. You can put one inside the house too, for ‘drippers’ dashing into the house.

7. Towels and robes

I have an antique console leaning up against the back of the house and I stock the cubbies with lots of colorful towels, and hang a few robes and lots of hats (don’t forget the hats). I also have a small hand drawn (cute) sign that says “Please bathe before Use”, as a reminder to not use the spa as a bath tub. And plants, lots of plants (if you live in the south). Even plastic plants are very nice to have, surrounding the spa.

8. Spa Supervision

Don’t forget to set some ground rules, spa safety must come first. Many tragic accidents around spas and hot tubs actually happen at the homes of relatives, by people unfamiliar with the basic ground rules.

  • No single spa users, 2 or more people at all times
  • No unsupervised children under age 14
  • No pregnant women or persons with high blood pressure
  • 20 minutes maximum soaking time
  • 104° F maximum temperature

 

Finally, make sure the heater is running well, see Danny’s post last month about the most common spa heater problems and how to troubleshoot them. And be sure to close-up the spa yourself after use, unless you can train an ‘able-body’ to remove and replace the spa cover, safely and properly, so you don’t have to. 🙂

 

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

10 Ways to Destroy your Hot Tub

October 24th, 2017 by

Taking care of a hot tub nowadays is not too difficult, but if you’re not careful, small slips can cause big problems. Most of these won’t DESTROY your hot tub, that’s just my attention grabbing headline, but any of these will cause minor to major problems, which are best avoided.

We take phone calls (and emails) all day from customers who have found themselves in a bit of hot water (or cold water), due to some small oversight on their part. Learn from their mistakes, and from mine too!

drain the spa and leave it empty

If you want to destroy the hot tub, this can be the number one way. One or two days won’t cause much problem, but beyond that, the water and moisture remaining in the pipes and equipment will begin to ‘funkify’, and grow into a bacteria biofilm, which can be hard to eradicate completely, once large colonies are established. Secondly, without water in the tub, seals and gaskets can more easily become dry and begin to leak, and dried out cartridges require new spa filters.

use your hot tub as a bath tub

This won’t destroy your hot tub, but jumping in the hot tub after a workout, or a day of digging in the garden causes poor water conditions, overwhelmed filter cartridges, and could be unhealthy, as it pummels the pH and sanitizer. Not like you have to shower every time before using the spa, but if you are in a practice of bathing in your spa, or inviting the team over for a soak after your winning game, your spa water and spa filters can be compromised.

add bubble bath

Well, this is an obvious one, and really just to put a funny image in your mind. Imagine adding just a few ounces of soap to your spa and turning on the jets. It would be like that Brady Bunch episode when Bobby added a whole box of detergent to the washing machine. In fact, wearing bathing suits that have been washed with soap, is a no-no in your spa. Even with a dual rinse cycle, enough soap remains to give you a hot tub foam problem.

use pool chemicals

spa chemicalsSpa chemicals are specially formulated to work in hot water, and with hot tub surfaces. More importantly, spa chemicals are labeled for use in a spa or hot tub, with dosage and application information for very small bodies of water. For spa shock treatments, do not use pool shock, as the granules do not dissolve quickly enough, and more importantly, a 1 lb. bag of shock cannot be resealed safely, being designed for one-time use.

use a pressure washer

Even a small pressure washer is too much pressure for cleaning cartridges, forcing dirt, oil and scale deeper into the fabric, and will separate the fibers at the same time, bunching up fibers and essentially ruining or severely damaging your spa filter. What about cleaning your spa filter in the dishwasher? Also not a good idea, which could ruin not only the cartridge, but the dishwasher too! Use a regular garden hose with spray nozzle, and be sure to use a spa filter cleaner 1-2x per year, to gently loosen dirt, oil and scale.

shut off power to the spa

Keep the spa running, and check on it often, to be sure it is still running. If you leave town for a few weeks, or otherwise unable to use the spa for extended periods, you must keep it running, with at least a few hours of high speed circulation daily, and low-speed circulation for most other times. Spa pumps don’t need to run 24/7 to keep a covered spa clean, but you do need Daily circulation, filtering and sanitation, or larger spa water problems are sure to arise.

