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Archive for the ‘spa covers’ Category

How to Spot a Junk Spa Cover

September 4th, 2013 by

 

junk-it-2

The spa cover business is rife with imposters these days, making low quality, junk spa covers. And it doesn’t matter which side of the border they are made on, Mexico or North America, you can find poorly manufactured spa covers.

Our business has always been to produce the best spa covers, all computer designed and made to exacting specifications, with quality materials and quality control. But there are cheaper ways to make a spa cover.

Here’s some things to watch out for if you’re shopping for a new spa cover.

First, let’s look at the anatomy of a spa cover. For strength, you have the foam core and the reinforcement channel. For weather and water resistance and to protect the core, it’s covered in marine grade vinyl and the foam core is wrapped and sealed in thick plastic.

spa-cover-anatomy

Solid handles are useful in maneuvering the cover, and good locking straps keep it secure in high winds, and safe for kids and animals. A thick, well sewn skirt helps hold in heat and block any drafts into the spa.

Now, let’s look at some of these spa cover parts one by one, to show how the quality of materials can be manipulated. These are the distinct differences between a good spa cover and a junk spa cover.

TAPERED FOAM CORE

A tapered core will allow water to run off, very important for outdoor hot tubs, and also allows for use of a larger reinforcement channel, for greater strength.

The thickness of the foam core will affect it’s heat retention, strength and water resistance. The best spa covers are 6″ thick in the center, tapering to 4″ on the edges, but you can also find 5″ to 3″ or on the lower end, 4″ to 2″ thick spa covers.

But more than thickness, the weight of the foam or foam density, is important. Spa covers can be made with 1.0 lb foam, 1.5 lb. foam or 2.0 lb. foam. The greater the foam density or weight, the greater R-value your spa cover will have.

REINFORCEMENT CHANNEL

Galvanized steel channels will provide the best strength for a hot tub cover. These are available in many thicknesses, but almost all are superior to aluminum channels, which don’t have the strength of steel. I’ve seen some aluminum channels with the rigidity of thick aluminum foil.

As mentioned above, the thicker foam cores allow for using a taller reinforcement channel across the hinge of the spa cover, to add strength and rigidity. With one on each half of your spa cover, they form an I-beam support for your spa cover. Cheap spa covers will use smaller channels, with lower grade steel, or aluminum, to cut costs and maximize profit.

MARINE GRADE VINYL

This is a type of vinyl made for boats that resists moisture and water. It is available in many thicknesses, and with many options for backing the vinyl. Our 30 oz. marine grade vinyl is a heavy weight, and it’s treated with UV and antifungal inhibitors. Light weight 20 oz vinyl are common on a cheap spa cover, some used without any woven backing.

A thicker marine grade vinyl, treated against fading and mildew, and with a heavy gauge woven backing makes a longer lasting cover that can take years of heavy sun and snow, and even a little dragging around.

FOAM CORE WRAP

This is another profit center for cheap hot tub cover production. We wrap our foam cores with heavy duty 6 mil polyethylene sheeting, in a continuous sheet. Then we fold over and heat seal the edges, before vacuum sealing to remove air. Cheaper spa covers have thinner plastic that won’t stand up to spa chemicals, and use either tape or staple their seams, with no heat sealed edges and vacuum sealing.

As an option, we offer a double-wrapped foam core, with two sheets of 6 mil wrap, and a continuous heat seal that runs across the entire bottom of the spa cover, to stop mildew from forming and prevent heat loss through the fold.

FourPanelCover

Take a look at our advantages, and our low prices – and you’ll see how we manage to sell 100,000 spa covers every year. We have 6 grades of spa covers, from our Economy Spa Cover to The Works – to fit all budgets. But even our lowest price spa covers have quality materials, computer design and precise construction – unlike some junk spa covers out there!

- Jack

 

5 Signs that You Need a Replacement Spa Cover

August 12th, 2013 by

spa-covers-newSpa and hot tub covers are indispensable, if you want to keep the heat in the tub – but they don’t last forever. Despite recent advances in materials used, creating stronger and lighter covers, there will come a time when you will need a replacement spa cover.

