Hot tub covers are thick covers that keep the inside of your home hot tub clean and safe. These covers are typically constructed with a solid foam core, which can be several layers thick, affecting the cover’s strength and the amount of heat it retains.
They usually have one or more hinges to make it easier to put on and remove them from your hot tub. They also have faux-leather vinyl or PVC covers, both stylish and watertight, ensuring that the spa’s interior remains warm and secure.
If you are fortunate enough to have a hot tub or spa in your home, you need to educate yourself as much as possible about proper care and maintenance. This will not only save you money on repairs, but it will also increase the amount of enjoyment you get from your investment.
But proper hot tub maintenance entails more than just looking after the water, filter, and other hardware. You also need to look after your hot tub cover. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about the lid on your hot tub.
Six things you should know about hot tub cover maintenance
Most hot tub covers follow the same basic structural concept, and there may be significant differences between them. Make sure you know these six things which will be outlined below before you buy a hot tub cover so you can protect both your investment and your family.
1. What is the hot tub cover made of?
Strong foam cores are often used in hot tub covers, sealed in plastic cases to prevent water absorption, and encased in vinyl covers. They are usually designed to fold at a hinge point to make removal more accessible, and their height is tapered from the middle to the outside edge to help shed water and snow.
2. What’s under the cover?
The foam core is the cornerstone of the hot tub cover. A hot tub cover’s foam core may contain one, two, or even three foam sections. The R-value, which is a calculation of energy efficiency, is affected by the density and weight of the hot tub cover.
The load or weight the hot tub cover can bear until the foam core breaks down is influenced by the density along with the foam’s depth or thickness. The bulk of hot tub covers are not constructed to carry the weight of anyone seated or walking on them.
Foam cores usually vary in weight from 1 to 2 pounds. A 1Ib cover would provide more air pockets with less protection and weight-bearing capability than a 2Ib cover.
3. Check the taper
The taper of the foam core is also essential and can vary from one cover to the next. This principle works similarly to the pitch of your roof: the steeper the taper, the greater the shedding power, though you won’t find any hot tub covers with an angle comparable to your home’s roof.
Many covers have a 2″ taper from the middle to the edge. Continue looking if you find one with a smaller taper. Although the taper should be considered, the foam’s depth at either end of the taper should also be considered. This depth affects the insulating component as well as the amount of weight it can support.
4. Is it sealed properly?
Every hot tub that’s worth a penny ensures that the foam core is wrapped in a suitable heavy gauge poly wrapper. If it isn’t, water will seep right through the beautiful vinyl cover, and that’s a concern.
The waterlogged cover becomes very heavy and difficult to remove, making it impossible to get into your hot tub and enjoy it. Furthermore, all that water in the core drastically decreases the insulating factor’s efficacy, resulting in higher electric bills.
5. Check the hot tub cover hinge
Ensure you pay attention to the hinged portion of the hot tub cover because this is the part you should also be considered while thinking about the electric bills and evading heat vapors.
They aren’t all made equal, which is a prime place for the tub’s heat to escape. I assume you will want to make sure your hot tub cover has a hinge area that minimizes heat loss, not the one that doesn’t.
6. Check the exterior part
If you know what to look for, you will find out that the gorgeous vinyl cover has much to offer. Most hot tub covers are made of marine-grade vinyl treated to resist mildew and UV rays to prevent fading.
Keep looking if the one you are looking at doesn’t have the required features. Most manufacturers offer a wide range of colors to match your tub, house, or even landscaping. Quality, reinforced stitching, single or double stitched are some of the differences to look for.
Also, check if there is an insulated skirt to cover the hot tub’s lip and seal or if there are any built-in safety locks in the exterior part of the hot tub. These features do not only keep small children out and safe, but they also keep your cover in place on a windy day.
It’s worth noting that a good hot tub cover will protect your family and pets. It will protect your hot tub while also lowering your energy costs. It’s worthwhile to invest in a high-quality cover from the start because it will save you money and time in the long run.
How do you maintain a hot tub cover?
The hot tub cover is an essential part of your hot tub. It prevents the surfaces from fading and acts as a protection feature by keeping bugs and other creatures out of the water.
Since covers are expensive to repair, keeping them in good condition now will save you money later. Here are some suggestions for keeping your hot tub cover in good shape.
It’s essential to have clean water not only for you and your guests but also for your hot tub. The material along the lower side of the hot tub cover may be ingested if the water is very acidic.
To keep the water clean, you must chlorinate or shock it, but you must leave the lid open for an hour afterward to allow the gases to escape without harming it.
