Whirlpool Baths – A Complete Buyers Guide
In today’s fast-paced, always-on world, investing in a whirlpool bath can be an affordable and convenient way to take care of both body and mind. We’ve therefore put together this guide to help you to choose the whirlpool bath, which best suits your situation.
Start by determining what is actually possible
The first point to remember is that whirlpool baths are generally delivered in one whole piece and need to make their way from the delivery van to the intended installation location as a single unit. You, therefore, need to check the route it would take and find the dimensions of the tightest point in it, as this will be your starting point for determining the absolute maximum size of your bath.
Once you have established this, take a good look at your bathroom and find your drainage point or points. Make a note of this, because you may need to take it into consideration when choosing your bath. Generally speaking, it’s fairly straightforward (and inexpensive) to run piping a short distance to connect a whirlpool bath with the necessary drainage point, however all bathrooms are different and in some cases, it may be difficult and therefore expensive. You also need to think about access to piping for any future maintenance work.
Then take a good look around your bathroom and take careful note of any permanent fixtures to which you would need access, the toilet and washbasin are obvious examples of this and perhaps you also have permanent bathroom storage. Putting this information together with your route check, you should now have a fairly good idea of what sort of size and shape of bath you can have, but there are still a couple of checks to make.
The first of these is to find out what type of water system you have in your house, specifically you need to know if you have a hot-water tank and if you do, how much water it holds. The rule of thumb is that your hot-water tank needs to be able to fill your bath two-thirds full, so this will influence the size of bath you can actually have.
Finally, you need to head back to your bathroom and confirm how much weight the floor can hold, always remembering that the effective weight of any bath is made up of the bath itself, plus the water, plus the bather. You may want to postpone this last check until you’ve decided what bath you want so you have a clear idea of whether or not your floor can support that, specific, model, but we’d still recommend making the check unless you are going for a whirlpool bath that is the exact same size as an existing standard bath and made of the same material.
Now that you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains is an option
There are four main types of whirlpool bath from which to choose.
Recessed baths are designed to be fitted into alcoves and are far and away the most common type of bath available. If you wish to upgrade an existing recessed bath without having to undertake an extensive remodelling of your bathroom then a recessed whirlpool bath may well be your best solution, just remember that standard baths can often be taken apart and hence can fit through smaller spaces, whereas whirlpool baths stay intact, so you may find you need to look at a somewhat smaller whirlpool bath. You then need to decide how to use the extra space this gives you, for example, you could turn it into valuable storage space.
Step-in baths are either set into the floor or are accessed by steps. They can offer more flexibility when it comes to integrating the bath into the design of the bathroom, but are likely to require more effort to install than the other types of bath available.
For those in tight spaces, a corner whirlpool bath may be the only realistic way to go.
A freestanding whirlpool bath can be the epitome of bathroom luxury, but they are not necessarily the most practical option and hence the choice should be considered with great care.
Freestanding baths require more cleaning (since more surfaces are visible) and also require thought to be put into locating storage space for necessities such as the toiletries you will need while in the bath and the towels and clothing you will need after it.
Finally, it’s also worth remembering that freestanding baths in general have a well-earned reputation for spilling water, so if you’re the type of person who likes to use the bath for beauty treatments, which need you to move, such as rubbing in lotions, or you like to bop along to the beat or intend to bathe children who just love to splash, then you either need to be ready and willing to clean up a lot of water after your bath, or opt for one of the other models.
These types of baths all come in different sizes and shapes and may be available in different colours.
When it comes to materials, acrylic is the mainstream choice for many reasons, including its qualities as an insulating material and its general robustness as well as the ease with which it can be cleaned. You can, however, get whirlpool baths in other materials, but we’d suggest you think long and hard before you do. In particular, you absolutely must double-check the effective weight and make sure that your bathroom floor can manage it.
Once you’ve covered your basics, you can choose your additional features
Thermostatic temperature control
Thermostatic temperature control should probably be high on your list of desirable features. This ensures that your hot and cold water inputs are blended perfectly before they enter your bath and can make a lot of difference to your bathing comfort.
Water and air jets
Water jets and air jets actually provide a very different feeling. You may wish to have a mixture of large and small water jets to give greater flexibility to your massage. Adding air jets will mean that you can be massaged from the base of the bath as well as the side.
Having adjustable jets means that you can customize your massage to be exactly as you like it and can be a great benefit for medical users. You may also want to have an air regulator, which is used to resolve any issues caused by larger users blocking the jets. Even if you would not consider any of your family to be particularly large, a whirlpool bath is a piece which is expected to last many years and hence you may find that during this time, you find yourself accommodating a larger guest. Alternatively, you may wish to sell your home to people who are larger than you.
Your whirlpool bath is fed by pipes and keeping them in good order will help to extend its life. A cleaning system is therefore a useful feature.
A hand-held shower can help when it comes to cleaning the inside of the bath.
This is purely for fun but it can make for a lovely user experience
You can buy these separately but having one included means that it will be designed to work with your specific whirlpool bath and will add that extra touch of comfort.
Check out your supplier as well as your bath
Whirlpool baths are investment pieces but some cost more than others and if you simply look at headline figures such as size and features, you may be left wondering why. Hopefully even cheaper baths will have incorporated safety features such as a water sensor (which will only allow the pump to be switched on when the bath actually has water in it) and a residual current device (which will automatically switch off the electricity if it detects any problems with the current). External verification of safety standards is also reassuring. What makes the difference between cheaper baths and their more expensive counterparts, however, is usually the level of quality and also the level of support provided after the supplier has taken your money. This is the main reason why it is strongly recommended to purchase from an established supplier, who is going to be there over the longer term and will be ready and willing to fulfill any warranty claims, should they arise