How do you know when a spa cover has given up the ghost? There are obvious signs, and there are not so obvious indicators. Can you get another year, or a few more months out of the current spa cover? Here’s 5 signs of spa cover distress to look for.

 

Saggy Cover

bowed-spa-cover

 

If your spa collects water on the surface, you may need a new spa cover. This indicates that the reinforcement channel is bent or broken. This is a C-channel that runs along both halves of the spa cover, where they meet at the hinge. Lower grade materials like aluminum or thin steel at this point can bend under weight (dogs, kids, snow), or from many openings and closings.

I know of someone (who shall remain nameless! ;-) who built a PVC support thingy that he placed inside the spa, and it brought his spa cover up level again. But eventually, he also had to buy a new spa cover. This time he bought a Hottubworks spa cover, an engineered steel channel that will hold up to most anything.

 

Puddle Cover

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Water is heavy, at 8 lbs per gallon, it adds up quick. Another case of broken reinforcement channel. Probably started as a small crimp in the channel, which began to puddle some water, and then some more water … and now it looks like a new spa cover is in order.

Once a cover begins a gradual puddle, it can be hard to prevent it from getting worse. If you catch it early, you can flip the foam cores over to extend the life of a puddle cover.

Buy a quality spa cover to start, use it gently, and keep heavy dogs, kids and snow loads greater than 8 inches off of the spa cover.

 

Water Logged Spa Cover

waterlogged-spa-cover

This is a spa cover that now weighs about 3x what it did when it was new. They can get so heavy that they become almost impossible to move for petite gals like myself. They can also damage spa cover lifters when they get too heavy.

What has likely happened is that the foam core wrap has become pierced, is taking on water – and, is not draining.

Our spa covers are double wrapped in 6 mil sheeting, with heat sealed edges to keep moisture out.

If you find a puncture in the core wrap, seal it up with clear tape. Removing the foam cores and allowing the spa cover to fully drain and dry can help for a time. If it repeats, it may be time for a new spa cover!

 

Torn & Worn Spa Cover

torn-spa-cover

When the fabric (marine grade vinyl on our spa covers) suffers from too much sun and weather, it becomes brittle and begins to deteriorate. Eventually, holes and tears will develop that will let in moisture.

Using a spa cover protectant like our Spa Cover Conditioner & Protectant will keep your spa cover clean, and it will keep it supple and soft. Similar to using Armor All on your car’s dashboard to prevent cracking, your spa cover will benefit in the same way from a regular conditioning.

Small rips and tears in the material can be sealed up with – I dare say, Duct Tape of all things. It won’t be pretty, but it may get you by for another year, if the foam cores, wrap and channels are in good shape.

 

Smelly Spa Cover

SMELLY-SPA-COVER

Musty, mildewy, old wet dog – whatever your spa cover smells like, if it’s a bad odor, that probably means that you have bacteria forming inside the spa cover. It probably also means that the cover is water logging (see above). Are you removing your spa cover regularly to allow it to breathe?

A complete dismantling of the cover, by carefully removing the foam cores from the outer vinyl covering. Turn the vinyl inside out and spray it down with Lysol. Now your cover smells like Lysol, not sure which is worse, but at least you’ve killed 99% of the bacteria on the fabric.

The high quality foam used in our spa covers is extremely resistant to water absorption and bacteria formation. When you are ready for a new spa cover, make sure it’s not made with cheaper and less dense foam cores.

 

5 reasons that you need a new spa cover – in case you were wondering about your own hot tub cover making it another year. This time of year – late summer into fall, is the busiest time of year for spa cover sales. It’s that instinctual preparedness clock that we all have that tells us to get ready – winter is coming!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa and Hot Tub Cover Safety

July 29th, 2013 by

locking-spa-coverSince the 1980′s, more than 250 children age 1-4 have drowned in hot tubs and spas. A small percentage became entrapped on suction outlets. Most were not experienced swimmers who fell into an open spa or hot tub, and were not able to escape.

