The answer is not as simple as better design or tougher materials. There are a number of factors that determine a spa cover’s life span, and everyone plays a role in determining it. Awareness of these factors is the key to understanding the product and increasing its longevity.
For a spa cover, peril comes from every direction. It can be bitten to death by a dog, crushed under the weight by its owner’s kids and friends, shriveled by an unrelenting sun, or even speared by a snow shovel. But in most cases it succumbs to massive weight gain.
The cover begins putting on pounds when the polyethylene sheeting used to wrap and protect the core is somehow breached. Moisture is then steadily absorbed into the foam, and it becomes heavier and heavier. One day it can barely be lifted from the spa: cover death soon follows.
This plastic wrap is defeated in a number of ways, but chemicals are usually to blame. In proper concentrations, chemicals do not cause great harm to the cover’s poly wrap. Prolonged exposure to concentrated caustic vapors emanating from the spa causes the seals to give way or the sheeting to lose its flexibility, at which point it cracks or even splinters into pieces.
It’s when the chemicals are first added to the spa that they are most damaging to the cover. After you add chemicals to the spa, leave the cover off for a half hour after treatment. Granted, this may not be something you want to do and it will definitely lose heat but it will help prolong the cover’s life.
Another factor that causes the wrap to prematurely break down is water balance. Water that isn’t regularly balanced– and balanced correctly– is very damaging. Both low pH (acidic) and high pH (basic) water will attack a cover’s petroleum based materials. Bring your spa water in every 3-4 weeks to have it balanced.
While sanitizers and improper water balance are bad, ozone is the worst of the chemical foes. Ozone just eats out the bottom of spa covers. The problem may be on the rise because of changes in standard spa equipment. Almost all spas sold today come equipped with an ozonator. When a spa is purchased, the ozone cycle gets adjusted up and the spa is being used quite frequently which is the way it should be. Unfortunately, the newness wears off and the spa usage decreases but the ozonator is not adjusted down. This allows a layer of ozone gas to build up between the cover and the water-covers have been ruined within two months because of high ozone. If your spa is equipped with an ozonator and your usage of the spa has decreased, help your cover out by turning the level down.
From removing the cover off without a lifter and causing damage to the corners and edges to dogs mistaking your cover for their favorite chew toy, the vinyl top and foam core endure punishment too. Some covers are ruined due to snow fall but not due to the weight of the snow. The snow’s weight is evenly distributed. So even though there is a lot of total weight, it doesn’t damage the cover because it’s spread out. What ruins the covers is when the snow removal is done with a shovel that digs into its skin. Sunlight can also lessen a cover’s life because sunlight degrades the vinyl. The use of cover cleaners (Baqua Spa Cover Cleaner) and Spa Essentials Spa Cover Wipes with UV Inhibitor will help protect your investment.
Despite all of the elements waiting to destroy your cover, there are things that you can do to help extend the life of your cover. A floating blanket creates a barrier between the spa water and the cover and helps to significantly reduces corrosion. (It also prevents evaporation and adds insulation.) In the summer, unzip the vinyl cover, remove the foam and let it air out. And when you put it back in, flip it over, just like a mattress. It stops them from sagging in the middle, which can eventually damage the core foam. Utilizing a cover lift-and there are a variety to choose from-will protect your cover from the rough treatment it receives when it gets dumped off the spa onto the floor.
You can buy expensive and heavier duty covers but in the long run will they last longer? You and the care that you give are the determining factors in your cover living a long and healthy life!