Title:
Protective spa cover and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective cover device for a spa, adapted to fit over a spa and a spa's insulated cover. The device comprises a center panel that covers the top of the spa and side panels that cover the sides of the spa. Corner panels may be attached to the side panels to cover the corners of the spa. Coupling means on one side of each side panel of the device help to keep the device in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover. The device may be adjustable so as to accommodate varying spa sizes. The device's exterior may be used for advertising by placing names, logos, or the like thereon.



Inventors:
Stout, William R. (Maricopa, AZ, US)
Stout, Linda (Maricopa, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/369112
Publication Date:
09/07/2006
Filing Date:
03/06/2006
Assignee:
STOUT PRODUCTS, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, HUYEN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A protective spa cover comprising: a center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; and at least one coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

2. The protective spa cover of claim 1, wherein each of the side panels is attached to the center panel by a seam, wherein the seam is reinforced with a strip of binding folded over each seam and stitched through the seam.

3. The protective spa cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is made of a polyester reinforced fabric.

4. The protective spa cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is made of a waterproof material.

5. The protective spa cover of claim 1, wherein the coupling member consists of one of a Velcro strip, a snap, a button, and a tie.

6. The protective spa cover of claim 1 further comprising advertising text located on an outer surface thereof.

7. The protective spa cover of claim 1 further comprising four corner panels, each adapted to fit over a corner of a spa, wherein a side of each of the corner panels is attached to a side of each of the side panels.

8. A flexible protective spa cover comprising: a substantially square-shaped center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four substantially rectangular side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; four substantially rectangular corner panels, each adapted to fit over a corner of a spa, wherein a side of each of the corner panels is attached to a side of each of the side panels; and at least one-coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

9. The protective spa cover of claim 8, wherein each of the side panels is attached to the center panel by a seam, wherein the seam is reinforced with a strip of binding folded over each seam and stitched through the seam.

10. The protective spa cover of claim 8, wherein the cover is made of a polyester reinforced fabric.

11. The protective spa cover of claim 8, wherein the cover is made of a waterproof material.

12. The protective spa cover of claim 8, wherein the coupling member consists of one of a Velcro strip, a snap, a button, and a tie.

13. The protective spa cover of claim 8 further comprising advertising text located on an outer surface thereof.

14. A method for protecting a spa and a spa's insulated cover from exposure to the elements comprising: providing a protective spa cover comprising: a center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; and at least one coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover; and installing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein each of the side panels is attached to the center panel by a seam, wherein the seam is reinforced with a strip of binding folded over each seam and stitched through the seam.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein the cover is made of a polyester reinforced fabric.

17. The method of claim 14, wherein the cover is made of a waterproof material.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein the coupling member consists of one of a Velcro strip, a snap, a button, and a tie.

19. The method of claim 14 further comprising displaying advertising text located on an outer surface of the cover.

20. The method of claim 14 wherein the cover further comprises four corner panels, each adapted to fit over a corner of a spa, wherein a side of each of the corner panels is attached to a side of each of the side panels.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This non-provisional application claims priority from provisional application No. 60/594,044, filed on Mar. 7, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to protective covers for spas and, more particular, to a protective cover that is adjustable, fits over an insulated spa cover, and covers the top and sides of the spa, and/or that may convey an advertised message.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Spas, also referred to as “hot tubs” are commonly installed both indoors and outdoors. In either situation, to help minimize heat loss from the water in the spa, and to keep dirt, dust, and other debris from entering the spa when the spa is not in use, insulated covers are usually placed over the spa. Such insulated covers cover the top of the spa, but typically leave the spa's side cabinet panels exposed. This becomes a problem for spas that are installed outdoors, in that they may be exposed to sun, rain, and/or snow. Over time, the spa, as well as its insulated cover, can become damaged due to exposure to the elements. For example, the spa's exposed cabinet panels and insulated cover may fade, crack, splinter, warp and/or become discolored, thereby making the spa and insulated cover unattractive, and potentially causing the insulated cover to become ineffective. Because of this, it may become necessary to repair and/or replace the spa's cabinet panels and insulated cover, which can be costly.

To help prevent damage to the spa's cabinet panels and insulated cover, protective cover devices have been developed that cover the entire spa. However, a limitation exists with the prior art devices in that they cannot fold easily, have fixed corners, and/or are not adjustable to allow for varied spa dimensions.

A need therefore exists for a protective spa cover device that protects the entire spa and its insulated cover from the elements, is easy to install and remove, and is adjustable.

The present invention satisfies these needs and provides other, related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a protective spa cover device is disclosed. The device comprises: a center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; and at least one coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a flexible protective spa cover device is disclosed. The device comprises: a substantially square-shaped center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four substantially rectangular side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; four substantially rectangular corner panels, each adapted to fit over a corner of a spa, wherein a side of each of the corner panels is attached to a side of each of the side panels; and at least one coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

In accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention, a method for protecting a spa and a spa's insulated cover from exposure to the elements is disclosed. The method comprises: providing a protective spa cover comprising: a center panel adapted to fit over the top of a spa and a spa's insulated cover; four side panels, each adapted to fit over a side of a spa, wherein a side of each of the side panels is attached to a side of the center panel; and at least one coupling member attached to one side of each of the four side panels, wherein the coupling member is adapted to couple one side panel to an adjacent side panel, thereby securing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover; and installing the protective spa cover in position over the spa and the spa's insulated cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front, perspective, exploded view of a protective cover device and a spa, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the protective cover device of FIG. 1, in a disassembled position.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the protective cover device of FIG. 1, installed over a spa (not shown).