A strong locking spa cover is the best protection for children in homes with spas or hot tubs. No matter what type of spa you have, there is a way to make it safer with the use of a cover.

 

Above Ground Spas and Hot TubsPLEASE-LOCK-THE-SPA

My spa at home is an above ground spa, with a standard folding spa cover – and there’s 4 million more out there, just like me! These spas are the simplest to keep safely covered with spa cover clips.

Latch your spa cover clips every time you put the cover back on, and never leave the spa unmonitored when you have the cover off. A simple practice of latching the spa cover clips, and keeping your spa covered when it’s not being watched will keep your spa safe.

I have a small sign near the spa, as a reminder to myself and others, to keep the spa cover latched when not in use. Although not specifically child proof, it’s unlikely that a small child will be able to remove a spa cover that is clipped in place on 2 sides of the tub.

For more advanced spa cover locking hardware, there are two other ways to secure the cover – with external straps or steel bars. This not only keeps out children, but any unauthorized use. As horrible as the numbers of drownings in spas are for children, the number of adults found dead in spas is double.

Spa cover straps, sold here at HotTubWorks, are primarily sold as heavy duty Wind Straps – but also function as extra protection, to delay or frustrate children and also – inebriated acquaintances who decide to crash your tub when you’re not looking.

Lock them over the spa cover for extra protection. Wind straps use a standard style spa cover clip to protect against high winds, and double your spa cover security.

spa-cover-lockWant even more protection? Use the Spa Cover Lock, a spa cover locking bar, made by Arctic Spas. Attach two heavy plates on the side of your spa cabinet, and use a padlock to secure the curved steel bar. Works with spa cover lifters to keep the spa cover pressed down on the tub, and prevent use of the spa cover lifter.

Used with a spa cover lifter, it also prevents being able to slide the cover off, in the other direction. If you have no spa cover lifter, two bars can be used, in opposite directions, to absolutely prevent hot tub cover removal.

In Ground Spas and Hot Tubs

Outdoor or Indoors, a spa that is at ground level presents an even larger danger to young residents or visitors, and accounts for more drownings and injuries than above ground spas – which are more difficult to access for 1-4 year old kids and easier to lock a spa cover on safely.

Many in ground spas may not even have a rigid spa safety cover – using a floating thermal blanket or soft cover instead. Of course, these are more convenient to use, than a rigid spa cover, but if there are young people in the house, nothing is safer.

You can still secure a spa cover on an in ground spa. Indoor spas may present more of a challenge, but nearly any flooring type around a spa can be drilled, and screw anchors installed – so that standard spa cover straps can be connected. Even outdoor spas – you can drill into the concrete with a small masonry drill bit and a hammer drill.

inground-spa-cover-locking-strapsWant even more protection? You can use pool safety cover hardware to secure a spa cover on an outdoor, in the ground spa or hot tub. Drill holes with a 3/4″ masonry bit and a heavy duty hammer drill.  Connect nylon strapping with the stainless steel buckles to the s.s. springs, and then attach the cover springs to the brass anchors with the installation rod that is used. In this way, you can run 2 or more straps over top of your cover, which hold the cover down tightly, and is difficult to remove without the installation rod. You can’t buy these, but you can make them, with pool safety cover hardware, and nylon strapping from the fabric store.

Keeping your spa safe is every hot tub owners responsibility. Even if you don’t have children, you likely have neighbors and guests who do – and also keeping out trespassing acquaintances should also be on your mind, to prevent an unwanted tragedy in your spa or hot tub.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

5 Important Spa or Hot Tub Care Tasks

July 15th, 2013 by

spa-hot-tub-care

Owning a spa or hot tub is not so complicated. Compared to a swimming pool, there’s a lot less work involved. But there is some work required, and maybe your spa has been a bit neglected lately, as sometimes happens during summertime.

Depending on your level of spa use, the frequency of these tasks will vary. Following each task below, follow a task frequency, mirroring your hot tub usage.

