Hot tub cover lifters are particularly designed to move hot tub covers more easily than spa owners can do alone. A hot tub cover lifter is fitted into the sides of the hot tub by bars that stretch into and support the hot tub cover fold itself. So if the function is still just to open and close the hot tub, which is something you can do by yourself, do you still need a spa cover lifter?
You need a hot tub cover lifter if you want to have access to your hot tub easily and more conveniently, enjoy using your hot tub and keep it in good condition for a very long time. However, it is not necessary that you need a spa cover lift. But you will benefit a lot by having one.
It becomes almost necessary to have it if you have some physical limitations. You need to go get one, you will not regret having one. But physical limitations or not, a hot tub cover lifter is of great benefit to the hot tub and the hot tub user.
How much is a hot tub cover lift? On the average, the price of a spa cover lifter is between $100 and $200. You shouldn’t spend more than $200 on your cover lifter. Imagine spending $200 or less to make life a lot easier for you and for your hot tub. Moreover, it helps to keep your spa from possible maintenance issues.
A strong healthy adult person can remove and replace a hot tub cover, no doubt. But the act itself can be stressful and not something to be excited about if you are tired and all you want to do is just get a relaxing soak.
Aside from that, hot tub covers can become heavy over time especially if it is wet from rain or snow. Then there is the danger of damaging it gradually as one places it on the ground. Scratches and wears will gradually chip off pieces of the cover causing possible cracks on the edges and damages to the foam insulation and the frame.
A damaged cover will affect the energy efficiency or the ability of your hot tub to maintain heat when not in use. Again, while on the ground, it is possible for dust and dirt from the ground to get attached to the hot tub cover, build up and somehow end in the hot tub itself when the cover is being replaced, contaminating the water in the process.
How much room do you need for a hot tub cover lifter?
Putting into consideration that there are two basic designs: the ones that are attached directly to the hot tub, and then there are ones that stand on their own like a separate unit behind the hot tub. Knowing the type and cover size will help you determine the amount of space needed behind the spa for the cover to rest or stay when the hot tub is opened and in use.
One model requires only 7 inches of clearance, making it ideal for hot tubs placed against a wall or fence. Other models require 14 inches or 24 inches, not much of an issue for large hot tubs placed in open spaces. But about 18 inches of space is needed behind the hot tub for a majority of hot tub covers to be opened and closed freely without much stress.
For spa cover lifters attached to the hot tub mostly by their lifting arms by the side of the hot tub, a few inches of space will be needed by the left and right sides of the spa for the bars to slide smoothly.
But for some hot tub cover lifters coming as a separately installed unit from the hot tub, they do not need to be attached to the hot tub. They require about 16 – 20 inches of space. This is sometimes more space requirement at the back than typical hot tub cover lifters, and however, less or no space is required by the sides for the cover. So it is advisable to check and consider the space available when choosing your cover lifter.
How does a hot tub cover lifter work?
A hot tub cover lift works by acting as a guide and weight support of the hot tub cover as it is removed or replaced. A hot tub cover lifter has a bar that rests against the fold in the cover, after unclipping the safety locks from the front of the cover, and folding it back over that bar.
The bar supports the weight of the hot tub cover, and so, much lifting does not have to be done. As the hot tub cover is folded back one more time, the hot tub cover lifter mechanically slides the cover into place at the back.
How do you lift a hot tub cover?
Hot tub cover lifters can be lifted in two different ways. This is based on what form of hot tub cover lifter you have attached to your hot tub; whether it is a manual type cover lifter or an automatic type cover lifter.
A manual hot tub cover requires you to give it a little effort and folding to work. Fitted on both sides of the hot tub shell, the majority of hot tub cover lifters when installed comes with the joining bar passing across the fold of the tub cover. So all you have to do is to fold the cover backwards over the bar, and then lift a little and slide the remaining half into place guided by the bars of the hot tub cover lifter. Depending on the hot tub cover make and model, the removed cover might sit well alongside the hot tub, almost hidden from view, or sit higher on one side of the hot tub acting as a privacy wall. Whichever way, the most important thing is that the hot tub cover stays off the ground.
Automatic type hot tub cover lift on the other hand serves the same function except that the cover lifter automatically does the lifting for you. They can get all the work done with the click of a button on the remote control. All you have to do is press the button.
Can you stand on a hot tub cover?
Why would you want to stand on a hot tub cover in the first place? Okay, I get, you want to be able to reach something high up and very close to your hot tub. Maybe trim a hedge you cannot reach standing on the ground, or you just want to show people, yes, look, I can stand on my hot tub cover!
