A good hot tub cover will serve you well for quite a while. However, even with the best care and use, your cover will eventually need to be replaced.
You can expect to replace a hot tub cover within 10 years, though certain things will indicate you need a new one sooner. Following are the signs that your hot tub cover is ready to be replaced.
Cover Is Waterlogged
If your hot tub cover feels very heavy and is difficult to lift, it’s probably waterlogged. Even if the cover hasn’t been dropped in the water or allowed to be buried in snow, it will absorb water over time.
As the primary insulation for your hot tub, the cover keeps heat from escaping and water from evaporating. While it does this, it also absorbs water slowly but surely.
Ultimately, the foam core will be full of water and won’t keep water or heat in the tub properly.
Underside Is Moldy
Perhaps the hot tub cover hasn’t been cleaned properly, or poor water quality is allowing bacterial growth. Whatever it is, an unsanitary cover looks unappealing and smells badly.
If you’re getting a musty or other stinky smell from your cover, a good cleaning isn’t likely to fix the problem.
If mold or bacteria continue to grow on the cover, it can drip into the hot tub water and make the spa unfit for use.
Cover Is Bent
A hot tub cover should be slightly higher in the middle than on the edges to keep water from collecting on top. If the foam inserts break or too much weight rests on the cover, the entire thing may look bent.
Sometimes covers take on a “cupped” look, where the edges turn up and the middle is almost like a bowl. This is a sure sign that you need a new cover, as water will definitely pool in the center and cause further damage and sagging.
Vinyl Is Cracked
The insulating foam in your hot tub cover is protected by vinyl. The vinyl should be cleaned and treated with a protectant several times a year to keep it sanitary and flexible. Not doing this leaves the vinyl dry, brittle and more vulnerable to damage.
Vinyl that cracks or tears exposes the insulating foam to the heat and moisture of the hot tub. The foam will get wet and heavy and be more prone to mold growth. It also won’t insulate the tub very well.
Your hot tub cover is held together by strong stitching in the vinyl. Chemical imbalance in the hot tub can lead to deterioration of the stitching, and if the cover is waterlogged it can stress the stitches to the point of tearing.
Even if the seam can be repaired, the ripping is probably a symptom of a larger problem with the hot tub cover. In the long run, a new cover will be a better investment.
Hinge or “Shoe” Tear
Hot tub covers with hinges in the middle need to be watched for hinge tears and rips in the “shoe” – the seal at the gap where two cover halves meet.
If a shoe tears away from the hinge, or the hinge itself tears away from the cover, heat can escape at the site and the foam may be exposed.
Certain tears are repairable, though if they’re due to a waterlogged cover, it’s time to buy a new one.
A Healthy Hot Tub Cover is a Necessity
From insulating the hot tub to keeping out debris to protecting children and pets from falls, hot tub covers are a must. They can’t do their job if they’re waterlogged or damaged, and getting a new one is always worth the long-term investment.