 

  • High – Daily use by several people; or commercial spas and hot tubs
  • Medium – A few times per week, by a few people.
  • Low – A few times per month, by a few people.

1. Spa Water Care

spa-water-testsTesting the Spa water, balancing the chemistry and visually checking the water clarity. Pretty basic stuff? Yeah, easy to do – and easy to forget to do. Most spas and hot tubs have something of a “chemical personality”, and are usually fairly consistent in what needs to be chemically managed – as long as you are consistent with your water tests and adjustments.

Not even a “spa guru” like myself can avoid the sometimes mundane task of testing the spa water quality and making micro-adjustments to the water balance. pH, Alkalinity, Hardness all need to be checked every time the spa is used. Neglect this task, and your spa water clarity and health can quickly spiral downward.

Draining the spa should be performed on a regular basis, every 1-4 months, depending on your usage, or even weekly, for high use commercial spas. You’ll find the water much more manageable if you set a schedule to drain it regularly.

2. Spa Filter Care

spa-filter-cartsNext up on our list of Hot Tub maintenance items – cleaning your spa filter cartridge. This task is simple enough for my 8 year old to do, once I showed her how to remove the spa filter and spray deeply into the pleats from top to bottom. It’s one of her weekend chores, and only takes a few minutes with the garden hose.

To help us remember, I created an email reminder to myself to make sure it’s done weekly, and another every 4 months, to soak the filter in our Filter Fresh spa cartridge cleaner for a deep cleaning.

Spa filter cleaners remove oils and mineral deposits that clog up the cartridge, reducing water flow and dirt holding capacity. Just soak the cartridge in a solution of filter cartridge cleaner, or use the spray on type of cleaner. Then, hose it off very thoroughly to flush out the deposits and the cleaning chemical.

Over time, even this loses it’s effectiveness, and it’s time to replace the cartridge. If everything is going well with the spa water, I buy a spa filter replacement every 18 months. High use hot tubs may need to replace the cartridge every 3 months, depending on the size of the filter cartridge.

3. Spa Pipe Care

spa-biofilmI’m not talking about leaks, although you should inspect for leaks in your spa, and promptly repair any that occur. I’m talking about bacteria deposits, sometimes called Bio-Film, that can develop and grow inside the pipes, hoses and jets of your spa.

Using a product like Tub Rinse, add it to the spa before you plan to drain the spa. High use spas should use this every time the hot tub is drained. This will reduce the amount of organics in the spa, which allows the sanitizer to work more effectively, and keep your spa water looking clear, even after heavy use. For my medium-use spa, I use it every other time I drain the hot tub.

Just pour it in and allow it to circulate for an hour – before you drain the spa. The first time you use it, you’ll be shocked at all of the nasty brown gunk that it removes and foams to the surface. It would be similar to a person who finally brushes their teeth after months of only using mouthwash. Yuck!

4. Spa Equipment Care

spa-equipmentYour spa pack is the main control center for your spa or hot tub, and includes your spa heater. To care for your equipment, remove the access panel at least monthly to inspect for leaks, the presence of rodents, rust or corrosion. Use bug spray or mice baits if you notice evidence of either. Check your time clock and reset it if there has been a power outage.

Electric terminals can be coated with a dielectric grease (shut off power first) to keep oxidation from forming. If there is nothing out of the ordinary spotted, this job will go quickly.

If something looks amiss with your spa equipment, and you’re not quite sure which steps to take, give us a call for some spa troubleshooting help.

5. Spa Cover Care

spa-cover-care-tipsSpa covers need to “breathe”, and should be removed from the spa several times per week, to allow the spa to gas off – any accumulated odors and gases. It also gives the spa cover a break from the hot water and chemicals. Remove the spa cover completely, and store it folded and upright, to allow any water to drain out.

Inspect the underside of your spa cover for any rips in the plastic, cracks in the insulative foam, warping or water retention. If any of these has occurred, you should plan on replacing with a new spa cover soon.

