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Archive for the ‘spa covers’ Category

Hot Tub Cover Lifter Reviews – Part II

April 10th, 2015 by

animated-spa-cover-lifterI wrote Spa Cover Lifter Reviews Part I, over two years ago, so this topic is ripe for an update. Also, in Part I, we only showed reviews of half of the spa cover lifters that we have and, only positive reviews. :-)

In Part II, we look at 5 more hot tub cover lifters, and show more balanced reviews, negative and positive, to give a better overall picture.

These reviews I found by searching our database of hundreds of emails and thousands of phone conversations with customers. Around here, we talk a lot about spa covers and cover lifters!

 

COVER SHELF REVIEWS

  1. cover-shelf-reviews ”Great spa cover for the price, and very simple to operate. It’s really all you need actually, no need for power assist, just open the arms and slide the cover off of the tub.”
  2.  ”When I was installing the arms, I couldn’t find a solid piece of wood to anchor into on the side I wanted to use. Ended up tacking on two 2×4′s and staining them to match the cabinet. Works well.”
  3.  ”The design of the Cover Shelf is good, but over time, the screws worked loose and almost ripped out. My handyman resecured it with some lumber, and it seems to be holding for now…”

COVERMATE EASY REVIEWS

  1. covermate-easy-reviews-2“This is just a bar and a strap, not much for the price, but it does the job. I could make my own for $20 in parts. Maybe next time.”
  2. “I love the Covermate Easy. It is easy, but not really for one person, unless you a very big person, I suppose. For little ‘ol me, it’s a little cumbersome.”
  3.  ”Cool design, but not especially “easy” to pivot into position. Also bows under the weight of my cover, and seems to put a lot of stress with how the cover hangs on the bar.”

COVERMATE 2 REVIEWS

  1.  covermate-2-revierws“Likes: Easy to use by just one person, no stress on cabinet. Dislikes: Cover hanging by a seam, drilling into cabinet.”
  2.  ”We’ve had another type of spa cover similar to this one, but it was harder to lift the cover, and get it balanced just right. Would recommend the Covermate II for any square tub.”
  3.  ”I’m returning this because I don’t want to drill 30 holes (!) into my spa cabinet. I understand that there is a version of the Covermate 2 that slips under the spa? Please exchange.”

COVERMATE 3 REVIEWS

  1.  covermate-3-reviews“Without a doubt, the finest spa cover mechanism I’ve ever owned. The piston arms pop the cover right up with very little effort, and I can tell that the materials and construction is top notch.”
  2.  ”Installation was not as easy as I was expecting, but after 1.5 hr I was ready to test. No go – long story short, the pistons were installed upside down! Took another 1.5 hrs to figure that out and fix it. Quality control is needed, especially on imported products. Come on, guys!”
  3.  ”Even my mom could remove the spa top now. One person can do it, even on large covers like mine (8ft). I actually got this one because it’s the only one that will lock in place. My spa sits on a hill, high winds were always knocking the cover down, onto our heads! Ha ha – but this has fixed that problem.”

COVER VALET REVIEWS

  1. cover-valet-reviews“This cover lifter does not have a solid bar running across the cover, on the cover seam, and is starting to rip the cover! Why there is not a solid bar used I do not know, but we have removed the Cover Valet from our cover and are back to manual lifting and moving – not impressed!”
  2. “Got this as a Christmas present. Installation instruction were fair, but managed to self-install in under an hour. The shocks make it real easy to open the spa cover, now even my wife can do it. Should have bought a spa cover lift a long time ago!”
  3. “If you can decipher the poorly translated and sparse instructions, you can install this yourself, with a full set of hand tools. The gas shocks don’t do much, the poles are a little flimsy, and it still takes some effort to lift the cover. That said, it is more stable and better made than my old spa top lifter.”

I hope you find these hot tub cover reviews useful – I tried to pick out ones that had some nuggets of usefulness! No spa cover is made that comes with only pluses and no minuses, I think the cover lifter manufacturers walk a fine line of quality vs price.

Years ago, there were some $500 cover lifters – very nice products, but too expensive – no one bought them. Or perhaps it’s a bit of planned product obsolescence in practice? If you make something too good, you only sell it once! Either way, hot tub cover lift mfg’s found a sweet spot in the range of $100-$200. Not as good as they could be, but a good value for the price.

See all 10 Hot Tub Cover Lifters we have to choose from ~

 

- Jack

 

Hot Tub Pioneers – Spa Cover Inventors

March 17th, 2015 by

spa-cover-design-5745932The hot tub cover or spa top, is one of the most necessary accessory items for a spa or hot tub. But it wasn’t always so – in the early days, hot tubs were not kept hot all the time, but heated up as needed. Then, the energy crunch of ’73 hit, and inventors starting tinkering…

The early spa cover inventions were modeled after pool covers, but spa covers could offer more than pool covers; with insulation and hinged folding panels. Most early spa covers, in the 70′s were hand-made of plywood, but remember, portable spas as we know them today, hadn’t been invented yet!