overfill your hot tub

Orbit Hose Spigot Timer at DripDepot.comIt’s happened to most spa owners, you’re adding water to fill the spa or top off the hot tub, when the phone or doorbell rings. Overflowing spas usually don’t cause problems, but depending on your spa make and model, some components can become water damaged if a spa overflows. After overflowing my own spa twice, I bought a plastic timer that screws onto my hose spigot. It can be set for up to 2 hours, before it shuts off the water flow. Also, don’t under-fill the spa, or air can be sucked into the pump – keep it full.

overtreat with chemicals

Spas and hot tubs are small bodies of water, and most chemical adjustments require just a few ounces of liquid or powder. Overdosing your spa with hot tub shock, or over-adjusting the pH or Alkalinity can create a see-saw effect that costs money and time. Make small adjustments, read the label and add doses appropriate for your spa size, in gallons. You can also use Spacalculator.com to compute exact amounts of spa chemicals to add, for a desired result.

run the spa without the filter

There are situations when you want to briefly test the system without the spa filter cartridge in place, to see if the heater will come on with the filter removed, for example. But running the pump for long periods of time without the filter could lead to clogged pump impellers, and rapid water quality problems. However, if your spa filter is cracked or broken, or if your dog carried off and buried your filter – it’s better to leave the pump running on low speed, than to shut down the spa completely.

leave your spa uncovered

Besides getting dirty, wasting water and chemicals, and causing your spa heater to work overtime, leaving a spa uncovered and unattended is unsafe for children, animals and some adults. On the other hand, covering it too tightly, with plastic wrap or tarps tightly sealed can also cause a problem for electronics and cabinet trim, when moisture is under pressure. Be sure to keep your spa cover on the spa when un-used, clipped snugly in place.

 

– Jack

 

Spa Cover Review on a Custom Spa Cover

July 17th, 2017 by

spa cover shapes, standard stuffWe make thousands of spa covers every month and most are straight forward, but there are a few each month which keep us on our toes. Custom spa covers require careful measuring on the customer’s end, but very careful handling on our end to ask all the right questions, and match the measurements and images to fit snugly, yet still be manageable.

This was one of those spa covers, because when the specs are very tight-  due to waterfalls, custom rock designs, uneven stone coping, all while being over-sized, it’s critical to get it right the first time.

The client was kind enough to send a picture back and let us know how happy they are with their new hot tub cover. We can crank out Hot Tub Sovereign and Jacuzzi J-300 hot tub covers blindfolded with one arm tied behind our back, because they are made to manufacturer specs.

Custom Spa Covers however, require a dedicated team, with focus on the smallest details, to produce the best fitting custom spa cover, for inground spas, swim spas, or any custom shape or oversized hot tub. Trust your custom spa cover to the experts at Hot Tub Works, we come through every time!

But when we mess up, we fess up! It hasn’t happened in a while, but if it does – we stand ready to admit our mistakes and make it right by the customer.

HOT-TUB-COVER-REVIEWS

 

Actual Customer Review:

Hi Drake,

Just wanted to thank you guys for a great job on the spa cover. I was a little nervous about it properly fitting my custom sized spa, but as you can see from the picture, it turned out perfect. I hope you guys keep the template on file in case I would need to reorder another cover in the future (hopefully many years from now). Thanks again for your help and for making this process relatively pain-free.

Regards, Saba

Another Custom Spa Covers Satisfied Customer! Give Drake a call when you are ready to take the next steps in having a custom spa cover made – perfectly!

 

– Jack

Spa & Hot Tub Covers FAQ

June 27th, 2017 by

Spa Covers at Hot Tub WorksSpa covers are kind of our thing, so it’s only natural that we talk about them a lot on our little hot tub blog. We hear hundreds of questions from our customers, spa owners just like you, regarding hot tub covers.

We get questions about how to measure for a hot tub cover, or how long do custom covers take to ship (3 weeks), or my favorite, which color hides bird poop best? We’ve hopefully omitted most of the lower value questions.

Having sold over 500,000 spa covers, we are somewhat of an authority on spa covers, and therefore qualified to write a simple FAQ on the topic. I hope you find this information useful, and if you have any other questions about our hot tub covers, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

What are Spa Covers Made From?

Jerry shown in the Vinyl area of the HTW warehouseSpa covers are made from a custom cut and sewn jacket made from 30 oz. Marine Grade Vinyl, with a sturdy 4-layer brass hinge, and extra heavy duty nylon zipper and scrim. EPS foam core panels are wrapped in 1 or 2 layers of 6-mil PE sheeting, vacuum wrapped tightly, with seams heat sealed. All of our covers also include a 20 ga. steel C-channel running the entire hinge, are ASTM approved, and include 4 sturdy handles and 4 straps with cover clips.

