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Archive for the ‘spa covers’ Category

Spa Covers: Get the Most from Your Investment

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spa cover

 

Spa covers are one of the most important investments you can make for your spa or hot tub. Not only will a cover keep your hot tub free of debris and ready to use, they also play an important role in conserving heat, water and chemicals. Quality hot tub covers can cost $250-$500, sometimes cost more. But with proper care and regular maintenance, you’ll extend the life of your spa cover and get the most from your investment.

 

Choosing the Right Cover

Sizespa cover measurement
It’s important to buy the right size. Improperly sized spa covers diminish your cover’s ability to conserve heat, water and chemicals, plus the foam panels are more susceptible to damage. A poorly fitted cover can also be an eyesore. With Hot Tub Works, you can easily search covers according to the make and model of your spa, or you can request a custom size and shape.

Insulationspa cover foam
For this part of the equation, it’s important to consider where your spa is located. Do you live in a mild climate, or are snowy winters a trademark for the area? An indoor model or a spa in warmer climates can use thinner, lower density 1 lb. foam, whereas an outdoor spa in cooler climates will need thicker and heavier 1.5-2 lb. density foam.

Other Options
There are more options to increase the efficiency and longevity of your new Hot Tub Works spa cover. A continuous heat seal provides additional structural support and helps in reducing heat loss. To prevent moisture from penetrating the foam, a double vapor barrier around your core is the best policy. If you live in windy or stormy climates, prevent damage to your cover by upgrade the existing safety straps with heavy-duty ASTM approved wind straps. Choose from 11 custom color options to complete the look of your new hot tub cover.inside a spa cover

Maintaining Your Cover

Let It Breathespa cover lifter
Even though the foam cores are sealed with a vapor barrier to lock out moisture, regular airing it out helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the rest of the cover. Simply open the cover and leave it off the spa for an hour twice a week or a few hours once a week. Using a spa cover lifter will make this job significantly easier, and a lifter will also prevent cover damage while it’s off the spa.

Strap it Down
When your spa or hot tub is not in use, it’s important to keep the cover strapped down or otherwise secured to prevent it from blowing open or falling into or off the spa. Securing your cover is also a safety measure to prevent accidents with children or pets.

Lighten the Load
On that same note, it’s important to keep heavy objects (including children and large pets) and excess snow accumulation off spa covers. Although covers are reinforced with sturdy metal braces, the added weight can damage the integrity of the foam and/or bend those braces, causing a progressive sagging effect.

Clean and Conditionspa cover cleaner and conditioner
Mother Nature is hard on vinyl covers. Freezing winters, sizzling summers, strong storms and the sun’s harsh UV rays all take their toll on a cover. To keep your cover looking better longer, it’s important to regularly clean and condition it. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as detergents, dish washing soap, alcohol-based products or products containing bleach, oil or silicone, as they can damage the vinyl. Only use specially formulated cover cleaners or cover wipes. Abrasive scrubbers will damage the finish, so use a small towel, soft sponge or soft-bristled brush instead.

Once your cover is clean, apply spa cover conditioner to keep the vinyl soft and pliable and resist damage from UV rays. Clean and condition your cover at least 3-4 times per year for best results. In between cleanings, it helps to keep it brushed off or wiped down to prevent accumulation of leaves, pollen, dust and dirt. In the event of mold or mildew growth, swab the area with diluted vinegar and allow the cover to dry out completely.

Other Tips
Check your cover regularly for damage or signs of wear. If the moisture seal around the foam core gets punctured or torn, patch the affected area immediately to prevent the foam from absorbing water. In addition, you can keep the foam cores from sagging by flipping them over once per year when the cover is completely dry. Another option to prolong the life of your cover is to purchase a cover cap for extra protection against UV rays, inclement weather, dirt and debris.

 

Whether you’re looking to update to a better spa cover, or you need to replace your old waterlogged cover, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at HotTubWorks.com – including products to help you get the most from your spa cover. Build your own fully customizable cover, or browse our selection of pre-made covers ready for next day shipment.

 

Hot Tubs with a View

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Every once in a while, we like to step away from the nitty gritty of spa and hot tub maintenance to feature topics around hot tub lifestyle, design and decor. A showcase for hot tub owners who have created a true spa oasis with innovative decking, landscape or location.

And speaking of location, some settings are just a natural fit for a hot tub. Continue reading for a collection of 11 beautiful hot tubs with spectacular views, some of which are available for short-term rental! If your hot tub has a great view, leave a comment with a pic – maybe I will add it to the list!

