A well-made cover is an essential part of your hot tub. It quietly fulfills two simple yet important functions: It keeps in heat, and it keeps out anything that shouldn’t be in your water. By making sure your spa is securely covered whenever it’s not in use, you can help ensure your water is kept heated, free of contaminants, and ready for you at all times.
With a bit of care and consideration, a well-made hot tub cover can remain in peak condition for several years. Nothing lasts forever, though, and eventually your cover will likely need to be replaced. Here, we’ll show you how to take good care of your hot tub cover to extend its longevity and, once it has outlived its usefulness, how to find the perfect replacement.
HOW TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR HOT TUB COVER
Hot tub covers are designed to be durable and require relatively little maintenance. However, to keep your cover in prime condition for as long as possible, make sure you treat it well and follow a few good practices:
- Handle your cover gently. Your hot tub’s cover is made from an outer layer of water-resistant vinyl surrounding a reinforced foam core, which is wrapped in plastic or laminate to form a vapor barrier. If the cover is ripped, punctured, or otherwise damaged, water may permeate the vapor barrier and saturate the interior foam, which will limit your cover’s ability to do its job. So take care: Keep it away from sharp edges and rough surfaces, and never drag it across the ground.
- Strongly consider adding a cover lifter to your spa. In addition to eliminating the need to struggle with a bulky, heavy cover, cover lifters also keep the cover safely raised and stored off of the ground while your spa is in use, thus keeping it clean and reducing the risk of damage.
- Keep your cover clear. Your cover helps insulate your hot tub by creating a tight seal: Warm air can’t escape, and cooler air can’t enter. In inclement weather, don’t let snow or ice accumulate on top of your hot tub cover—the weight of the snow can cause it to bend and sag in the center, breaking the seal and letting heat seep out.
- Your hot tub cover is not a piece of furniture. For safety reasons, never let children or pets climb on top of a covered hot tub. Even if your cover is resting on solid ground, though, it’s not a good idea to let anyone stand or sit on it; in a similar vein, avoid the temptation to use your covered tub as a makeshift table. Using your hot tub cover in ways in which it was not designed to be used can damage the vinyl or cause the foam interior to sag.
- After adding chemicals to your water, leave your hot tub uncovered for half an hour to give them time to purify and freshen the water. Some chemicals commonly used in water care systems, including chlorine, need to interact with air in order to work properly. Covering up your hot tub immediately after treating your water can trap chemical vapors against the cover, which can damage it. Similarly, always monitor the pH balance of your water. A solution that’s either too acidic or too basic isn’t just ineffective at keeping your water clean—it also might weaken the materials in your hot tub cover.
- Clean your hot tub cover occasionally with mild soap and water. Surface grime or mildew can easily transfer from your cover to your water—or can even cause lasting damage.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A REPLACEMENT HOT TUB COVER
Even if you take meticulous care of your hot tub cover, at some point it’ll probably need to be replaced. Take a close look at it: Does it lie flat over your spa, or does it sag in the center? Is the vinyl torn, punctured, or cracked? Has your cover grown noticeably heavier over time? That’s water weight: A heavier cover means spa water has permeated the vapor barrier protecting the foam core. Does your cover smell like must or mold? Mold and bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments, and while your hot tub’s water care system will eradicate any contaminants inside your spa, your cover could be vulnerable. A bad smell might indicate that mold is growing inside your cover’s foam core. If your hot tub cover is showing any of these signs of age or overuse, it’s time to replace it.
When you’re looking for a replacement hot tub cover, keep these tips in mind for the best results:
- Look for durable manufacturing details, such as heavy-duty stitching and the use of marine-grade vinyl. As the name implies, “marine-grade” is a classification of products specifically designed or treated to withstand heavy use in water.
- Fit is the key consideration. If your hot tub cover doesn’t fit over the top of your hot tub snugly enough to create a tight seal, it doesn’t matter how well-made that cover might be—heat will escape, and your hot tub cover won’t be able to do its job. A custom cover designed to fit your particular hot tub brand and model is by far your best choice.
- In heavy winds, your hot tub cover could be blown away. Look for a replacement cover with sturdy, adjustable straps to keep your cover securely fastened to your hot tub, even when the weather turns wild.
If you have children, or if your backyard or patio where your hot tub is located may be accessed by children, you’ll want to make sure your cover has child safety locks, which prevent kids from entering your spa without your knowledge and supervision.
If you’re looking to save money, you may be tempted to order an inexpensive hot tub cover from an online retailer. While you might be able to snag a bargain, there are risks attached: If your cover is sent through the mail, it could be crushed, punctured, or otherwise damaged in transit, rendering it unusable. More importantly, though, you might end up compromising on two vital considerations in the pursuit of a deal: fit and quality. When you order online—particularly when you order from a site that doesn’t specialize in hot tubs—you run the risk of ending up with a poorly-made, ill-fitting cover that will do little to insulate or protect your spa. Instead of saving money, you could end up throwing your cash away.
When you need to replace your hot tub cover, your trusted local dealer will be able to steer you in the right direction. They’re the established experts on your particular hot tub brand and model. If aesthetics are important to you, your dealer will also be able to show you hot tub replacement covers in colors and styles that perfectly match your decor. While your hot tub cover won’t last forever, your dealer’s guidance and knowledge will help ensure that finding a replacement isn’t a chore.
Watkins Wellness, makers of Hot Spring Spas®, is the global leader in cover manufacturing Your local Hot Spring dealer carries a full line of energy-efficient replacement covers designed to perfectly fit the dimensions and match the color and style of your Hot Spring hot tub. When it’s time to replace your hot tub cover, or if you’d like more information as to whether a Hot Spring hot tub is a match for your lifestyle, talk to your dealer. You can also download a brochure or ask for a price quote.