Inventors rolled up their sleeves to design new spa covers that would save energy, and be easy to work with. Here’s a short collection, in chronological order, of some interesting patents for spa covers.

Spa cover US 4236259 A – Gary R. Wendt

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A rigid piece of insulative foam, fashioned with hinged cut out sections for users to enjoy a dip in the tub, without experiencing the unfortunate effects of heat loss.

Closed cell foam is soft to the touch, and has a moderate durability against spa chemicals. Easy to remove and store.

The underside of the flip over sections includes cup holders! Obviously, this design was way ahead of it’s time for 1980.

 

Convert Spa to Wading Pool US 5390377 A – Mark W. Blough

sheet-for-converting-hot-tub-to-wading-pool

Not really a spa cover, but this device has a curious use – lay it over the bench seats in your hot tub to decrease the depth of the tub to a fun baby pool!

This device was sketched in many shapes and sizes for the most common types of spa shells being produced at the time. Holes in the center allow for water to bubble up through the clear sheet, and hand holds near the edge allow for placement and removal.

The sheet is made of a Lexan or durable ABS plastic for years of use with minimal care!

 

Hot tub cover US 4246663 A – Anthony J. Aragona

anthony-argona-spa-topI love this one! A spherical dome structure, looks so steampunk!

“A generally hemispherical dome designed to cover a hot tub comprised of two nested spherical shells, which pivot on a a vertical pin running through the superimposed apexes of the two shells. A deck surrounding the perimeter of the hot tub provides basal support to the shells as well as a bearing surface for roller wheels attached along the base of the smaller shell.”

The larger shell is fixed to the deck and the smaller shell is rotated about the pin member through a range of superajacent positions relative to the fixed shell.

 

Thermal Spa Cover US 4270232 A – Ray D. Ballew

thermal-spa-cover

A thermally effective cover designed to entrap and magnify atmospheric heat and pass the same into the water and retain it – the first spa solar cover?

Originally designed for pools in 1979 to be the first type of interlocking, floating solar panels, they also found a use for spas by creating a heat trapping dome over a hot tub or spa, of the right size.

Designs show this floating spa cover (buoyant) being manufactured in different shapes and sizes, 3-corner, 4-corner and 6-corner sections can be used to keep your spa clean and retain heat.

 

Tub cover US 4234973 A – Craig A. Vetter

wood-spa-cover

You may have seen this one before, a roll up spa cover made of wooden slats – popularized by California Cooperage, who had an exclusive on the design, for a short time.

“This cover for a hot tub has wooden or other rigid ribs secured to a flexible, resilient foamed plastic sheet. One rib is secured at an edge of the tub to anchor the cover. The cover can be rolled between an extended position overlying the tub and a rolled retracted position adjacent the tub. A pair of brackets secured to the tub each have a depression in the top surface in which the retracted rolled cover rests.”
If you have a wooden hot tub, this looks pretty smart, but it’s not a very insulative spa cover.  Use it with a floating foam spa blanket for help keep more heat in the tub.

 

Spa or hot tub cover US 4422192 A – Terry Jacobs

spa-cover-patentThis design is closest to the spa and hot tub covers that we know today, an insulative cover made from two closed cell foam panels, hinged with a center channel, and covered in waterproof material.

“An insulative hot tub or spa cover appearing in two symmetrical halves, each half comprising an inner foam core capped on a peripheral edge by a C-shaped channel and covered on an upper and lower surface by a softer upholstery foam then entirely enveloped by a heat sealed vapor barrier and ultimately with a vinyl outer cover riveted to the channel by a trim strip. The entire spa cover being designed to come in sealed registry and rest upon the rim of a hot tub, spa or the like.”

Pretty inventive stuff for 1982! Terry Jacobs spa or hot tub cover design has been scarcely improved upon in over 30 years. At Hot Tub Works, we have only improved the design with modern materials and a computer controlled manufacturing process to ensure a consistent product.

 

We salute all of those brave pioneers who invented and reinvented spa and hot tub covers. Spa covers have come a long way – in over 40 years we’ve seen quite a few designs come and go, thanks to tireless efforts from entrepreneurial inventors.

We are proud to be America’s #1 choice for spa and hot tub covers! Take a look at our affordable and well made spa covers from Hot Tub Works!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin

 

Children in Hot Tubs

March 12th, 2015 by

hot-tub-kids

Children in hot tubs – is it dangerous?

When my children were young, many years ago, I can remember telling my husband; “they’re not just little adults, you know…”.

