Title:
Anti-chew guard for spa covers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An Anti-chew Guard for Spa Covers is disclosed. The cover is made from a durable material that is attachable to the edges of a conventional spa cover to prevent an animal from chewing the edges. The guard is available as a retrofit add-on to existing spa covers, as well as being incorporated between the core and sheath of a new cover (i.e. integrated into the cover). If additional protection is desired, the guard might also be electrified with a low-voltage current to startle an animal attempting to chew the cover.



Inventors:
Cato, Lloyd (Vista, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/938460
Publication Date:
02/27/2003
Filing Date:
08/21/2001
Assignee:
CATO LLOYD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/08; (IPC1-7): E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Karl M. Steins (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A guard for spa covers having at least one panel, each panel being defined by a perimeter, comprising: a plurality of edge strips attachable to said cover substantially around said perimeter.

2. The guard of claim 1, wherein said edge strip comprises durable, chew-preventive material.

3. The guard of claim 2, wherein said edge strip detachably attaches to said perimeter with a plurality of fastener devices.

4. The guard of claim 3, wherein said fastener devices comprise hook-and-loop fasteners.

5. The guard of claim 3, wherein said fastener devices comprise snaps.

6. The guard of claim 3, wherein said fastener devices comprise buttons.

7. The guard of claim 1, wherein: one or more of said edge strips comprise electrical contacts disbursed across the face of said edge strip, said electrical contact in electrical communication with a power supply.

8. The guard of claim 3, wherein said edge strips comprise metal.

9. The guard of claim 3, wherein said edge strips further comprise a chemical coating, said chemical one of a group of animal repellant chemicals.

10. The guard of claim 3, wherein said edge strips comprise durable plastic material.

11. The guard of claim 3, wherein said edge strips comprise durable fabric material.

12. An anti-chew guard for the perimeters of hot tub covers, comprising: an edge strip comprising a durable, chew-preventive material attached to said perimeter; and wherein said edge strip detachably attaches to said perimeter with a plurality of fastener devices

13. The guard of claim 12, wherein said fastener devices comprise hook-and-loop fasteners.

14. The guard of claim 13, wherein said edge strips further comprise a chemical coating, said chemical one of a group of animal-repellant chemicals.

15. The guard of claim 14, wherein: one or more of said edge strips comprise electrical contacts disbursed across the face of said edge strip, said electrical contact in electrical communication with a power supply.

16. A method for preventing chewing damage to the perimeter edges of hot tub covers comprising the steps of: attaching a strip of chew-preventive material to the perimeter edges of said hot tub covers.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein: said attaching step comprises attaching an edge strip comprising durable, chew-preventive material to said perimeter.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising: an electrifying step, said electrifying step comprising applying a power source to said edge strips, said edge strips further defined by electrical contacts disbursed across their faces.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to hot tub accessories and, more specifically, to an Anti-chew Guard for Spa Covers.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Hot tub “spas” have been an extremely popular addition to many homes. The convenience of having a relaxing, swirling whirlpool bath right at home has resulted in their becoming almost a standard for new construction or remodel upgrades. Because most of these tubs are placed outdoors, most are equipped with an insulated cover to provide defense against leaves and dirt being blown into the tub, to lower heating costs of the tub by retaining the heat within the tub, to provide some measure of drowning protection, as well as to reduce the evaporation of the chemicals used to maintain the proper water condition within the spa.

[0005] If we turn to FIG. 1, we can begin to introduce one of the problems with the conventional hot tub site. FIG. 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of a conventional hot tub and an insulating cover for same. As shown in FIG. 1, the conventional hot tub 10 (in this case a “portable” model) is provided with a deck 12 at the top of the tub 10. Virtually every shape and size of hot tub 10 can be fitted with a corresponding insulating cover 14. This cover 14 is typically constructed from a foam core, such as foam plastic-type material, which is encased within a vinyl or plastic decorative cover. The cover 14 is typically formed with a skirt 16 around its periphery. The skirt 16 will usually hang down over the deck 12 of the tub 10 in order to provide additional protection.

[0006] If we turn now to FIG. 2, we can further identify the different elements of the conventional hot tub cover 14. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the tub and cover of FIG. 1, depicting how the cover operates when installed on the tub 10. In use, the cover 14 is placed upon the hot tub 10 when the tub 10 is not in use; when someone wishes to enjoy the tub 10, you simply fold back the cover 14 at the hinge 22 formed between the first cover half 18 and the second cover half 20, and then remove the cover 14 from the top of the tub 10 (and place it to the side).

