Spa Cover– Essential Accessory For Your Hot Tub

Hot tubs have ended up being increasingly more popular nowadays as a fantastic way to unwind and relax in the house, and increasingly more people are setting up spas in their homes. Not only can you take pleasure in soaking in the hot tub, you can likewise acquire some terrific health advantages. You can soak your trouble and tension away as the hot water helps relieve the stress in your aching body. You can also do simple water workout or water aerobics in your hot tub, which is a safe and effective way of working out and remaining in shape. Hot tubs are normally made from cedar, redwood and teak, and can accommodate as low as one and approximately more than 10 individuals. When making your purchase, make sure to buy your hot tub from a trustworthy hot tub maker. As long as the spa manufacturer has a good track record is the very best warranty of quality and service. There is a wide range of hot tub designs for you to choose from, such as the portable hot tub or home spa, You will be confronted with a varied range of hot tub functions, designs, specifications and accessories so it is a good idea to equip yourself with some basic understanding on hot tubs before you choose your model preference. The internet is an excellent place to search for beneficial info on hot tubs and the various hot tub designs offered on the market. Expense is an important consideration too when you decide to purchase a spa, which depends upon the construction, size and features of the hot tub you pick. You should also discover the operating expense of the hot tub. Once you have actually installed your spa at home, make certain to keep it in good working condition as it is not an inexpensive investment. Many hot tubs should include a spa cover as this is a beneficial and necessary spa accessory to have. Spa covers aid to keep litter and impurities out of the water. A hot tub without a cover may also be dangerous as younger kids or animals might accidentally fall under the warm water. Hot tub covers also help maintain heat in the hot tub, thus reducing your heating bills. It is essential that you buy a good quality spa cover. Make sure that your spa cover is long lasting and strong so that it can be utilized for many years to come. Inspect that your hot tub cover is the right size and fits firmly over your hot tub. Having a hot tub cover that fixes securely likewise assists in keeping pollutants and litter from the hot tub, and also traps the heat helping keep the water great and hot. Understand that a hot tub cover can likewise end up being old and wrinkly and used where it has actually been folded and unfolded when too lots of times. A wrinkle in your hot tub cover may likewise enable more heat to escape, so that it is no longer efficient as insulation. There is a large range of hot tub models for you to select from, such as the portable hot tub or house spa, You will be faced with a diverse variety of hot tub features, designs, requirements and devices so it is a great idea to equip yourself with some standard understanding on hot tubs before you choose on your design preference. The majority of hot tubs must come with a hot tub cover as this is a vital and beneficial hot tub device to have. Hot tub covers also assist retain heat in the hot tub, thereby reducing your heating costs. Having a hot tub cover that fixes securely also assists in keeping pollutants and litter out of the hot tub, and likewise traps the heat helping keep the water hot and nice.

In Closing: One of the biggest reasons homeowners eventually stop using their hot tub is because the hot tub cover is too heavy. At SpaCap.com, they have been building light, easy to use hot tub covers for thirty years. Their covers not only insulate better but they also stay lightweight and easy to use.

Spa Covers and Sunbrella

If you own a hot tub in Texas, Arizona or at altitude in the Rockies you know what sun exposure can do to vinyl spa covers.

The reason is all vinyls are rated by hours outdoors. Normally 1500 hrs outdoors is pretty standard which amounts to about 100 days if you only count daylight hours. Makes it seem kind of silly to put vinyl on anything that’s going to be outdoors.

Vinyl will always crack and fall apart eventually if it is exposed to temperature extremes and or UV. That’s why Sunbrella ™ was invented. It has been the gold standard in outdoor fabric for more than forty five years.

Sunbrella ™ is manufactured by Glen Raven Mills here in the USA. Made from acrylic fiber woven into a canvas like fabric it offers the breathability of canvas without the shrinkage, rotting or fading. One of the great advantages of breathable fabric is that it does not trap moisture in like vinyl where it can grow mildew. The vinyl on the outside is one of the reasons why if rigid foam spa covers smell like mildew. Since acrylic is the same stuff most spas are made of Sunbrella ™ is incredibly durable.

Sunbrella ™ doesn’t crack in cold like vinyl, or fade like canvas. If you live near a marina every boat top you see out there in a bright color is Sunbrella ™. Anything else would fade out quickly, even the paint on the boat will fade before the Sunbrella ™ will.

For those of you who don’t know sailing, the typical sail material needs to be protected from exposure when not in use so it is bundled and covered with a sail cover. The sail cover is the shield that covers the expensive sail from damage.

My neighbors sail cover was made from Sea Grass Green Sunbrella ™ which is a bold, fairly bright green. I explained to him that if I patched the cover with new material it would look terrible because new bright material would stick out like a sore thumb on the faded older material. I laid a piece of new material on his old cover to prove my point.

