|Publication number||US20050188456 A1|
|Application number||US 10/788,261|
|Publication date||Sep 1, 2005|
|Filing date||Mar 1, 2004|
|Priority date||Mar 1, 2004|
|Publication number||10788261, 788261, US 2005/0188456 A1, US 2005/188456 A1, US 20050188456 A1, US 20050188456A1, US 2005188456 A1, US 2005188456A1, US-A1-20050188456, US-A1-2005188456, US2005/0188456A1, US2005/188456A1, US20050188456 A1, US20050188456A1, US2005188456 A1, US2005188456A1|
|Original Assignee||Jay Teitelbaum|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Referenced by (1), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention is directed to supports for spa covers when the spa is in use.
2. Description of the Prior Art
The last several years have seen a great increase in the utilization of outdoor spas for relaxation, as well as for therapeutic use. These spas include a reservoir filled from a source of heated water. The heated water would be injected into the reservoir through the use of a plurality of jets. Since the majority of these spas are designed for use in the outdoors, they generally are equipped with a cover adapted to be supported by a surface surrounding the periphery of the reservoir well of the spa, when the spa is not being utilized. The purpose of this cover is to reduce the cost of heating the water, as well as to prevent material, such as leaves or twigs from entering the reservoir. These leaves or twigs could prove to be unsightly, as well as to interfere with the operation of the spa. Additionally, the cover is used to prevent small animals from entering the reservoir well. Finally, the cover acts as protection to prevent small children from inadvertently entering the reservoir well, when it is left unattended by adults.
A typical cover for an above-ground spa would weigh in excess of 70 pounds to cover a typical square spa having a side-length of seven feet. Generally, the spa cover must be folded in half and removed from the top of the spa tub to obtain access to the spa. Additionally, when the spa cover is manually removed from the spa with no device to support the spa cover when the spa is in use, the spa cover would be placed on the ground possibly resulting in damage to the spa cover. Furthermore, lifting the spa cover to place it on top of the spa reservoir is very difficult since the top of the spa reservoir is at least three feet off the ground, thereby requiring the use of more than one person to properly position the spa cover over the spa.
Various U.S. patents have issued directed to the problem of removing a spa cover from the top of the spa tub reservoir, when the spa is in use and then replacing the spa cover after the spa has been utilized. Generally, these solutions require the implementation of a spa cover support directly attached to the spa.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,685, issued to Cross, is typical of this solution. This patent describes a support for hot tub spa covers including a pair of roller support arms 18 pivotally connected to the wall of the spa using an attachment member 20. In use, a cover 12 is folded in half and then pushed or pulled onto the roller support arms 18 after they pivot from a non-support position to a support position as shown in
U.S. Pat. No. 5,644,803, issued to Wilson, details a spa cover support assembly including a support arm 12 which is pivotally attached at its bottom end to an external surface of a wall of the spa. In use, the support arm 12 pivots to the position shown in
U.S. Pat. No. 5,974,600, issued to Pucci et al, discusses a spa cover 12 including four panel assemblies 28, 30, 32 and 34 configured in a bi-folding manner. Cover members 28 and 30 are connected to one another by a hinge 58 as are cover members 32 and 34. Each of these pair of cover members are connected to respective lift assemblies operating in the manner shown in
U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,630, issued to Tedrick, describes a spa cover lifter including lift bars 23 and 24 used to hoist a spa cover 22 from the top of a spa, and then to replace the spa cover when the spa is no longer being used.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,077, issued to Tedrick, as well as U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,974,599 and 6,158,063, both issued to Tudor, also describe spa cover lifting devices provided with lifting elements.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,761,750, issued to Mazzola et al, shows a hot tub with an apparatus for removing the cover from the hot tub. The hot tub cover 46 is composed of a plurality of elongated, substantially rigid interlocking segments 48 connected to a covering and a removing apparatus 12 powered by a motor 21. The plurality of segments 48 travel over a roller provided in the covering apparatus 12 until the cover is completely removed and stored within the support structure 22 as illustrated in
Spa cover removing devices such as described in the Cross, Wilson and Tedrick patents generally show the use of hydraulic-operated arms to remove and replace the spa cover from the spa tub or employ two L-type brackets which protrude off of one side of the spa tub and hold the folded spa cover parallel to the top of the spa tub. These devices are difficult to install, difficult to use, as well as potentially damaging to the spa tub by placing stress on the side wall of the spa tub. These devices could subject the spa tub wall to the stress of wind loads in addition to the weight of the spa cover. The “L” bracket type device also subjects the wall of the spa tub to the weight of the spa cover and is difficult to push or pull the spa cover over the “L” bracket, particularly when the spa cover is wet.
