Has nature damaged your spa cover?
Now that you know vinyl on your hot tub cover is rated by its hours outdoors, you can make a better decision. High quality vinyl covers will last over 1500 hours outside. Although, that equals roughly only one hundred days of sunshine. I know what you are thinking, why would anybody put vinyl on something that is meant to be used outside? But that is not even the most common failure of the typical rigid foam filled spa cover.
What typically occurs before the vinyl falls apart is that the foam gets so heavy you can not lift your spa cover by yourself. Even the best covers will eventually get filled with water, as the chemicals break down the barrier and it seeps in. What happens is the little air spaces in the foam that are supposed to help the foam insulate your spa get filled up moisture. Here is a tip why the whole foam cover is doomed, if you never put the cover on your spa, it would never get heavy. Even if you put your hot tub cover outside to rest on the lawn, the vinyl would break down despite having not seen water.
Why? Although the water in a hot tub does not actually touch the cover, the steam that rises does. Some of that warm spa water turns to steam and rises up. Steam molecules are smaller than water. Once the tricky steam vapors work their way inside, they condense back into liquid. If you live in a cold area, the snow or ice on top of the cover will freeze the condensed liquid, turning your cover into a heavy, rigid thing.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that snow covering your spa is a good thing. But you would be wrong. Snow will remain on a frozen pond, but doesn’t insulate the ice much, or warm it up. It does not mean the pond water is still warm. If that’s the case, why do people sell stiff foam covers at all? There are a few answers. For one, it’s been the industry standard and that’s a hard thing to break. When spas were first sold here, they needed a simple cover to help retain the moisture and remain intact. A foam board covered in vinyl was cheap and simple to make, so everyone sold them. Remember definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.
The second reason is more pervasive. Spa dealers realize that the cover they are sending you home with will need to be replaced again because it will end up the same as the one you are replacing now. They know that like clockwork every couple years you are going to need to get another cover if you intend on using your spa on a regular basis. Hence, replacement hot tub covers are a huge part of their business. Make sure the cover you purchase is manufactured by a reputable maker and designed to last.