Title:
Spa cover lift
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for lifting a spa cover from a spa. The apparatus has a first bearing and a second bearing. The apparatus includes a first axis extending generally vertically through the first bearing, the first axis extending not more than about the thickness of the spa cover from an exterior edge of the spa. The second bearing may be positioned generally above the spa cover and positioned generally inwardly from an exterior edge of the spa by at least about the thickness of the spa cover.



Inventors:
Nickles, Doug (Oberlin, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/200553
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/10/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James Lindon, Lindon & Lindon (Avon, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for lifting a spa cover from a spa comprising: a first bearing and a second bearing; a first axis extending generally vertically through the first bearing, the first axis extending not more than about the thickness of the spa cover from an exterior edge of the spa; and the second bearing being positioned generally above the spa cover and positioned generally inwardly from an exterior edge of the spa by at least about the thickness of the spa cover.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the second bearing is positioned above the spa by at least about one half the length of the spa cover.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first bearing is a pulley.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the second bearing is a pulley.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a suspension line slidably connected to a first end of the spa cover and secured to a second end of the spa cover.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a support wherein the first bearing and the second bearing are secured to the support.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the second bearing is spaced apart from the first bearing by a distance of at least about a thickness of the spa cover.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the second bearing is positioned above the spa by at least about one half the length of the spa cover.

9. The apparatus of claim 7 further comprising a suspension line slidably connected to a first end of the spa cover and secured to a second end of the spa cover.

10. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the first bearing and the second bearing are pulleys.

11. A method of removing a spa cover from a spa comprising: providing a second bearing positioned generally above the spa cover and generally inwardly from an exterior edge of the spa by at least about the thickness of the spa cover; and lifting the spa cover; and placing the spa cover generally between the exterior edge of the spa and a vertical support.

12. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing a first bearing operatively connected to the second bearing.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the second bearing is spaced apart from the first bearing by a distance of at least about a thickness of the spa cover.

14. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing a suspension line slidably connected to a first end of the spa cover and secured to a second end of the spa cover.

15. An apparatus for lifting a spa cover from a spa comprising: a first bearing; a second bearing spaced apart from the first bearing by a distance of at least about a thickness of the spa cover wherein a generally vertical axis through the second bearing is generally closer to a vertical support that supports the second bearing than to a generally vertical axis through the first bearing.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the second bearing is a pulley.

17. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the second bearing is a motor.

18. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the second bearing is a pulling means.

19. The apparatus of claim 15 further comprising a vertical support separated from the exterior edge of the spa by a distance of at least about the thickness of the cover.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein the vertical support is a wall.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The spa is known for its ability to relax muscles and assist in various types of medical therapy and rehabilitation. The spa often holds heated water, which may be circulated in the spa with various pumps and the like. To retain the heat in the water, and reduce operation heating costs, a spa cover may be placed over the spa. The spa cover frequently has insulating properties and can be thick. This spa cover thickness can increase the weight and bulk of the spa cover and present challenges in removing the cover from the spa and replacing the spa cover back onto the spa.

Because persons who use the spa may have physical limitations, removing the spa cover from the spa and replacing the spa cover back onto the spa presents significant limitations. Current means for handling the cover can damage the cover during operation. There remains a long-felt need for a suitable means of removing the spa cover from the spa and replacing the cover back onto the spa.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view in elevation of a spa cover lift in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with one half the spa cover elevated.

FIG. 3 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover elevated.

FIG. 4 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover elevated.

FIG. 5 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover elevated.

FIG. 6 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover elevated and the spa cover flopped over to the right.

FIG. 7 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover positioned generally together and still touching the spa.

FIG. 8 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover positioned generally together and lifted off the spa.

FIG. 9 is a side view in elevation of the spa cover lift of FIG. 1, with both halves of the spa cover placed to the side of the spa.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/601,154, filed Aug. 12, 2004.

Preliminarily, it should be noted that certain terms used herein, such as for example above, below, left and right, are used to facilitate the description of the invention. Unless otherwise specified or made apparent by the context of the discussion, such terms and other directional terms should be interpreted with reference to the figure(s) under discussion. Such terms are not intended as a limitation on the position in which the invention or components may be used. Indeed, it is contemplated that the components of the invention may be easily positioned in any desired orientation for use. Likewise, numerical terms such as for example “first”, and “second” are not intended as a limitation or to imply a sequence, unless otherwise specified or made apparent by the context of the discussion. The term “operatively connected” is understood to include a linking together of the portions under consideration and may include a physical engagement and/or a functional or operational connection.

Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 9 a spa cover lift, indicated generally at 20, according to the invention. The spa cover lift 20 is a means for handling the position of the spa cover 24 with respect to the spa 28. The spa cover 24 is shown in a resting position on the spa 28 in FIG. 1. The spa 28 may be any suitable spa.

Referring now to FIG. 2, The illustrated spa cover 24 includes a first handle 32 and a second handle 36. The first handle 32 is provided at a first end 34 of the spa cover 24. The second handle 36 is provided at a second end 38 of the spa cover 24. A first loop 40 is secured to the first handle 32. A second loop 44 is secured to the second handle 36. The illustrated spa cover 24 includes a crease 48. The crease 48 is positioned in a mid region of the spa cover 24. The crease 48 separates the spa cover 24 into a first half 52 and a second half 56. The first half 52 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are merely convenient sections of the spa cover 24 and need not be precisely fifty percent of the mass or area of the spa cover 24. Indeed, any number of sections and/or proportions of the spa cover 24 may be employed with the present invention. It will be noted that the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 is elevated from the spa 28 while the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 is in contact with the spa 28 as shown in FIG. 2.

The illustrated spa cover lift 20 includes a vertical support 60 and a horizontal support 64 secured to a top portion 68 of the vertical support 60. The vertical support 60 may be a pole, as illustrated, or may be a wall or any other suitable structure. The vertical support 60 and the horizontal support 64 are positioned generally about perpendicular to each other. A suspension line 72 is also provided. The suspension line 72 may be any suitable cable, rope, chain, or the like. The suspension line 72 is secured to the second end 38 of the spa cover 24 and slidably connected to the first end 34 of the spa cover 24. The suspension line 72 is shown slidably connected to the first loop 40. The suspension line 72 is shown secured to the second loop 44.

The illustrated spa cover lift 20 further includes a first pulley 76, a second pulley 80, a motor 84, and a power source 88. The term “pulley” may be understood to include any suitable sheave or small wheel with a grooved rim and with or without the block in which it runs used singly with a line, suspension line, rope or chain to change the direction and/or point of application of a pulling force and in various combinations to increase the applied force especially for lifting one or more weights. The term “pulley” may also be understood to include a wheel used to transmit power by means of a band, belt, cord, rope, line, suspension line, chain or the like passing over it. The power source 88 may be a battery and/or other source of AC/DC electricity. The motor 84 may be replaced or complimented by a third pulley, which in turn could be operatively connected to a suitable motor.

The first pulley 76, the second pulley 80, and the motor 84 are bearings and are operatively connected. It will be observed that a number of other components are likewise operatively connected. The term “bearing” may be understood to include structures or features which support a weight or strain. The term “motor” may be understood to include structures or features which impart motion. The term “motor” may also be understood to include one or more of a wide variety of machines that convert energy into motion and/or which can be used as a power source. The first pulley 76 and the second pulley 80 are shown positioned generally above the spa cover 24.

The first pulley 76 and the second pulley 80 are shown positioned generally above the spa 28 by at least about one half the length of the spa cover 24. The one half the length of the illustrated spa cover 24 is perhaps best seen in FIG. 7 as length L1. The overall length of the illustrated spa cover 24 is twice the length L1. The term “length” should not be understood to limit the shape of the spa cover 24 or the invention.

Referring still to FIG. 2, the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 is elevated from a top edge 92 of the spa 28. The spa 28 may be positioned so that an exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 is generally aligned with an axis A-A. The axis A-A is shown to extend not more than about the thickness T of the spa cover 24 from an exterior edge 96 of the spa 28. The illustrated exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 is that boundary or portion of the spa 28 closest to the vertical support 60 and/or the second pulley 80. The axis A-A is shown to extend generally vertically through the first pulley 76. The illustrated axis A-A is shown to extend generally parallel with the vertical support 60. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 define an angle A. The angle A is an obtuse angle in FIG. 2. The spa cover 24 has a thickness T as shown.

Referring now to FIG. 3, it will be noted that part of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and part of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are generally elevated, thereby reducing the angle A. More specifically, the first end 34 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the spa cover 24 are elevated. It will also be noted that the angle A is less in FIG. 3 than the angle A in FIG. 2. The angle A as shown is about ninety degrees.