How are Hot Tub Covers Made?

Jerry, one of our owners, in the foam roomThe process starts with a careful spa cover measurement, or you can also order by spa make and model (please call if you are unsure!). Our spa cover technicians enter the measurements into the CAD program, which checks for errors and inconsistencies in measurements, and makes association with known makes/models of spas. After approval of the measures, they are fed into the vinyl cutting machine which laser cuts the shapes for the vinyl jacket. The jacket is sewn together by large sewing machines, using high quality and durable threads, double stitching edges, and cross-hatching corners. Meanwhile, in the foam department, the EPS foam panels fo the selected weight and density are cut to the exact shape, again by laser cutting, computer controlled machines. After cutting, the foam panels are inspected and then vacuum sealed into one or two (optional) 6-mil plastic sheets, with the edges trimmed and heat sealed. The panels are then married with the jacket, and the nearly completed spa cover goes through two quality control checks, before it is boxed and shipped to you.

How Much do Spa Covers Cost?

The average price of a spa cover is about $375, but we sell covers from $250-$450, all day long. It’s nice if you can wait to find spa covers on sale, or if you can make use of a nice coupon to shave 10% or more off of the cost of a new spa cover. Alas, it often happens that your spa cover’s demise occurs suddenly and buying a new spa cover becomes rather urgent. The nice thing about spa covers, and unlike a lot of other things in this world, spa cover prices have remained steady for the last 20 years, as new efficiencies make production cheaper, even as material costs have increased over the years.

How Long do Spa Covers Last?

You could take our warranty period as a clue, Comparing Spa Covers, you will see that our Economy has a 1 year warranty, and our Standard has a 3 year warranty, but if you spend a little more, the next 4 models all have five (5) year, bumper to bumper warranties. So, depending on what you buy, you can expect 3-5 years from most covers. In my experience however, it is not unusual for a spa cover to last longer, when well maintained and protected from mishap. Jack Stone often brags about his ten year old spa cover, around the office. So they can last a long time, but the average is probably closer to 5 years.

How to Clean a Spa Cover?

Does your spa cover smell like mildew? Or have birds taken up target practice with your spa cover, or overhanging trees deposited a mix of pollen and sap? Cleaning your spa cover every month or so, will keep it smelling nice and looking good.

Floating spa blanketsFor a smelly spa cover, remove it and stand it up on its side, and give it a spray with a mild (1:10) bleach solution, on the underside of the cover only. Allow to dry and wipe down. If you spot mildew inside the outer jacket, unzip the jacket and pull out the foam panels carefully, and allow them to air dry. Follow-up with another bleach treatment or other treatment for mold/mildew, and when dry, reinsert the panels (easier with two people). To keep your spa cover smelling nice, remove the cover off the spa 2-3x per week, to allow it to drain and breathe, and consider using a floating spa cover to reduce the moisture up against the bottom of your hot tub cover.

303-spa-cover-wipesTo clean the outside (top side) of a spa cover, which is usually covered with Marine Grade Vinyl, a mild soap or vinyl cleanser can be used. Avoid using any kitchen or bathroom cleaners, but you can use a mild dish soap, or our specially formulated Hot Tub Cover Cleaner, or 303 Spa Cover Wipes are super convenient. After cleaning your spa cover, condition and protect it with vinyl treatments like our Cover Conditioner, or 303 Protectant spray to lock out the elements and make stains easy to clean. The Spa Cover Care Kit, has everything you need to clean and condition your spa cover, to make it last years longer, and look good doing it too.

How to Protect a Hot Tub Cover?

High Wind Spa Cover 'Hurricane' Straps shownIn addition to cleaning and drying your spa cover regularly, as described above, there are other tips that can help you lengthen lifespan. Number one, is get used to latching your cover down every time you use it, and if you live in a high wind area, use Cover Straps to avoid wind damage, which can destroy a spa cover in under 3 seconds. Number Two – look up above the cover, are there any tree branches that could break and come crashing down? If you can’t or do not want to trim back the branches, a pergola or other protection could be built around the tub, to afford some protection from flying or falling debris. Thirdly, is to protect the spa cover from excess moisture and chemical damage by using a Floating Spa Blanket, which also reduces heat loss, which means your heater can run less. Spa blankets also protect the spa cover from high bromine and ozone levels. If you use an ozonator, dial back the bromine levels to <1 ppm, and maintain pH in the 7.3-7.6 range to avoid acidic water conditions.

