Choosing the Best Hot Tub Covers
If you have recently purchased an outdoor spa or hot tub, then having a spa cover is a necessity. Some spa covers come with the purchase of a new spa and are included in the price, while others must be purchased separately. No matter what type of spa you select, choosing the proper spa cover to fully cover and enclose your spa will keep your spa clean, warm, and functioning at its best. Having the proper spa cover is also an important safety measure, especially when there are children and pets around.
There are a number of different types of spa covers to choose from. Here is a brief explanation of each one to help make the decision of which to choose a little easier.
Insulated spa cover – When choosing an outdoor spa cover, most styles include an insulated foam core with a vinyl top. This retains the heat of the spa and keeps the cool air out, thus lowering energy bills, and keeps debris out. The cover is rigid so it can withstand exterior debris falling on it without puncturing the top of the spa cover. Different hot tub spa covers come in different shapes and sizes to fit your particular model and can also be ordered with varying amounts of insulation value. There are also different methods of putting the covers on and off – the most popular are folding spa covers and rolling spa covers. The price will vary based on how insulated the cover is and the size of the model.
Walk on spa cover – A walk on spa cover is essentially an insulated foam spa cover that is strong enough to withstand the weight of a human. This type of hot tub spa cover usually has fiberglass on the sides of the cover to provide added weight protection to the cover. This is the cover I have on my AR-150 4-Person spa by Aquarest. This is possibly the best spa cover you can get when it comes not only to insulation value, but also safety, since it can withstand the weight of a person or animal on top of it, and can also handle heavy loads, such as snow.
Soft spa cover – Soft spa covers are a more economical alternative than hard foam core spa covers but can provide almost the same amount of protection to your outdoor spa, depending on the type chosen. Quality soft spa covers have an internal air bladder that is inflatable and that increases the insulation value of the cover (keeping heat in) and also provides a slight slope for water runoff. These are the ideal spa covers for those who live in climates where the weather is not too inclement and whose yard does not have the danger of falling branches or other falling debris and do not want to spend a lot of money. Soft covers are sometimes referred to as Tonneau spa covers.
Custom spa cover – Depending on the type of spa you own, you may elect to choose a custom spa cover. The benefit of this option is that you can have custom spa covers made to your specifications for size, insulation value, exterior material and color, and more. Of course, you will pay for an option like this, so this is not the best choice if you are looking for a cheap spa cover.
Replacement spa cover – If you have had your outdoor spa for awhile or have purchased a house that has an outdoor spa in need of having its cover replaced, you can find many companies that offer replacement spa covers for sale. In most cases, you simply need to provide the measurements of your spa as well as the exact shape and you can select from a variety of spa cover types to fit the size you need. If, however, your spa is an unusual size or shape, you may need to have a custom spa cover designed to fit your spa. It is very important that the spa cover you choose fit your hot tub or spa properly or it will not adequately protect your spa from debris or heat loss, or protect humans and animals from inadvertently getting into the hot tub or spa.
Spa cover accessories – Most spa covers will come with locks or tie downs to hold the cover in place and these may need to periodically be replaced. Spa cover locks or tie downs may attach to the side of the spa or to the decking surrounding the spa. Spa cover wind straps are a similar accessory and are used to ensure that your spa cover does not blow away when the wind starts to blow. One very popular accessory is a spa cover lift. Spa cover lifters are used to easily remove your spa cover when you are ready to use your spa. A spa cover lifter can be manual or automatic and makes removing your spa cover without straining your back a much easier process. Spa cover lifts come in a variety of models and the type you select will depend in part on the type of spa cover you choose, the size of the cover, as well as the weight.
When it comes to buying a spa cover for your hot tub or spa, the best place to start is usually with the company where you purchase the spa. In some cases, the price of the spa cover will be included in the price of the spa. In other cases it won’t but you can ensure that you get the ideal spa cover to fit the model that you are purchasing. If you are looking to save some money, or have to replace your spa cover down the road, there are many options for buying spa covers online. You can find factory direct spa covers, which may save you some money over buying them from a retail store, and searching online will also make it easier to find a discount spa cover or to at least compare spa cover prices so that you get the best spa cover for the money.
Buying a cover for your hot tub or spa is an intelligent choice and one that will go a long way towards keeping your spa running more efficiently and maintaining its cleanliness and safety. In many cases, the energy savings you reap from an insulated spa cover will pay for the cost of the cover in a matter of months or a few short years, and will also prolong the life of your spa.
Taking Care of your Hot Tub Cover
A well-cared for hot tub cover can last for many years. You will want to ensure the cover is kept clean, just as you do with your hot tub and hot tub filters. Cleaning dust and abrasive grime from the hot tub cover can be done easily with non-abrasive soap and water. Take care not to allow the soap into you hot tub. Also, know that the use of an oil-based cleanser will void your warranty. Along with this, keep pool chemicals away from your cover to avoid damage to the vinyl.
Your hot tub cover can also be treated to offer further protection from the elements. Look for a protectant specifically made for hot tub covers. Do not allow water to collect on the spa cover. After a rain or snow storm, sweep away remaining water from the top of the cover. Otherwise the cover may begin to bow to the weight and become misshapen.
Always utilize the handles of the spa cover when removing or opening the cover. The handles are made for the purposes of opening or removing the cover. Using the handles in other ways could cause them to become damaged or dislodged from the cover. The same could happen with the skirting or tie straps if they are used to open or remove the cover. If using only the handles is difficult to do you may want to consider a canopy lifter. Otherwise, the vinyl may drag over the ground and become torn.
Keep heat-producing items, such as tiki torches, grills and fire pits, away from your spa cover. The vinyl layer of the spa cover can become damaged by abnormal heat. Excessive heat can also cause destruction to your foam card inserts within the cover. This is another good reason to have a spa cover lifter, as the cover will not be propped against an item that may damage it once it is removed.