Keep your distance from the cover
Although the thick covers appeal to both children and adults, sitting on them will quickly damage your cover. If you put too much weight on the cover, the foam core will break, and the cover will sag.
The water mixes with the surface, causing it to crack and deteriorate even more. Only use the cover for the purpose it was designed for if you want it to last.
Obtain the special gear
Hot tubs are now equipped with unique stands and lifts that remove the cover to be very easy. If you don’t have these lifts, you might end up pulling the lid on and off the hot tub. As a result, the seams and fabric are pulled. A cover lifter will cost you a little more upfront, but it will save you a lot of money as time goes on.
Bid farewell to the dirt
Debris on your hot tub covers, like wet leaves and dirt, will cause it to deteriorate and stain. This debris acts as a dam, trapping water and soil in place and speeding up the deterioration.
Remove as much dirt and debris from your hot tub cover as much as possible to keep it clean. Use 303® Aerospace Protectant™ to add an extra layer of resistance to the dirt, thus making clean-up look effortless.
Tender loving attention
Rain and wind aren’t the only things that can damage your hot tub cover. It would be beneficial if you also shielded it from ultraviolet rays.
A product like 303 Aerospace Protectant is ideal for adding another layer of protection to the material. This will ensure that your hot tub cover is protected from dry rot, cracking, and fading while also giving it a shimmer, non-greasy texture.
Make use of a cover cap
A cover cap is a protective layer for your hot tub cover that provides more ultraviolet protection and makes cleaning more straightforward than using a vinyl conditioner alone. If you don’t use your hot tub very much, using this cover cap will be essential.
Attach wind straps
The straps are attached to your hot tub cabinet to keep your cover in place, which is especially useful if you live in an area where there are strong winds.
They are also known as hurricane straps because they have small clasps that make it easy to open them when you want to use your hot tub while also preventing your cover from flying away.
Furniture, plants, and patio items should all be removed
Take your furniture, patio items, potted plants, and even significant items like the barbecue grill inside when a storm is approaching. Although a large grill may appear to be too heavy to move, a strong storm can easily pick one up and drop it right on top of your hot tub cover.
After that, you will need to get a new cover and a unique grill, and this won’t be something you would like. This is why any bulky items that are close to your hot tub cover should be removed.
Cut off bushes and trees
Although landscaping around your hot tub adds beauty to your yard, it also puts your hot tub cover at risk. Consider trimming any bushes or trees with long branches near your hot tub to reduce the risk of them breaking and falling on your cover.
Also, never allow a tree branch to grow long enough to reach your hot tub, where it could scratch or tear the cover or cause other damages.
Ensure you remove water, snow, and ice from the cover
While you are out scooping your sidewalk, take a few minutes to clear snow and ice from your hot tub cover. Also, make sure it doesn’t get wet from the rain that falls. The heavier the cover becomes, as more water accumulates on it, the more pressure it puts on its connectors. If the hot tub cover carries too much weight, it can break or tear.
How to clean your hot tub cover
When it comes to giving your spa cover tender, caring treatment, don’t be too economical. The better you look after it, the longer it will last and the more money you will save. Sun damage, mold, and premature chemical damage can be avoided by following healthy, clean maintenance habits. Let’s take a look at the various methods for cleaning your hot tub cover.
Daily cleaning: Brush the debris off your hot tub cover regularly. The wedge-shaped outdoor covers should allow rainwater to run right off. However, any fallen leaves, sticks, bugs, or snow will almost certainly need to be cleaned up. A few swipes with a push broom would be enough. Avoid using anything with sharp edges that could gouge the vinyl.
Cleaning twice a month: To avoid mold growth and other damage, deepen your cleaning at least every two weeks. Remove the cover in its entirety. It should be laid flat on a non-abrasive surface. Use a vinyl-specific cleaner to clean it.
Wipe or rinse it clean according to the product’s instructions. It’s important to remember to include the sides and bottom. If you must use a different cleaner, avoid anything that contains alcohol, detergent, grease, or silicone.
Use a 1:10 distilled white vinegar or bleach to water solution to clean the hot tub cover’s bottom. Keep in mind that bleach may be more damaging to vinyl than vinegar. Use a vinyl protectant or conditioner to give your cover an extra layer of UV protection. These items keep the vinyl from cracking and keep it smooth.
Essential maintenance: In addition to cleaning, you can help avoid major problems by inspecting and repairing any damages regularly. A vinyl repair kit can be used to repair damaged vinyl as soon as possible.
Zippers that aren’t working may require professional assistance, but they must be repaired as quickly as possible. Both of these problems will cause water to seep into the foam core if they are not addressed.