Why do Spa Covers become Heavy?

Man shown struggling with heavy hot tub coverAlthough closed cell foam does not absorb water in ocean or lake environments, or even pools – for a hot tub covers scenario there can be a 50 degree difference between the hot tub water and surrounding air, and the only thing in between is those two foam panels. What really fails is the vapor barrier, a plastic bag that is tightly wrapped around the foam core to lock out moisture. Our panels are vacuum wrapped and heat sealed, in 6 mil PE plastic sheeting, and we offer a double wrap upgrade for extra protection against foam panels becoming waterlogged. But still, rough handling or accidents can puncture the vapor barrier, allowing moisture to come in contact with the foam. Other less well wrapped or thinner foam panels may be taped or stapled, and not heat sealed, which will fail over time, allowing the very aggressive hot steam to penetrate even the smallest gaps or laps. If the vapor barrier is not vacuum sealed, to suck out all of the air, it makes it much easier to snag and puncture the vapor barrier. Using a floating spa blanket, and air drying your spa cover twice per week, and inspecting and patching any damage to the vapor barrier, can all help prevent a waterlogged spa cover.

Do I need a Hot Tub Cover Lifter?

animation of spa cover lifterYes, Spa Lifters are needed, and for two reasons – 1). To save your back and prevent personal injury when removing or installing the spa cover, and 2) to protect the spa cover from all sorts of calamity, when it’s being removed, and while not-so safely stored off the spa. It’s happened a million times – you very carefully leaned the spa cover up against the wall or the tub just like always, but this time… the dog, the wind, the kids, the lawnmower, the drunk friend…

How to Latch & Lock a Spa Cover?

Replacement spa cover clip set Lock your spa covers securely, to keep out small children, curious animals and large dogs, and to keep the wind from lifting your spa top, and possibly launching it across the backyard. When you get a new cover, you’ll need to adjust and perhaps reinstall the cover clips and latch mechanism. To prevent cover damage, and unauthorized use, the straps should be taut, so that it is necessary to push down slightly on the spa cover, to be able to unlatch the cover clips. If they are too loose, they are easy for small hands to open, and it can allow wind to come up under the cover, cooling the spa and possibly damage the cover if it begins to ‘chatter’ in heavy winds. To reinstall the latch mechanism to a new location, all that is needed is a screwdriver, in most cases. You can fill previous screw holes with a wood putty, or just leave the screws in the hole.

 


 

And that’s it – short and sweet, just like me! If you have other spa cover questions that we didn’t answer, drop me a line with your questions or concerns!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

How to Buy a Hot Tub Cover

May 8th, 2017 by

When selecting a new hot tub cover, there are just two key factors to keep in mind when choosing the best spa cover for you and your tub. These are climate and durability.

YOUR CLIMATE IS THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR

Where do you live, is the first question I would ask. If you are familiar with the US growing zones, anything in growing zones 3-7 is going to need a thicker spa cover with denser foam. Less insulating spa covers can’t keep up when it gets really cold, which can lead to overwork by your spa heater, and that can hit you hard in the wallet each month.

We offer hot tub covers with 1lb foam, 1.5lb foam and 2lb foam. This refers to the density of the foam, or specifically the weight of 1 cubic foot of the closed cell foam. The more dense the foam is, the higher the R-Value of the spa cover. Hot tubs in deep southern US states, with warm average temperatures could use a 1lb or 1.5lb foam, but areas that see snowfall and colder winter temperatures need the insulation of a 1.5lb or 2 lb foam core.

Naturally the thickness of the foam core panels also plays into buying the best spa cover for your climate. Our tapered foam cores are thinner at the edge to help rain run off the edge, and for ease in handling. Choose from 3 cover thicknesses, or tapers of 4″ to 2″, 5″ to 3″, or 6″ to 4″. Like foam density above, warm southern areas could use a 5″ to 3″ taper, or maybe a 4″ to 2″, but areas that see snowfall and colder winter temperatures need the added insulation of 5-3″ or 6-4″ taper.

So, if you are in the snowbelt, or if you just want to save as much energy as possible, choose a new spa cover with 1.5lb or 2lb foam, with a 5-3″ or 6-4″ taper. Either our Ultra or The Works hot tub covers are best for covering spas in cold weather conditions. Even if your winter only gets a little frosty, and is usually mild, a thicker cover will pay you back every month, with reduced spa heating bills.

