SpaCap Hot Tub Cover - Review

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  #1  
Old 03-28-05, 04:43 AM
generaljdog
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SpaCap Hot Tub Cover - Review



I responded to a post a while back saying that I had ordered one of these and was asked to give my feedback once I had it for a little while. First off, it's hard to find much information on it besides what is already on the website. I took a look at the testimonials that are there and noticed that one of them had listed first and last name of someone, and their state of residence. I decided to try to track the guy down and call him. I talked to the guy for about 20 minutes and he gave me a good recomendation. Basically I was looking to see if there were any issues with his cover. He had it for a year and hasn't had any. He's apparently in no way affiliated with ******.com also. Anything that I could find online about these covers that was negative, was from people that haven't tried it and were skeptical. Something about the air not being a good insulator. What is between the pockets in foam, or styrafoam.....Air????

So anyway, I received mine about a week after I talked to the guy...altogether, it took almost 5 weeks from the time I ordered it. It was custom made to fit my tub. It was exactly what I expected, but much much different than a foam cover. I filled the tub with water, then filled the cover with air, laid it in place and that was it. I let the spa heat up, then installed the hooks to keep the cover in place. All in all, it was pretty simple. I filled mine up with air enough so that I have a slight dome affect. When the rain hits it, it runs right off. The snow will at first melt, but eventually will build up a little, but never causes an air leak through the seal.

The cool think about this cover, is since it lays on the water, if forms a seal around the inside edge of your spa, i.e. on the acryllic. Then the top half of the cover lays over the outside edge of the top of the spa. So far, my spa runs significantly less than it used to with the old foam cover. It is soooo much easier to get on and off than the old cover. I did not have a cover lift. The inner part to the cover is like a rubber raft, one that would be used for whitewater rafting. The exterior, at least on mine, it like an umbrella, thus the Sunbrella material that they use.

So far I am very happy with the purchase. A new foam cover is slightly less, but my original cover didn't even last me 2 years. I thought it worth the risk to spend a little more for ease of use and something that will last longer. It won't collect water and get water logged.

Post responses if you have any questions.
 

Last edited by todrut; 01-03-08 at 03:57 PM. Reason: no website posting
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  #2  
Old 12-22-05, 10:42 AM
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Spacap does it work? Is it a scam?

I am a long time Spa owner and when it was time to replace yet another foam filled traditional hot tub cover I decided to take a look on the web for some new ideas or maybe a good deal on a cover. If you do a simple hot tub cover Google search you will surely come across the SPACAP by Another Company. The problem I had was that no other info was available about this product except what the maker had on his site. I read through his info and it sounded great. Supposedly more efficient than traditional covers and it will last longer. The theory made sense to me but I couldn't figure out if this was such a great idea why 25 other companies weren't offering the same thing. I tried to research and talked with as many knowledgeable people as I could with no definitive opinions anywhere. So I bit the hook and bought one.

I ordered it in the fall of 2004. I am writing this opinion in December of 05. I have owned it 18 months or so.

The cover came from the manufacturer quickly and was well constructed with a perfect fit. But the jury was still out as to wether an air bag works as well as foam insulation. The first thing I noticed was that snow (I am in Wisconsin) never accumulated on the Spacap. I used to have to sweep snow off the top of my traditional cover after every storm. But snow melted off the Spacap as fast as it fell.....HMMMMM.

Next I noticed my spa pump running more and my electric consumption never went down. Contrarily my power consumption went up.

I still needed more concrete evidence. A bit more scientific. Here is what I did......You be the judge.

I got a thermal imaging camera. This is used by energy annalists to check homes for heat loss and efficiency. It is also used by Fire Departments to check for hot spots in burning buildings. It uses infrared technology to get spot on accuracy. The camera allows you to point at any object and get a pinpoint temperature reading of the object.

I did the test on a day that the outside air temperature was 12 degrees. The thermal camera was reading ambient objects at around 14 degrees. It was reading the outside of houses at 19 degrees. Now the big moment......lets point this puppy at the Spacap.