Especially for children under 5 years old, with bodies still growing, a hot tub could be unhealthy or possibly dangerous.

The first problem with children using hot tubs involves their ability to regulate temperature and the possibility for hyperthermia, or overheating very quickly, in a spa that is heated to over 100°.

The second issue with kids in a hot tub are concerns of bacterial infection, by absorbing pathogens through the skin, ears, eye, mouth and airways.

And third, the most important reason – is that unsupervised access by children under 5 has resulted in hundreds of drowning incidents by children under 5 years old.

Let’s take a look to see what health experts have to say about children in hot tubs.

  • CDC says: “Exclude children less than 5 years of age from using hot tubs.”
  • Red Cross says: “Children under 5 should not use a hot tub.”
  • APSP says: “No young child should be allowed in a hot tub until they can stand on the bottom and have their head remain completely out of the water.”
  • AAP says: Use a rigid, lockable cover on a hot tub, spa, or whirlpool, or fence in all 4 sides as you would for a swimming pool”
  • Mayo Clinic says: “Young children can quickly become overheated in a hot tub or spa.”
  • CPSC says: “Hot tubs pose a drowning risk to children and an overheating risk for young children.”
  • MHP says: “Hot tubs are too hot for young children, may have high bacteria, and the drain in the tub can trap children.”

The Problems with Children in Hot Tubs

HIGH TEMPERATURES: Young children have skinny little bodies with thin skin. They absorb heat much more rapidly than adults, and can become overheated in just minutes in a spa at 104°, which can lead to dizziness, nausea or even unconsciousness. Children under the age of five heat up four times faster than adults, and also struggle to breathe the very hot and humid (steamy) air coming off of the water. Children older than five should limit exposure to hot water, both by reducing spa temperatures to 100° or less, and limiting soaking time to under 10 minutes.

EXPOSURE TO BACTERIA: In a public spa or hot tub, you never know if the water is sanitary, and if the spa is heavily used – its’ probably not. My advice is to never allow children to use a public spa, where they can be exposed to mycobacteria and pseudomonas or the parasite cryptosporidium. Skin infections, ear infections, or even respiratory infections are possible with adults and children, but children are more susceptible to attack. In a private hot tub or spa – assuming that your spa is not overused and is carefully maintained, and everyone showers fully before using the hot tub – the risk of bacteria exposure may be less. However, sickness can still occur if too many people are in the spa, or if the child stays in too long, or goes underwater, allowing exposure through nose, ear, eyes and mouth. Using the air blower in a spa can produce more aerosol bacteria, released as the bubbles reach the surface.

DROWNING / NEAR DROWNING: A spa or hot tub should always be secured by a locking spa cover, which will make it unlikely that a young child can gain access. Children older than five, working as a team, can manage to remove a spa cover – I can tell you from experience! A hot tub in the home or backyard can be every bit as dangerous as a swimming pool, and should be regarded as such. Drowning can occur from a bump on the head, overheating or from becoming entrapped or suctioned to the spa drain outlet. Teach your children to never use a spa or hot tub without constant adult supervision.

If you MUST allow your Children in a Hot Tub

The hard part is – kids LOVE hot tubs, and it’s a magnet for them. They are drawn to it because it’s close to their size, like a mini-pool, and for kids like mine, if you don’t let them do it while you are watching, they’re going to do it while you are not watching. If you really want to allow children older than 5 to use your private / home hot tub, here are some sensible rules to make it safer.

  1. Everyone Shower before using spa
  2. Turn down temperature below 100°children-in-hot-tub
  3. Limit soaking time to under 10 minutes
  4. Keep heads above water at all times
  5. No more than 3-4 kids at a time
  6. Constant adult spa-side supervision
  7. Have warm towels and cool drinks ready

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa & Hot Tub Maintenance

February 20th, 2015 by

image from ThermospasWell hello again, my dear readers; I would have thought this topic would go to one of our more technical writers, but my hot tub was voted as the most well-maintained, and they asked to know my secret! :-)

Flattery will get you everywhere I suppose,  so here I am with some basic spa and hot tub maintenance information. What do you need to know to take care of a spa or hot tub? Read on, dear reader.

 

Care = Prevention

When we talk about spa care and hot tub maintenance, you really are practicing problem prevention.  There are a number of things that are done on a regular basis, regular hot tub maintenance tasks, and then there are those best practices or methods that are used to keep your spa running well, while being energy friendly and safe for pets and children.

