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The Best Way to Purchase and Maintain a Hot Tub Cover

Here’s Everything You Need To Know

A lot of people don’t purchase high-quality spa covers because they’re a tad expensive. But you should consider a spa cover purchase to be an investment in the longevity and functionality of your hot tub.

After all, a cover will help your spa’s water retain heat, and all the sanitizing and balancing chemicals that are in it. A cover will also prevent debris and other things from damaging your spa.

You should buy a spa cover that can accommodate your hot tub properly. Then just periodically care for your cover and the water underneath it.

20-ft x 40-ft Rectangular Cover

Ground Pool Safety Cover

Drill and Tamp characteristic brass anchoring arrangement

Combat Evaporation

The most challenging thing about owning a spa is dealing with evaporation. The drier your environment is the more water that leaves your spa and goes into the air. That will result in a lower water level in your spa.

Evaporation is bad in more than one way, though. Not only do you lose water, but you also lose the heat and chemicals in the water too. That means your existing water will be less sanitary and a lot cooler. If you have your spa turned on, then it’ll consume more electricity trying to keep your water heated.

You can greatly reduce evaporation from happening to your hot tub water if you simply put a cover on it. This needs to be a cover which fits securely over the tub, so there are no gaps or spaces where heat, water, and chemicals can make their way out.

Powered Pool Solar Blanket Reel

Up to 20 Feet Wide

Intended for in ground pools

Retain Water and Prevent Intrusion

A spa cover keeps heat, water, and chemicals in the tub. In addition, a cover can keep outside elements from getting into the tub. Any type of debris outside, such as bugs, sticks, leaves and acid rain, won’t be able to bypass the cover. Indoor hot tub covers can also protect your water from pet hair and dust as well.

Spa covers can even prevent accidents regarding your technological gadgets. For instance, if you’re using a smartphone around an open spa, then one little slip or trip could cause the device to drop into the water. Then you’ll be forced to purchase a new device.

Increase the Safety of your Spa

Spa covers can keep a wide variety of things out of your water, including animals and little children. You don’t need to worry about accidental drownings or anything like that. Even though drownings happen more often in pools, they can still happen in spas just the same. So, it is just as important to have a cover for it.

Hot tub cover performance standards are developed by ASTM International. So, if you purchase a cover that is certified by ASTM International, then you’ll know you have a high-quality cover which will prevent a lot of horrible accidents.

The Anatomy of a Hot Tub Cover

You should learn more about the anatomy of a spa cover before investing money into purchasing one. You already know there is a nice vinyl covering on the exterior, but what else is there?

The vinyl shells on the outside are removable. There is a zipper which you can use to open and close them. Every vinyl shell contains two sections, with a hinge in the middle that attaches them. A solid, dense foam makes up each section too.

Outdoor spa covers have very thick foam in the middle of it, next to the hinge. As the foam moves along to the outer edges of the cover, it narrows down somewhat. The purpose of the foam is to block debris from building up on the cover and possibly damaging it. These tapered spa covers are a great addition for protecting your hot tub.

A few layers of protective plastic are wrapped around the foam before it is placed into the vinyl shell. These protective layers are known as the vapor barrier. They’re meant to stop tiny water particles, like water vapor, from accessing the foam area.

Steel bars are used close to the middle of the spa covers in order to reinforce them. Some models may include several bars all over the foam which are spread out evenly. This increases the durability of the cover considerably. In most cases, tie-down straps and handles will also be found with a spa cover.

Spa Features

Whenever you’re looking for an expensive item or something that is valuable or important, you must know the right terms to use in your search. That is how you’ll find a spa cover with the highest quality, most effectiveness, and best longevity possible. 

Foam Density – You can find spa covers in 2-pound density, 1-pound density, or 1.5-pound density. The more density you have, the more heat you can retain in the spa. You’ll also have more strength to protect it against debris impact as well.

Foam Thickness – The foam of spa covers may have different levels of thickness, such as 4” x 2” to 6” x 4”. The thicker the foam, the heavier your loads can be. It can also retain more heat too.

R-Value – All foam insulation has a certain level of heat resistance, which is indicated as the “R-value” for a spa cover. However, this value is not consistent amongst the various spa cover products available. But you’ll still see R-value used to try and impress customers. A better indicator of a good spa cover product is to look at the thickness and density levels of it.

Marine Grade Vinyl – Spa cover shell material is water-resistant. That is why it’s called marine-grade vinyl. The quality of this material can vary since it’s graded according to its weight for every square yard. The average weight range is between 26 ounces and 34 ounces. You know you have strong vinyl if this number is high. It may even be treated with a formula that makes it more resistant to mildew and UV rays. 

