Spa Covers for Energy Efficiency

by Matt Goering

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A spa cover is just another name for the insulating cover you place over the top of your hot tub when it isn't in use. While it might seem an insignificant addition to your tub when compared to bubbles, jets, and the like, your spa cover is actually one of the most important components of your spa.

For starters, it provides insulation and reduces evaporation, both of which save you money in energy bills and water costs. Secondly, it provides a protective barrier over your spa, especially important if you have children running around. And finally, if you invest in the right model and extras, a good cover can greatly increase the convenience of using your spa, making soaking the main part of your spa experience, instead of wrestling with the cover.

Spa Covers Need to Be Replaced Regularly
One of the inconvenient truths of owning a spa is that your cover will begin to fail and need to be replaced on a regular basis, usually every 5 to 7 years. You'll know when the time comes, as your cover starts to take on water and gain weight. Instead of easily lifting the cover off, and setting it aside, you'll feel like a contestant in the "World's Strongest Man Competition" just to wrangle the cover off so you can hop in your tub for a soak. When that time comes, it pays to look into the wide range of covers now available for you to choose from to ensure that you get the best cover for your specific needs and uses.

The Standard Hot Tub Cover
Most homeowners will choose to purchase a standard spa cover for replacement. These are usually coated in vinyl, and contain a polystyrene foam core for insulation. Cost will vary depending on the thickness of the foam core you choose, but remember, the thicker the core, the higher the energy efficiency, so a higher initial cost usually pays off over time in increased energy savings. Besides that, make sure your cover has gusseted skirts to prevent evaporation, and a good scrim to prevent water from soaking into the foam core. Locking tie downs are also a good investment, especially if you have children, so you can lock down the cover and prevent any kids from sneaking into the tub when they are unsupervised.

Other Spa Cover Options
While a standard cover is the most popular choice for homeowners, there are other options out there to choose from. Usually they'll cost a little bit more, but if you have special needs, or the means to invest in luxury, these alternatives can be well worth the money.

  • Aluminum Covers: The main reason to chose an aluminum cover is strength. These covers are rated to hold over 1,000 pounds of weight, making them perfect for homeowners that live in areas where extremely heavy snowfalls are regular events, and for parents who don't want to ever have to worry about a child crawling over the top of a cover and falling into the water. They also last a lot longer than other types of covers. It might be the last cover you ever have to purchase.

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  • Roll Covers: Roll covers are specially constructed so they can be rolled off the top of the tub instead of having to be lifted off in two large sections like traditional covers. It makes removing your cover much easier, and the cedar sections of a roll cover can be treated to improve the overall appearance of your tub. These covers are a little more expensive, and don't hold as much weight as other covers, but can be well worth the extra money from a convenience, and an aesthetic, standpoint.

  • Floating Blankets: In addition to a traditional spa cover, floating blankets can also be purchased to increase energy efficiency and reduce evaporation. They are placed on top of the water, under the cover, when the tub is not in use. Many homeowners swear by them, as they make a big difference when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your tub.

    A spa cover is a wise, and necessary, investment. If you need a new cover for your spa, talk to a spa contractor about getting the right style, size, and grade of cover for your hot tubbing needs.

    Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.