 

Spa & Hot Tub Chemical Maintenance

  • Test spa water for pH, chlorine/bromine, alkalinity and calcium levels 2-3x per week.
  • Adjust pH, alkalinity and calcium as needed. Maintain a constant chlorine/bromine level.
  • Clean the spa cartridge filter when the pressure gauge rises 7-8lbs, or 1-3x per month.
  • Set the 24 hr pump timer to run on low speed for a total of 12-18 hours daily.
  • Drain the spa every 3 months to prevent buildup of dissolved solids.
  • Refill the spa using a pre-filter that screws onto a garden hose.
  • Shower before using the spa, and Shock after using the spa.

 

Spa & Hot Tub Equipment Maintenance

  • Spa Covers: Use a spa cover lift, air-out the spa cover 2x per week, clean & condition spa cover 3x per year.
  • Spa Filters: After cleaning allow it to dry fully before reinstalling. Use filter cleaner 2x per year, replace filter every 1-2 years.
  • Spa Pumps: Run on high speed only during use or adding chemicals. Don’t allow pumps to run dry, or with an air-lock, or low water level.
  • Spa Heater: Maintain proper water chemistry and keep a clean cartridge filter to protect your heater element.
  • Spa Cabinet: Protect from direct sun, lawn sprinklers or rain splash around edges. Stain and or seal the surfaces as needed.
  • Spa Shell: Acrylic or plastic spas should be polished when emptied, wood hot tubs require cleaning without chemicals.

 

Saving Money & Energy

  • For daily use, keep the temp at 98°, or 94° if you only use it every 3-4 days.
  • Bump up the temperature to 101° – 104°, and then shower before using spa.
  • Keep your spa cover tightly fitted, and for extra insulation, use a floating foam blanket.
  • For colder areas, add R-30 insulation to poorly insulated spa cabinets.
  • Set the spa timer to operate mostly outside of peak daylight energy use hours.

 

Spa Safety

  • Covered: Don’t forget to always keep the spa tightly covered, with safety clips attached.
  • Locked: Indoor spas should be in locked rooms; lock doors and fences to outside spas.
  • Secure: Be sure that spa drain covers are safe and secure.
  • Spa Rules: Use safety signs and teach children the spa is only used with adult supervision.

dont-forget-2

 

Make a list or set a reminder in your calendar to not forget these important hot tub maintenance tasks. And if you have someone else in your family doing it as a chore, believe me, you better follow up behind them!

I hope I was able to answer all of your questions about taking care of a spa! Leave a comment if you have any other ?’s about hot tub maintenance, or you want more information on any of my tips above!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

12 Inground Spas and Hot Tubs that I Love

January 19th, 2015 by

We spend a lot of time around here talking about portable, above-ground spas and hot tubs, blah-blah-blah. Although there are conveniences related to aboveground spas, there is nothing like stepping down into the warm water of an inground spa.

I have plans for my own inground spa one day, I have the perfect garden setting picked out. Or, I may build it indoors, when I bump-out the master bedroom to put in my dream master bath!

While I’m dreaming of inground spas, and filling up a Pinterest board with design ideas, I thought I would share some of my ideas with you. Not my ideas actually, but here are some pictures of some inground spas that I love, love, love!

1. Inground Spa with sheer waterfall features in a cool master bath design; with a sun glow day lamp, and backlit glass blocks.

inground-hot-tubs-1

2. Inground acrylic hot tub, set into a wood deck, surrounded in wood coping.

inground-hot-tub-wood

3. Ooh la la, an inground acrylic spa with slide away floor, (roll up carpet) revealing a secret spa!

inground-hot-tubs-11

4. Indoor inground spa on a raised platform, allows for easier spa pack equipment access, from outside.

inground-hot-tubs-10

5. Tiled outdoor inground spa with remote filter and heater. Beautiful stone decking and rocks.

inground-hot-tubs-9

6. Outdoor inground fiberglass hot tub, surrounded in stone, displaying a Hot Tub Works spa cover!

inground-hot-tubs-8

7. Inground plaster and tile spa with 28 spa jets. Steps and seats done in bullnose brick, painted and washed.

inground-hot-tubs-7

8. Kidney shaped inground fiberglass spa, with stacked rock waterfall. Equipment hides under wood panel.

inground-hot-tubs-6

9. Multi-person inground spa with cascading waterfall and elaborate marble and stone decking. Palm tree!

inground-hot-tubs-5

10. Inground 10-person spa in concrete and plaster, with automatic pool cover. And a rhinoceros!

inground-hot-tubs-4

11. Inground fiberglass spa or plunge pool, wrapped in stone and tile. Uses a custom spa cover to retain heat.

inground-hot-tubs-3

12. Florida room with a semi-inground acrylic hot tub set into a concrete surround, spa pack behind wall fountain.

inground-hot-tubs-2

How Much do Inground Spas Cost?

