Title:
POOL OR SPA COVER AND METHODS THEREFOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pool or spa cover having a generally domed shape caused by bending of previously substantially straight support mechanisms, wherein the circumference is dependent upon curvature of the support mechanisms and is therefore adjustable to fit different size pools or spas, and wherein the pool or spa cover may be utilized as an umbrella when not in use as a pool or spa cover via attaching the pool or spa cover to a central pole having a base.



Inventors:
Gray, Patrick (Adairsville, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/749911
Publication Date:
08/30/2007
Filing Date:
05/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, HUYEN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAMSON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW, LLC (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pool or spa cover comprising: at least one connector; a plurality of support mechanisms having a first end disposed proximate to said at least one connector; a cover; a plurality of receiving pockets for receiving a second end of said plurality of support mechanisms; and at least one securing mechanism.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said plurality of support mechanisms are secured to said cover via a plurality of sleeves.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said plurality of support mechanisms are substantially straight prior to assembly and are disposed between said at least one connector and said plurality of receiving pockets, and wherein subsequent to assembly, said plurality of support mechanism are substantially curved via forces exerted on said plurality of support mechanisms by confinement between said at least one connector and said plurality of receiving pockets.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of straps fixably secured to said cover, wherein said straps are adjustable.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said plurality of straps have said at least one securing mechanism peripherally disposed for attachment to a lip.

6. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said straps are shortened, applying force to said plurality of support mechanisms and forcing curvature of said plurality of support mechanisms.

7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said plurality of straps are tightenable, and wherein tightening bends said plurality of support mechanisms, thereby arcing said plurality of support mechanisms.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said plurality of support mechanisms comprise a plurality of rods.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein said plurality of rods are adjustable in length.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said at least one connector comprises a threaded aperture for receiving at least one pole.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein at least one end of said at least one pole is adapted to be threadedly received in said threaded aperture of said at least one connector.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein said at least one pole comprises a base on one end thereof.

13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said base comprises an auger.

14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said auger comprises a throughhole for receiving a dipole, wherein said dipole can be utilized to rotate said auger.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a portion of said cover is permeable.

16. A method for covering a pool or spa wherein the method comprises the steps of: assembling a cover, wherein said assembling step further comprises the steps of inserting each of a plurality of supporting members into a plurality of sleeves disposed on said cover, inserting a first end of each of said plurality of supporting members into an aperture in a central receiver, and inserting a second end of each of said plurality of supporting members into a peripheral receiving mechanism; placing said cover over a container; and securing said cover to said container via at least one securing mechanism.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein said securing step further comprises the step of: tightening at least one strap, wherein said at least one strap is secured on a first end thereof to said at least one securing mechanism and on a second end thereof to said cover, and wherein said step of tightening brings said at least one securing mechanism and said central receiver closer together, thereby arcing each of said plurality of supporting members.

18. A method of converting a pool cover into an umbrella, said method comprising the steps of: releasing at least one securing mechanism disposed on an upper covering portion of a water retainer, wherein said upper covering portion comprises a central receiver, a plurality of supporting members extending radially from apertures peripherally disposed around said central receiver, said at least one securing mechanism and a cover disposed on said supporting members; removing said upper covering portion from said water retainer; and securing said upper covering portion to a central pole.

19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said receiving pockets are disposed on said cover.

20. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said receiving pockets are disposed on said at least one securing mechanism.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a pool or spa cover, and more particularly a pool or spa cover having a generally domed shape formed by bending of supporting mechanisms.

BACKGROUND ART

There are various types of pool and/or spa covers which exist. One such device discloses interfitted tubular supports, wherein the supports are connected to a peripheral rail and a flexible plastic cover is fitted over the tubular supports.

Another device discloses a pool cover with hinged segments connected to retention members with a covering membrane secured to the segments.

Still another device discloses a weatherproof cover for a pool, wherein the framework for the cover meets at a central point which is supported by a pole. Further the device discloses having an entrance, an exit, and the cover may be partially opened by moving the framework around the circumference of the pool.

Yet another device discloses an above ground pool cover, wherein a pool cover support frame has a central vertical support member with a plurality of radially projecting spokes extending from a hub mounted atop the central vertical support member.

Another device discloses a frame for a pool cover with a center post which rests on the floor of the pool and support legs which extend from a center support to the ground.