Cleaning and conditioning the vinyl of your spa cover will keep it looking new and it can often double the lifespan of your spa cover. My spa cover gets a quarterly “spa treatment” – I use the 303 spa cover cleaner and conditioner wipes. It only takes me about 10 minutes to clean and protect the spa cover. This shines it up real nicely, blocks UV rays and helps keep it clean, but the best advantage is that it keeps the vinyl supple and soft.

Ignore this spa task, and your spa cover material will start to shrink, shrivel and eventually it will crack and become threadbare.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Swim Spa Covers – Big Spa Covers

July 11th, 2013 by

swim-spa-covers

Swim Spas are wonderful inventions. You’ve seen them, I’m sure – they are typically 12-16 ft long with a powerful 3-4 inch jet at one end of the spa. When the jet pump is turned on, one can swim against the adjustable current, in an “Endless Pool” – say goodbye to flip turns.

Michael Phelps has his own line of swim spas, manufactured by Master Spas, so you know they’re good! Swim spas can be above ground or may be set into a deck – indoor or outdoors.

When it comes to covering a swim spa, a 4 panel or 6 panel spa cover is used. These are what we call custom covers, due to their size. Each swim spa cover we make, as are all of our spa covers, is created with computer aided design – CAD, even when we know the make and model of the swim spa. This ensures a precise fit, for maximum heat retention and strength.

A 3-panel swim spa cover, made of 3 individual panels, or of two bi-fold sections and a center single piece – is not a good choice for a swim spa. A 3 panel spa cover must span a larger distance, which places more stress on fewer panels, which have fewer cross braces. In addition, the run-off from rain is far from optimum when only 3 panels are used.

swim-spa-cover-layout

 

This is why we use a 4 panel configuration on our swim spa covers, and for larger swim spas, usually those with an attached hot spa on one end, we use a 6 panel layout, shown here.

I came across another type of swim spa cover during my research for this article. A roll-up style of spa cover for swim spas. Looks easy to remove, but how about strength or safety?

If your swim spa is outdoors, or if you have animals or kids, a strong cover that cannot be easily removed would be highly recommended.

A 4 or 6 panel swim spa cover, with 8 or 10 galvanized steel cross braces is very strong, even under heavy snow loads, sleeping dogs or dancing children.

 

And, it really takes no time at all to remove, and are lightweight enough to be easily managed, even without a spa cover lifter. For a truly simple set-up however, many swim spa owners will use a spa cover lifter on each end of the spa, or some will use a spa side rack to store the covers safely, while the swim spa is in use.

Hot Tub Works is the largest spa cover dealer in the US. We know this, because we keep our ear to the ground, and have the inside scoop from our suppliers and industry contacts. We ship over 1000 spa covers each month – and in some months, we ship double that amount.michael-phelps-in-hot-tub

Enough tooting our own horns. Quite simply, if you are looking for a quality spa cover for your swim spa, one that will last for years, fit properly and provide a high level of safety – give us a call for our swim spa cover prices and options.

Now I’ve got myself wanting a swim spa! I wonder if Michael Phelps will deliver me on himself? Sure would like that! ;-)

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Installing a Cover Valet Spa Cover Lifter

June 17th, 2013 by

spa-cover-lifts

How to Install a Cover Valet

The Cover Valet cover lifter is our best selling hot tub cover lift, with these unique benefits.

  • Requires only 6″ of clearance to hold spa cover
  • Gas shocks assist with lifting your spa cover
  • When lifted, your spa cover makes a privacy shield

The Cover Valet is also one of the more difficult spa cover lifts to install, because the brackets are held in place by bolts screwed into the spa cabinet. Other spa lifts either slide under the spa or install without measurements or drilling into the spa cabinet.


STEP ONE:
TAKE INVENTORY OF ALL PARTS

A Cover Valet ships in a fairly small box (for FREE, I might add!). When you receive your Cover Valet, check the box contents before beginning the installation. Count all of the brackets, arms, pistons and each bit of hardware, to be sure that it’s all there. Although it very rarely happens, if anything is missing, call us right away, and we’ll have a replacement Cover Valet shipped out to you.

