Spa Cover Frequently Asked Questions
Spa and hot tub covers can sometimes be confusing to the homeowner when they are looking to reorder. So many options and specifications! What does it all mean? We've laid out some frequently asked questions for you to review to understand some of the terminology we use. As always, if you ever have a question please call one of our friendly, knowledgeable customer support representatives at (800)823-3618.
- How much will my new spa cover weigh?
- Does America's SPA-MART sell a spa cover that my dog can walk on? How about me?
- How important is the sealing technology used to process the vapor barrier?
- How long will my new spa cover last?
- My spa has an ozonator. I've heard that it will effect my cover?
- What are the ASTM Standard F1346-91 and the UL logo? How does this affect my home's zoning?
- Can I do anything to extend the life of my spa cover?
- How important is a cover's warranty when buying a cover?
- What is the R-Value of your spa covers?
- Why can't I order by make and model only?
- When will I receive my spa cover?
- Does America's SPA-MART sell just the foam cores for spa covers?
- Why do spa covers get so heavy over time?
How much will my new spa cover weigh?
First off, it's going to probably weigh a lot less than you old waterlogged one. Depending on which model you choose and what size your spa is, your new cover will weigh anywhere from 35 to 75 pounds. Average weights for a 7' square cover: Thermal Guardian Standard - 45 lbs.; Thermal Guardian Deluxe & Ultra- 65 lbs.; Thermal Guardian Walk-On - 75 lbs.; Thermal Guardian Basic- 40 lbs.
Does America's SPA-MART sell a spa cover that my dog can walk on? How about me?
Our Thermal Guardian Deluxe premium spa cover featuring 5"x3" 2# density foam will hold dogs weighing up to 150 lbs.
Our Thermal Guardian Walk-On model that has FRP-laminated foam cores can support walk-on weight of up to 600 lbs. on an 8' cover.
How important is the sealing technology used to process the vapor barrier?
It is extremely important when comparing cover manufacturers that you look at their sealing technology. Our manufacturer has invested in a very expensive, computer-controlled pneumatic impulse sealer to ensure that the vapor wrap is sealed. This machine puts a 1/8" weld on each seam compared to other manufacturers that use hand-sealers that seal with a nicron-wire razor thin seal or, even worse, manufacturers that tape their vapor barrier shut.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON OUR SEALING TECHNOLOGY
How long will my new spa cover last?
Cover life expectancy depends on a lot of factors including amount of direct sun the cover receives, is it cared for correctly or abused, how the spa chemical regimen is followed, and varying weather patterns. This said, the average life span of our models are as follows:
Thermal Guardian Basic 3-4 years
Thermal Guardian Standard 4-6 years
Thermal Guardian Deluxe 6-8 years
Thermal Guardian Ultra 4-6 years
Thermal Guardian Walk-On 6-10 years
My spa has an ozonator. I've heard that it will effect my cover.
Ozone is a highly reactive oxidizing agent that will gas off damaging the cover. It can be a double-edged sword in relation to spa covers. If you use less spa chemicals as a result of its installation, then the net result is a push. However, if you continue to use the same amount of chlorine or bromine, your cover will experience a shorter lifespan than on a spa not equipped with one. Keep in mind, that the money you will most likely save on spa chemicals will most likely outweigh the cost of replacing your spa cover earlier. Overall ozonators are good, but yes, they do effect spa covers.
What are the ASTM Standard F1346-91 and the UL logo? How does this affect my home's zoning?
ASTM developed standards which include a category intended to protect children five years of age and under. ASTM Standard F1346-91 for spa covers includes specific performance tests and labeling requirements. Covers must be able to pass certain tests. The first is Static Load. Second is Perimeter Deflection. We cannot republish the exactly wording of the specification because it is protected by copyright and ASTM sells copies of the standard. Basically for spas up to a size with an 8' diameter, the cover must be designed to support 275 lbs. during a rescue operation where a child is in the middle of the cover, in which the child cannot pass between the cover and the spa and gain access to the water. This does mean the cover cannot break; the child just has to stay out of the water.
Additionally, testing for surface drainage is conducted to see if a dangerous amount of rain could collect on the cover's surface. There are also requirements to include labeling in consumer information and on the cover itself. Labeling must contain proper warnings (as described by the Standard) and identify the product as a safety cover.
The UL logo is a mark that certifies that Underwriters Laboratories (a for-profit testing company) agrees that the cover is up to the ASTM F1346-91 standard. According to all building and zoning inspectors that we have talked to about this issue, no code instructs you to have the UL logo but many are asking that the cover be manufactured in accordance with the ASTM F1346-91 standard.
Thermal Guardian spa covers equipped with four locking straps are manufactured in accordance with ASTM F1346-91.
Can I do anything to extend the life of my spa cover?
Yes. Caring for your spa cover will help it last longer. Maintaining proper spa water chemistry and using a floating spa cover will do the most to extend your spa cover's life expectancy.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPA COVER CARE FACTS .
How important is a cover's warranty when buying a cover?