DURABILITY IS THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT

This is more of a subjective factor – what level of durability do you want to buy? I know people that always buy the best of everything, and I know people who always buy the lowest price, and there are those who try to strike a happy medium between. With 5 different spa cover models to choose from, you can select the level of durability, in a range of $300-$500, shipping included. We have cheap spa covers but we also have some of the best spa covers made.

All of our spa covers are made with the same sturdy 20 ga. steel support channel, and covered in 30 oz. marine grade vinyl, in any one of 11 colors. Our foam panels are vacuum wrapped and heat sealed, closed in with a heavy duty vinyl zipper and scrim. Seams are double-stitched and x-tacked at all corners. And with exception to our Standard spa cover with a 3-yr warranty, all of our spa covers have a full 5-year warranty.

In addition, our deluxe spa covers have such features as a continuous heat seal along the hinge, aka our ‘steam stopper’, a double-wrapped foam, heavy duty wind straps and an R-value of up to 30 for the most energy conscious spa owner. So if you want the best, go with the Ultra or The Works spa covers, and if you something good but not necessarily the most expensive, look at our Deluxe or Energy Saver spa covers.

For those of you worried about water absorption in the foam core, definitely get the double-wrap option to keep water out. If you have large dogs or playful children, I’d recommend the 6″ to 4″ taper for foam core strength. And if you live north of Mason-Dixon line, or anywhere that gets regular snowfall, go for a spa cover with 2 lb. foam density for extra efficiency.

 


 

I hope that I’ve simplified the complex – and made choosing the best spa cover an easier task. For best results, buy your new spa cover according to your climate and according to your durability expectations or desires.

Give us a call at 800-770-0292 or send an email for any other questions or concerns about which spa cover to buy. Ask for Carolyn, or speak to anyone if I’m not in the office. We’re here to help!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

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Earth Day Hot Tub Tips

April 15th, 2017 by


>>> In honor of our fragile island home, 3rd rock from the sun – here are 3 ways to make your hot tub more eco-friendly this Earth Day – April 22! Saving Energy with improved insulation, Reducing Chemicals with alternative sanitizers and Saving Water by improving your spa filtration. Make your hot tub more eco-friendly >>>

Save Energy: Improve Insulation

Spas and spa covers are made for mild, moderate and severe winter climates. Spas and hot tubs that are not as well insulated as they could be, around the sides and on top, take more energy to maintain hot water and overcome radiant heat loss. This becomes more pronounced during very low temperatures and high winds. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to add more R-value to a poorly insulated spa. The Pink Panther brand (Dow-Corning) has lots of boards and thin bats that can be retrofitted into a spa cabinet to increase spa insulation.

On the topside, look at our Ultra or Works spa covers, for the best performance in a thermal spa cover. Replacing a thin, ill-fitting or waterlogged cover with a heavier weight 1.5 lb. or 2 lb. foam, in a 6-4″ taper, will really improve your spa or hot tub insulation, and save money on heat loss around the cover. For high winds, which can seep in under a spa cover and cool your spa, our High Wind Straps keep your spa from lifting up slightly during heavy winds. Finally, adding a floating foam spa blanket traps heat in the water where it belongs, and the added heat barrier helps reduce heat loss.

Reduce Chemicals: Secondary Sanitizers

When you reduce your use of chlorine and bromine, the Earth wins, because when you reduce your demand for chlorine or bromine, the supply (and production, and transport) slows down to compensate, as supply always adjusts to meet demand. Adding secondary sanitizers to your spa can cut your usage of chlorine or bromine by as much as half. I’m speaking about adding Minerals or Ozone purifiers to your spa, to remove the majority of the contaminants in the water, allowing you to use a much lower level of bromine or chlorine in the spa. Many people use Minerals and Ozone together, along with regular use of MPS shock, for a completely chlorine free hot tub.

Mineral sanitizers for spas are so easy to use, just drop the Nature2 Spa Stick or other brand mineral stick into the hole in your filter cartridge. Water passing by picks up the minerals, instantly purifying copper/silver ions. Connecting a spa ozonator like the Del Spa Eclipse is a piece of cake on any ozone ready spa or hot tub. For tubs without a Mazzei injector manifold, or other port to connect the ozone hose, you can install your own Mazzei injector into 3/4″ or 1″ water hose leading to a low-water ozone jet. It’s best to push ozone out of a dedicated ozone jet near the floor of the tub, but ozone can also be introduced through certain low wall jets.