COVER-VALET-BOX-CONTENTS-3


STEP TWO:
PRE-ASSEMBLY OF COVER VALET PARTS

To get ready to install the Cover Valet, there are a few parts that need to be connected together. All of the parts are clearly labeled, with a very descriptive installation guide.

  • Attach the Ball Studs (cvB) to the Channel Brackets (cvBB), with Lock Nuts (cvF). The round side of the Ball Stud should be on the inside of the Channel Bracket.
  • Attach Ball Studs (cvB) to both Pivot Arms (cvCC) with Lock Nuts.
  • Thread the Fingers (cvB) into the Extension Arms (cvDD). The other set of Fingers should be threaded in the opposite direction, to create a right and left side.
  • Slide the Rubber Sleeves (cvG and cvH) over the Fingers and Stabilizer Bar (cvFF), respectively.

Now that the hardware is partially assembled, you can lay the spa cover on the spa, if you had it removed. We’re ready to start installation!

STEP THREE: MOUNT THE CHANNEL BRACKETS

cover-valet-instructions

The first step is to find the proper location for mounting the Channel Brackets. The end of the brackets should be 2 inches from the outer edge of the spa shell. Use a carpenter’s square or use two yard sticks to measure and find this location. Mark the spa cabinet with a pencil, and make sure the brackets, one on each side, are both flush against the spa shell, and running parallel to each other.

Pre-drilling pilot holes into the spa cabinet is recommended, to help prevent the wood from cracking or splitting when you drive in the lag bolts. Screw in the lag bolts flush to the cabinet, until they are completely tight.

STEP FOUR: ATTACH THE GAS SHOCKS

Having a locking gas shock is a great feature of the Cover Valet. Install the locking gas shock on the side of the cover you will most often be standing on when you close the spa cover. The other non-locking shock is installed on the opposite side.

Press the bottom of each shock into place by pushing it into the Ball Stud on the Channel Bracket. The other end will be attached at the very end of the Cover Valet installation.

STEP FIVE: ATTACH THE PIVOT ARMS

Connect the Pivot Arms (cvCC) to the Channel Brackets, using the Long Hex Bolts (cvC) and Lock Nuts. Insert the Hex Bolts pointing down, so that the Lock Nuts are on the outside of the Channel Brackets, and the Pivot Arms move up and down easily. Don’t overtighten the Lock Nuts, to allow for easy movement.

STEP SIX: ATTACH THE EXTENSION ARMS

Slide the seam of the spa cover between the Fingers, with the Extension Arms (cvDD) pointing towards the Pivot Arms (cvCC). The “end” Fingers should slide inside of the spa cover, while the “high” Fingers should be on top of the spa cover. Be sure that the “knuckle” of the Extension Arms should be facing up, as shown in the images below.

CORRECT-INSTALLATION-OF-EXTENSION-ARMS

Align the Extension Arms, so they slide easily over the Pivot Arms. Slowly slide the Pivot Arms into the Extension Arms until the spa cover is centered over the spa.

STEP SEVEN: ATTACH THE STABILIZER BARS

Secure the Stabilizer Bars (cvFF) and the Extension Arms to the Pivot Arms, using the Medium Hex Bolts (cvE). Tighten only enough so that the Extension Arms will no longer slide in and out of the Pivot Arms and the Stabilizer Bar is – stable, and doesn’t move. Be careful not to overtighten the bolts.

STEP EIGHT: FINAL CONNECTIONS

Fold the spa cover onto itself (in half), and lift the cover into an upright position by pushing the Extension Arm until it reaches an upright position. While holding the cover upright, attach the top of the gas shocks to the Ball Studs on the Pivot Arm. Tie the elastic Ball Strap (cvJ) to the End Finger, on the same side that the Locking Gas Shock (cvLS) is used. The Elastic Ball Strap is useful to help lower the spa cover, instead of pulling on the cover straps. Cover Valet, America's Favorite Spa cover lifter!