An absolute bad idea especially when you know what a ladder is. Maintaining your hot tub requires having a good quality cover which I’m sure to cost you a good amount of money to purchase. Hot tub covers are built mainly to protect your hot tub unit from external elements like dirt, debris, rain and even animals. And also to keep the little kids from accessing it unsupervised.
A sagging hot tub cover is not a very good look, hence some hot tub covers are made to be very strong. Some manufacturers might even advertise that they are strong enough for you to walk on. Whether this is correct or just another marketing strategy, it is not advisable to walk on a hot tub cover.
One of the reasons why hot tub covers are reinforced is to make them able to withstand the weight of snow piling up on snowy days, and probably the weight of a pet across without sagging. It is not meant to be stood on or used as a connecting walkway to another section of your deck.
But then, there are hot tub covers called walk-on covers capable of being walked upon. This, as you might have guessed is quite expensive. They are suitable for certain environments, else a regular hot tub cover would still do the job perfectly.
A walk-on cover is also a good cover choice if your hot tub is the partially sunk or completely sunk type that is almost hidden in the ground. Using a regular hot tub cover in the case will put your kids and pets at risk of falling through and drowning since they can break and when covered it might be hard to tell the hot tub cover from the flooring. So a walk-on cover would be a very good and reliable choice to give peace of mind. Still, if you want to have a long-lasting hot tub cover, hot tub covers are not to be stood on or walked on, no matter how strong they are.
Why is hot tub cover so heavy?
Depending on the size of your hot tub, how wide it is, a normal hot tub cover in good shape weighs between 50 to 75 pounds. Possibly weighing lesser when new. A new cover is quite easy to lift from the hot tub. But as time goes on, you might start to notice that the cover is getting heavier when you try to open and lift it.
The only reason why the cover gets heavier as time goes by is that the insulating foam inside the cover is absorbing water and getting waterlogged. How extra heavy the hot tub cover is, tells you how waterlogged it has become. So what makes it waterlogged then? Cracks! Yes, cracks.
They are one of the major reasons why your cover can soak up water gradually. The more reason why you need a hot tub cover lifter to avoid accidentally scratching, dropping and damaging your hot tub cover as you open and replace it. When they repeatedly get dumped on the ground, the weight of the cover can cause tiny rips and tears at the seams of the cover. The plastic sheeting encasing the foam inserts can also get torn.
Even the tiniest crack can make your cover waterlogged, just give it time.
Asides from cracks, unhealthy and unbalanced water (water with poor chemistry) can damage the hard external part of the hot tub cover by corroding it, and exposing it to moisture. And you know what can happen next – Waterlogged!
Can a hot tub cover be dried out?
Using your hot tub involves lots and lots of steam. So over time, no matter how waterproof your cover might seem, it can become waterlogged through a tear where the water sips in. If you do not have a budget for a new cover, the good news is that a heavy waterlogged hot tub cover can be dried out and used again.
But first of all, before thinking of drying out a waterlogged spa cover, you have to check what is making it get waterlogged. If it is badly damaged then drying it out would not be worth it but rather getting a new one. How do you know a badly damaged hot tub cover? Simple, a badly damaged hot tub cover will be sagging in the middle because the external structure of the cover is already too weak to handle the new weight of the waterlogged cover.
Another sign would be a moldy smell, probably because there are molds already growing in the moist hot tub cover. At this stage, it is long damaged and continuous use can, in turn, affect your hot tub itself. Not only does a waterlogged hot tub cover result in loss of spa heat, but the weight may cause damage to your cover lifters.
How to dry a waterlogged hot tub cover
Drying a waterlogged hot tub cover is quite easy to do if you know exactly what you are to dry and how to go about it. The main hot tub cover component of concern is the foam, which is where the moisture is. First, remove the foam inserts and allow them to dry fully inside out under the sun. Clean them if necessary. If you are drying indoors, space heaters may be used to speed up the process but avoid placing them too close to it if you do not want to damage the vinyl or even set fire to the foam.
Allow the vinyl cover to fully dry out then as a preventive action, check for any possible tears or holes in it where the water might have sipped through. They will need to be patched to prevent water from entering the cover again.
But, if the hot tub cover is bad already, stinks or has molds growing on the inside, it may not be worth trying. Get a new hot tub cover instead.
What is inside a hot tub cover?
Hot tub covers are made to act not just as a protective cover for the hot tub against dirt, particles, rain and other external elements that affect the water in the hot tub, but also serves as a form of insulating barrier to keep the heat locked in when the hot tub is covered. So they are usually made up of very thick sheets or pieces of insulation foam enclosed within hard external boards or sheeting to protect and keep them moisture-free. The external sheeting used is mostly plastic, polythene or polyvinyl.
So what is sandwiched inside the external hard covering of a hot tub cover is nothing much more than thick insulating foams. The kind of foam used varies depending on the manufacturer.