Still another device discloses a portable spa cover with two semi-circular, rigidly molded, interlocking halves, designed to conform with the contour of the rim of a spa.

Yet another device discloses a swimming pool cover with a center support member and arched lengths of pipe joined by a four-way fitting.

Another device discloses a pool cover assembly for above ground swimming pools with a plurality of brackets on the railing of the swimming pool for supporting curved poles.

Still another device discloses a pool cover support for supporting an above-ground pool cover with supports extending from clamps on the side of the pool to the center. The device also discloses rollers mounted on the members to assist a user in applying a cover onto the supports.

Yet another device discloses a swimming pool cover support system with a plurality of support arms attached to a central support which runs to the bottom of the pool.

Another previous device discloses an inflatable swimming pool cover with a first continuous sleeve forming an immersed ballast around the perimeter of the pool. A second air filled sleeve positioned above the ballast limits the immersion level of the ballast. A sheet of plastic is sealed to the air-filled sleeve and covers the pool.

Yet another device discloses a floating pool cover, wherein the cover has a flotation member around the peripheral edge, and wherein the cover is cut to the size and shape of the surface of the pool to completely cover the water.

Still another device discloses an inflatable swimming pool assembly with a cover which has inflatable space to support the cover on top of the water.

Although many different kinds of pool and spa covers currently exist, deficiencies still exist. Many covers require the use of a center pole which extends from the bottom of the pool. This requires a user to get into the water to assemble the cover or completely drain the pool or spa to reach the center of the pool or spa without getting wet. If the water has become too cold to swim and a user wishes to cover the pool, getting into the water to cover the pool is not a desired option. Further, if the pool is drained to provide access to the bottom thereof, it is undesirable to have to refill the pool due to the costs of the water, and further there is likelihood the water will be too cold once it is refilled having had inadequate time to collect solar heat.

Other pool or spa covers are difficult to assemble, particularly if there is only a single user. Many of the devices require at least two people to assemble the pool cover because a person must be on each side of the pool. Also inserting rods into any centerpiece is difficult if it must be done from a distance. If the center of the cover lies over a deep portion of the pool, access to the centerpiece is further restricted, thus further complicating the process of covering the pool.

Once the water is warm enough for swimming, many pool or spa covers are also difficult to remove for many of the same reasons that lead to the difficulties in their assembly and covering. Further, once the pool cover has been removed, they are often difficult to store. Even collapsible devices may be bulky and once the cover is removed it is typically stored for the entire swimming season of the pool or spa. The cover typically serves no other function than as a cover.

Many of the pool and spa covers require unsightly anchors or require a mounting piece to remain on the pool. Anchors can be difficult to install, particularly on cement or hard surfaces and once the anchors are removed they often leave holes in the surfaces which can lead to cracking and structural degradation of the surface or injury of a user. Leaving mounting pieces on the edge of the pool can reduce space when they protrude, limit the enjoyment of the pool or spa by restricting activities, and cause injury if a user scrapes against them.

Another disadvantage of current devices is that they are not adjustable. A pool or spa cover is typically purchased for the size pool you have and must either be cut down to size or be custom manufactured for the pool. The advantages of a pool cover which could fit a range of pools would be enormous. Particularly, if a pool or spa is broken and must be replaced, it is undesirable to have to purchase a new separate cover, especially if the existing cover is in good condition.

Many current pool or spa covers also rest on the water which often allows debris to fall into the water and also leads to faster deterioration of the cover. This is undesirable in every sense. Those devices which do have covers disposed off the surface of the water often require permanently curved poles which are more difficult to store once the cover is removed due to the larger amount of space they require. Not only are they more difficult to store, but they are also very difficult assemble and install on a pool or spa.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a pool or spa cover which minimizes these deficiencies by providing a cover which is easily and quickly assembled by only one person, is adjustable in size, and serves additional functions when not utilized as a cover. This would be advantageous in reducing cost, time, inefficiencies, and the necessary amount of manpower to provide a pool or spa cover that previous devices lack in some form of optional non-pool-covering functionality.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a pool or spa cover and methods therefor, wherein the pool or spa cover is easier to assemble, easier to install on a pool or spa, easier to store, adjustable in size, more durable and serves additional functions when not utilized as a pool cover.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention is a pool or spa cover and methods therefor which may be adjusted in size through arching of substantially straight support mechanisms to fit different size pools or spas and which may utilized as an umbrella for shade when not in use as a pool or spa cover. Therefore a pool or spa cover is disclosed which fits multiple pools or spas, thereby reducing the need for manufacturing multiple sizes.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in a preferred form is a pool or spa cover and methods therefor, wherein the pool or spa cover comprises at least one connector having apertures peripherally disposed thereon, a plurality of support mechanisms having a first end disposed proximate to the at least one connector, a cover, a plurality of receiving pockets disposed on the cover for receiving a second end of the plurality of support mechanisms, and securing mechanisms. Due to the nature of the construction of the pool or spa cover, it may be assembled prior to placing it over or on the pool. Thus it is easier to assemble and easier to install. Further, the pool or spa cover can just as easily be broken down and the components can be easily stored due to their collapsibility.