C-Channel – Along the width of the spa cover, there is a galvanized steel bar which assists in reinforcing it while enduring heavier loads. This bar is corrosion-resistant and offers some protection to each of the foam panels. 

Vapor Barrier – There are 1 to 2 thin plastic film layers wrapped around a foam core. The purpose of this core is to add moisture resistance to your foam. Heat is used to seal the film around the foam. When the cover gets older, the vapor barrier will gradually decline.

Safety Locks – There are up to 4 safety locks built into each spa cover. These could be basic plastic dial locks or more complex key locks. Safety locks are useful if you have little children around or if you want to secure your spa for a long time when you’re not using it. 

Automatic Solar Blanket Cover Reel/Roller

Remote Controlled

20×40′ in-ground Swimming Pools

Measurements

If you want to purchase a spa cover that is the right size, then you need to measure your spa first. But this won’t be as simple as measuring the sides of the hot tub with a tape measure.

 You might have a perfectly square-shaped hot tub, but your measurements could still be off if the corners are rounded. The easiest way to find the right measurements is to measure your existing spa cover if you have one. You don’t need to add more inches either.

If you don’t have an existing spa cover, then you’ll need an L-shaped ruler for measuring the corners of your spa. Alternatively, you can use a printable diagram or simply hold 2 rulers together so that their 0 ends are touching. The professional L-shaped ruler, or framing square, is the best choice. 

Length
Go to the longest side of your spa and measure it. Start from one lip and measure to the other lip. Don’t start on the outer edge of the cabinet. You’ll want the sides to be completely straight when you measure them. If one side has a larger figure than another side, then only focus on the larger figure. Of course, this applies to square-shaped or rectangular-shaped spas. If you have an octagonal spa or round spa, then you just measure straight through the middle from one side to the next. Add one extra inch to this figure so that you have 0.50 inches of additional space on each side for the cover. 

Width
Go to the shorter side of your spa and measure across from one lip to the other lip. Don’t measure from the outer edge of the spa cabinet. There are two areas where this measurement can be taken. This will ensure the width is accurately measured. You can add an extra inch to the width measurement so that you have 0.50 inches of extra space on each side. Octagonal spas can be measured from one point to the next on a panel. 

Corner Radius
Take two rulers or a framing square and measure the corner of your spa. The corner radius is the points in which the spa makes contact with the ruler. Always round the figure down rather than up. The square measures the amount of space surrounding the corner. If you have a smaller number, then your cover has a larger corner. This signifies that your cover is a good fit for your hot tub.

Skirt Length
The spa cover’s bottom edge has a flap which extends outward. This is called a skirt. You must have a long enough skirt so that it can seal the cover properly. But if it is too long, then the flap will bunch together and produce all kinds of gaps. You can determine the proper length by measuring your spa cabinet from top to bottom. If there is a ledge or lip on your spa cabinet, start there, and measure down. For measuring older spa covers, begin at the seam under the foam and then measure down to the skirt’s bottom area.

Fold Direction
If there are digital control panels, make sure you know where they are. You’ll want a spa cover which folds away from these panels. Otherwise, your controls won’t be accessible when your spa is open. 

Spas come in many different shapes and have all sorts of water features and integrated sound systems. Because of this, a special custom spa cover may be necessary. Some manufacturers can make you a custom cover if you send them a template of what you want to be made. This will ensure the cover fits your spa properly.

Cleaning and Maintaining a Spa Cover

You can’t just purchase a spa cover and then neglect it. Spa covers need maintenance and care, just like your spa does. If you care for your spa cover properly, then it will last for a long time. You’ll also save money too because proper maintenance can help prevent mold, sun damage, and chemical damage.

You should clean your spa cover as often as possible. Whenever you see debris on it, just brush it off. Since most outdoor spa covers are shaped like a wedge, any rainwater that falls on the cover should fall off easily. But the same cannot be said for debris, such as bugs, snow, sticks, and leaves. You’ll need to remove these elements yourself. It doesn’t take much effort, though. A couple of push broom swipes should do the trick. Don’t use something that has sharp edges because that could put a hole in the vinyl material.

At least two times per month, you’ll want to do a deep cleaning on your spa cover to eliminate mold.

  1. Take off the cover all the way and place it down flat on an area that is not abrasive. Spray the cover with a special cleaner that is formulated for marine vinyl. Wipe the cover clean by following the instructions of the product. Focus on the bottom and sides of the cover. Avoid cleaners which contain silicone, oil, alcohol, or detergent ingredients.
  2. Use distilled white vinegar and water to wipe the spa cover bottom clean. Bleach will be tougher on vinyl in comparison to vinegar.
  3. Give your cover some UV protection by adding a little bit of vinyl conditioner or protectant to it. Your vinyl will stay soft and won’t crack as easily.