It’s significant to allow your hot tub cover to dry out from time to time. If you never take it out of your spa, you will shorten its lifespan. Once a month, take it out to clean the shell and adjust the water balance, then let it dry completely before replacing it.
Maintain your hot tub’s chemistry by checking it weekly and balancing it more frequently if it gets a lot of use. Balanced water prevents bacteria and algae from forming in your spa, which means your hot tub cover won’t absorb bacteria-filled moisture.
Why does my hot tub cover smell?
If your cover emits a strange odor, you may have a mold and mildew problem. Surface mildew can be scrubbed away with cleaner before being treated with diluted vinegar or bleach.
To get rid of mildew on the underside of the cover, use a disinfectant spray. If the mold and mildew have broken through the vapor barrier and into the foam, the cover will need to be repaired.
How long should hot tub cover last?
A good hot tub cover should stay up to 5 years. A scenario in which you spent a lot of money on a high-quality cover but aren’t sure if it’s time to replace it after a few years. Alternatively, you may still be using the low-quality cover that came with your spa when you purchased it, but it’s starting to feel like a Volvo, and you are not sure you will use it again. However, things like this could happen, and there is no need to panic.
A hot tub cover should typically weigh between 50 and 75 pounds. Over time, it will absorb water and become much heavier. This process can be accelerated if the vapor barrier is cheap or insufficient, or not maintained correctly. When your hot tub cover becomes waterlogged, however, it’s time to start looking for a new one.
How do you keep a hot tub cover from getting waterlogged?
You need vapor barrier to keep your hot tub cover from getting waterlogged. The plastic material that is wrapped around the foam of the cover is what serves as vapor barrier. You need a cover with such plastic material or you can get one for yourself.
Benefits of using the hot tub cover
There are numerous advantages of using a hot tub cover. Let’s take a look at what a good hot tub cover can do for your spa in the upcoming sections:
Checks for water, heat, and chemical losses
You might agree that evaporation is the worst enemy of all spa owners. You are probably aware that some of your water evaporates into the atmosphere, especially if you live in an arid climate. Your water level drops, and you’ll have to spend money to replenish it.
However, this isn’t the worst of evaporation’s effects. It would also deplete your hot tub’s chemicals and heat, causing sanitizer levels to fluctuate and forcing your spa to work harder to keep the water warm.
You can significantly reduce the impact of evaporation on your relaxation station by covering your hot tub. Keep your spa’s heat, chemicals, and water inside with a cover that fits snugly and doesn’t gape.
Keeps the water in and the dirt out
The ability to keep water in the tub is a more obvious benefit of using a hot tub cover. If you use a cover, debris like sticks, leaves, and bugs of all sizes and shapes will not end up in your hot tub. If your hot tub is indoors, a cover can also keep dust and pet out of it.
Regardless of where your hot tub is located, a cover can protect it from various hazards. Imagine walking past your uncovered hot tub, and you lost control of your mobile phone or tablet, which then falls into the water. That would be the worst-case scenario because just thinking about it will give you the shivers.
Ensures your hot tub is safe
A hot tub cover often serves as a physical barrier, preventing small children or animals from accidentally falling into the water. Because spa drownings are rarer than pool drownings, they aren’t always taken as seriously as they should be.
Make sure you don’t make the same error. The peace of mind will allow you to enjoy your hot tub to its full potential, knowing that it is always locked and protected when you are not using it.
Safeguards your investment
The spa fountains and materials are the crown jewels of your spa. There are a variety of reasons why you chose your hot tub; make sure you protect it. A high-quality hot tub cover protects the interior components of your lovely spa. This implies that you will be able to enjoy a high-quality spa experience for a long time.
Keeps pollutants and debris out
A hot tub cover’s sparkling, filtered water is a significant benefit. If your spa is left uncovered, dirt, critters, and animals can quickly get into the water. Birds, yard waste, and air debris are kept out of the hot tub, which reduces evaporation and chemical use.
The money saved on water and chemicals would pay for the cover, and the peace of mind that comes with not having to clean your tub regularly is well worth it.
Keeps the heat inside
Hot tub covers provide excellent insulation, thereby trapping the heat within the tub. Your hot tub unit’s walls have already been insulated. Leaving it outside, however, reduces the benefits of an insulated hot tub.
Evaporation of heat, cold rainwater, and melting snow can affect your water temperature, requiring you to use more electricity to bring it back up to temperature. Install a well-fitting, high-quality hot tub cover to keep the heat in and cut down your operating costs.