[0007] A significant problem results from the conventional design and use pattern for the tub cover 14. Since the typical tub 10 is used less than an hour a day, it stands to reason that the cover 14 is in place atop the tub 10 for a substantial portion of its life. Additionally, the average tub 10 is located in the owner's yard, typically within some sort of fenced or railed enclosure. The problem is that many times the spa owner also is a pet owner, and particularly a pet dog owner. It has become a favorite pastime for many pet dogs to chew on the corners and edges 24 and 26 (i.e. the periphery) of the spa cover 14. Because the cover 14 needs to be lightweight, it is also susceptible to easy puncturing by animal teeth. Even if the cover 14 is not totally destroyed by the animal, once the vinyl decorative cover is damaged by punctures, it is very common for it to become waterlogged and/or to deteriorate from environmental exposure. What is needed, therefore, is a device for protecting the delicate edges of a hot tub cover from damage due to animal chewing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In light of the aforementioned problems associated with the prior devices, it is an object of the present invention to provide an Anti-chew Guard for Spa Covers. The preferred cover will be made from a durable material that is attached to the edges of a conventional spa cover to prevent an animal from chewing the edges. The guard should be available as a retrofit add-on to existing spa covers, as well as being incorporated between the core and sheath of a new cover (i.e. integrated into the cover). If additional protection is desired, the guard might also be electrified with a low-voltage current to startle an animal attempting to chew the cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The objects and features of the present invention, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, of which:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of a conventional hot tub and an insulating cover for same;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the tub and cover of FIG. 1, depicting how the cover operates when installed on the tub;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the tub and cover of FIGS. 1 and 2, with the addition of a preferred embodiment of the anti-chew guard of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the cover and guard of FIG. 3;

[0014] FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the cover of FIGS. 1-4 and an alternate embodiment of the anti-chew guard of the present invention; and

[0015] FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein that anti-chew guard is incorporated under the.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] The following description is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention and sets forth the best modes contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention. Various modifications, however, will remain readily apparent to those skilled in the art, since the generic principles of the present invention have been defined herein specifically to provide an Anti-chew Guard for Spa Covers.

[0017] The present invention can best be understood by initial consideration of FIG. 3. FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the tub and cover of FIGS. 1 and 2, with the addition of a preferred embodiment of the anti-chew guard 30 of the present invention. The preferred guard 30 will be constructed from a durable material that will be substantially more resistant to damage from animal chewing than the unprotected cover edge would be. Examples of appropriate materials might be metal, or fabric having a metallic component or components; plastic or rubber; and reinforced or treated fabric, including fiberglass. In some embodiments, the edge strips 32 might also be treated (e.g. impregnated or coated) with a pet- or animal-repellant chemical.

[0018] As shown in this depiction, since the cover comprises two panels 18 and 20, there will be edge strips 32A and 32B running along the hinge edge between the two panels 18 and 20. This will prevent the chewing of these cover edges while the cover folded up (such as when it is removed from the hot tub 10 for use of the hot tub 10).

[0019] Now turning to FIG. 4, we can examine another novel feature of the present invention. FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the cover 14 and guard 30 of FIG. 3. As shown here, the guard 30 is attachable to a standard cover 14 via a plurality of fastener devices 31. In this example, the fastener devices 31 are hook-and-loop fabric strips, where the cooperating fastener strips are attached to the bottom side of the edge strips 32. In other embodiments, the fastener devices might be conventional snaps, buttons or even zippers. Through employment of these optional fastener devices 31, not only will existing covers 14 be retrofittable, but the guard 30 might also be removed for cleaning or replacement.

[0020] Now turning to FIG. 5, we can see yet another novel embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the cover 14 of FIGS. 1-4 and an alternate embodiment of the anti-chew guard 30A of the present invention. In this embodiment 30A, the edge strips 32 have one or more electrical contacts 34 disbursed across their face. When desired, the guard 30A can be connected to a power supply 32 (most likely of the low-voltage type), such that power is supplied to the electrical contacts 34. If an animal attempts to chew the electrified guard 30A, it will experience an unpleasant (though not damaging) sensation that will repel the animal immediately.

[0021] Yet another embodiment of the present invention is depicted in FIG. 6. FIG. 6 is a partially exploded perspective view of a cover 140 having an integrated anti-chew guard 30. The conventional spa cover (see above) comprises a pair of core members 14A, that are encased within a vinyl or plastic sheath 14B. In this embodiment of the present invention, the anti-chew guard 30 described above is inserted and/or attached between the sheath 14B and the cores 14A. In this manner, the guard 30 will be hidden from view, making the cover more aesthetically pleasing for the spa owner. Any of the embodiments described in FIGS. 3-5 may be utilized for the guard 30 of this integrated cover 140.

[0022] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the just-described preferred embodiment can be configured without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Therefore, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described herein.