To my astonishment the only difference between the two was his was a little dirty. Once it was cleaned and patched, there was no difference between the new fabric and the old even after constant exposure for twelve years. If your spa is outdoors and your tired of replacing spa covers due to sun damage you really need to get the only spa cover that is offered in Sunbrella ™ fabric the SpaCap.

If rigid foam spa covers smell like mildew, the vinyl on the outside is one of the reasons why. For those of you who don’t know sailing, the typical sail material needs to be protected from exposure when not in use so it is bundled and covered with a sail cover. The sail cover is the shield that covers the expensive sail from damage.

If your spa is outdoors and your tired of replacing spa covers due to sun damage you really need to get the only spa cover that is offered in Sunbrella ™ fabric the SpaCap

Spas for Hydrotherapy

If you’ve ever experience chronic discomfort or arthritis or any variety of disorders, you might unknown that one of the best recovery properties offered to us today, is the ability to being in warm water, up to our neck for 15-20 minutes a day.

It’s amazing the variety of medical benefits you can get from one hot tub; by sitting in a hot tub with air and water blowing jets you can relieve tension from nearly every part of your body.

Having the ability to recline in a molded seat that is geared up with jets that are concentrated on your aching spots, whether it’s the back of your neck, or your lower back or calves, you will be able to find relief with a jacuzzi. The very nature of being in water, with its buoyancy impact takes an extraordinary amount of gravitational pressure that is with you when you are not immersed in warm water. Often the pressure raised can equal up to 30% of your body’s weight, or weight mass, and there is so much more that can be done under these conditions.

The capability for people who suffer from arthritis are able to get some exercise while in a jacuzzi, people who have problems with balance are a lot more likely to be able to move around in water in a hot tub and hot tubs for hydrotherapy have actually even been utilized in centers that treat people who are the victims of burns.

Isn’t it astonishing to consider the relaxing in warm water could be so recovery? This understanding, of water being a therapist, goes back to Ancient Egypt who would encourage individuals to bathe in the warm waters and they even went an action further and added vital oils to even more improve the promo of relaxation.

During the Roman Empire the big thing to do to unwind was to partake in the general public baths and you might even integrate some service with your relaxation time as the Roman baths were deemed a social environment instead of a means of excellent hygiene.

Hot tubs for Hydrotherapy are more than simply warm waters, they are fitted with jets that will, with the use of air and water, soothe worn out muscles, massage muscles that are tense and they can be tactically positioned to focus on any body location that is essential.

Are you trying to find a need to buy a hot tub for hydrotherapy? It’s a clever option due to the fact that of the cash you can save by not having to go to a rehab for your workouts, or to a health center, but is something you can treat yourself to any time of the day or night. The benefits of jacuzzis with hydrotherapy far out weigh any cost since you can’t put a rate on your health, not to discuss your psychological health as well, which is significantly enhanced when your physique is feeling well.

The bottom line is this, you cannot go wrong if you’re trying to find a jacuzzi and why not equip it with the hydrotherapy jets, it’ll just get better.

Now that you have all the reasons you need to rush out and buy a hot tub, we have one more thing to help you get the most benefit from it. Imagine getting all relaxed in your hot tub and then straining yourself trying to get a heavy awkward cover back onto your spa.

Washing your aches and pains away in the warm embrace of pulsating water jets followed up with getting your blood pressure up because you get angry while putting the heavy cover back on the hot tub is pointless.

At SpaCap.com, they have been building Custom Hot Tub Covers for thirty years. Imagine a hot tub cover as easy to use as moving a fluffy comforter onto your bed. No exasperation required.

Don’t let all the good your hot tub can do for you be wasted on a heavy, outdated, obsolete cover just because that’s all your local dealer has to offer.

Choosing a Swim Spa

How to Choose a Swim Spa

A swim spa can offer a lot of different activities.

Is the Swim Spa for Swimming, Aquatic Exercise, Relaxing or Partying?

Most swim spas will let you do all of the above but some are more orientated to exercise, some to relaxation.

If you think that you might swim some but mainly you want to be able to play with the kids, a shallower water depth and less expensive current generation system could be the best choice.

If relaxation is important, you will probably want a generous supply of massage jets. Molded seats ensure you are not pushed out of position by the currents. If you want to invite your friends, the more seats the better. 

For underwater exercise machines you will need a solid, durable, flat base. Fiberglass or stainless steel give the most secure base.

There are a lot of attractive extra features to look out for like aromatherapy, LED and fiber optic lighting, water falls, built in stereos, air blowers etc.

How is the Water Current Generated?