Save Water: Improve Filtration

anti-microbial-filter-spasYour spa filter is the most important part of maintaining good water. And a good spa filter can be the difference between a water change every 3 months, or every 4 months, or even longer – if you have a really good spa filter. There are some things you can do to improve water filtration, for longer lasting water, and fewer chemicals needed to maintain water quality.

Firstly, many spa filter cartridges are available in the standard square footage size (25 sq. ft. for example), but also you can find the same size filter cartridge with more square footage (37.5 sq. ft. for example). Same dimensional size spa filter cartridge, but it has more pleats, for more square footage, or greater filter surface area. Secondly, many spa filter cartridges are also available in the blue Microban cartridge, which kills bacteria on contact, and it never wears off, although the cartridge itself will not last any longer than normal. Another thing you can do to really improve your spa filtration is to add a second spa filter. We’ve blogged about that before in more detail. Having two spa filters can drastically extend the time between water changes, and with a large spa filter, a spa could conceivably go an entire year between water changes! Finally, remember that filter cartridges should replaced every 12-24 months, depending on how big your filter is, and how often the spa is used. Regularly replacing your filter cartridge is the first step to maintaining water quality, and preventing excessive water changes.

 

Happy Earth Day!

 

– Jack

 

 

Spa Preppers – Hurricane Spa Protection

November 14th, 2016 by

hot-tubs-vs-hurricanes
Spas and Hot Tubs that sit aboveground in the backyard have a lot to contend with. Rain, Sun and Snow take their own toll on your spa cabinet and spa cover, but Hurricanes are on a whole ‘nuther level.

Hurricane winds have been known to pick up and hurl hot tubs across the yard or flip them into the house. Flooding around your spa or tub is also common from drenching rains that last for days.

For our friends in Hurricane Alley, which is a large portion of eastern and gulf coast states, here’s how to prep your spa for hurricane force winds and flooding.

protecting your spa from hurricane winds

hurricane--istkHurricane force winds can’t be prevented, but you can do several things to protect your spa from high winds. First and foremost is a well-planned location, using the back of the house to block winds or sculpting the earth and patio to wrap around a spa. But aside from that, follow these tips:

DON’T DRAIN THE HOT TUB: The weight of the water inside the spa is important to keeping it in one place.

DO ADD EXTRA SANITIZER: Load up a spa floater with bromine tabs, or add granular sanitizer to hold the water in the event of power loss.

STRAP DOWN THE SPA COVER: Check your spa cover clips for proper tension, you should need to push down on the cover slightly to release the clip, they should be taut and fairly tight, to prevent heat loss and prevent wind from getting under the spa cover skirt. For extra protection for spa covers, use our High Wind Straps for spa covers, also known as Hurricane Straps, coincidentally. These over-the-top straps can hold your cover down even in the strongest winds, which have been known to rip spa cover straps and send a spa cover flying, damaging it beyond repair of course. To protect your cover from damage from flying debris, you can place a sheet of cut plywood over top of the spa cover, but you must hold it down tight with Hurricane Straps, or a heavy webbed strapping at least 2″ wide.

REMOVE THE PROJECTILES: Anything that is not strapped down can become a projectile when the winds really start blowing. Even heavy planters and steel patio furniture can become airborne or be thrown against your spa or the sliding glass door to the house. If there is time, pruning trees and removing downed branches quickly to a safe area can help reduce the chances of damage from flying tree branches.

protecting your spa from hurricane flooding

hurricane--istkThe second danger that comes with a hurricane or tropical storm event is the possibility for flooding around the spa, submerging electrical motors and spa packs. First and foremost is a well-planned location on high ground, but aside from that, follow these tips:

SHUT OFF THE POWER: On the main breaker, cut all power to the hot tub by shutting off the circuit breaker for the spa or hot tub. This simple step can prevent electrification of the tub and nearby spaces, and could save a life when hot tubs flood.

SAND BAGS: Old school, but a tried and true method of keeping a spa from flooding. Build a wall around the hot tub with bags filled with sand. Don’t have sand or sand bags? Fill heavy duty plastic garbage bags with 50-100 lbs of soil or gravel. Don’t build a wall with lumber, block or brick, which don’t work well, and could be blown away in strong winds.

