Nearly one-fourth of higher-end bathroom remodels now include a whirlpool tub, but even if you don't consider yourself to be in that "high-end" category, you still should consider replacing your current tub with a whirlpool tub. Of course space is always a consideration, but the whirlpool tubs are not as huge as they once were. The typical size of a new whirlpool tub is 5' x 3', so measure your bathroom carefully to determine if you can fit in a whirlpool tub and still have room to walk.
Affording a Whirlpool Tub
The price for whirlpool tubs has come down considerably in the last few years, making them much more affordable. Of course you could still easily pay $5,000 for a whirlpool tub, but there are now high-performing whirlpool tubs on the market for as little as $600. If you have a local plumbing store, keep watch; sometimes if a whirlpool tub has been there too long, or has a small scratch or nick, they will sell it for considerably less just to get it off the showroom floor. Home improvement stores also sell big-ticket items that either have sat too long or have the slightest damage, for a large percentage off on the original price. One brand-new water-jet Kohler whirlpool tub was rated just as high as the priciest $5,100 tub. Other brands of whirlpool tubs include American Standard, Jacuzzi and Waterworks.
Features of Whirlpool Tubs
Some whirlpool tubs come with jets which offer a vigorous massage, while others will have an abundance of effervescent air bubbles; your personal preferences will dictate which you will choose. You might want to either go online or look for an issue of Consumer Digest which compared the different brands and features of whirlpool tubs. This is a good way to find out which tub is quieter, and help you to determine whether you should choose an air-jet tub or a combination model. Air-jet tubs force air through dozens of small holes to give you that all-over bubbling action, while combination models force air and water through large jets to give you a vigorous all-over massage.
There are several other types of whirlpool tubs in that you could choose a corner tub to maximize your floor space, a recess-mount tub which fits between the walls, a "regular" model which slides into your existing tub space or a deck-mounted tub which drops beneath the floor and requires a surround of tile or other material. Before you take the whirlpool tub plunge-literally-make sure your home's water heater is large enough to be able to fill the whirlpool tub at least two thirds full with warm water, as whirlpool tubs can hold anywhere from 25 to 150 gallons of water. Mechanical tubs of this nature will require eventual maintenance, so ensure you will have access to the tub's components. Some units come with an internal water heater which will maintain a constant temperature, and others will come with built-in grab bars and slip-resistant floors. A whirlpool tub can add beauty, value and comfort to your home, and is well worth considering.
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