It read 40 degrees. What? Yes 40 degrees. The hot tub water is at 100 degrees. Gad that doesn't seem good at all. One last test to do. I needed to compare it to a foam cover. So to the neighbors yard I went. I turned the camera on to a traditional foam cover with a 102 degree hot tub. The camera read 19 degrees.

Needless to say I am seriously bummed out that I got taken by a slick web site. I like to think I am smarter than the average bear. Anyway I felt I needed to post this info to the web so others can have a fair opinion before spending $400 or more on a Spacap.
 
  #3  
Old 09-02-06, 04:53 PM
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I'd consider SpaCap a scam

During my research of spa covers, I (like some of you out there) stumbled upon the unconventional SpaCap on the web. I was immediately skeptical.

First, let me say that I have no direct experience with the SpaCap, but the findings of Tomm1963 do not surprise me. I agree that air is a good insulator -- when it is not moving! Many common insulations (like fiberglass and foams) make use of trapped air, but the air is not free to move. The air is trapped in very small spaces or chambers, thereby reducing heat transfer via convection.

I'm assuming that the SpaCap has one (or no more than a few) chamber(s) which allow the air to move -- a lot! Chamber air at the bottom of the cover (nearly touching the 100 degree water) heats up and immediately rises to the top of the cover and in turn heats the 20 degree air outdoors.

Bummer -- aside from the fact that it likely won't hold the heat in, the cover appears to be light-weight and fairly indestructable. So back to my research of spa covers I go.
 
  #4  
Old 09-14-06, 04:49 PM
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Smile spacap vs the others....

Hey thanks for all your postings by the way. I too was looking for a new cover and found the spacap website. Looked extremely promising but I don't know if I can trust their claims either (like most of you). I called them and they weren't that helpful in convincing me that the product was as good as advertised and they also weren't very concerned about their unsatisfactory Better Business Bureau rating. These things scared me even though the concept seemed really promising. I even tried to websearch the consulting firm they had to do their R rating verification but couldn't find it. I wanted to call them and just verify everything. Anyway, I ended up ordering a conventional one from a company that has a 7 year warranty on their product (yes that was 7 years, 3 at 100% then prorated over the next 4 yrs). Since my original cover only lasted 3 years, I thought that was not too bad for a warranty. Plus they had free shipping (very cool). The other company also had an excellent BBB report so I caved and purchased from them. I'll let you all know how it turned out in a few weeks...
 
  #5  
Old 09-14-06, 06:18 PM
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This actually brings up another issue worth talking about. WARRANTY. The first and foremost thing to remember about warranties is that they ONLY cover MANUFACTURERS DEFECTS. Not normal wear and tear or abuse.

Schardenzar says his original cover only lasted 3 years. I can pretty much guarantee you any failure of it was not due to a manufacturing defect, therefore not covered under "warranty".

I've been selling spa covers for over *gulp* 25 years, and we've been manufacturing one type or another for over 15 years. I don't recall EVER having a warranty issue with a cover that's more than about 6 months old (more like 6 weeks). In fact, so few warranty problems come up that when people ask me, "what kinds of manufacturing defects does the warranty cover", I don't usually don't have an answer.

Ok, so after a great deal of thought, what kinds of issues can come up?........

Stitching. As you probably know, a sewing machine uses two sources of thread. There's the main spool that sits on the top of the machine, that's visible and easy to keep an eye on, and then there's the bobbin. The bobbin holds much less thread and is kind of hidden under the sewing machine. It's possible for the sewer to unknowingly run out of bobbin thread. If they keep on sewing, the thread from the main spool gets sewn into the fabric, but without the bobbin thread will simply pull out and the cover will come apart. It happens ocationally. It's very rare and unusual though for the cover make it the rest of the way through production without falling apart. Inserting the foam cores into the cover puts about as much stress on the cover as anything, and this is where it will pop apart if not sewn correctly. Even if it were to get shipped out and delivered, it's going to start coming apart in the first few weeks.

That's about it .......... I would imagine it's possible to get some faulty material that the cover is made of. But, I've never heard of that happening. I think it's about as likely as getting a misprinted dollar bill.