For serious swimmers, the way the current is generated is one of the most important considerations.

The first swim spa manufactured was the Swimex. It still has one of the best ways of generating a current to swim against. A large paddle wheel at the back of the swim spa draws a wide, deep current of water through the spa ensuring a laminar, chop-free flow. You will have no trouble staying afloat and no white water to battle against.

 Swimex
The Swimex uses a paddle wheel to deliver a powerful current with little turbulence.
Propellers can also generate a steady water flow but it is not as deep and wide as a paddle generated current. The advantage is that the system is cheaper to manufacture and propeller systems are often found in mid-price swim spas. Endless Pools, H2X and Swimmers Edge all use propeller systems.

Swim jets create water flow with the most turbulence. Manufacturers are constantly adjusting how swim jets perform to make sure the current provides buoyancy as well as resistance but they still offer the least enjoyable experience.

Resistance Tether Swim Spas

It is possible to swim in place using an elastic tether attached to the swimmers body. This is a system used by many athletes for endurance training. The drawback is the turbulence and waves created by the swimmer. 

Swimergy have a specially designed pool to suppress waves.

 Cal Spas  offer a tether system in some of their swim spas.

The Shell

Swim spa shells are usually made of fiberglass or acrylic. Fiberglass shells can split or the layers can separate if they are not well made (‘one piece construction’ manufacture is best).

Acrylic shells will not split and are very durable as long as the framing is sufficiently strong. Acrylic reinforced with fiberglass is the most rigid.

Bradford swim spas are made of stainless steel with tile overlays. They are very durable but also expensive and usually only an option for hydrotherapy centers and resorts.
Ozone Generator?

A swim spa with a built in ozone generator needs little chemical input or maintenance time to stay fresh and safe to use.
Running Costs

The big expense is heating. If you are going to use the swim spa as a hot tub outdoors, at around 95 degrees, it will eat up the electricity in cooler weather. If you are happy with about 80 degrees- a good workout temperature- it will be pretty economical from spring to fall.

Swim Spas with separate spa and swimming areas like the H2X Momentum and Swimmer’s Edge Duo can save money. There is no need to heat a large volume of water for a relaxing soak!

An indoor installation will not add too much to electrical costs if the room is already being heated.

Solar power heating is a very practical way and economical way to heat any pool or spa.
In Ground or Above Ground?

Most above ground swimming spas situated outside need a four inch concrete base to rest on plus an electrical and water supply. They can be finished with side panels or built into decks.

If you want to install in-ground, it is worth getting a firm price from a local contractor for site preparation before you purchase. Remember to think about local codes for safety issues.

Wet Testing

If you live near a swim spa dealer they will be happy to let you slip into a bathing suit and try out their swim spas!.

 

Swim Spa Covers

Most swim spas come with a floating thermal cover or simple wind-over vinyl cover to help retain heat and keep out debris. The problem is that these really fall short of doing the job. That’s why we recommend the SpaCap Swim Spa Cover from SpaCap.com 

It is light enough to be handled easily, and yet insulates far better than any foam filled swim spa cover. It is the only swim spa cover available factory direct offering a wide range of Sunbrella Marine Fabric colors.

Can Hot Tub Covers Be “Green”?

All this talk about going green, saving energy and saving the planet. As it relates to Hot Tub Covers, the most important thing we can do is to not create more waste that will just end up clogging our land fills. Consider this for a minute… There are 10 million spa owners in the USA, and each one of them uses a typical rigid foam spa cover on their hot tub. For the sake of this demonstration each foam cover is only two inches thick and every spa is eight feet by eight feet. That would mean each spa cover contained about 10.666 cubic feet of foam per spa cover. For the rest of this example we will use 10.5 cubic feet per cover.

If each cover on every spa becomes saturated within two years and needs to be replaced that would mean that we would be adding 52.5 million cubic feet of waste to our landfills in just hot tub covers every year.
If it takes two and a half covers worth of foam to make up one cubic yard that translates to 4 million cubic yards of waste added to our land fills every two years just in spa covers.
Used hot tub covers waste enough foam to build the Giza Pyramid every six years
There are 11 million Cubic yards of stone in the Great Pyramid at Giza, we are adding enough foam to build a duplicate in our landfills just from used hot tub covers every six years conservatively. There are four and a half million cubic yards of concrete in Hoover Dam. So we could clog a river with our discarded foam filled spa covers every two years. Or we could build a two lane highway of discarded foam filled spa covers from Seattle Washington to Miami Florida every two years.

Remember, for this example we were using a two inch thick foam spa cover. Most foam filled spa covers are not two inches thick anymore. If all those old foam covers were four inches thick all these calculations would be double. If they were tapered spa covers, say from six inches down to two, it still doubles the amount, so the highway or dam could be built every year instead of every two years.
But we are just being conservative so we want to stick with two inches thick. If we ripped the covers in half and laid those pieces end to end we could circle the earth at the equator on used spa covers every two years.