Odor Problems

If your spa cover ever smells weird, then it probably has mildew or mold growing on it. You can use a cleaner to scrub off surface mildew. Then you should use a diluted vinegar solution to treat the surface.

A disinfectant spray might be suitable for mildew that is underneath the cover. But if any mildew or mold has gotten past the vapor barrier and infected your foam material, then you’ll have no choice but to replace the entire spa cover.

Maintenance

Aside from cleaning your spa cover, you should inspect it for any damage or other issues regularly. If you see any damaged vinyl, then repair it immediately by patching it up with a vinyl repair kit. If you see zippers that don’t work, then a professional may be needed to fix it. Make sure you fix these kinds of problems quickly or else water will enter the foam core.

Let your spa cover dry out periodically. Don’t just leave the cover on your spa for a long time because its lifespan will get reduced. Try taking off the cover at least once per month, so you can balance the water chemistry and clean the shell. Let the cover dry first prior to replacing it.

If you conduct water tests every week and balance your water chemistry accordingly, then you can keep out algae and bacteria from growing there. Do this more frequently if a lot of people use your spa.

Spa Cover Lifter

Spa covers are rather heavy. If you manually remove your cover by hand, it could eventually cause your back to hurt or give out. Why not get a spa cover lifter to make this process easier?

You can purchase a lifter that uses hydraulic arms to lift the weight of the cover so that you don’t need to bear it yourself. If you choose a lifter with manual arms, then it reduces the load considerably for you. Either that or choose a shelf lifter which lets you slide the spa cover onto it.

In normal circumstances, manually lifting a spa cover is a two-person task, but a lifter allows you to do it yourself easily.

Spa Cover Protection

Your spa cover can incur a lot of impact from UV rays, rainwater, and wind. There are also animals and plants that you need to worry about as well. To protect your spa cover from these hazardous outside elements, you can do a few simple things. 

1) Secure the Cover
Inspect the cover periodically to ensure it is properly fitted and secured on the hot tub. Any strong winds could easily tear the cover off the spa unless it is secured just right. Some covers even have locks that you can add onto them for additional security.

2) Cover Cap
A cover cap is an additional protective layer made just for your spa cover. It helps protect the vinyl cover material from UV rays and light winds. You can also clean your cover more easily with this cap on it. 

3) Connect Wind Straps
If there are a lot of high winds in your area, then you should connect these winds straps to anchor your hot tub cabinet securely. That way, it can stay in place whenever there are heavy winds. You can even purchase hurricane straps if you’re in a location which is prone to getting hurricanes, such as Florida. 

4) Remove Nearby Objects Before a Storm
If you know that a storm is about to come, then you need to remove any nearby objects which could get blown into the spa. This includes patio furniture, barbecue grills, potted plants, lawn chairs, and so on. Place these items in your garage, shed, or some other secure storage facility.

5) Trim the Trees and Bushes
There are many benefits to landscaping. Not only will it make your backyard appear beautiful, but it can eliminate potentially dangerous limbs and bushes from your spa area as well. For instance, if a tree limb were to fall on your spa cover or get blown into it by heavy winds, then your spa cover or cabinet could suffer scratches, tears, or other permanent damage.

6) Use an Umbrella
If you put a large umbrella over your hot tub cover, then it’ll protect it from UV rays and falling debris. Then you won’t see any fading or bleaching on your cover. 

7) Cover Protectant
Cover protectant does two things for a spa cover. It makes the cover look good, and it keeps it protected from UV rays to some extent. You should no longer notice any cracks or fading on your cover after you apply this protectant to it. As a result, your spa cover should last a lot longer than usual.

8) Clear Away Ice, Water, and Snow
If snow, ice, or water builds up on your spa cover, then a lot of weight will be put on it. Too much weight like this will strain the cover connectors and cause them to break. The cover might even get torn as well. You can repair minor tears in the vinyl material, but not in the connectors. 

The Best Time to Replace the Spa Cover

You might have paid a lot of money for your spa cover. But if you’ve owned the cover for many years, then it might be time to replace it. You’ll know it is the right time if the cover weighs considerably more than it did when you first purchased it. This is due to water getting absorbed into the cover over the years. 

A spa cover should weigh between 50 and 75 pounds. Cheap vapor barrier material can cause the spa cover to gain weight a lot faster. You need to perform maintenance regularly to extend the lifespan of the cover. But sooner or later, you’ll need to buy a new one. 

Conclusion

It is worth the money to spend on a hot tub cover. It protects your much bigger investment, which is the hot tub itself. It also helps keep your spa sanitary so that users can stay healthy and happy.