The KLF aside (that’s a reference back to 1994), it’s not something most of us aspire too. Without realising, your hot tub might be doing just that for you, merrily burning away your hard-earned readies, even when you’re not using it.
This sounds like a bad deal to us, so if your electric bills are heading skywards it could well be time to investigate further.
Check your hot tub cover
To start with the cover was your friend, keeping leaves and debris out of the water when your tub was not in use, and saving you money by providing insulation against the worst of the British weather.
But now things have changed. The cover has put on weight and is now so heavy it’s too hard to for you to remove it on your own, unless you are prepared to risk your back – not exactly what you bought a hot tub for.
So, what’s gone wrong?
Over time your cover has become water logged and saturated with water. Perhaps there are some obvious signs of the wear and tear that led to this – tears and rips in the material, or the cover no longer fitting the way it once did.
“My hot tub cover doesn’t look as bad as this.
Why should I change it?”
Once saturated your cover can lose up to 90% of its thermal value, meaning that your electricity costs will be much higher than necessary. Don’t underestimate what this means in real terms – the cover protects heat loss from the critical area of the tub which loses most heat, i.e. ‘the top’. Depending on hot tub settings, other insulation standards of your particular hot tub & outside temperatures this could be costing you anything from £40 – £100 a month in wasted energy costs. That sounds like burning money to us!
Is it just about heating bills?
Perhaps you’re on solar, or heating bills haven’t gotten out of hand just yet. And you don’t mind the weight gain of your cover as you have a cover lifter installed. True. these are nifty pieces of kit, but they are not designed to cope with saturated covers. A water-logged cover might weigh in excess of 150kg – prepare for the steel bars in the cover lifter to bend and plastic brackets to break.
Is your hot tub used in a business setting (eg. a holiday let)?
If the purpose of your hot tub is to make money, rather than burn it, keep in mind that a heavy cover could result in legal action if a guest suffers from trying to use it. This may seem unlikely but a US study showed that hot tub related injuries had increased by approximately 10% a year, every year over the 17 year study period.
“Lifting in excess of 100kg.
How hard can that be?”
My cover isn’t that bad!
If frost melts from your hot tub cover before it melts from other areas of the garden, this is a strong indicator that you need to take action to improve the insulation of the cover. If your hot tub cover hasn’t reached the stage of needing replacement yet, there are a few of things you can do to both prolong its life and save money right now.
1) Add a thermal blanket: This will add another layer of heat protection to your hot tub and will be less expensive than buying a completely new replacement cover if your hot tub cover is still in good condition. For example our 600 Micron Heat Retention Blanket can reduce water evaporation and heat loss by over 90%. It’s possible that you will recoup the cost by energy saved within one year. These blankets will also help protect the underside of the hard cover from chemically charged steam.
2) Fit a cover lifter: Hot tub covers have an 80% better chance of surviving 5 years + with a cover lifter than without. So does your back!
3) Remove your hot tub spa cover: completely when you add chemicals – particularly ‘Shock’ or ‘Oxidising’ chemicals. Leave the cover fully open for at least 30 minutes. This is another good reason to use a cover lifter.
4) Give your cover some TLC: The wrong cleaning products will strip the protective layer from the cover vinyl causing it to fade, crack and disintegrate. Use a quality product like 303 Cleaner & Protector on your hot tub cover regularly. Not only will it look its best, but 303 adds UV protection. This is important because the original UV protection on Marine Vinyls will not last forever!
5) Hose down (don’t jet wash) the underside of the spa cover once a month.
6) Handles and securing straps on covers are designed for ‘positioning’ and ‘securing’. They should not be used for carrying the weight of the cover – they will snap!
7) Always secure the locks when the cover is in place & always unlock them before trying to open/remove the hot tub cover.
8) Never drag the cover or scrape it against the floor, walls etc.
9) Don’t add too many chemicals: Chemicals in the water vapour that comes into contact with the cover eventually causes the plastic wrapping around the inserts to become brittle and crack. Once that happens the foam inserts will quickly absorb moisture, become heavy and stop insulating properly. Poor water chemistry can also cause bleaching, puffiness within the vinyl and disintegration of the stitching. If you use too much chemical this process can occur very quickly.
10) Don’t Delay: If your hot tub cover is saturated, it will not dry out! Waiting to replace it will not save you money, it will waste money. A new cover will be an investment, if you choose wisely. It won’t come as a surprise that not all hot tub covers are created equal. We’ve written a guide that can help you understand the features that need to be considered when choosing a replacement cover for your spa.