Whirlpool or Hydrotherapy Massage Tub
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When taking a normal bath for cleansing and relaxation is not enough, a bath in a jetted hydrotherapy massage tub, more commonly known as a hot tub, Jacuzzi, or whirlpool tub, can be just the ticket. Unlike a conventional bathtub, a whirlpool tub has an electric pump that circulates water through a piping system and directs the water through openings, or jets, in the tub’s surface. The jets can usually be adjusted to change the direction and force of the water to provide a relaxing massage while bathing.
Whirlpool tubs can be found in many finishes and materials, including enameled cast iron, fiberglass and even acrylic plastic. Whirlpool tubs can be installed as stand-alone units or built in to the bathroom, with a platform around the tub. They come in various sizes, from small units that will hold one person to larger stand-alone tubs that can hold 8 or more people.
The smaller units are normally filled each time they are used. To prevent cavitations or damage to the pump, the water level must be above the jetted openings. The larger tubs are usually not used for bathing, but for relaxation and enjoyment, and are left filled and covered when not in use. The water is chemically treated as with a pool and they will come equipped with integral filtering and heating equipment.
Regardless of the model or type of tub, it is very important that the electrical, mechanical and plumbing components located behind the tub surface be accessible in order to perform repairs, if necessary, and to look for leaks. Built-in models usually have the pump and motor located at one end or the other and are usually surrounded on two or three sides much like a conventional tub. The access opening is best located on the wall in the closet of an adjoining room. The larger stand-alone tubs can have multiple access panels around the tub-surround that are easily concealed by finished panels.
Because the pumps are usually electrically driven, a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected power supply should be installed and all parts of the tub and metal fixtures within 5 or 6 feet of the tub should be bonded, or mechanically connected to the tub equipment.
In addition, if the water capacity of the whirlpool tubs is larger than a conventional tub, the supply piping may need to be proportionally upgraded. Also, the water heater may need to be upgraded to a larger unit in order to provide an adequate amount of hot water for the tub.