It depends on how elaborate your design is, but in most cases, an inground spa will be more than an aboveground spa, which cost in the $5-10,000 range. Inground spas are cheaper when you use a pre-fab drop-in spa shell, of fiberglass or acrylic, and a spa pack. Concrete spas set in the ground require more work to build, from various tradesmen, which can push the cost to $20,000, or more. So then, we can ‘safely’ say that inground spas are about twice as expensive as aboveground spas, especially if you add-on water features and expensive and extensive decking around the spa.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Winter Hot Tub Tips

December 29th, 2014 by

spa-during-winterFor many spa or hot tub owners, winter is the perfect time to enjoy a hot soak in your outdoor tub. Here in Southern California, the winter temperatures rarely dip below 50°, which hardly qualifies as cold for most of the country.

If you live in colder climates, where 50° would be a winter heat wave, you can safely (and sanely) enjoy your hot tub. In winter, the air is crisper and the stars are brighter, and even if there is snow all around, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your hot tub with family and friends.

Here’s some tips to help enjoy your hot tub, during the holidays, and all through the winter.

 

1. Wear a Hat

For women (or men) with long hair, wearing a hat helps to keep your hair dry, which will help to regulate your body temperature, and prevent catching a chill while using the hot tub. Not only important for keeping your hair dry, we all know that 70% of heat is lost through the top of your head – so break out a ball cap, knitted cap or even your ten gallon Stetson®.

2. Wear Face Moisturizer

Skin cream, or hand lotion will help protect your face from bitter winter winds, which can be drying from low humidity. A layer of moisturizer (or even suncreen) will keep your skin from drying out, and keep the moisture in your skin. It also forms a barrier over your pores, to reduce absorption of spa chemicals that may be released at the surface of the water.

3. Wear Sandals or Slippers

Most outdoor spas are at least 10 steps from the door. And unless you have a red carpet runway from the doorway to the spa, slippers or sandals will help keep your spa clean, and keep your tootsies warm and dry, as you make the mad dash to the hot tub. Surfaces around a spa can also be slippery, so wear something on your feet to keep from becoming a slip and fall statistic.

4. Warm Towels

My favorite spa accessory is a towel warmer, which my wonderful husband gave me (us) as gift on my last birthday. It’s a small box, about the size of a micro-fridge, that holds 2-3 towels, always toasty warm and ready for use. Don’t have a towel warmer? No problem, pop some towels in the dryer beforehand, and store them in a small box just inside the door to the house.

5. Cool Umbrellas

If you have a patio umbrella near the spa, have it ready to pop open in the event of rain or snow. If you wear a hat, you may not need to use an umbrella, but if not, it’s nice to have a large umbrella or small parasol to keep winter weather from raining on your parade. Hold on tight in high winds, and if a rare winter thunderstorm develops, it’s best to head indoors.

6. Hot Drinks

In warmer outside temperatures, nothing is as refreshing as a cool beverage (I like infused waters), to help regulate body temperature. During the winter however, we like to make up a batch of Mexican hot chocolate, and pour it into an insulated coffee carafe, to keep it warm. Coffee mugs are perfect for the liquid chocolate; just be sure not to spill any in the tub!

7. Spa Covers

The colder the weather is outside, the faster your spa will lose heat. Spas without an effective cover will have trouble maintaining the heat during freezing temperatures, and may not recover fast enough after losing ten degrees while the cover is off. If your cover is struggling to keep the heat in, consider that it may be time to buy a new spa cover, and perhaps also investing in a floating spa blanket.

Don’t let the cold weather temperatures drive you indoors! Enjoy your spa or hot tub all year round, just remember to limit your soaks to 20 minutes, and enjoy your soak without alcohol or drugs, which can be dangerous.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Stupid Questions about Spa & Hot Tub Covers

September 25th, 2014 by

Ask a Stupid Question DayI’ve heard lots of funny questions about hot tub covers over the years, and in honor of National Ask a Stupid Question Day, which takes place tomorrow – here’s a list of questions and answers about spa covers.

We’ve had a lot of questions about spa covers over the years, none of them actually stupid. So, I challenged a few staff members around here this week to send me their favorite questions about hot tub covers.

This is what we came up with – I hope it’s informational!

 

How much weight do spa covers hold?

That depends on the integrity of two things, the foam density and the strength of the support channel that runs across the fold. Spa covers can crack across the foam panels, or the support channel can become bent when overloaded. We like to brag that our spa covers will hold over a ton (and they will, if you place a large, evenly distributed weight across the top). But if we’re talking about a person or pet standing in a 1 sq ft area, our spa covers will support between 100-200 lbs, depending on the foam density chosen.

What options are there?

Among the basic options, we have 14 colors of marine grade vinyl, skirt length, strap length, weight and density of insulation foam. We also offer a double-wrapped core to protect from moisture, the number one spoiler of spa cover foam, and a continuous heat seal, to prevent heat loss along the fold. New this year are our heavy duty wind straps option.