SUMP PUMP: A submersible pump can be used to pump out water that seeps through a sand bag wall and prevent a flooded hot tub. Larger pumps, like the Spa Drainer 1/3 HP pump, are powerful enough to keep encroaching flood water levels from rising. Pumping 3000 gallons per hour, the Spa Drainer pump drains the average spa in 5-7 minutes.

If your spa or hot tub has flooded, above the level of the pump or blower motors, or over the spa control box, keep the power safely off. Close valves or drain spa, to remove affected equipment to a dry location where they can be opened up and dried out. In most cases, flooded motors or spa packs will need to be replaced, but if wet only briefly, they can sometimes be dried out and work fine.

Tim Baker watches his spa float away - image by examiner.co.uk

Tim Baker watching as his spa floats away…

 

Hurricanes can be Deadly, the most important thing is protecting your own safety. Don’t risk accidents to yourself by working outside trying to protect the spa. When the winds top 50 mph, you’ve done all you can do – time to head for shelter.

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

How to Measure for a Hot Tub Cover

October 17th, 2016 by

spa-cover-replacementsHot Tub Cover measurement guide, with pictures, video and transcript.

Hot tub Works is the leading supplier of replacement hot tub covers. Ordering a replacement cover online has never been easier.

In just a few steps, I’m going to show you how to order a perfect spa cover every time.

Before we do that, let’s talk about the tools you’re going to need to measure the hot tub cover.

 

 

how-to-measure-hot-tub-covers

Hot Tub Cover Measurement Supplies

First is a tape measure. The second tool you’ll need, if you have a rounded cover is a carpenter’s square. Now, this makes measuring around a cover corner a lot easier, but its not necessary, I’ll show you how to do it with just a tape measure as well.

And the last too that comes in real handy is this hot tub measuring guide, which you can print right off our website, allowing you to fill in the information as you measure the hot tub itself.

So, let’s get started on this easy job.

Now before I start measuring, let me answer the most common question we get about how to measure, and that is, what should I measure?

Now, if your old hot tub cover is still in pretty good shape, what I’d like you to do is measure the old hot tub cover. If your hot tub cover is in just too bad of condition, and we see some of that as well, then your going to have to measure the hot tub itself. But the most important thing is that your measurements be outside of the tub to outside of the tub. This is called the Acrylic, so outside acrylic to the outside acrylic. If you do that you’ll get a great fitting hot tub cover.

The most common shaped hot tub is a square or rectangle, that’s about 85% of hot tubs made. Now, if you have a hot tub that was made after the year 1995, most likely it has a rounded corner as well. So, the most common hot tub covers we make are rounded squares or rounded rectangles. In this particular case this is a rounded rectangle and well measure this in just a minute.

Now if you have a different shaped hot tub don’t worry, all the principles that we’re going to go through right now still apply.

Measuring Spa Cover Dimensions A & B

The first thing to make note of is where the fold is, on this particular cover, the fold runs closest to you and away, so the fold is running in this direction. And on our measurement guide you’ll see that the “A” measurement is always cut in half by the fold. So the first measurement I’m going to take is straight across the fold, and I come up with 75″. That’s my “A” measurement, and I’m going to write that down.

The next measurement I’m going to take is the “B” measurement. Simply just measure from the outside of the cover to the other side, and I come up with 88″. 88″ is my “B” measurement – I’m going to write that down.

Measuring the Cover Corner Radius

Now the last measurement I’m going to take is the rounded corner, what is the radius. There’s two ways to do it. The easiest way is with a carpenter’s square, because I can simply put it right up here to the edge and I can measure the distance from the 90° point back to where the curve begins. On this particular hot tub cover it’s 8″ from the 90 degree point, back to where the curve begins on the cover.

Now if you don’t have a carpenter’s square, don’t worry about it. You can measure the corner with a tape measure, by doing the same thing. I’m going to open the tape and measure the distance from where the curve begins, out to that imaginary 90 degree point, and again I can see that it’s 8″ on the tape measure. So using either tool, I can come up with that measurement.

And that’s about it! You just measure your “A”, your “B” and “C” dimensions. Next, we’ll measure the skirt and the strap length, and you’re all done!

Measuring the Skirt & Strap Length

So the only thing we have left to do is to measure the skirt and the safety strap. But before I do that, let me explain what the skirt is. The skirt’s main intention is to protect the colored plastic, called Acrylic, which is affected by the sun’s UV rays. It’s really important that this flap come down far enough to cover that colored plastic.

