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Frequently Asked Questions – SpaMaster

Q: Why is my cover getting heavier?

A: Water has started to ingress into the foam core of the cover. Once it has started this process will continue intil the cover has become completely saturated.

Q: My cover is under a gazebo so how has this happened?

A: The primary reason is not water from outside (i.e. rainwater) getting into the cover, but moisture from inside the hot tub; chemically charged steam which is constantly attacking the underside of the cover, eventually breaking down the plastic vapour barrier that protects the foam core, creating micro-perforations that allow moisture through. Here in the UK (and similar climates in northern Europe) water saturation is by far the most common cause of cover failure.

Unfortunately, once the process of water ingression has started it's virtually impossible to reverse and a new cover is the only option. If you're in this situation you might want to consider this sooner rather than later, here's why:

  • Water is a very effective conductor of heat and your cover's insulation properties will diminish as it becomes increasingly water-laden. Once it has reached full saturation it will have lost around 90% of its thermal value. What this means in real terms is anything up to £100 a month in wasted electricity.
  • As it becomes more and more waterlogged it will be increasing difficult to move - we have seen fully saturated covers weighing in excess of 110kg! When it gets to this stage it has become a very real health and safety hazard. This is a vital consideration if your hot tub is used in a commercial environment.
  • If you have a cover lifter fitted it will eventually buckle or break. Cover lifters are not designed to take the weight of water-logged covers and at some point it will give way under the strain.  (Never be tempted to buy a cover lifter solely to try and handle a water-heavy cover).

Q: I now understand that a hot tub cover is a consumable item that won't last for ever, but just how long should it last?

A: This is dependent on a number of factors, but as long as you buy a good quality cover, you use a cover lifter and it is well looked after, about 3-5 years is the average.

Q. What can be done, if anything, to ensure my new cover lasts as long as possible?

A: For more information on this, take a look at our Cover Care Guide.

Q: There are cheaper covers out there. Why shouldn't I buy one of those?

A: Choosing a cover purely due to its low price is unlikely to save you money in the long run. Generally, cheaper covers tend to be less resistant to the ingression of water and have poorer heat insulation capabilities. In other words, buy a decent cover and it will probably last longer and your energy costs will be lower - anything up £10 a month lower. Over the course of the cover's life this can run into 100's of pounds. In our opinion it is foolhardy not to factor this into the buying decision.

Q: My Hot Tub manufacturer sells their own branded covers. They're more expensive, but wouldn't I be better off with an 'own brand' cover?

A: When buying goods there are many instances when you get what you pay for, but this isn't one of them. These companies don't make their covers themselves, they use just the same type of production facilities we use, then just slap their logo on it - and a 50% higher price tag!  Whilst it might feel reassuring to buy the same brand cover as your hot tub, in reality there is no material advantage in doing so.

Q: Is it true that covers manufactured in the United States are superior to those made here in Britain?

A: No. USA is the acknowledged home of the hot tub industry, and this is perhaps why this misconception has arisen. In truth, some very good covers come from America and some very poor quality covers do too! Quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, regardless of the country of origin, and the situation is really no different here in the UK. Ultimately the quality of a cover is determined by the quality of the materials and the standard of workmanship. We have access to the same premium grade raw materials used in the States and there's no shortage of skilled machinists in this country, so there is no real benefit in buying from outside this country.
Also, compared to the UK, the process of getting a cover from the States inevitably takes longer, with delivery times taking anything up to to 12 weeks in some cases. And if, once delivered you find your order is damaged or incorrect, what then?

Q: When it comes to my new cover, is it a case of 'the thicker the better?'

A: It depends. The thickness of the EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) foam core alone does not in itself guarantee a high thermal value. It is a combination of the thickness and the density of that foam.  Some manufacturers use not much better than packing foam in their covers and so, regardless of its thickness, the thermal rating will always be pretty low. The ideal is combination a high density, good quality foam and extra thickness, which will yield very good heat retention values.

Q: My kids/pets used to like to sit/lie/climb on the cover but now it seems they have broken it. Shouldn't a cover be more robust than this?

A: Hot Tub covers are designed to perform only three functions:

  • To insulate against heat loss
  • To prevent leaves and other debris from entering the water
  • To block access to the water for small children and pets

They're certainly not designed to be human or pet seats or sun loungers. Spa covers may be large, bulky items but they are actually quite fragile and if they're used in a way they're not intended they can sustain damage really very easily.
If you have a partially in-ground hot tub or swim spa and you find that it gets used as seating or a fully in-ground one and which gets accidentally walked on then you should definitely consider the walk-on option. This is also a wise choice if you live in a region that gets heavy snow (an alpine resort for example) and the cover doesn't get cleared of snow on a regular basis.

 

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