In a preferred embodiment the securing mechanisms are clips which attach to a lip on a pool. However, if lips are not provided on the edge of a pool, alternate embodiments are contemplated as a means for securing the cover to the pool dependent on the structure of the edge of the pool. Further, the pool or spa cover of the present invention is easier to assemble and install and provides the function of an umbrella when not being utilized to cover a pool or spa. One skilled in the art would recognize a securing mechanism or retaining structure can easily be devised to fit the siding of a pool independent of its shape or surrounding surfaces, whether the pool or spa is of the in-ground or above ground style.

In a preferred embodiment, the receiving pockets are disposed on the cover, although in an alternate embodiment they may be disposed on the securing mechanisms or they may be secured in a combination thereof. Pockets for receiving the rods ease in the assembly of the pool or spa cover and allow it to be assembled and installed by a single person.

In yet another preferred embodiment, the plurality of support mechanisms are secured to the cover via a plurality of sleeves. The plurality of sleeves aid in aligning the support mechanisms and hold the support mechanism in their desired location during assembly and installation of the pool or spa cover.

In still another preferred embodiment, the plurality of support mechanisms are substantially straight prior to assembly with the at least one connector and the plurality of receiving pockets, and wherein after assembly with the at least one connector and the plurality of receiving pockets the plurality of support mechanism are substantially curved due to the forces exerted on the plurality of support mechanisms by the at least one connector and the plurality of receiving pockets. Thus, the covering portion of the pool or spa cover is held off of the water, reducing the likelihood of deterioration of the cover caused by contact with the water. Further, the dome shape promotes the runoff of debris and rain water thereby keeping the pool or spa clean.

In another preferred embodiment, the pool or spa cover further comprises a plurality of straps fixably secured to the cover, wherein the straps are adjustable. In a further embodiment, the plurality of straps have a securing mechanism peripherally disposed for attachment to a lip. Thus in a preferred embodiment, the straps may be shortened, applying force to the plurality of support mechanisms thus forcing curvature of the plurality of support mechanisms. Alternatively, the plurality of straps allow tightening, wherein tightening bends the plurality of support mechanisms thus arcing the plurality of support mechanisms. Through adjusting the size, length, position in relation to the cover, or tension of the straps more force is applied to the support mechanisms causing them to arc more and reducing the circumference of the pool or spa cover. This allows a single pool or spa cover to be utilized for multiple pools or spas and saves in manufacturing costs by reducing the need to change machinery or stop production to adjust the size of the pool or spa cover.

In another preferred embodiment, the plurality of support mechanisms comprises a plurality of rods. In a preferred embodiment the plurality of rods are adjustable in length. The rod may be made of any suitable material which allows for flexibility while still providing a enough rigidity to support the pool cover. Having rods with an adjustable length further increases the pool or spa covers ability to adjust to the size of a pool or spa.