FIG. 4 is a top view of a side panel of the protective cover device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a corner of the protective cover device of FIG. 3, showing a corner panel thereof in an assembled position.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the protective cover device of FIG. 1, illustrating a first and second orientation of a side panel of the protective cover, with the second orientation being shown in phantom.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the protective cover device of FIG. 1, illustrating in phantom an orientation of side flaps of the protective cover device.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the protective cover device of FIG. 1, installed over a spa (not shown).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIG. 2, an embodiment of a protective spa cover device 10 consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. Preferably, the device 10 is made from a durable fabric and/or material, such as polyester reinforced fabric and/or waterproof material, or the like. The device 10 can be divided into three principal components: a center panel 12, four side panels 14 which are attached to the center panel 12, and four corner panels 16 which are attached to each of the side panels 14. Preferably, the center panel 12 is substantially square-shaped. In this way, the center panel 12 is adapted to fit over the top of a standard spa. However, other similar shapes could be used for the center panel 12, in order to accommodate unusual spa dimensions. With respect to the side panels 14, preferably, they are substantially rectangular shaped. In this way, the side panels 14 are adapted to cover the side cabinet panels 34 of a spa, as best shown in FIG. 1. However, other similar shapes could be used for the side panels 14, in order to accommodate unusual spa dimensions.

With respect to attachment of the side panels 14 to the center panel 12, preferably, each side panel 14 is sewn to an edge of the center panel 12, forming a seam 22 that is reinforced with a strip of binding (not shown) folded over each seam 22 and stitched through the seam 22, as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 5. In this way, the side panels 14 are more securely attached to the center panel 12. In one embodiment, as best seen in FIG. 3, the bottom 24 of the side panels 14 are reinforced in this manner. It may be desired to provide a center panel 12 and side panels 14 that are a one-piece assembly.

With respect to attachment of the corner panels 16 to the side panels 14, preferably, the corner panels 16 are attached to one side of each of the side panels 14, as best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4. In this embodiment, the corner panels 16 do not extend to the center panel 12, so as to eliminate bulking of the corner panels 16 when folded under the side panels 14. However, it would be possible for the corner panels 16 to extend to the center panel 12. It may be desired to provide side panels 14 and corner panels 16 that are a one-piece assembly.

At least one form of coupling means should be attached to one side of each of the side panels 14, to permit coupling of one side panel 14 to an adjacent side panel 14. Preferably, and as shown in this embodiment, the coupling means consist of extended Velcro strips 18 and fixed Velcro strips 19. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the extended Velcro strips 18 extend from a side of each of the side panels 14. Preferably, the extended Velcro strips 18 are positioned on a portion of the side panels 14 to which the corner panels 16 are not attached. (It should be noted that it may be desired to position the extended Velcro strips 18 or the fixed Velcro strips 19 on the corner panels 16.) The fixed Velcro strips 19 are affixed to the opposite side of the side panels 14. By affixing the extended Velcro strips 18 and fixed Velcro strips 19 in this way, the device 10 can be positioned securely over the top of a spa 30 and its insulated cover 32 by tucking in the corner panels 16, and fitting the extended Velcro strips 18 over the fixed Velcro strips 19, as best seen in FIGS. 5-7. However, the corner panels 16 may instead be placed over the top of the side panels 14, so long as the positioning of the extended Velcro strips 18 and fixed Velcro strips 19 is swapped. Use of the extended Velcro strips 18 and fixed Velcro strips 19 as the coupling means is preferred because the extended Velcro strips 18 may be placed over different areas of the fixed Velcro strips 19, thereby accommodating spas of various dimensions. However, other types of coupling means, such as snaps, buttons, ties, or the like may be used.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the device 10 is adapted to fit over the top of a spa 30 and a spa's insulated cover 32. Preferably, the side panels 14 of the device 10 should cover the spa's side cabinet panels 34. In this way, the spa's side cabinet panels 34 may be protected from exposure to the elements.

In one embodiment, as best seen in FIG. 3, a side panel 14 of the device 10 has space on which decoration and/or advertising 20, such as names, logos, or the like may be placed. Likewise, advertising 20 could also be placed on the center panel 12. It should be noted that it may be desired to provide advertising 20 on a prior art protective spa cover device, and this is considered to be another embodiment of the present invention.

The term “attached” as used herein is intended to cover an embodiment in which two separate items are coupled by stitching or the like and the two separate components comprise a one-piece assembly.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, it may be desired to entirely eliminate the corner panels 16.

Statement of Operation

In order to position the protective spa cover device 10 so that it may be used to protect a spa 30 and a spa's insulated cover 32, a user would place the center panel 12 of the device 10 on top of the spa's insulated cover 32. After ensuring that the center panel 12 is centered over the spa's insulated cover 32, the user would unfold each of the four side panels 14 over each of the four cabinet sides 34 of the spa. The user would then wrap each of the four corner panels 16 of the protective spa cover device 10 around the corners of the spa, holding the corner panels 16 and side panels 14 in place by attaching the extended Velcro strips 18 on each of the side panels 14 to the fixed Velcro strips 19 on the adjacent side panels 14.





 
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