Let me know, please, if you have heard of, or can think of, anything else.

But there's a catch to all warranties that most people don't know about. Even if there were to be a problem, it's the consumer that's responsible for ALL shipping costs, both in returning the cover to the manufacturer and in having it shipped back to them. Guess what? The cost to you of that shipping will be MORE than the cost of a brand new cover. YOU will have to pack up the cover in an acceptable way for the shipping company to accept it. It's then going to cost you anywhere from $200 to $400 to ship it back to the manufacturer. Good news though, shipping it back to you should only be around $100..... Though, if the warranty claim is denied, you'll be out the $200 - $400 it cost to get the cover back to the manufacturer.

The few issues we've had we've ALWAYS been able to resolve with a phone conversation and a few digital pictures. I know of other companies that also always attempt to do it this way. But I also know of some companies that if you have a complaint, you HAVE to return the cover to them...period

Someone must have an example, even if imaginary, of a warranty problem?
 
  #6  
Old 09-15-06, 06:52 AM
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Warranty reply from Dr. Spa

Thanks for the heads up on the warranty Dr.! I appreciate the help! The last cover I had became extremely waterlogged within the 3 years - there was no warranty after about a year I guess. Hopefully this next one wil work out better.
 
  #7  
Old 01-19-07, 08:02 PM
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SpaCap-Ultimate Disapointment

In the spring of 2006, I too needed a replacement for my spa cover. I found the Spacap website intriguing to say the least. I live in the mountains of California, and we are all about extremes. Summer temps can get into the high 90's, and we can receive upwards of 6 feet of snow in winter storms with 60 MPH winds. Needless to say, I needed a spa cover that would on one hand keep the warmth in, and on the other hand keep the elements (sun, wind, snow, leaves, rain, etc) out. After much consideration and many chats with the Spacap people, I decided to give this thing a try (with much skepticism). I ordered their top of the line product with 3 air chambers and protection by sunbrella.

Things did not get off to a good start with the Spacap company with my order. After 8 weeks and probably a half dozen phone calls, my cover was finally being shipped (They had told me when I ordered the Spacap that it would be shipped in no more than 21 days). I inflated the 3 chambers, during which, one of the intakes was already starting to separate from the material that it is affixed to. Once inflated, I affixed the fasteners ready for any wind that might come up.

Within days, we were blessed with some gnardly 45 mph gusts-all seemed well with the Spacap; that is until we went to get in the spa the next day. The spa was completely dirty with leaves and dirt, not to mention our filters needed cleaning as well at this point. Our first test of mountain weather and the spa cap was not living up to its bidding.

After several weeks, we also noticed that the once inflated Spacap was losing its dome shape. This became quite a nuisance, we were inflating the Spacap every two weeks or so. As we got into summer, our next mountain weather phenomena raised its ugly head. We were getting daytime highs in the 90's with nighttime lows in the 40's. If the Spacap was inflated to its proper level in the early evening, that night it would deflate because of the cooler temps (Boyles Law). By midday the next day, it would be so over inflated that we were unable to undo the fasteners to get in the spa. This sequence repeated itself multiple times throughout the summer. The overt display of Boyles Law was demonstrating to me, that this product seemed to be very susceptible to environmental temperature swings. Needless to say, a second failure in as many attempts.