Heck with parking lots, in a few years we could pave the entire planet with foam just from saturated foam spa covers from the USA alone.

So what is the solution? Well, how about a better spa cover?. What if there were a spa cover that did a better job insulating, did not get saturated, heavy, break or blow away in the wind? Good news, you do not have to quit using your spa to save the earth. You just need to get a SpaCap Hot Tub Cover that does not use foam to insulate. There would be two major advantages to doing so. First the spa cover that did not use rigid foam to insulate would last longer. Since what always fails in the typical spa cover is the foam, either breaking or getting so saturated that you cannot lift it, a spa cover that did not use foam would tend to last longer.

Second, if the new type of spa cover does not use rigid foam it will also be a lot more friendly to the environment when it does come time to discard it. Less trash, less waste, less land fill, not that is what going green is all about.

SpaCap uses a patented design to solve all of the following:

  • As easy to use
  • Light Weight
  • Sheds Moisture
  • Won’t fly away
  • Won’t break under a snowload
  • Won’t be damaged by hail
  • Insulates Better
  • Sunbrella fabric rated by years not hours

Why Do Hot Tub Covers Get Heavy?

Heavy Hot Tub CoverEvery traditional foam filled hot tub cover gets heavy. But the how and why may come as a surprise. It has nothing to do with rain so it doesn’t matter how steep the taper is, that cover will still get heavy. If it was rain that was making hot tub covers heavy then putting a roof over the spa would stop the cover from getting heavy.

Moisture getting trapped in the foam is what eventually makes a cover too heavy to lift. But if it’s not the rain, how does the water get in there? The answer is steam from the warm spa water. When water becomes steam it is a much smaller molecule than a drop of water.

Steam can get into a much smaller area, like say the spaces in the foam. Once it cools back down and turns into water again, it’s trapped inside the foam. Once trapped in the foam the water won’t drain out so a fancy drain hole won’t help. The only way the water can get back out of the foam would be to evaporate. In order to evaporate, the hot tub cover would have to be removed from the source of steam (the hot tub) and placed in a dry, well ventilated area.

The problem has nothing to do with how well the cover is cared for or how much vinyl protector is rubbed on it. The problem is the foam. The type of foam used in hot tub covers is designed to be used as insulation in DRY conditions. For instance it works well in floors, walls and ceilings (provided it is kept dry) and is great for refrigeration applications.

However if the same foam is exposed to steam, the insulation it could offer is quickly reduced to something equivalent to wet plywood.Another Heavy Hot Tub Cover

So why is foam still being used in hot tub covers? It’s cheap and it’s the industry standard. But just because everybody is doing it doesn’t make it the best idea.

A hundred years ago the standard mode of travel was the horse. The horse had been the standard for hundreds of years. Until something better came along.

A better idea as far as hot tub covers go would be one that eliminates the foam, still insulates but stays light weight and easy to use.

Thirty years ago, (yes really, thirty years ago) that is how the SpaCap was developed. A single woman with back trouble, needed to be able to use her hot tub every day for therapy. She had to be able to get her cover off and on by herself without further injuring her back.

The cover she eventually came up with was light weight, easy to use and insulated as well as a foam filled hot tub cover. Although it has gone through many improvements over the years, the concept and principle is still the same. SpaCap.com builds custom hot tub covers for all kinds of spas including swim spas.

Don’t go out and purchase another foam filled hot tub cover just because that’s what the neighbors do. Visit SpaCap.com and get a cover that won’t get heavy or break and will make it easy for you to use your spa for years to come!

SpaCap Hot Tub Cover

Choosing the Best Hot Tub Cover

Your hot tub cover will protect your water from debris, animals, and some airborne bacteria, while also trapping the heat inside and saving you money. Naturally you want to get the most cover for your money. You want a cover that will do the job and last a long time. The following are a few tips for picking out your hot tub cover.

The Fit

Make sure it fits. Your hot tub cover should fit snugly over all sides of the hot tub, and should rest very close to or on the surface of the water. If the sides are loose, then animals could crawl in to get to the warmth or the hot water will evaporate and escape.

If it is too high off the surface of the water, hot water will evaporate, cling to the underside of the cover, then cool and drop back down into the water, lowering its overall temperature. Not to mention that the evaporation and condensation cycle would tend to release or use up the spa chemicals.

Ideally, the bottom of the cover would be on the water surface since that is what we want to keep warm.