In a preferred embodiment, the at least one connector has at least one aperture substantially positioned within the center of the at least one connector for receiving at least one pole. Further, the aperture substantially positioned in the center of the at least one connector for receiving the at least one pole is threaded and the at least one end of the at least one pole has mating threads to be received by the aperture of the at least one connector. Still, in another embodiment, one end of the at least one pole receives a base for supporting the pole with the pool or spa cover on top of the at least one pole. Thus an umbrella is assembled with the pool or spa cover functioning as a shade providing portion, the at least one pole serving to join the base and the pool or spa cover, and the pole also extending the pool or spa cover off of the ground. In a preferred embodiment, the base may be an auger for insertion into a ground surface, although one skilled in the art would recognize there are multiple ways to anchor or support an umbrella known in the art, including but not limited to a weighted end, an auger, a penetrating end, straps or any combination thereof. In an alternate embodiment, the at least one pole may have an auger directly disposed on one end. In a further embodiment, either the at least one pole or the auger may have an aperture extending through it for receiving a dipole to aid in inserting the auger into the ground. An auger provides the support needed to hold up the pole and the pool or spa cover while being utilized as an umbrella. This allows for the pool or spa cover to serve another function while not in use as a cover and increases the enjoyability of a pool.

In a preferred embodiment, a portion of the cover is permeable. This may be provided by a mesh portion or other means preferably disposed at the center of the cover. Preferably, the permeable portion allows air and humidity to escape while preventing debris from falling into the pool or spa. Thus, the life of the pool or spa cover is extended while still preventing debris from entering the pool or spa.

In a preferred use, a pool or spa may be covered by assembling a cover, wherein the assembling step further comprises inserting each of a plurality of supporting members into a plurality of sleeves disposed on the cover, inserting a first end of each of the plurality of supporting members into a central receiver, inserting a second end of each of the plurality of supporting members into a receiving pocket; then placing the cover over a water retainer; and securing the cover to the water retainer via at least one securing mechanism. Thus an easy and simple way to assemble a pool or spa cover and secure it to a pool or spa is provided thereby reducing time and frustration, and increasing efficiency.

In a further use, the securing step further comprises the step of tightening at least one strap, wherein the at least one strap is secured on a first end to the at least one securing mechanism and on a second end to the cover, and wherein the tightening brings the at least one securing mechanism and the central receiver closer together, thus arcing each of the plurality of supporting members associated with each of the at least one straps. This allows the pool or spa cover to adjust in size, reducing the need for multiple covers and reducing inefficiencies in manufacturing by not requiring the production of as many different sizes.

In a preferred use, an umbrella is converted into a pool cover by removing an upper covering portion from a central pole, wherein the upper covering portion comprises a central receiver, a plurality of supporting members extending radially from apertures peripherally disposed around the central receiver, and a cover disposed on the supporting members, placing the upper covering portion over a container, and finally securing the upper covering portion to the container via a securing mechanism. Thus the enjoyment and functionality of the pool or spa cover is increased by providing an alternate use for the pool or spa cover when not being utilized to cover a pool or spa.

In an alternate embodiment the support mechanisms comprise at least one chamber, wherein the at least one chamber comprises a radial portion extending from substantially the center of the cover and a peripheral portion extending along the circumference of the cover. Thus instead of rods, the pool or spa cover support mechanisms comprise chambers, which in a preferred embodiment are inflatable with air and deflatable, thereby reducing the overall weight and storage space necessary for the pool or spa cover. Although air is specifically listed, one skilled in the art would realize any gas could be placed into the chambers. When utilizing chambers instead of rods, the straps may still be tightened to cause the chambers to arc, or alternatively, the chambers may be preformed to be arched, although still flexible, and tensioning can be applied along with, or in addition to, a reduction in the filling of the chambers to reduce the size of the pool or spa cover. This allows for the reduction of size while reducing the weight and storage area of the pool or spa cover.

In yet another alternate embodiment, the peripheral and radial portions of the chambers are in fluid communication to comprise a single chamber, thus easing in assembly of the pool or spa cover. In use, the pool or spa cover is spread out over the pool, in the pool, or outside of the pool, filled with air until sufficient size is reached and then secured to the pool. Thus only filling the single chamber is necessary for assembly and installation, easing the frustration of, and burden on, the user, and saving time. In still another alternate embodiment, the at least one chamber is formed of a plurality of chambers, thereby increasing the durability of the pool or spa cover. Thus, if one of the chambers is punctured, the entire apparatus will not deflate. Alternatively, the peripheral portion and the radial portion may comprise two separate chambers. One skilled in the art would realize any selection in number from one chamber to a significantly large number of chambers could be made, although ease of assembly, ease of use and durability are important factors to consider when selecting the number of chambers. Structures which prevent puncturing or leaking after a puncture are also contemplated within the pool or spa cover to increase durability.