Finally, it was now winter. This is really why we bought this thing, the hope of huge savings on our electric bill as advertised by the Spacap people. Well, the Spacap didn't live up to this either. With wind and rain initially, we were still getting debris in our spa, and now with the rain we were starting to get pools of water on top of our Spacap. We called the company, and let them know what was going on. They informed us that under no circumstance were we to allow standing water on the Spacap. Apparently, the impermeable sunbrella is quite permeable under standing water. If water were to get inside the bladder system, it is very difficult to get out. Well, more work had been created for us. Not only were we required to refill the air chambers, but also now we had to keep all water off of the Balloon. That leads me to winter problem number 2, wind. It is quite impossible to get into your spa with any measurable wind (above 15 mph). The shape of the Spacap is very near the shape of an airfoil, i.e. wing or sail. At the point you unhooked the fasteners and began to lift the Spacap, the wind would grab it and where it would go is up to nature. Finally, snow! What can I say about snow? As previously posted, snow initially melts because of the warmth of the Spacap. This ultimately creates a really nice layer of ice on which the reaming snow accumulates (makes for easy snow removal). Without a spa lift or anything of the sort, the Spacap must rest on top of the snow-quite a feat of strength when the snow is 3 or 4 feet deep (my spa sits flush to a deck). What about all of those electric savings Spacap talks about you might ask? Well, with no substantial change in any other variable, we saw usage go up by 21.3%.

Not to drag this out any further, but I must add one more thing that I have learned from this experience. Speaking with Jeff (a Spacap guy) on about the 1st of November, I voiced my concerns that I have shared here. He tried to convince me how great the Spacap was and that if I weren't happy I could return the product for a full refund or repair for further use. I told him at that time that I was sure I wanted a refund. He convinced me that I should continue with the product for a couple of months noting that eventually I would have to send the product in to be repaired, and if after a couple of months had gone by and I still wasn't satisfied the offer of refund would still be valid. Fast forward to Jan 2007. I have made multiple attempts to get in contact with Jeff; he won't take any of my calls. All I'm getting is response from another associate that they are willing to repair my Spacap-refund is not an option. I was fully duped by Spacap's website, please don't let this happen to you.

Popper
 
  #8  
Old 04-17-07, 04:26 PM
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Smile Spa cap

The spa cap will be warm, always. Snow will not remain on top of it. If you were to put a heat gun on it you will always get a warm reading. This is because the cover rests on the waters surface. No insulator on earth has a rating of r100. If and only if the spa cap had a rating of 100 would you get a cold reading. The only heat loss is what you read on the outside of the spa cap.

A foam cover attempts to insulate from six to 12 inches above the water. If I get cold and sit next to a blanket I don't get warm. I have to place said blanket on my body. It will keep me warm, but over time that blanket would lose some heat through the outside of it.

once the foam saturates there is no longer dead air to insulate. all foam covers saturate; that would be fact. (a wet blanket won't keep you as warm as a dry blanket)
 
  #9  
Old 04-17-07, 05:43 PM
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"The spa cap will be warm, always."

This can ONLY be caused by heat from the spa escaping through it.

"Snow will not remain on top of it."

This is because SO MUCH heat is escaping through it, it's melting the snow.

"This is because the cover rests on the waters surface."

That statement had NO bearing AT ALL. It doiesn't matter if the cover is resting on 100 degree water or 104 degree air.

"No insulator on earth has a rating of r100."

ummmmmmmmmmm, no. And insulator, any insulator, if thick enough has an R-100 rating. But that's totally irrelevant.

The SIMPLE fact is that the warmer it is on top of the cover, the more heat is traveling through it, and the LESS insulating it is.
 
  #10  
Old 04-19-07, 12:39 PM
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Talking The only heat lost is the heat on the outside of the cover

A saturated foam cover will freeze in the winter. All foam covers saturate, thats the reason they get heavy. If I want to cool off my soup I place an Ice cube on it. Or I stick it in the fridge. The foam covers won't be as warm because the heat has already dissipated. They attempt to insulate from 6 to 12 inches above the water. My spa cap insulates right on the water. how could a foam cover possibly beat its insulation. The SIMPLE fact is that the foam cover just cannot.

The only heat lost is the reading on top of the spa cap. Think about it. oh and by the way dr spa you slam the spa cap all over the internet, and youre VERY QUICK with the response, could this be because you sell foam covers and have something to lose from a superior product. get your facts straight bro.
 
  #11  
Old 04-19-07, 12:45 PM
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Cool How could you get a cover thick enough for r100

good luck
 
  #12  
Old 04-19-07, 01:47 PM
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You said it yourself............ "The only heat lost is the heat on the outside of the cover".