Because we have been in this hot tub cover business a while, we have seen every manner of ill fitting, broken, taped, tarp covered, and otherwise “beyond it’s normal life span” attempt to put off getting a replacement cover.

Heavy Hot Tub Covers keep people out of the spa
If your cover looks like this you’re probably not using the hot tub today

This not only looks terrible but it costs you money because all of these efforts don’t really help. If you’re going to drain your spa and get rid of it, fine. But if you intend to keep using it, investing in the right cover is going to help.

The Insulation

Make sure it traps heat efficiently. As we stated before, a hot tub cover that sits up on the edge of the spa, several inches off the water surface, will trap evaporating water and cause it to condense and cool, then fall back into the spa lowering the temperature of the water.

What also occurs is the foam inside a traditional cover absorbs steam because it is a small molecule than water, then the water vapor condenses and becomes trapped in the foam material over time. Once the spaces in the foam have been filled with moisture whatever insulation value it did have is gone. A water logged cover has the same insulation value as a sheet of plywood.

Hot Tub Cover held down with sand bags
If this is how you keep your hot tub cover in place you need a new cover!

The moisture also causes the cover to slowly become heavy until it either can’t be lifted or breaks under its own weight.

It gets worse. One of the other adverse effects of the saturated cover sitting way off the water surface, the cover will freeze when the outdoor temperature is below freezing. Because the outside of the cover is actually in contact with the freezing temperature outside and not in contact with the spa water it becomes a solid block of ice.

From the outside it may appear to be doing a great job insulating because snow will pile up on top of the cover. That’s because snow doesn’t mind sitting on ice. Unfortunately, your spa is working harder than ever trying to keep the spa water heated underneath that frozen cover.

To avoid the spa cover from becoming a solid block of ice over your hot tub in winter, you need to get one that does not sit up on the top of the edge of the spa, several inches off the water surface. You need a cover that won’t soak up moisture and freeze. A cover that will insulate the water at the water surface, like the SpaCap.

SpaCap hot tub cover in winter conditions
SpaCap on duty in winter

Weather Proof

Make sure it’s weather proof. If your hot tub is stored outside and not under shelter, then the cover must be durable enough to withstand rain, wind, snow, and potentially hail or winter precipitation. The cover must also prevent rainwater and wind from getting into the hot tub and cooling down the water.

So you need to have a cover that can keep the rain and debris running off, with a taper or better yet a dome shape

The tapered cover, is usually sold with the idea that it will keep the rain running off and because of that it won’t get heavy. If that were true, no tapered foam filled hot tub cover would ever get heavy. But it isn’t true because the do get heavy.

Every tapered, foam filled cover ever sold will get heavy because the moisture doesn’t come from outside the hot tub. In fact the only way to insure that a foam filled hot tub cover won’t get heavy is to never use it. If you never put it over hot water where steam can infiltrate into the foam it will never get heavy.

So if no foam filled hot tub cover ever made can keep from soaking up moisture once it’s in place over warm water, the solution is NOT to buy another foam filled spa cover, but to get one that does not use foam panels. The SpaCap are the only hot tub covers that won’t saturate.

Let’s talk for a minute about spa cover lifters because a lot of hot tub owners have fallen for the idea that a lifter will be the solution to a heavy cover. But it is not, because every lifter ever made is designed to work with a light weight cover.

Think about it. You still have to flop half the cover over the bar before the lifter is used. In most cases, that first lift is the one that is beyond hot tub owners. But if you did manage to open it halfway and then push the lifter hard enough to move a heavy cover, something has to give.

Either the spa cover will rip itself apart because it can’t hold it’s own weight or the lifter will rip itself off the hot tub cabinet. So a “lifter” is NOT the answer to a cover you can’t lift.

The only hot tub cover that won’t become saturated is the one with no foam. You need a spa cover that uses air chambers to do the insulating instead. The SpaCap.

If your spa cover is trying to make a bridge over the spa, then a heavy wet snow load will crush it. If the bottom of your spa cover rests on the water, it can transfer the weight of the snow and handle almost any snow load. In thirty years of building the SpaCap hot tub covers, and selling them in mountain retreats all over the world, not one has ever been crushed by snow.

If your spa cover has a rigid surface, the wind can eventually lift it off the spa and take it to parts unknown.

The physics of this are fairly simple, wind hits the side of the spa and then goes up and over. As the wind sweeps over the top of the spa it creates a vacuum above the rigid foam cover until it lifts it off the hot tub. Once it does the following wind pushes into the space below the cover and the water surface. As the air rushes in it compresses in the space until it pops the rigid cover up. At that point, lift off has occurred and the hot tub cover has become a wing.

Depending on the strength of the wind the cover can fly for miles.

The reason is that the rigid cover presents a surface that the wind can lift making it a wing.