Eight steps to installing the Cover Valet. It seems complicated, but no more difficult to assemble than other household helpers. It’s the best selling spa cover lifter that we offer, even though the installation is more involved than other cover lifts. In the end, a Cover Valet should take you only 30 minutes or so to install, and you may be surprised at how easy it is to operate, even for water logged spa covers!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Measuring for a new Spa Cover

May 23rd, 2013 by

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spa skirt measuring

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

 

spa-cover-safety-straps

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

 

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

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

- Jack

Deep Cleaning your Spa or Hot Tub

May 10th, 2013 by

Deep Cleaning your Spa or Hot TubYour Spa or Hot Tub is wonderful for restful relaxation or romantic evenings – but there is a dark side. Maintenance and Care.

Just like owning a car, there are specific and regular treatments needed to keep it running and looking good. Unlike my car however, my spa is easy to clean, maintain and service.

Here’s the what I do to really deep clean my hot tub, which I do every 3 months – or sooner, if I’m planning a big hot tub party, or we’ve had a “high-use weekend”.

 

Clean the Pipes

If your spa is like mine, it has dozens of jets and hundreds of feet of hidden pipes and hoses. Scientists discovered that BioFilm bacteria can find harbor inside the plumbing and equipment of hot water tubs. Just like carbon build-up in your car, it’s best to remove these deposits regularly to keep the spa sanitary. I use a product called Jet Clean the night before I plan to drain the hot tub. As it circulates, it breaks down scale and biofilm, so that I can flush it out with my next day draining.

Clean the Filter

After I have circulated the Jet Clean, I remove the filter cartridges and spray in between the pleats with my garden hose. Then, I drop it in a bucket of Spa Filter Clean solution and let is soak overnight. In the morning, as I’m draining the spa, the spa filter gets another cleaning with the garden hose (until it stops foaming), and I set it in the sun to dry. Drying your spa cartridges, before re-installing, helps kill any remaining bacteria, and lets the fibers open up and “breathe” just slightly.

Drain the Spa

First, shut off the power to the spa, in preparation for draining. Most spas have a water valve underneath, where a garden hose is connected. If not, a small submersible pump can be used. As it’s draining, I move the garden hose around my yard to recycle the water. When it’s half empty, I use another garden hose with a spray nozzle to spray into the jets and skimmer. If you notice any algae or slimy discoloration, remove the jet eyeballs and drain covers, and soak them in a chlorine solution. Use a bottle brush to scrub inside the pipes, and hose out again with fresh water.

Clean the Shell

My spa is an acrylic shell, with a beautiful shiny silver finish. To clean the inside of the shell, I spray on CitraBright and wipe it down with a soft cloth. Even though the spa shell looks clean, I’m always amazed at the amount of dirt on the cloth. It’s important to not use any household cleaners or other products that could contain harmful chemicals or phosphates. You don’t want that stuff in your spa water. Citrabright cleans fast with no residue, and has a nice Orange County scent.

Protect the Shell

Fast Gloss seals and protects the shell of the spa from sunlight and spa chemicals. What I really like about it, and why I use it, is that it makes my spa shine like it’s brand new! It also removes any streaking left over from the cleaning process. Just wipe it on, and buff a bit – real easy. It also lasts a long time, I think I’ve had my bottle for over 2 years now. After this treatment, I begin to fill the spa. Mine takes about 3-4 hours to fill, so I might have to delay filling, or adjust my schedule so I don’t overflow the spa (again)!

Clean the Spa Cover

I can’t work for a Hot Tub cover company and have a ratty looking spa top! My spa cover is 4 years old, but it still looks great. I use our hot tub Cover Care and Conditioner every 3 months. This is a combination cleaner and conditioner, in one step – just wipe it on, and wipe it off. I also use it on the spa pillows.