Take 2 different spa covers. Now one cover has a surface temp of 40 degrees and another cover has a surface temp of 19 degrees, which cover is losing the most heat?

"The foam covers won't be as warm because the heat has already dissipated."
What in the world, no, universe, are you talking about? Where has this heat dissipated to or from?

If you bother to read ALL the complaints on the net about this spacap, you'll see numerous people complaining about their spas running longer heating cycles, dropping in temperature faster, increases energy costs and more when comparing the spacap to a traditional cover.

Additionally, my only "slamming" of spacap is to repeat what their customers with actual experience have to say. And yes, not only do I sell covers, but this year should manufacture over 50k.

"How could you get a cover thick enough for r100"

Nowhere in your original post, nor in my response, was there any mention of a COVER having an R-value of 100. You simply said "insulator". PLEASE reread this response a second time before responding to be sure you understand what I'm saying. ALSO, you might just want to reread the second post in this thread. The testing was done in such a manor that it probably would be admissible evidence most courts.

Any possibility you're Jeff Sliger?
 
  #13  
Old 04-19-07, 02:29 PM
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Red face no pee pee match necessary

no there's no possibility of that dr. however, congrats on the 50k. I have had my air cover for 3 years now and I like it. It works very well.
 
  #14  
Old 01-03-08, 01:01 PM
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No more Spacap

I replaced my intact spacap 2 years ago. The only addition to my previous post is that since I have gone back to a conventional cover my electricity consumption has gone down. Shoepimps reasoning doesn't' stand up to a basic physics class. That said if you like it good for you. It just doesn't stand up to its advertising.
 
  #15  
Old 03-18-08, 07:14 PM
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SpaCap.com

Here is the company's website if you want to see what they're all about...
 

Last edited by todrut; 03-18-08 at 07:50 PM.
  #16  
Old 03-19-08, 04:06 AM
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have an irregular-shape tub,,,

wondering if this would be workable to have a foam (ensolite) cap made of just fill it w/ping-pong balls ? ? ?
 
  #17  
Old 11-22-08, 01:52 PM
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Which company had the 7 year warranty?
Used a spa cap for 3, ozone ate a hole in the baldder filled with water..
 
  #18  
Old 11-29-08, 04:43 PM
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Angry SpaCap: What a big mistake

These guys at SpaCap are selling a product that totally does not live up to specs. My electricity bill spiked up since I got mine several years ago. Plus its a pain to get on and off. Furthermore, I gotta mention this to anyone thinking of getting one of these: If you just want to decomission your spa for some time, forget about keeping this cover on it...it totally EFFed up my SpaCap. Why? Because the spacap only functions the way it is supposed to when there is water below it to support its weight...if not, then unless you have the maximum amount of air in it and also keep it tautly fastened on all sides, it collects rain water. And when that happens, the water gets in past the canvas, and it becomes a VERY expensive birdbath (while collecting fall foliage).

What a BIG mistake.
 
  #19  
Old 12-10-08, 02:54 PM
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Spacap- Don't get one!

I just had one of my worst customer experiences with spacap and strongly suggest you think twice before buying one. The covers look good on the website but they are much bulkier and awkward to put on and off than expected. My biggest issue was properly sizing the cover. I was off on a side measurement and the cover was too tight on one side. Measuring spas isn't as easy as it looks (lots of corners and angles) and if you are off on your measurements you are hosed. Unless you are really accurate, don't take the chance with one of these.
They offered to fix it for an additional $190.00 but have no other return or satisfaction policy. Also, the customer service was arrogant and condescending. I offered to pay for some of the hard costs in making the cover but they refused. I have never complained about a company on line, but Spacap deserves a huge thumbs down.
 
  #20  
Old 12-18-08, 12:37 PM
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SpaCap Ripoff - STAY AWAY

It sure looked good on the website, but what a misrepresentation! Insulation isn't better, it's worse!
Mine lasted 2 years, then started leaking.

I sent it back and they claimed that my pH was off and ate through the cover!

We didn't use it that much, the kids are away at college, and I tested the water regularly, so they are full of you-know-what!
 
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