This is where the natural dome shape of the SpaCap makes all the difference. There is no rigid surface for the wind to create lift. The natural dome shape just redirects the winds harmlessly away. Even Hurricane force winds won’t budge it.

In the past thirty years, hundreds of SpaCap hot tub covers have been sold in Tornado Alley and in areas that get hurricanes. Not ONE SpaCap has EVER flown away. They are the only truly Wind Proof Hot Tub Covers.

Pet Safe

Make sure it’s animal proof. Pets and wild animals are sometimes drawn to hot tubs by their heat, and some very small animals will even try to make their homes inside of a thick hot tub cover. Other animals crawl underneath the cover seeking warmth and end up falling in the water and drowning. Make sure the cover doesn’t allow any space for animals to go underneath it, and make sure it is made of material that animals can’t chew through to make their home.

Let’s face it, no cover is perfectly animal proof. But the SpaCap can handle more animal problems than any foam cover ever could. We used to say that no animal has ever damaged one. But in the last thirty years there have been some persistent creatures. There was a bear in Whistler BC that decided he wanted to take a dip in the spa. There was a raccoon in Bellevue WA that tore one up so he could wash his food. In both cases no traditional foam filled cover would have been able to do better.

All total, far more animals have damaged foam filled spa covers than the SpaCap.

More information about hot tub covers is available at SpaCap.

Hot Tub Covers and the R-Value

The Myth of R-Value and traditional foam filled Hot Tub Covers.

R-value is a form of measurement of the ability to resist heat transfer for materials like the fiberglass insulation in your house or maybe the insulating foam in hot tub covers. The intent is that, the greater the R-value, the better the heat storage and, heat retention would be the primary job of any hot tub cover.

Most industries using R-values are regulated by FTC standards. Commercially sold insulation must pass independent tests created by American Standards and Testing Methods (ASTM) so as to be advertised or marked using their R-Value.

The Misled Masses: As there is no FTC recognized independent test for spa covers, So ANY stated R-value stated by a spa cover dealer is in reality an unregulated, unmonitored “interpretation” of a given insulation value. It is open to misrepresentation and abuse, from adding the R-value of an air space between the water and the bottom of the cover, spacing between the vinyl and the cover insulation, or simply blatantly inflating the fictitious number. Some hot tub dealers state exclusively the known R-value of the insulation itself, but of course that doesn’t mean that it was tested and endorsed to use in hot tub cover applications.

The R-value of the actual foam insulation, no matter the density, is ONLY rated for use in DRY building applications! Which signifies the fact that the R rating of the foam is only applicable should it happen to be applied in a wall, attic or floor. Because should it were to be used in a moist environment, that type of insulation would fail quickly.

R-values

Foam Density and Foam Thickness.

These two factors that spa cover dealers claim affect the R-value of a spa cover, when in fact that R rating itself has nothing to do with the foam when it is used in a hot tub cover. Actually, it is as misleading as the idea that a taper on the cover will really keep it from getting heavy.

True, the foam density and thickness would have a bearing on the insulation properties In the event the Usage of the foam were in compliance with the designed use of a completely DRY environment.

Regardless if the dealer claims his spa covers are made with the most costly spa cover foam (rigid cellular polystyrene thermal insulation) available, resists breakage, vapor absorption and chemical damage more than all the others they’ve tested. The truth is, R factor is NOT something they test, and RESISTING breakage and saturation are not the same as AVOIDING it altogether.

When looking for and comparing spa covers, ALL claims associated with R-value of a cover that has foam are totally unsubstantiated. Foam Density and Foam Thickness do not have any ADDED R VALUE, since the foam is not designed to be applied over a wet environment. Most spa cover dealers repeat exactly the same numbers and consequently hot tub owners have been trained to believe the lie. Some dealers employ some fancy charts to substantiate their claims, however the main point is those claims cannot be in accordance to the ASTM.

Myth Busted!

R-value testing of materials is completed at room temperature, and doesn’t take into account moisture and vapor. In the spa environment, there is hot water and good amounts of steamy moisture. Each of which will dramatically reduce the R-value of any foam. A spa at 105 degrees will defeat the R-value of any foam tested to use in a dry application.

Don’t allow the R-value of foam be considered the measurement for spa cover quality. Instead search for a spa cover with NO FOAM. A hot tub covers that use air filled chambers as an alternative for rigid foam boards will out preform any other, in any test or real hot tub application. (Hello, SpaCap)

 

Don’t be fooled by claims of high density and weight, vacuum wrapped in sheets of heat welded polyethylene, sealed in heavy gauge marine grade vinyl, with chemical resistant scrim and stitching. It won’t insulate as well. It will definitely still become saturated, warped or broken. It truly was obsolete thirty years ago.