What type of spa cover do you own?

Currently, I have one of our top of the line spa covers, called The Works, on my own home spa. Over the years, I’ve had better and worse, sometimes taking home mis-ordered spa tops that almost fit my tub. The spa cover I have now is performing beautifully, in it’s fourth year of service.

How long did your last spa cover last?

My very last spa cover was hit by a tree branch during a storm (one day I’ll get around to that gazebo). So, it only lasted me 2 years. I once had a cover that I kept for 10 years, until the vinyl started to split, then one of the panels cracked. If you take care of it with regular cleaning and conditioning, and “air it out” twice per week for an hour, you can expect 5-7 years from a good spa cover, if you don’t get hit with a tree, or carried off in high winds!

Dirty secrets about hot tub covers?

Most are made in Mexico or Canada – is that a dirty secret? How about the vast differences in construction techniques? I have heard of some groups that use flimsy aluminum or pvc support channels, or foam panels with less than the stated density rating. Using cardboard caps on the foam corners, to give the illusion of a thicker core. Not vacuum sealing and heat seaming the foam core, exposing the foam to constant moisture. There are ways to make a cheap spa cover, but we don’t cut corners here.

What are hot tub covers made out of?

They are made with two tapered panels of closed cell foam, wrapped in one or two layers of 6-mil polyethylene. Two or more panels are joined together, both with support channels embedded into the edge of the foam panel to provide rigidity across the center of the tub. The two panels are slid into a custom sewn ‘bag’, which is zipped up tight around the foam cores. The top and skirt material is a marine grade vinyl to resist rain and weather. Materials: Foam, Plastic, Steel, Vinyl, Nylon.

How are spa covers manufactured?

Ancient Chinese Secret! Not really, we are mighty proud of our state of the art design, manufacture and shipping facility. Your spa cover design and manufacturing is computer controlled with specific cad dimensions fed into our foam cutting, and bag sewing machines. Expert technicians vacuum wrap and heat seal the foam cores and insert them into the bag. The seam team sews it up tight, and inspectors run a 27-point drill before it’s boxed up by the shipping department.

What’s the largest spa cover ever made?

We once built a spa cover for a waterpark (read more), that was 10 separate panels, covering an outdoor hot tub that was 20′ diameter! It was quite a job, and expensive as I recall – but, they made their money back in reduced heating costs in 8 months. Not sure if it’s the largest ever made, but the largest we’ve ever done!

How much snow can a spa cover hold?

More than you think. Because it’s spread out over the top of the cover, the weight is evenly distributed. Anything under 24″ shouldn’t be a concern. Even more, if the snow is dry and light. Heavy layers of ice mixed with snow is more of a concern. If you want to remove snow from a spa cover, use a plastic shovel without metal edges.

Do wild animals damage spa covers?

Bears seem to be attracted to some particular scents contained in spa foam. We’ve done a post (with pics!) on the topic. This is very rare, and it’s never happened to one of our hot tub covers – every since we began infusing them with shark scent!

What’s the worst thing you can do to your spa cover?

The worst thing you can do to a spa cover….? Is use it as a stage, or clean it with automotive care products. Or take it on the water, for some stand-up Hot Tub Cover Boarding

Pitfalls to avoid with hot tub covers?

High Winds can fling a spa cover halfway across the county! Keep it secured. Make sure that the roof eave or gutters don’t drain directly onto your spa cover, and if you have more than a few hours per day of direct sun, put up some shading. When ordering, don’t guess at dimension, but run a measuring tape. Use a cover lifter, a lot of damage is caused by not using one – usually someone falls into the cover when it’s leaning up against a wall. Crack!

Sad stories about hot tub covers?

There are plenty of sad stories about not using a spa or hot tub cover. Preventing access of small children to hot tubs is one of the best features of a spa cover. When properly affixed, they can be an effective barrier, but when they are not used properly…

Do I really need a hot tub cover lift?

Yes, not only to save your back, but to prevent injury to the spa cover. Moving an awkward and wet spa cover around is not easy. And when they are not stored up and out of the way on a spa cover lifter, they tend to get damaged, especially at parties. They also may not be positioned optimally for drying, as they are when folded over a spa lifter arm.

Hot tub cover accessories?

Aside from cleaning and conditioning chemicals, some other nifty spa cover accessories are the Cover Cap, and the Heavy Duty Wind Straps. Floating spa blankets are an accessory worth looking at, to protect your spa cover from excess heat and moisture.

 

- Jack

 

Autumn is Here – is your Spa Cover Ready?

September 11th, 2014 by

spa-cover-enemieThe weather is cooling down, and leaves are already falling. And, if you thought last year was snowy and cold, NOAA has put out an official El Niño watch, which will bring more snow, rain and generally colder weather than usual.