Estes Park Colorado Hot Tub Home VRBO Rental - Photo by Linda, Owner

Estes Park, Colorado, VRBO Rental – Photo by Linda, Owner

 

Hot Tub on Smith Mountain Lake, Va, Home Away Rental, Photo by Owner

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, Home Away Rental – Photo by Owner

 

Buffalo River Arkansas Rental with Hot Tub, Photo by Buffalo Outdoor Center

Buffalo River, Arkansas, Rental with Hot Tub – Photo by Buffalo Outdoor Center

 

Hot Tub at Fossil Bay Resort, Shirley, BC, Photo by Fossil Bay - click to visit Fossil Bay site

Fossil Bay Resort in Shirley, British Columbia – Photo by Fossil Bay

 

Hot Tub overlooking a California Bay, Zillow Photo by Brad Anderson

Overlooking a California Bay – Zillow Photo by Brad Anderson

 

Scottsdale, Arizona Hot Tubs- Zillow Photo by Imagine Backyard Living

Scottsdale, Arizona – Zillow Photo by Imagine Backyard Living

 

Hot Tub with a View of Lake Tahoe, on VRBO, Photo by Owner

Lake Tahoe, California, VRBO Rental – Photo by Owner

 

Hot Tub on a Yacht, Photo by Miami Boat Charters

Yacht with a Hot Tub – Photo by Miami Boat Charters

 

Hot Tub In Seattle with a View on Realtor.com, Photo by Owner

Seattle, Washington, listing on Realtor.com – Photo by Owner

 

Acorn Cabin Rentals #701 Hot Tub in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Photo by Acorn

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Acorn Cabin Rentals #701 – Photo by Acorn Cabins

 

Penthouse Hot Tub view overlooking Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia, Penthouse View – Photo by Poynters.co.nz

 


 

I would Love to soak in any one of these hot tubs with a view! My home hot tub view is not quite as grand, like most people I look across the backyard, noticing all the plants and things that need my attention.

Oh well, I can always close my eyes, and can imagine that I’m on vacation, somewhere fabulous! That’s the greatest thing about hot tubs – it doesn’t really matter where it is, I can always find my happy place!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Hot Tub Covers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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When shopping for new hot tub covers, you should know your options.

But I’m not talking about spa cover options like Foam Density or a Double Wrapped Core, but I’m talking today about the types of spa covers on the market.

There are 3 main types of spa covers – Soft Spa Covers, Hard Spa Covers and Aluminum Spa Covers.

 


Spa Soft Covers (aka soft spa covers), are a durable vinyl fabric that is stretched over the spa top and fastened to the spa cabinet with rubber straps. They are used with an air filled vinyl pillow floating underneath the soft cover, to reduce pooling of rain water.

The Good: Lightweight and much less cumbersome than traditional folding spa covers. Lowest cost for a spa cover, $150-$200.

The Bad: Not a thermal spa cover, very low R-value which makes it unsuitable for most heated hot tubs.

The Ugly: Even with the air pillow used underneath, heavy rain can cause water (and stains) to collect on the cover.

 


hard spa cover shownHard Spa Covers are the traditional vinyl wrapped foam cores with a center hinge for folding. The most popular type of spa cover, hard spa tops are made to fit the spa dimensions exactly, and are fastened to the spa cabinet with straps and clips.

The Good: Seals tightly to spa edges to perform at the highest possible R-value for heated spas. Affordably priced from $300-$500.

The Bad: Larger hot tub covers may require two persons to remove and replace the cover, unless a cover lifter is used.

The Ugly: The foam cores can break under a heavy load or horseplay, and can absorb water if the foam core seal is cut or punctured.

 


Aluminum Spa Covers are a close cousin to the Hard Spa Cover, and have been around for years. A Styrofoam core is sandwiched between two aluminum plates, and edged with a thick aluminum border. Can attach to spa cabinet with optional straps.

The Good: Lightweight and sturdy aluminum frame, Styrofoam cores that can’t absorb (much) water, many attractive colors.

The Bad: Lower R-value. No skirt over the edge of the spa, heat seal is made by a 1/2″ rubber gasket between spa lip and cover.

The Ugly: Hard to place without a spa cover lifter. Easily slips into the water, can scratch spa finishes. Highest cost of $1200-$1500.

 


 

So, when shopping for a new spa cover, take a lesson from the irony contained in Eastwood’s great western epic, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). Not everything good is all good, and not everything bad is all bad, and maybe ugly is just that, and nothing more.

I’ve seen a lot of new spa covers introduced over the years, including many that were supposed to ‘revolutionize’ hot tub covers – but here we are, decades later, with the same 3 main spa cover options.

For most spa owners, the Hard Spa Cover is the most suitable cover, in terms of cost, ease of use, and thermal efficiency. You decide what’s best for you.

 

– Jack

 

Winter-Proof Your Hot Tub

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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 hot tub that works perfectly well in a Tampa or Los Angeles winter will 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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>>> 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