Clean Underneath

My spa equipment sits underneath the spa. It’s a nice warm place for small critters to hide, and maybe damage something, so keep this area of your spa clean too. I normally use my long extension on my vacuum cleaner, and suck up any cobwebs or debris. Occasionally, I spray it with a hose, but I’m careful about the electronics. If you find any evidence of rodents, you can use poison bait, or try Mouse-Away, which repels them with a cute mint sachet.

And that’s it! That’s how I do it anyway. Every 3 months, just like changing the oil in your car – give your spa a deep clean, and it can look like new – nearly forever!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

How to Buy a Spa Cover

May 2nd, 2013 by

how-to-buy-a-spa-cover

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

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

Discover Your Spa Cover

Spa Cover Make & Model

Spa Cover Make and Model

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

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

 

Spa Cover Shape & Dimensions

spa-cover-shapes-sizes-2

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

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

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

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

 

Spa Covers Features & Options

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

Spa Cover Colors

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

spa-cover-color-choices

Foam Density & Thickness

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

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

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

Spa Cover R-Value

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

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

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

Continuous Heat Seal

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

Double Wrapped Foam Core

double wrapped foam core

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

Spa Cover Dealers

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

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

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

Securing Your Spa or Hot Tub Cover for Safety

April 9th, 2013 by

spa cover-straps - regular type

It was a dark and stormy night. Wind swept up the valley, and pounded our neighborhood the entire night. We had trees down across the street, and to our surprise, our spa cover had taken flight across the backyard.

The spa cover was unfortunately damaged beyond repair, both foam panels were cracked. When I told my story to Jerry, one of the owners here at Hot Tub Works; he laughed, and told me to use Hurricane Straps, and then he handed me a free pair! (He was happy that he was going to sell me a new spa cover!) :-)

 

Standard Spa Cover Straps

Spa cover straps like those pictured above, are sewn onto the edge of most all of our spa covers. These standard straps are pretty sturdy during light winds, provide a small amount of security, and may prevent young children (or adults) from using the spa without supervision. But they really aren’t super-strong, and the spa cover clips or even the straps can break in high winds.

Spa Cover Wind Straps

spa-cover-wind-straps

You may call these Hurricane Straps, like Jerry did, but they are listed on our site as Spa Cover Wind Straps. Whatever you call them, these 1″ nylon webbing straps with thick foam edge pads to prevent rubbing, are the sure way to hold down your spa cover in a wind storm.

They are also considerably more difficult to remove than regular straps sewn onto the spa cover, to keep small children safe around the spa. And although I’m not sure, these straps will probably prevent bears or other large wildlife from removing the hot tub cover.

For added security, these straps have heavy-duty, quick-connect Sure-Loc Fasteners that clip together easily and securely. The trick to removal is to push down slightly on the spa cover, to give some slack to the strap. Then squeeze both sides of the clip to release the latch.

Inground Spa Cover Straps

inground-spa needs a spa coverWhat if you have an inground spa, with a spa cover that just sits over the edge? On an inground spa there is no skirt around the spa for which to fasten the strap clips. How can you secure a spa cover onto an inground spa?

What you can do is install brass safety cover anchors, which are made for pool safety covers. Drill 4 or 6 anchors into the deck around the inground spa, and use the safety cover springs to connect the straps to the anchors.

To create this arrangement, you’ll need several yards of of nylon webbing from your local fabric store. These hardware to make wind straps for inground spa coversstraps will cross over top of your cover, so you’ll need the diameter of your spa cover, plus about 5 feet for each strap. If your inground spa is raised up off the deck surface, you’ll need extra length to reach the pool deck.

Then, order pool safety cover hardware – stainless steel springs, SS buckles and brass anchors – 2 for each strap that you want to make. You can find them online at pool supply sites, search for mesh pool cover parts.

You’ll need a hammer drill to install the anchors into the deck surrounding the inground spa. You also may want to purchase the spring removal tool, which makes it much easier to attach and remove the spring from the anchor.

Keeping your spa cover secured is important in high wind areas – and also important to prevent accidental drowning in spas or hot tubs. Remember to use your strap clips, and keep your spa covered tightly when not in use!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works