Autumn is the time of year when our customers get their spas and hot tubs ready for winter – in fact, it’s our busiest time of year for spa covers!

And Hot Tub Works is not alone in that regard. According to our trade association and other industry sources, spa cover sales soar during fall, as the swim season ends and hot tub season begins.

I say bring it on! We have planned for the onslaught by hiring extra help for our ‘seam team’, and stocking up on bolts of 30 oz. marine grade vinyl and truckloads of high density foam. Our warehouse chief is interviewing daily for an increase in staff, and our call center is all hands on deck, ready to handle over 1000 calls per day.

So, we’re ready, but my question to you - is your spa cover ready?

 

Most hot tub covers last about 5 years; longer if they are protected from the elements and given certain care like cleaning and conditioning and regular time-off the tub, when they can shed some of the moisture and heat that they dutifully retain 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Other products to protect your spa cover include Heavy Duty Wind Straps, Floating Spa Blankets and Spa Cover Liftersspa-cover-caps

For the most protection from winter’s worst, consider buying a Spa Cover Cap. Yep, it’s a cover for the spa cover – kind of ridiculous to think about I know, but nothing keeps your spa top cleaner and drier.

It’s been said that using a spa cover cap can double the life of your spa cover. I don’t know if I’d go that far – but there is a grain of truth to everything, I suppose.

 

69-ford-galaxieThe problem is, like most good things – is that you have to use it for it to help. Doesn’t do a bit of good laying in a rumpled pile next to the spa. Kind of like the car cover I bought back in ’03, which was going to preserve my old Galaxie, if not outright restore her. I think I used it twice, maybe three times, until a big wind blew it out into the cow pasture, and well, I wasn’t going out in that minefield to retrieve it. I like to think that it’s become a nice shelter for a family of deer.

 

Back to the matter at hand, if your spa cover has suffered a bit over the summer. If the vinyl is beginning to thin, maybe a crack across the panel panel insert, or if you start to see steam seeping out the sides of your hot tub cover – it may be time for a new one. You won’t be alone – we plan on providing over 50,000 spa covers between now and the end of the year – shipping them all around the country, from Sarasota to Seattle; from Needles to Nantucket.

Hot tub covers can be ordered online, by fax, email or if you prefer the old fashioned way – give one of our spa cover specialists a call. If you’ve ordered from us before, as over half of our customers have – just let us know you need a replacement spa cover, and we’ll pull up your previous order and start the ball rolling.

Order a new spa cover today – before old El Niño turns ugly!

 

- Jack

 

Hot Tubs & Spas: Cutting Energy Costs

August 21st, 2014 by

green-spa-2There are an estimated 3.5 million spas and hot tubs in the United States, about half a million in California alone! Each spa can use around 2500 kWh of energy per year – that’s almost 9 Billion Kilowatt hours!

This has caused various state and federal energy agencies to look closely at the way spas and hot tubs are designed, and how this affects their energy consumption. Several studies have been done in the last ten years, and they give us a good idea of where manufacturers and citizens can save energy around a spa or hot tub.

From a study commissioned by PG&E, for instance, we know that there are measures that can improve spa efficiency by up to 40% for spas of average to low efficiency. States with scarce power supplies (like California), are very interested in reducing demand on the grid.

The study aforementioned was responsible, in 2006 for the insertion of spas and hot tub standards being inserted into Title 20, California’s energy saving initiative. This set efficiency standards for new spas and hot tubs, similar to the cafe standards, which mandate minimum mpg for automobile manufacturers.

The standards have been revised and tweaked, and as a result of more research we now know more about how spas and hot tubs use energy. Here’s what we’ve learned:

 

Top 5 ways to Reduce Hot Tub Energy Costs

1a LIGHTS: Starting the list are our spa light or lights. Using LED lights, with a consumption around 3 watts, beats out halogen or other bulbs as the way to go. Most new spas are entirely LED, with some exception. Older spas can retrofit to use LED bulbs, in some cases without changing the light housing, or replace with a spa light kit. If your spa light does not have an auto shut off, install an indicator light in the circuit that you can see from the house, to keep off when not being used.

Possible Energy Savings: 5-10%

 

2aCONTROLS: Smarter control systems are now possible, with pumps that have a dozen programmable speeds, and timer clocks that allow you to optimize energy usage with multiple run times, programmed for your usage patterns, and taking advantage of cheaper off peak energy. Most spas are programmable, even if they have a mechanical time clock – but many people fail to optimize it.

It takes a lot of energy to start the pump motor and heater, extra amps aid in the starting-up, so although many daily on-off cycles are good, too many can be too much. For your spa, Experiment by reducing the hours, to find a sweet spot where the water quality or temperature won’t suffer, and you can cut energy costs. You don’t need to run it 24 hours a day!

