Whirlpool tubs are tubs fitted with an electric pump, piping, and water jets for soaking in relaxation within the comfort of your own home. Whirlpool bathtubs have become popular since the 1960s. Now many, if not most, new homes include whirlpools in their master bath facilities. Some homeowners without these comfortable bathtubs are retrofitting their houses and installing whirlpools in their bathrooms.
There are several major factors to consider when shopping for whirlpool bathtubs. A variety of sizes, styles, designs, materials, and colors exist as well as features. Some are made of an acrylic base, others from cast iron, and some are of a fiberglass/acrylic combination. While the look is an important factor in purchasing a whirlpool, the ability to enter and exit may be more important. Consider the age and agility of those that are going to be using the whirlpool before investing your money.
How do whirlpool bathtubs work? The electric pump circulates water through the pipes into the jets for disbursement. A vented area near the opening of each jet called a venturi injects air with the water and creates more forceful water. The same water is redistributed into the pipes and the process repeats itself for the entire bath time. This action is similar to a spa but they differ in some ways. Hot tubs are filled with water for a period of time; whirlpools need to be filled with each use. Hot tubs use chemicals such as chlorine to keep the water free of bacteria. Whirlpools do not need chlorine since they are filled with fresh water for each use.
Style, Size and Construction
Whirlpool bathtubs come in several different styles and sizes. First, determine if you want to purchase a one-person or two-person model. The two-person model takes up significantly more space and many older bathrooms don’t have the extra room needed. Alcove tubs fit into a three-corner location and have one side covered with a top-to-floor apron made of acrylic or some other form of material same as the tub itself. Alcove tubs are the best bet for retrofits because of their size and also, they are less expensive. Drop-in tubs are usually inserted into a deck. They can be positioned by a bathroom wall, corner, or recessed into the floor if the construction allows. Drop-in models come in a variety of shapes to suit your needs and tastes. Some whirlpool models are designed as throwback models with claw feet and made with brass feet to look like tubs of the turn of the 20th Century. These are sometimes positioned in an open location, plumbing permitting.
As mentioned earlier, whirlpool bathtubs come in several base materials. Acrylic tubs are molded from large sheets and use fiberglass as a reinforcing agent. Composite tubs are made of fiberglass/acrylic mixtures or a polyester resin/fiberglass combination. These types of tubs are lighter which means less weight, easier handling during installation, and less expense. A cast iron tub is considered superior considering their durability. They are coated in high-gloss enamel finishes in an array of colors. The cast iron bases have warranties for up to 50 years on the tub itself. Many contractors prefer cast iron tubs due to their strong design.
The main attraction of a whirlpool tub is the jets. These are the most important features to consider when evaluating a spa. A basic tub will offer up to five jets and you can pay for additional jets on a custom unit. Consider if the tub you want is either a whirlpool tub or an air-jet tub. Air-jet tubs have dozens of air holes in the tub to cause a bubbling effect. Whirlpool tubs use jets to force the water through. There are some more options to consider when thinking about investing in additional jets.
Here are some of the types of jets you can get on your whirlpool tub:
- Whirlpool jets cause a white water type of effect causing the water in the tub to swirl. Some of these type jets are included with a whirlpool tub but some people purchase additional jets to intensify the effect.
- Volcano jets are located at the bottom of the tub and shoot upwards, creating a volcano-like burst of water.
- Adjustable jets can be turned on or off and aimed to provide a custom message.
- Directional jets can be moved to different angles, according to the individual’s tastes.
Power massage jets offer more water pressure, creating a strong massage effect for the lower back region of the body.
Considerations when Purchasing
If you will be installing a whirlpool bathtub by yourself, consider these helpful tips. One of the most important things to consider when retrofitting a bathroom with a whirlpool is whether the existing structure can support a new tub. Is the plumbing capable of providing the water? Does the hot water heater create enough hot water for the new tub? Whirlpool tubs can hold up to 150 gallons of water. Can your foundation support such an additional weight? Is the electrical system capable of supplying enough juice to the unit?
Consider these elements when selecting a whirlpool tub for your home. A variable-flow two horsepower pump is considered by many to be the best in the whirlpool business. Standard models are one or two horsepower but do not have the variable flow feature. Built-in grab bars and slip-resistant floors provide an additional element of safety, regardless of the age of the bather. Internal water heaters help maintain a consistent temperature and reheat the water as it flows through the system. This will keep you warmer longer and reduce the extra strain on your main water heater. Check out these features as well: extra back support, automatic shutoff valves, and slip-proof ledges.
You can purchase online a wide line of spa products in various designs and sizes with all the features to make your whirlpool experience grand. Also, don’t forget the accessories and whirlpool supplies. Most online dealers accept all major credit cards and some offer financing options to fit your budget. For more information, contact an online representative today.Tags: Right Whirlpool Tub, Tub, Whirlpool Tub