Title:
Spa lock
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A security device used to secure a spa cover to a spa and reinforce the spa cover from tampering. The device uses a reinforcement bar to strength the spa cover and absorbs any could be damage caused by lifting a corner of the cover. The two elongate flexible members attach the cover to the base frame. The lock loop allows for flexibility in locking solutions. The buckle connects with the lock loop to establish a secure entry point to the spa. The device allows for the use of other spa cover lifting devices and does not interfere with maintenance or servicing.



Inventors:
Powell, Brian G. (St. Charles, MO, US)
Powell, James S. (St. Charles, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/412583
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian G. Powell (St. Charles, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A security and reinforcement device that secures the spa cover (or the like) to the spa (or the like), said security and reinforcement device comprising of: (a) a reinforcement bar; (b) two elongate flexible members attached to the spa base via brackets and said reinforcement bar, securely attaching the cover to the base frame of the spa; (c) two cover clamps attaching said reinforcement bar to the spa cover for strength and attaching the spa cover to said the two said elongate flexible members; (d) a lock loop attached to said reinforcement bar and allowing the buckle to slide over said lock loop; (e) said buckle is attached to a shorter elongate flexible member that attached to the spa base via a bracket opposite the location the two other elongate members attach to the spa base.

2. The reinforcement bar in claim 1 reinforces the Styrofoam inserts that are contained within the spa cover and transfers force away from the Styrofoam inserts.

3. The two elongated flexible members in claim 1 reduce the strain on the Styrofoam inserts with the spa cover by moving the support position closer to the edges.

4. The reinforcement bar in claim 1 provides a convenient handle by which to lift the cover off the spa.

5. The brackets attached at the base of the spa in claim 1 allow for the use of a spa cover lift and reduces interference with spa service and maintenance.

6. The lock loop in claim 1 increase the options available to user for securing the spa lock.

7. The brackets attached to the spa base frame allowing for greater securing strength and reduces damage to body panels.

8. The Spa Lock protects against heavy winds an other forces removing the spa cover from the spa.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to securing the foldable cover of a spa (or hot tub) from elements such a wind, children, tampering and other unseen risks, as present devices for secure the spa cover do not provide sufficient reinforcement or force limits.

2. Description of Prior Art

The increased sales of personal spas and the property liability that comes with spa ownership has resulted in many deaths and legal settlements. Only one such device has been uncovered that provides a method for securing the spas cover of the spa, Patent Application 20060010593 filed Jan. 16, 2006. The submitted device does not, however, support the Styrofoam inserts that can easily snap with applied force. The fore mentioned design also places the strain of support in the middle of the spa and the design does not allow for the use of a “spa cover lift” device such as those filed under U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,381,766-6,859,952-6,938,281. The clip that is sent out to secure the cover from the manufacturer is filed under U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,964.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

A quick survey of spas and hot tubs will show that they typically are not well secured from unintentional use. Some spa covers have straps with quick release cargo snaps, or in some cases a simple plastic lock, which is easily defeated.

More than 4,400 people drowned in the United States in 1998. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 14 and under, and the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. Most drownings occur in residential swimming pools and hot tubs. There has been significant publicity on securing swimming pools from unintentional use by children, but very little focus on securing hot tubs.

A 26-year survey of drownings in hot tubs, spas, and whirlpools in California 1960-85 suggests a person- and site-specific profile. The identified 74 deaths occurred mostly in White children, under two years of age, in Southern California, during the late afternoons, from May through August. From 1967 to 1985, the drowning rate increased tenfold. The deaths were associated with access to the water, lack of supervision, neuromotor handicaps, and entrapment by suction. Educational and environmental control efforts are required to reduce the incidence. Reference: Shinaberger C S, Anderson C L, Kraus J F. Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health 90024-1772. PMID: 2327545 [PubMed—indexed for MEDLINE]

Hot tub covers are not adequate barriers to entry, and the straps provided with or for the covers are easily defeated. People have been known to use their neighbor's hot tubs without permission at ski hill condominiums, often cutting the conventional hot tub cover straps with a knife to gain access.