Run the pump(s) less during the day, to avoid peak usage hours. My spa pump mostly runs on low speed, but it takes a long break in the morning and then another mid-afternoon siesta.

If you have two pumps, you have one smaller circulation pump, and a larger jet pump. Experimenting with run times on these can also result in savings.

Possible Energy Savings:  10-20%

 

3aPUMP: Running your pumps less helps yes, but for those spas out there with the 20 year old pumps, or the single speed pumps, or the pumps that suddenly disabled their low speed, or the failed circulation pump that was never replaced. I’m talking to you!

Replacing with the most current spa pumps will give you a boost in economy with a more energy efficient motors used nowadays. Side discharge pumps also have a boost in efficiency over center discharge.

Possible Energy Savings: 10-20%

 

4aCOVER: Your spa cover can either be saving you money, or costing you money. If you can see steam creeping out of the edges of it, or if your cover has taken on water, it’s not holding the heat in like it should.

The heat retention in a spa cover has to do with 3 things, the density of the foam, the thickness of the foam and the foam core wrap or seal. Although we offer a 1.5lb spa cover, a 2.0 foam density is best for holding heat in, with a taper of 3 to 5 inches at least. And when you order your next replacement spa cover, go for the options of the double wrapped foam core and the continuous heat seal – worthy add-ons that will save heat and protect your core from moisture.

Possible Energy Savings: 15-20%

 

5aINSULATION: And now, drum roll please – the most significant thing you can do to increase your spa or hot tub energy efficiency is to make sure your tub is well insulated underneath and around the sides. There are many portable spas that have virtually no underside foaming, and have a thin sheet of padding on the inside of the  cabinet walls. Hot tubs, true wooden tubs don’t normally have any insulation around the outside and can be extremely inefficient, which is why most are heated on demand, and not kept hot.

You can increase your spa’s efficiency by stuffing bats of fiberglass insulation everywhere you can under the spa, with the exception of the air space around the spa equipment. You can also use spray foam to fill in gaps, and eliminate air spaces and gaps – but it would be easier to use removable insulation, especially for future access to pipes or jets around the spa.

Possible Energy Savings: 25-30%

 

Other things you can do to prevent heat loss include:

  1. Build wind blocks around outdoor spas
  2. Use a floating spa cover in addition to your regular spa cover
  3. Avoid using the air blower, which cools the water
  4. Turn down the heat if you won’t be using the spa for a week or more
  5. Replace the cover promptly after using the spa

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’!

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Cut Spa Heating Costs with this One Weird Tip!

August 7th, 2014 by

one-weird-tip-too

 

OK, I don’t know if you’ve seen those adsense ads that promise Lose belly fat with this one weird tip! They seem to be following me around, but I like my belly just the way it is, thank you.

It’s become sort of a meme, this “one weird tip” idea – it makes me chuckle just a bit, so I had to use it in the title.

The problem with One Weird Tip blog posts, is that they tend to be rather short. There is, after all, only one tip.

 

 

Cut Hot Tub Heating Costs …with this one weird tip!

pink-insulation

Insulate your Spa!

Huh? Add home insulation underneath your spa, to seal up air gaps and hold the heat in your spa!

It’s an inexpensive way to add more R-value to your spa or hot tub. And it’s so easy to install, just tack it to the inside of the cabinet, lay it on the ground, tape it to the spa shell or just stuff it in there! Just keep it away from your spa pak and other equipment.

How much you need depends on how cold your climate is. If you live in southern California, like me, very little is needed, but if your spa is up north, you’ll need more.

 

Home Insulation is sold at every home store and hardware so it’s easy to obtain for a good price. The selection is absolutely dizzying, sold in many different sizes, in rolls or ‘bats’, and in several R-value ratings, from R-13 (shown) up to R-38.

Even one roll of the cheapest, lowest R-value insulation will increase your spa efficiency! Most heat loss on a spa is out of the sides and bottom, while covered with a good spa cover, of course.

denim-insulationIf you buy the fiberglass insulation, it comes faced (with a paper backing) or unfaced. Unfaced can make you itch like crazy if you aren’t wearing long sleeves and gloves. You could also use rigid insulation, those pink boards, to line the inside of your spa cabinet. Or, you could buy a spray foam kit, and spray every nook and cranny with expanding foam. Some stores carry insulation made from denim, or recycled textiles, if you want to use a natural insulation product.

 

For those of you with a fully foamed spa, where spray foam was injected to completely encase the spa shell in foam, I suppose my one weird tip is not much use. So here’s another weird tip, just for you! Use a floating foam spa blanket, to reduce evaporation and heat loss by creating another barrier between the water and the spa cover.

 

Weird, huh?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works