The patent to Mazzola et al, while not requiring the covering apparatus 12 to be attached to the spa, the covering apparatus is motorized and relatively expensive. Additionally, due to the operation of the system, only a spa cover having a plurality of rigid interlocking segments 48 could be employed.
The deficiencies of the prior art are addressed and rectified by the present invention. This invention contemplates the use of a free-standing spa cover support and storage unit in proximity to the spa tub, but not directly connected thereto. The spa cover support unit would be provided with two or more supports, such as a plurality of rotating rollers onto which the spa cover would be transported when the spa cover is removed from the top of the spa tub. These supports would be employed to assist in removing the spa cover in order to use the spa and in replacing the spa cover when the spa tub is no longer in use. Additionally, the spa cover support and storage unit would be provided with an accessible section for the storage of various spa accessories or other implements or provisions.
Since, for ease of operation, it is important that the top of the spa cover be at a height level with the top of the spa tub, the spa cover support and storage unit would be provided with a plurality of adjustable legs, allowing the height of the spa cover support and storage unit to be altered, based upon the height of the spa tub and to level and stabilize the spa cover support and storage unit.
Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary. In the drawings, it is understood that various elements of the drawings are not intended to be drawn to scale, but instead are sometimes purposely distorted for the purposes of illustrating the invention.
A first embodiment of the present invention is shown in
As shown in
The spa cover support and storage unit 10 is free-standing and is not designed to be connected to the spa tub 12. The unit 10 includes a front wall 20, a first side wall 28, a second side wall (not shown) and a back wall (not shown). Although the width of the spa cover support and storage unit 10 is shown to be less than the width of the spa tub 12 as illustrated in
The spa cover support and storage unit 10 is provided with a recessed portion 30 covering at least a portion of the top surface of the spa cover support and storage unit 10. The recess is provided with walls 31, 33, 35 and 37.
Additionally, as is illustrated in the drawings, the spa cover support and storage unit 10 is provided with a pair of doors 36 and 38 allowing access to the interior of the spa cover support and storage unit. Handles 40 and 46 would be used for access to the interior. Additionally, as shown in
The spa cover support and storage unit 10 is provided with legs 60, 62 and 64. Although
A second embodiment of the present invention is depicted in
The unit 70 illustrated in
The exterior of the spa cover support and storage units 10 and 70 can be constructed from various types of wood such as quality cedar. It can also be constructed from metallic material such as stainless steel. Galvanized fasteners and galvanized steel sealed bearing rollers can be used to make the invention as weather resistant as possible. Additionally, the invention can be constructed of other materials, such as exterior grade lumber, plastic, polymers, composites or other metals.
In use, the spa cover support and storage units 10 and 70 are placed proximate to the spa tub 12 in a location which is as level as possible. The height of the legs are then adjusted, if necessary. To remove the spa cover 18 from the top of the spa tub 12, the spa cover 18 is folded in half from the outside of the spa tub and then, from either the inside or the outside of the spa tub, the spa cover 18 is pushed onto the rollers 30 of the spa cover support and storage units 10 and 70. Once the cover 18 is pushed or pulled onto the top of the spa cover support and storage units 10 and 70, the spa cover 18 is supported, flat and parallel to the top of the spa tub 12. When it is desired to remove the spa cover 18 from the top of the spa cover support and storage unit 10 to cover the reservoir 14, the cover 18 is pushed or pulled from either the interior of the reservoir 14 or the exterior of the spa tub 12 and then unfolded thereby completely covering the spa tub.
While the present invention has been described with reference to various embodiments, these embodiments are offered by way of example, not by way of limitation. Various additions, deletions and modifications can be made to the embodiments of the present invention by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, all such additions, deletions and modifications are deemed to lie within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8096294 *||Oct 8, 2008||Jan 17, 2012||Jenkins Richard D||Spa water heating apparatus and method|
|International Classification||E04H4/08, A47K3/00|
|Cooperative Classification||E04H4/08, A47K3/001|
|European Classification||A47K3/00B, E04H4/08|