In still another alternate embodiment, the radial portion of the at least one chamber arcs above a body of water when filled with air and the degree and angle of the arcing is controlled by the amount of pressure within the chamber.

In a preferred embodiment, the pool or spa cover extends to the edge of the pool or spa thereby preventing debris from entering the pool or spa. In alternate embodiments, the cover may extend over the edge or may have a skirt which extends over the edge of the pool or spa to prevent debris from entering the pool or spa. The peripheral portion of the at least one chamber may extend over the container of water or it may rest on top of the water. If any portion of the pool or spa cover is in contact with the water, it is preferable to utilize a sealing agent, as known in the art, to extend the life of the pool or spa cover.

In an alternate embodiment, the at least one chamber is disposed directly onto the cover, thereby reducing the number of steps necessary for assembly. In yet another alternate embodiment, separate removable inflatable chambers could be utilized, wherein sleeves and receiving pockets are utilized to allow for the separate inflatable chambers to be inserted therewithin, facilitating interchanging of inflatable chambers should a portion of the pool or spa cover become punctured or malfunction.

In use, a pool or spa may be covered by inflating the at least one chamber, wherein the at least one chamber comprises a radial portion extending from substantially the center of a body of water and a peripheral portion extending along the circumference of said body of water such that the radial portion arcs above a body of water and the peripheral portion substantially covers the body of water. Thus a pool is covered with only the step of filling a pool or spa cover with air or similar filling element. This eases in assembly, installation, and reduces the frustrations of a user normally associated with covering a pool.

Accordingly, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a pool or spa cover which is easy to assemble and install.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a durable pool or spa cover.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to function as an umbrella.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to fit different size pools or spas.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is to reduce the debris which is enters into a pool or spa.

A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to reduce the storage size of pool or spa covers.

Yet a further feature and advantage of the present invention is the generally domed shape which directs debris away from the pool or spa while increasing the support load.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to the elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1A shows a bottom view of a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 1B shows a side view in partial cross section of a portion of a preferred embodiment;

FIG. 2 shows a bottom view of an alternate embodiment;

FIG. 3A shows a perspective view of preferred and alternate embodiments, shown covering a pool or spa;

FIG. 3B shows a perspective view of a centerpiece of the preferred embodiment; and

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a preferred embodiment when utilized as an umbrella-type structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND SELECTED ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1A-4, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1A, 1B, 3A and 3B the present invention in a preferred embodiment preferably comprises pool or spa cover 1, wherein pool or spa cover 1 preferably further comprises support mechanisms 4 comprising first ends 2 and second ends 5, wherein first ends 2 are preferably received by receiving pockets 13 and second ends 5 are preferably received by connector 7, and wherein connector 7 preferably has central aperture 10. Support mechanisms 4 are preferably further received within sleeves 19 secured to coversheet 21, wherein coversheet 21 preferably has mesh portion 6 to allow air to escape and/or to facilitate circulation of air. Coversheet 21 preferably further comprises securing mechanisms 16, wherein securing mechanisms 16 are secured to coversheet 21 via straps 24 (best shown in FIGS. 1B and 3A) to secure pool or spa cover 1 to pool or spa 27 (best shown in FIGS. 1B and 3A).

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1B, supporting mechanism 4 is preferably received within receiving pocket 13 secured to coversheet 21. Securing mechanism 16 is preferably secured to strap 24 and strap 24 is likewise preferably secured to coversheet 21, wherein coversheet 21 preferably comprises a non-rigid sheet, such as, for exemplary purposes only, plastic, although one skilled in the art would recognize other materials may be utilized. Securing mechanism 16 is preferably removably engaged with pool or spa 27, wherein securing mechanism 16 is preferably engaged with lip 28 of pool or spa 27, although other means of attachment would be realized by one skilled in the art based on the shape of pool or spa 27. Securing mechanism 16 is preferably placed in a securing position around lip 28 of pool or spa 27. The opposite side of pool or spa cover 1 and coversheet 21 are also preferably secured to lip 28 of pool or spa 27, thus preventing opposite side of pool or spa cover 1 from rising. As strap 24 is tightened, the circumference of coversheet 21 is reduced, thereby forcing supporting members 4 to arc. As this is repeated multiple times from different angles, pool or spa cover 1 preferably forms a generally domed shape, thus preferably completely covering pool or spa 27, wherein the domed shape thereby prevents debris from entering pool or spa 27 while promoting runoff of water and debris. As noted, as tightening of straps 24 increases, the circumference of pool or spa cover 1 generally becomes smaller and correspondingly, loosening of straps 24 causes the circumference to become larger. Thus pool or spa cover 1 circumference may preferably be adjusted, within a range, to substantially cover different size pools or spas 27.

Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 2 and 3A, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of pool or spa cover 1, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIG. 2 is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 3A and 3B, except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, pool or spa cover 1 of FIG. 2 comprises radial support mechanisms 43 and peripheral support mechanisms 40. Radial support mechanisms 43 and peripheral support mechanisms 40 may be separate chambers, or alternatively, a single chamber to ease in filling of chambers and formation of pool or spa cover 1. Radial support mechanisms 43 form first unitary air chamber (not shown) and peripheral support mechanism 40 forms second unitary air chamber (not shown). Radial support mechanisms 43 are arched or may be arched through tensioning of straps 24 (shown in FIG. 3A). The alternate embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3A comprises both straps 24 and securing mechanisms 16 for securing pool or spa cover 1 to pool or spa. Coversheet 21 is secured to radial support mechanisms 43 and/or peripheral support mechanisms 40 by any means known by those skilled in the art, including, but not limited to, adhesive, stitching, heat molding, received in a sleeve or any combination thereof. Coversheet 21 further comprises mesh portion 6 to allow air to escape from beneath coversheet 21 and promote circulation of air.

Referring now specifically to FIGS. 3A and 3B, pool or spa cover 1 in preferred embodiments is shown secured to pool or spa 27, wherein straps 24 are fixably secured to coversheet 21 and to securing mechanisms 16. Straps 24 are preferably adjustable via adjusting mechanism 30 and although adjustable buckle-type mechanism 30 is shown, one skilled in the art would recognize other adjusting mechanisms 30, such as ratchet tie downs, cam locks, loops, and other buckles are contemplated. As straps 24 are tightened over pool or spa 27, pool or spa cover 1 becomes generally dome shaped. Support mechanisms 4 (best shown in FIG. 1A) preferably run beneath coversheet 21, giving coversheet 21 a generally domed shape. Connector 7 is preferably disposed substantially at the meeting point of first end 2 of support mechanisms 4 and preferably has apertures 11 (best shown in FIG. 3B) for receiving support mechanisms 4, wherein first ends 2 of support mechanisms 4 are preferably disposed within apertures 11. Coversheet 21 further preferably comprises mesh portion 6 to allow air to escape from beneath pool or spa cover 1, wherein mesh portion 6 prevents debris from entering pool or spa 27.

Referring to FIG. 3B, connector 7 of pool or spa cover 1 is shown in detail, wherein connector 7 preferably has a plurality of apertures 11 for receiving support mechanisms 4 (shown in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B) and threaded aperture 10 for receiving central pole 60. Interior portion of connector 7 preferably comprises threads 12 for receiving central pole 60, wherein central pole 60 is preferably threadedly received within connector 7. One skilled in the art would recognize other means of removably securing central pole 60 to connector 7 are contemplated.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 4, pool or spa cover 1 is shown in an embodiment to provide shade. After pool or spa cover 1 is removed from pool or spa 27 (best shown in FIG. 1B and FIG. 3A) connector 7 receives central pole 60, wherein central pole 60 comprises base 66. Base 66 comprises auger 66, as shown; however, one skilled in the art would recognize other means of keeping an umbrella upright exist, including a weighted bottom portion, sharpened ends, and/or strings. Auger 66 is screwed into ground surface (not shown) by rotating tightening dipole 63, wherein tightening dipole 63 is preferably removed after auger 66 has been secured. Coversheet 21 of pool or spa cover 1 is supported by support mechanisms 4. Tightening of straps 24 is not necessary for providing umbrella functionality of pool or spa cover 1; however, securing mechanism 16 may be removably secured to coversheet 21 and/or receiving pocket 13, or other suitable surface such that straps 24 may be tightened via adjusting mechanism 30, thereby providing curvature to pool or spa cover 1 to form umbrella 55. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, coversheet 21 further comprises mesh portion 6.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the embodiments within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing or numbering the steps of a method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of that method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Although specific terms may be employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.





 
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