How to buy the right hot tub cover
The price of a high-quality hot tub cover might make you wonder if it’s genuinely worth it. Yes, if you want to retain chemicals and heat in your hot tub while also shielding it from debris and damage and extending its lifetime, you can invest in a cover.
The trick is to choose the right one for your spa and maintain it to last properly. Finally, both the initial payment and subsequent maintenance would save you money.
When looking for a significant and costly object, you will need to know the key features used in describing hot tub covers. Understanding what these features mean in terms of hot tub cover efficiency, lifespan, and efficacy will help you make an informed decision. Let’s take a look at them in more detail below:
- Foam density: Densities ranging from 1Ib to 2Ib are available for hot tub covers. It’s worth noting that the higher your cover’s density, the more durable and valuable it will be at retaining heat.
- Foam thickness: Most cover taper thicknesses often vary from 4 x 2 inches to 6 x 4 inches. However, thicker foams can withstand heavier loads and retain heat better.
- R-value: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees the testing and disclosure of foam insulation heat resistance. However, the R-value of hot tub cover foam varies from one manufacturer to the next because no one controls it. But, this does not prevent some of them from promoting R-value as a selling point. Only keep in mind that density and thickness are better measures of quality than the R-value.
- Marine grade vinyl: The hot tub cover’s shell is made of a material that can withstand prolonged exposure to water. Marine-grade vinyl is the industry standard, but it varies. It’s rated according to its weight per square yard, which usually ranges from 26 to 34 ounces. The higher the number, the more durable the vinyl is, mainly if treated with ultraviolet and mildew resistance.
- Vapor barrier: One or two layers of thin plastic film are wrapped around the foam core to prevent moisture from soaking into the foam. It is usually covered with heat around the foam. However, the vapor barrier in your hot tub cover degrades over time.
- Safety locks: Some hot tub covers have up to four locks that are in-built. Some lock with a key, while others have a primary plastic dial. Safety locks can be an essential feature for your hot tub cover if you have small children or you are the kind of person that doesn’t usually use the hot tub.
Measuring your hot tub
You can’t be sure if a cover will fit your hot tub without first measuring it. We’re all familiar with how rulers work, so picking the right size for your hot tub cover should be simple, right? However, this may not be the case. Even if your spa is perfectly square, the corners are almost certainly rounded, and not all rounded corners are the same size.
Use a framing square, ruler, or a printable diagram to measure the hot tub’s corners. However, the framing square is the most prominent and straightforward option. In the steps below, we will look at how to measure your hot tub;
- Length: When measuring the hot tub’s most extended section, measure from one end of the acrylic tub to the other, not from the cabinet’s outer edge. Make sure the sides are perfectly straight by repeating the measurement. Choose the more extensive option if the numbers aren’t equal. Take a linear measurement across your hot tub if it is circular or octagonal.
- Width: The tub’s shorter edge should be measured. Weigh the acrylic tub from one end to the other, but not from the side of the outer cabinet. This measurement can be repeated two times to ensure that the width is accurate.
- Corner radius: Position the square or ruler against the hot tub’s corner. The corner radius is the distance between your hot tub and the ruler. Suppose you need to round the number, round it down. Because the square measures the area around the corner, a lower number indicates that your cover has a more prominent corner, which would be more appropriate for your hot tub.
- Skirt length: A skirt is a zipper that runs the length of the hot tub cover’s bottom edge. The skirt should be long enough to keep the cover from bunching up and leaving gaps, but not so long that it leaves gaps. Measure from the top of your spa to the bottom of the cabinet to get the correct length.
Note: You might need to order a custom hot tub cover if your hot tub has unusual designs, water features, or built-in sound systems. To ensure a perfect fit, you might need to create and submit a layout to the manufacturer for the custom covers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hot Tub Covers
Here are some frequently asked questions about the hot tub cover;
Is moss on a hot tub cover ordinary?
Yes, it is. Moss can develop on the outside of your hot tub cover, particularly during the winter months. This is normal on or around zippers and the stitching that surrounds them. Scrub the weeds away and clean the inside and outside with a cleaner as usual. There’s nothing to be concerned about.
Is it common for mold and mildew to grow on hot tub covers?
Mold or mildew forming on the interior part of the hot tub cover is a common issue. If you notice it on your hot tub cover, don’t be too displeased. Just remove the vinyl jacket from the interior foam core and store it in a cool, dry place. Make sure the hot tub is cleaned correctly to get rid of the odor.
Is it possible to use a hot tub cover as a table or shelf?
The response is certainly no. While hot tub covers are reasonably robust, they should not be used as a table or shelf. The inner core could be broken with less force than you would think, leaving you without a cover.