Since the middle of the 20th century, America’s homes have become increasingly automated.

Dishwashers and even washing machines were exotic luxury items in the 1950s. Today, they are ubiquitous.

It’s taken awhile, but consumers are getting keen on the idea of applying the automatic mind-set to their spas. Why stoop, reach, pull and latch to secure a cover when a push of a button opens or closes it?

“In today’s society, the garage doors and outdoor awnings are automated, so automating the spa cover is a natural next step,” says George Koren of Evergreen, Colo., who has developed the Nerok Lift automatic spa cover. “It’s not that the average person cannot easily do these tasks — it’s that we don’t have to.

“In all these cases, technology has matured to a level where technology can now easily and reliably do that task for us,” he adds.

An average of 400,000 new spas are sold in the United States each year, adding to approximately 6 million hot tubs that already exist in American homes. Of the spas that have covers — and account for approximately 80 percent, according to dealers — nearly all depend on manual labor. The automatic spa cover business might be an infant, but it has the opportunity to grow quickly.

The pool and spa trade shows in 2005 featured no automated spa lifts. The next year, according to Koren, three automatic lifts debuted. Nowadays, they range between $2,500 and $3,500, but future competition in the market is expected to bring the price down to cater to a broader customer base.

Baby boomers are the ideal target market for an automated spa cover. They can be sold on the idea of convenience and health benefits of a therapeutic spa.

“The baby boomer and the increasing senior population is driving the need for more convenience-type items such as steps, lighting, hand railings and lifts,” Koren says. “This is a good thing. These consumers are giving rise to new markets and the automated lift is an example.”