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Figure 6-4x: (C) J Wiley, S Bliss Guide to Choosing Soaking Tubs and Jetted Tubs

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Jetted tub & spas:

This article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc.

We discuss the following: Soaking or Jetted Tub Designs & Shapes: tub/shower units, primary bath units, two person tubs and spas, and tubs/spas for tight spaces. Handling Noise Issues with Jetted Tubs & Spas. Guide to Types of Jets Used in Whirlpools & Spas or Tubs, recessed, individually adjustable, in-line tub water heaters, built-in cleaning systems for jetted tubs; Jetted Tub or Spa Mechanicals: Pumps & Heaters for Whirlpools, Jetted Tubs, Spas. Recommendations for Heaters for Whirlpools & Spas or Tubs.

We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets. A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included.



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Guide to Choosing Soaking Tubs and Jetted Tubs

Japanese style bath tub installed in a Minnesota home (C) Daniel Friedman Steven OstrowOur photo illustrates a Japanese style bathing tub installed in a Minneapolis home.

Traditional Japanese bathing (wash thoroughly before ever entering the soaking tub) also includes deep tub designs, often fed from a natural hot spring and sometimes installed in a cascade of several tubs of varying temperatures.

As discussed in Chapter 6 of Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:

Material choices for jetted tubs and other oversized “soaking” tubs are the same as described above. However, with the added stress of higher water levels, multiple bathers, and the vibration of jets, the choice of material is more critical.

The most durable type of tub, enameled cast iron, has limited offerings and are very heavy so they are not often used. Acrylic is an excellent choice, as are some of the proprietary materials, such as Americast (American Standard), Vikrell (Sterling/Kohler), and Armacryl (Kallista/ Kohler).

A tub with a nonslip surface is recommended for safety.

Soaking or Jetted Tub Designs & Shapes

Jetted tubs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and depths and are designed for either a drop-in or niche installation with a tile flange.

Typical rectangular or oval units range from 5 to 6 feet long, 32 to 45 inches wide, and 18 to 24 inches high, and many offer an optional skirt to finish the front and conceal the motor and plumbing.

A drop-in requires a custom-built surround and requires more floor space (see Figure 6-52).

Figure 6-4x: (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Figure 6-52

[Click any image or table to see an enlarged version with additional detail, commentary & source citation.]

How to Fix Noise Issues with Jetted Tubs & Spas

Jetted tubs can be rather noisy.

If this is a concern, look for a unit with flexible hoses connected to the pump, which helps reduce the vibration and noise transmitted to the tub. Some manufacturers also offer quieter jet mechanisms as an upgrade.

Also see NOISE ISSUES JETTED TUBS & SPAS

and see SPA / HOT TUB BLOWER UNIT

Types of Jets Used in Whirlpools & Spas or Tubs

Jetted tub needing cleaning (C) Daniel Friedman

Some manufacturers offer different types of jets with different flow characteristics.

Some jetted tub fittings circulate air, some water, and some both, producing the most vigorous massage.

It is best to try out a system at a showroom if possible. Also pay attention to jet locations.

Jets high and on the sides will provide swirling water, while jets placed where bathers will sit and directed toward the back and other stress points will provide a more effective massage.

Some manufacturers will customize jet locations. Other options to consider are:

Mechanicals: Pumps & Heaters for Whirlpools, Jetted Tubs, Spas

Jetted tub pump assembly(C) Daniel Friedman

Pumps for jetted tubs or spas are usually located at the opposite end from the drain and fill area. Some manufacturers allow the buyer to specify the pump location for better access.

Look for a pump with automatic protection against burn-out if accidentally run dry. Pumps range from 1/2 to 3 horsepower, and many manufacturers offer a horsepower upgrade for a modest price increase, often a worthwhile expense.

For modern hot tub & spa installations, the water circulating pump comes with a cord and plug that requires a GFCI-protected receptacle.

Watch out: Since the receptacle is inaccessible, it should be either downstream of an accessible GFCI-receptacle or on a circuit with a GFCI breaker. Locate the receptacle where it does not block access to the pump.

To ensure safety, make sure that the unit purchased is UL-listed for the entire system, not just the individual components.

Also see SPA / HOT TUB PUMP REPAIR

Heaters for Whirlpools & Spas or Tubs

If the occupants expect to take long soaks in the tub, an accessory heater is advisable.

Energy-efficient models capture waste heat from the motor and pump to provide a modest degree of supplemental heat, while others use a conventional electrical heating element that can maintain the water temperature indefinitely.

For installations where the volume of the tub exceeds the capacity of the home’s water heater, some manufacturers offer an instantaneous water heater that will heat the water as it enters the tub.

Also see SPA / HOT TUB HEATER REPAIR

Jetted and Soaking Tubs Manufacturers & Sources

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

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Continue reading at SPAS, WHIRLPOOLS, INSTALLATION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see BATHROOM DESIGN and also BATHROOM DESIGN, ACCESSIBLE

Or see BATHROOM VENTILATION CODES SPECS

Or see HOT TUB SPA WHIRLPOOL OPERATION & REPAIR if you need help diagnosing & repairing your hot tub or spa

Or see NOISE ISSUES JETTED TUBS & SPAS

Or see PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH - home

Or see STEAM BATH / SHOWER GENERATOR INSTALLATION

Or see TUBS & TUB REPLACEMENTS or RELINERS

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SPAS WHIRLPOOLS SOAKING & JETTED TUBS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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