One other point about modern hot tub covers. Early covers were made with a skirt that was called continuous, meaning it didn’t have a seam [on the corners].  All the covers we make have a seam here nowadays and the reason for that is to make it easier to put the hot tub cover back on, and not get the skirt caught up under the hot tub. So every hot tub cover we make will have these flaps.

Now to measure the cover skirt it’s really simple, from the bottom of the cover down to the edge of the skirt, is the measurement I’m going to take, and that’s 5 inches. Now I’m going to measure the safety strap and it’s basically the same premise. From the bottom of the cover down to the beginning of the plastic buckle. And this particular hot tub has a 9″ safety strap.

Let me write that down before I forget. The skirt has a 5″ and the safety strap is 9. Now a lot of people ask, does the hardware come with the straps, and the answer is yes. We provide you with a male and female parts of the clip and the stainless steel screws to mount the hardware to the cabinet.

One safety note to let you know about, and that is that every cover we make comes with 4 safety straps. That’s a safety requirement and we never deviate from it. And we encourage you to put the safety straps on the hot tub cover as soon as you get it.

With that all said, this is exactly how you order a perfectly made hot tub cover. If you have any questions, give us a call we’re happy to be of service.

 

– Jack

 

Watch the Video “How to Measure a Hot Tub Cover”

Hot Tub Cover Clip Replacement

August 8th, 2016 by

spa-cover-clip-repair
At Hot Tub Works, we specialize in hot tub covers, so it’s natural that we spend a lot of time talking about them. Down to the smallest details in fact, like the spa cover straps and the locking clips that allow you to safely secure your spa cover.

Spa cover clips aren’t the most exciting topic I’ve ever written about (yawn), but a question that we answer all the time – that is, “how do you replace hot tub cover clips?”

There are three ways to replace hot tub cover clips. Cut the Strap, Cut the Clip or Sew the Strap.

 

CUT THE STRAP METHOD

strap-slide-buckleSpa cover straps are usually a 12-15″ of vinyl or woven mesh, folded over in half, after the clip is slid onto the strap. Cutting the strap requires that you use a backpack type of strap slide buckle placed on the strap above the clip, to re-join the strap after cutting one end of the strap, leaving the other end attached to the cover skirt. Slide buckles can be found at most fabric stores, or taken from an old backpack you no longer use. If your strap is doubled over, cut one end where it attaches to the cover. If you have a single strap (not folded over), cut the strap near the end, just to cut off the old clip, and re-position the latch mechanism if needed for a slight tension on the strap.

 

CUT THE CLIP METHOD

hot-tub-cover-clip-replacementAdditional stitching may be sewn in above the locking clip on a single strap (not folded over). This method of replacing spa cover clips is to use a hacksaw or sheers to cut a small gap in the outside of the plastic edge of the cover clip. Slide the new clip through the gap, and with slow pushing, slide the strap and clip into position. Sliding the cut clip over the strap loop is shown here in the image, and inset, a spa cover clip that has been cut, with a piece of paper between.

 

SEW THE STRAP METHOD

an-awl-for-sewing-hot-tub-cover-strapsThere is one more method that is available to you, you could cut the strap just above the clip, and instead of using a strap slide (shown above) to rejoin the strap, you could use an Awl, to sew or stitch the strap back together again. An Awl can be found in nearly any fabric store, or fabric section of department stores for under $10. Use thin cotton string or extra thick polyester thread to sew the strap end to itself, after you run it through the cover clip and fold it over. Stitching it up with an awl only takes 10 minutes to do a good job. Re-position the latch if necessary, to make a snug, but not overly tight strap tension.

 

PRO TIP: When installing or re-installing the lower latch mechanism to the spa skirt, the strap tension is important. Too much puts strain on the cover locks, but if the strap is too loose it makes it easier for children to remove, and easier for wind to get up under the cover.

Make the strap just tight enough so that a person needs to slightly push down on the spa cover with one hand, while unlatching the cover clip with the other hand. Only when straps are taut do they offer real safety protection for children and guard against wind damage.

 


 

Hot tub locking cover clips tend to become brittle and break easily after years in hot sun and frozen winters. If it’s not time to buy a new spa cover, fix your spa cover straps, to protect your cover from high winds, keep out small children, and large animals!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works