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by Staff Writer
Adding a whirlpool bathtub to your bathroom is a smart idea. Not only do jetted tubs make your bathroom look amazing; they make you feel amazing, too. But if you've been shopping around for a whirlpool bathtub, you may be a little overwhelmed by all the different features and options. Here are some important facts to help you make the best possible decision.
Air jet vs. water jet: While both types of whirlpool tubs will provide a relaxing experience, depending on what you're looking for, you may prefer one above the other. Air jet tubs send warmed air through dozens of tiny jets to create a gentle air bubble massage. Scented bath oils can be used in an air jet tub to create a spa-like atmosphere. Water jet tubs have fewer but much larger jets arranged in strategic configurations to target different muscle groups. Water jets can be swiveled in different directions to target specific muscles. Water is pumped in and then propelled out of the jets at a high speed for a direct therapeutic muscle massage. Bath oils, salts and bubble bath should not be used in a water jet tub.
Size and configuration: There are many different sizes and configurations of whirlpool tubs. As long as your bathroom is big enough to accommodate a regular bathtub, you should be able to find a whirlpool tub that fits your space. Whirlpool tubs range in size from a standard tub size of about 30 x 60 inches to a luxurious 80 x 60 inches. Obviously, you should measure the area in your bathroom before you buy a jetted tub, but you also need to think about configuration -- the way the tub is oriented in the room. If you're short on space, you will want a standard-sized tub in a freestanding, single-person configuration to go directly into the space where your old tub was. If you have a little more space to work with, you might consider a corner unit with a surrounding deck. If space is not an issue, consider a drop-in whirlpool tub.
Materials: The most common whirlpool tub materials are fiberglass, acrylic and cast iron. Fiberglass is the most economical choice. Acrylic and cast iron are both extremely durable and easy to clean. Consult your budget when deciding which material to choose.
In order for your whirlpool tub to work properly, you will need the right size water heater. As a general rule, your water heater capacity needs to be at least 2/3 the capacity of your tub.
Whirlpool tubs have a pump and a motor. In the event that your tub needs repair, you will want easy access to the mechanics. Jetted tubs have an access panel called an apron. If you are installing your tub up against any walls, make sure the apron can open freely and is not blocked by the wall.
Safety features such as non-slip floors and grab bars are highly recommended.
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