Referring now to FIG. 4, it will be noted that the spa cover 24 is shifted generally to the right in comparison to FIG. 3. The spa cover 24 is being pulled to the right by the power source 88 and the suspension line 72. The second half 56 of the spa cover 24 is closer to the vertical support 60 than in FIGS. 2 and 3. It will also be noted that the angle A is less in FIG. 4 than the angle A in FIGS. 2 and 3, as the second end 38 of the spa cover 24 and the first end 34 of the spa cover 24 are closer together.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the first end 34 of the spa cover 24 is positioned closer to the vertical support 60 than in FIG. 4. The first end 34 of the spa cover 24 is also positioned to intersect with the vertical axis A-A. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 is positioned closer to the vertical support 60 than in FIG. 4.

Referring now to FIG. 6, it will be noted that the first end 34 of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are together. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are generally parallel to each other. The spa cover 24 is closer to the vertical support 60 than in FIGS. 2 and 3. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 has flopped over substantially on top of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24.

Referring now to FIG. 7, it will be noted that the first end 34 of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are together. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are generally parallel to each other. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are shown generally parallel to the vertical support 60. The first end 34 of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are separated from the first pulley 76 by distance D1.

The second pulley 80 is shown positioned generally above the spa cover 24 and positioned generally inwardly from the exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 by at least about the thickness T of the spa cover 24. By inwardly, it will be observed that the second pulley 80 is positioned generally closer to the vertical support 60 than to the exterior edge 96 of the spa 28. An axis B-B is shown to extend generally vertically through the second pulley 80. The illustrated distance between the axis B-B and the illustrated exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 is greater than the thickness T of the spa cover 24. The illustrated distance between the first pulley 76 and the second pulley 80 is about at least the thickness T of the spa cover 24. The distances may be generally measured from about the middle of the second pulley 80.

Referring now to FIG. 8, it will be noted that the first end 34 of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are together. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are generally parallel to each other. The first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are generally parallel to the vertical support 60. The first end 34 of the first half 52 of the spa cover 24 and the second end 38 of the second half 56 of the spa cover 24 are separated from the first pulley 76 by distance D2. It will be noted that the distance D2 is less than the distance D1, as the spa cover 24 is lifted from the spa 28.

Referring now to FIG. 9, it will be noted that the spa cover 24 is positioned between the spa 28 and the vertical support 60. The spa cover 24 has been generally lowered from its position shown in FIG. 8. The spa cover 24 has been moved generally laterally from its position shown in FIG. 8. The generally lateral movement of the spa cover 24 may be accomplished manually by the user of the invention or by other suitable means. It will be noted that the spa cover 24 is shown positioned within space between the exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 and the vertical support 60. The distance D3 is greater than the thickness T of the spa cover 24. The distance D3 is greater than twice the thickness T of the spa cover 24.

FIG. 1. 1 through FIG. 9 generally show movement of the spa cover 24 as the suspension line 72 is moved. The spa cover 24 is shown to be lifted from the spa 28, then placed next to the spa 28. In general, the operation is reversed to place the spa cover 24 back onto the spa 28. In other words, FIG. 9 to FIG. 1 show the general sequence for replacing the spa cover 24 back onto the spa 28.

A method of removing the spa cover 24 from a spa 28 may be employed according to the present invention. The method includes providing a bearing positioned generally above the spa cover 28 and generally inwardly from an exterior edge 96 of the spa 28 by at least about the thickness of the spa cover 28 and lifting the spa cover 24. As it can be seen from FIG. 9, the spa cover 24 may optionally be selectively lowered into the distance D3.

Alternate embodiments are contemplated. Instead of the motor, a hand crank, manual crank or winch may be employed to increase or decrease tension on the suspension line 72. The winch may be any of various machines or instruments for hauling or pulling. The winch or motor are may be a machine on which to coil a rope, cable, chain, or the like for hauling or hoisting. The disclosures of the following U.S. patents are incorporated by reference as if fully rewritten: Downer U.S. Pat. No. 4,019,212; Nohl et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,598,506; Franklin U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,330; Moore U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,212; Osborne U.S. Pat. No. 5,269,332; Genova U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,137; Girerd U.S. Pat. No. 6,079,059; Perry U.S. Pat. No. 6,381,766; Tedrick U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,630; McNamara U.S. Pat. No. 6,421,962; Fillisetti 2001/0032972.

The invention may be adapted to fit a wide variety of suitable covers and/or spas. It will be appreciated that the components of the invention may be easily modified as needed to accommodate varying sizes and shapes of covers or spas, including commonly used covers and spas.

The principle and mode of operation of this invention have been described in its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that this invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its scope.