Hot Tub Covers and When To Replace Them

Hot tub covers are imperative, if you want to keep that water warm inside the hot tub. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever. Despite what your spa dealer could possibly have promised, there shall come a season that you are going to be in need of a replacement hot tub cover.

What are the indications when your hot tub cover has given up the ghost? There may be obvious signs, as well as some that are not so obvious indicators. Here are 5 signs of hot tub cover distress to take into consideration.

Saggy CoverKirk Hot Tub

If your foam filled hot tub cover collects water on the surface, you’ll need a new spa cover. This signifies that whatever was provided in terms of the reinforcement of the foam boards is now bent or broken. You’ll find typically a C-channel that runs along both halves of the spa cover, where they meet at the hinge. Some cover manufacturers will use materials like aluminum or thin steel at this point, which will bend under weight (dogs, kids, snow), or (more typically) due to the weight of the cover itself.

If this is the case, attempting to milk a longer time from the cover is just going to end up costing you more going forward since whatever insulation value it might possibly have possessed is gone at this stage. Delaying the inevitable will simply cost you more in your energy bills. But more importantly considering a usage point of view, you are likely unlikely to wish to mess with your cover when it has water on top of it. Ultimately, you’re using your hot tub less, which is certainly a sin. Do not be a sinner.

Something to think about here. No matter what your hot tub dealer has to say about it, if he only wants to sell you another foam filled cover, it is 100% absolutely going to turn out to be just like the one you have to replace now.

It won’t matter whether it is shrink wrapped in Kevlar and reinforced with titanium, if it has foam inside, it is doomed to fail.

Puddle Coverhot-tub-cover-damaged

Water is heavy, at 8 lbs. per gallon, it can add up quickly. Another case of broken reinforcement channel. Probably started out with a small crimp in the channel, which commenced to puddle some water, and a lot more water – and now it appears like a new hot tub cover is in order.

Just like Saggy Cover, this is due to using foam panels above a hot tub. Foam panels will saturate from the steam coming off the spa water. Not one thing will prevent it other than not using foam within your cover!

The spa dealer may suggest you to attempt to flip the panels over inside the cover to add to its useful life. Except the zippers as well as the vinyl material weren’t made to be opened and shut beyond the initial stuffing of the foam.

Once a cover begins a gradual puddle, it may never be reversed. It’s time to order a replacement hot tub cover. As we said above, putting it off means you’ll be making use of the hot tub less (a sin) and wasting money on the heating bill.

Water Logged Hot Tub Cover

This may be a hot tub cover that weighs about three times what it did when it was new. They often get so heavy that they become next to impossible to use short of the aid of a Seal Team. They can also damage spa cover lifters once they get too heavy. That’s because the cover lifter is not made to handle a heavy cover. Bet the dealer didn’t mention that when he sold it to you.

When the foam core is taking on water – and, is not draining. This does not signify that rain water has somehow gotten into your cover, or snow or another outside source. It happens when steam rises from the warm spa water then since it’s a very small molecule, gets right into the foam. Once it gets inside of the foam it cools and turns back into water, and becomes trapped because of the fact that the water molecule is too big to drop out.

The best way to prevent it would be to never use a foam filled cover on the hot tub. Despite what the manufacturer claims to wrap it in or the way they package it, the foam will eventually become saturated. Period.

It is time for a new replacement hot tub cover. Again, putting it off at this point is just going to cost you more in your energy consumption and unless you have a Seal Team living with you, you aren’t going to be using your spa very often. (Still a sin)

If you want to be clever, you can take the cover from your spa and store it in your garage for several months. As soon as the cover is away from the moisture and being stored inside a dry place, eventually the moisture within the cover will evaporate (back to a smaller molecule) and of course the foam will become light again. It takes months for it to dry completely in which case you must have another replacement cover for your spa while you wait. Note: The cover may still warp wildly out of shape while it dries.

If you choose to rotate your covers every three months, you may be capable of making them last until the materials begin to come apart. See Below.

Torn & Worn Hot Tub Covertorn-spa-cover

Whenever the fabric (marine grade vinyl on the standard foam filled hot tub covers) is exposed to its limit of sun and weather, it becomes brittle and begins to deteriorate. Eventually, holes and tears happen that will.

Because ALL Vinyl, even the most costly Marine Grade, are rated by HOURS outdoors.

Using a spa cover protectant is just another way for cover dealers to take your money. If you would like to spend on weekly basis rubbing down your hot tub cover with conditioner, be our guest but the smart thing to do would be to buy the cover that does not have VINYL on the outside. Like say the SpaCap hot tub covers that use Sunbrella Marine fabric, which is rated by YEARS outdoors.