Applicant is aware of patents regarding devices which arc used to secure a variety of objects using reinforced webbing and locking mechanisms such as,

U.S. Pat. No. 4,930,324 issued to Meier on Jun. 5, 1990 teaches about a center-release buckle with a rotatable lock to secure a cover or belt, which lock is mounted in the buckle against a flexible flap in the buckle housing and is secured therein by mounting the housing on a base or frame.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention may be characterized in one aspect as a lock for a spa having a cover or top, wherein the lock includes an two elongate flexible members having opposite first and second ends with the first attached to a reinforcement bar and the second attached to “S” shaped brackets. A third elongated flexible members has a buckle to allow a metal loop to slip through that is part of the reinforcement bar. The “S” shaped brackets attach at the base of the spa to the frame and not to the wall boards as they do not provide significant strength. Attaching the two elongated straps at the base frame allows for the use of a “Spa Cover Lift” (example in U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,281) as while the cover is removed and rotated into a the upright position the two elongate members become loose and fall to the ground.

The reinforcement bar, as noted above, attaches to the spa cover with clamping brackets on the same securing straps the manufacturer clips use to attach the spa cover to the spa, commonly used clips are filed under U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,964. The reinforcement bar acts a brace for the front part of the cover to strengthen the Styrofoam inserts from breaking due to lifting forces applied at the edges of the spa cover. The bar transfers the vertical force of the tampering to the front elongate flexible member and the counter down force to the opposite edge of the spa relieving the Styrofoam from the force. The reinforcement bar also provided an easily gripped handle with which to lift the spa cover.

Two elongate flexible members run from the backside base frame to the reinforcement bar. They are attached to the spa base frame with “S” shaped brackets and to the reinforcement bar. These two members provide the support for the back portion of the spa cover while the spa cover is in the down (covered) position and remove the need for a reinforcement bar on the backside of the spa cover.

The front elongate flexible member runs from the front spa base frame to a loose end equip with a buckle. The bottom end attaches to the front spa base frame is attached with an “S” shaped bracket. The loose end is looped and sewn around a buckle.

The buckle slides over a metal loop protruding from the reinforcement bar. The loop and the buckle's corresponding slot are very closely sized. The loop provides a variety of locking mechanisms to be placed around the loop removing the buckles ability to be slid off.

The invention accordingly comprises the apparatuses and systems, together with their parts, elements and interrelationships that are exemplified in the following disclosure, the scope of which will be indicated in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

A fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following details description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the spa lock in place over a spa and spa cover, embodying the invention in its secured and implemented position;

FIG. 2 is a back perspective view of the spa lock in place over a spa and spa cover, embodying the invention in its secured and implemented position;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the buckling mechanism over the metal loop attaching the front elongate flexible member to the reinforcement bar, embodying the invention in its secured and implemented position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the “S” bracket that attaches one end of all elongate flexible members to the spa base frame, embodying the permanent position regardless of a the status (locked or unlocked) of the spa lock;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the clamping bracket that attaches the reinforcement bar to the spa cover, embodying the permanent position regardless of a the status (locked or unlocked) of the spa lock;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of two longer elongate flexible members attachment the reinforcement bar to the spa cover, embodying the permanent position regardless of a the status (locked or unlocked) of the spa lock;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 there is shown the present invention deployed on a spa and spa cover. The figure shows the buckle (locking) mechanism in its locked and attached position to the reinforcement bar.

The Spa Lock includes two elongate flexible members 1, reinforcement bar 2, buckle mechanism 3, short elongate member 4, three “S” shaped brackets 5, lock loop 6, and cover clamp brackets 7.

In FIG. 3 the buckle 3 that is attached to the short elongate member 4 is placed over the lock loop 6. The addition of a not defined lock or securing device will remove the buckle 3 ability to slide off the lock loop 6. The removal of the locking mechanism from the lock loop 6 will allow the buckle 3 to be freed from the reinforcement bar 2 and enable the spa cover to be lifted. By replacing the buckle 3 over the lock loop 6 and adding a not defined lock will re-secure the Spa Lock.

In FIG. 4 one elongate flexible member is shown secured to the “S” shaped bracket 5. All elongate flexible members 1 &4 will have one end secured to an “S” shaped bracket 5. The “S” shaped bracket is shown attached to the spa base frame and not the spa wall panels.

In FIG. 5 the reinforcement bar 2 is attached to the spa cover via the spa covers tie down straps. The cover clamp bracket 7 is attached to the reinforcement bar 2 around the spa cover tie down strap providing an attachment point to the cover. The reinforcement bar 2 by attachment provides an easily grabbed handle for lifting the cover and strengthens the Styrofoam cover inserts.

In FIG. 6 the two elongate flexible members 1 ends are attached to the reinforcement bar 2 at two separate points. Each elongate flexible member 1 is positioned on opposite sides of the lock loop 6 that is also attached to the reinforcement bar 2.

Since certain changes may be made in the foregoing disclosure without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description and depicted in the accompanying drawings be construed in an illustrative and not in a limiting sense.