Unfortunately, the answer is a bit complicated. Covering a spa cover with a warranty is not complicated, but over the years the marketing ploys of spa cover sellers has muddied the water and given consumers a false impression that it is a guarantee of performance. Simply put, almost all spa covers are warranted against defects in materials and workmanship and exclude many "out of our control" factors like acts of Gods and negligence on the part of the spa cover owner. The most important exclusion that all cover warranties have is shipping costs. Like most products that you buy, shipping is a cost you absorb when having return the cover for warranty repair or replacement. With most products, this cost is not prohibitive. With spa covers, it certainly can be as it many times exceeds $100 each way.
So are all warranties useless? Not necessarily. We recommend that you choose your spa cover based upon how you feel about the company that is going to be asked to stand behind it. Unfortunately many people fall for those long 7 and 10 year warranties even though they aren't sure about the company. America's SPA-MART partners with Sonshine Products for its spa covers. They have been building covers since 1983 and have a good track record with less than 1 out of every 1000 covers made having reported warranty issues. Our Thermal Guardian spa covers are covered by a pro-rated 5 year warranty that you can learn about here. It is important that you review the details of any warranty on a spa cover that you elect to purchase.
What is the R-Value of your spa covers?
R-Value, or the cover's resistance to conduction/heat flow through a mass, varies depending on the density and the thickness of the foam core in the spa cover. Whereas some manufacturers only give you the R-Value of the foam core, we also integrate the properties of the other parts of the cover. R-Value is a sliding scale dependent on ambient temperature. We quote our R-Values based on 60 degrees F.
Thermal Guardian Basic R-14
Thermal Guardian Standard R-18
Thermal Guardian Deluxe R-22
Thermal Guardian Ultra R-24
Thermal Guardian Walk-On R-14
Why can't I order by make and model only?
Whereas we do maintain a database of spa sizes for you to use as reference, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND (and would insist if we could) that you take a physical measurement of your spa or spa cover prior to ordering. Why? First of all, we don't have all the sizes and all the spa mold changes. Without all the information, clients are likely to guess at which size they need. Secondly, sometimes customers "remember the wrong model name". Let's say you are pretty sure you have a Hot Spring Prodigy because that's what your spa store always referred to it as, but you really have a Hot Spring Sovereign. If you measure, you will realize that the measurements that you have don't match what we show in our database. It's just a good practice to know exactly what you are ordering. There are a few models that we do have a pattern for like the Hot Spring Classic Model F that it is hard to measure. But this is the exception and definitely not the rule.
CLICK HERE FOR SPA COVER MEASUREMENT TIPS
When will I receive my spa cover?
Our average lead time for production is approximately 10 to 15 working days. Depending on your location, shipping time will range from 1 to 5 business days. Our carriers deliver Monday through Friday.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to an unexpected amount of orders thus far in 2017 that has exceeded our forecasts, THE CURRENT LEAD-TIME FOR CUSTOM SPA COVERS IS 6-10 WEEKS. We, along with our manufacturing partners, are working diligently to reduce this to normal levels as soon as possible.
Does America's SPA-MART sell just the foam cores for spa covers?
Yes we do. However, we only recommend this in the most extreme cases (i.e. the cover is a month old and your teenage daughter broke the foam by using it as a sunbathing lounger). We sell the cores for $90 for one or $150 for two plus the cost of shipping which can be over $100. The short answer is we do sell them, but we usually recommend that you look at purchasing the whole cover since the cost of shipping is the same. Call us for details on ordering just foam cores.
Why do spa covers get so heavy over time?
We, like almost all insulating spa cover manfacturers, use Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) foam as the core of our covers. We do this because EPS is actually very strong and energy efficient when compared to its weight. The weakness in EPS is that it will eventually gain weight as it gets waterlogged.
EPS is block-molded. Small beads are expanded into a chamber and infused with steam. When the steam is withdrawn the beads have been molded into a block the size of the chamber. Even though the beads themselves are closed-cell and waterproof and they are stuck together, water can saturate the foam IN BETWEEN the beads.
To reduce and slow down water absorption, the foam cores are "sealed" in polyethylene. The method used to seal the polyethylene is an important factor. manufacturers simply have the polyethylene taped closed. Better manufacturers heat seal the polyethylene vapor barrier.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON OUR SEALING TECHNOLOGY
Water absorption can start from a small hole punctured through the cover. Evena small hole will allow a large amount of water to enter the foam over time.
Commonly, water absorption is the result of "natural degradation of the polyethylene". Over time, chlorine, bromine, non-chlorine shock and ozone will break down the polyethylene causing it to become porous. The thicker the polyethylene (we use a 6 mil thick polyethylene), the longer it will resist this chemical degradation. At some point however, it will become porous enough to allow evaporation and steam to penetrate through it. It WILL NOT be porous enough to allow the steam that has condensed back into water to drip back out.
Since you have to use spa chemcials to keep the spa clean and safe to use, a good thing to invest in is a floating blanket. The blanket will greatly reduce both chemical off gassing, and more importantly evaporation. It's also important to completely remove the cover for a minimum of 20 minutes when shocking the water. This will allow the off-gassing chemicals to freely escape without penetrating into the cover itself.