Still, if the cover isn’t heavy yet, you might to postpone acquiring another right away providing you don’t mind the look of Duct Tape. If you would like a few suggestions, check out some episodes of the “Red Green Show.” Red covers the finer points of Duct Tape.

Smelly Hot Tub Cover

Musty, mildew, old wet dog – whatever your hot tub cover smells like, if it’s a bad odor, that probably implies that you now have bacteria forming inside the hot tub cover. It probably also means the cover is water logging (see above).

Now we have crossed over from inconvenient to unhealthy.

What are you inhaling when this is what you smell?

Completely dismantling of the cover, and spraying it down with Lysol won’t help! Since the source of the smell, AKA the mold and mildew are stuck inside the foam! The best you might be able to accomplish would be to kill what’s on the outside of the vinyl or foam even so you are not going to touch what’s inside the foam. Plus now your cover smells like Lysol, nothing kills the mood faster than inhaling something that reminds you of how the school janitor cleaned up vomit.

The origin of the problem? That high quality foam employed in traditional hot tub covers. Despite how much a dealer may attempt to sell how it is extremely resistant to water absorption and bacteria formation, it will still happen and they understand it.

When you happen to be ready for a brand new spa cover, make sure that it’s not made using a foam core.

If you were curious about your hot tub cover making it another year, don’t wait. It’s your basic instinct telling you something important – hot tub season is coming! Get ready now!

UglyHotTubCover

Beware the Man-eating Hot Tub Cover

How dangerous are overweight foam filled hot tub covers? Recently a man was checking the chemicals in his spa. Rather than attempting removing the entire hot tub cover, he decided to just lift one side enough to get at the water long enough to get a sample. He bent over and supporting the heavy cover with his left arm while attempting to fill a sampling bottle with water from the spa to check the chemical content, and total alkalinity.

As he leaned over further, the weight of the water logged spa cover dislocated his left shoulder and allowed the cover to hit him on the back knocking him into the spa. He was now face down in the spa with his legs pinned to spa by the weight of the hot tub cover. His shoulder was dislocated and he was in agony because of a the pain. He tried to move but could not budge the weight of the waterlogged cover.

He began to drown as he swallowed spa water and tried to rise up but could barely get his head out of the water. With what could have been his last breath, he screamed for help. Fortunately he had left the door from the house to the deck open. His daughter and her boy friend heard the commotion and looked out to see his legs sticking out of the spa cover.

His daughter and her boy friend were able to lift the hot tub cover off of his legs. His daughters boy friend jumped into the hot tub and pulled him up from the water. They took him to the emergency room where they put his shoulder back in place and treated him for shock.

Women who have experienced both child birth and a dislocated shoulder report dislocating a shoulder as more intense than childbirth. But either way we can agree the pain must be excruciating.

This man had owned a hot tub for 12 years and had replaced 3 conventional rigid foam core spa covers. While the life on the foam covers had averaged from 2 to 4 years, regardless of manufactures claims, all of these traditional foam filled covers became waterlogged. He has since bought a Spa Cover that uses air chambers to insulate rather than rigid foam. He is certain that the air filled spa cover will not try to kill him as the other foam cover did.

Another lady reported that while she and her husband were in the hot tub with their rigid foam spa lid propped up against the wall. A gust of wind hit the spa cover and it suddenly fell hitting her husband on the head. The blow was hard enough to push them both under the water. Fortunately they were not trapped and they both recovered quickly, or so they thought.

A couple of days later the left side of her husbands face suddenly went DEAD. He had no feeling, sensation or movement. Naturally they both were quite frightened and thought he had suffered a stroke. They did exactly what any of us would do and rushed immediately to the hospital. The doctor diagnosed him with Bells Palsy which can be caused by stress and or trauma like a heavy spa cover hitting him on the head. He later made a full recovery. He was extremely lucky.

The danger only gets more serious when you consider swim spa covers. Since a free standing swim spa cabinet is higher, managing a saturated cover from a greater height only increases the potential risk to injury.

Here is something you will never hear from a foam spa cover dealer. Every year people are injured by foam hot tub covers. Most of the injuries have come from a gust of wind blowing the heavy foam cover onto people as they use their spa. Sometimes people attempting to carefully maneuver a saturated foam cover off their spa, have lost their grip and had the hard foam cover slam down breaking the arch of their foot.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission people have even been drowned when they have become trapped under heavy foam spa covers. Maybe now is a good time to search for a better spa cover. With the World Wide Web, you can literally have the world to shop from. Do you really want to risk injury or death trying to use your spa?

Although the video above may look humorous it is not funny when it happens. In thirty years of building air filled hot tub covers, no one has ever been injured by a SpaCap hot tub cover.