View Full Version : My wife wants a whirlpool tub

Rich Engelhardt
12-16-2013, 11:24 AM
& I was ok with it at first.
Then I did some reading up on them & decided I don't want to run the risk of getting one that breaks down.

Putting one in will be a major job. The bath room is exactly 60 inches wide. To put in a new tub, I'll have to knock a hole in the wall of the bedroom, install jacks studs and a header, cut out one of the studs and push the tub through the hole....then put it all back together again.
I'd also have to install a sub panel since I believe I used the last two breakers running the sub panel out to the garage.
That in itself is going to be a semi major job due to the location of the panel.

So - how reliable are the guts to these things?
I don't want to be tearing up the bath/bedroom again in a couple of years to yank out a very expensive piece of junk.

Andrew Fleck
12-16-2013, 11:33 AM
I had a whirlpool tub once. It worked fine until my wife put bubbles in it. Apparently whirlpool tubs and bubbles don't mix. It seized mine up and I had to replace the motor. Maybe they have changed them now, but that one sure didn't like them.

I do remember that it would take a long time to fill the thing and it would basically drain my hot water heater in the process. My wife was really excited to use it when we first bought the place, but by the time we moved (about 3 years later) she probably used it 3 or 4 times.

Good luck with it. Hopefully you can convince your wife to live with the normal tub.

Mark Bolton
12-16-2013, 11:50 AM
From a GC perspective our experience has been a lot like people installing hot tubs. It becomes a question of honestly quantifying how often you will really use it. Most people want a jetted tub and then over time rarely use it. That being said, your wife may be one of the people who in fact would regularly use it and enjoy it. How realistic she and you can be about that is where the figuring comes in.

The jetted tubs of the past had a lot of issues with what you could use in them and even worse many of them held small amounts of water in the piping jet piping which would cause (mainly women) grief with infection. Those issues, to my knowledge, have all been dealt with and today's units fully drain though some still suggest periodic cleaning especially if they are only run occasionally.

As with anything, you have a motor and switches as well as a heater on many models all of which can require maintenance. There is no avoiding that.

Andrew rightly points out another major factor that many conventionally sized water supply lines and heaters simply wont handle a deep jetted tub. Depending on your water supply you'd likely want 3/4" run to the tub to get max flow to a filler. Even if your water heater will handle the tub (would have to be large/high recovery) and you have undersized supply, it will take forever to fill. Most of the roman tub fillers out there are rated at 18-30GPM so getting the max to that filler is the key to fill the tub in a reasonable time.

I would be less concerned with the maintenance and more focused on will she actually use it and are you willing to absorb the total cost of the install as well as increased water, (perhaps sewer), and water heating, bills.

My girlfriend is a tub bather (rarely showers) and the water consumption is markedly more than showering even with a small tub. I it were a deep tub I could see the water bills going even higher. But.. if it makes them happy Im all for it.

From a Jacuzzi brand PDF manual I had:

Do not use oil or oil-based bathtub additives.
If you want to use any kind of bathtub additive, use only a small amount of low-foaming powder or crystal substance;
the whirlpool action intensifies the foaming properties of soaps.
The use of certain bathtub oils, bubble baths, and bathtub additives may increase the level of accumulations of bathtub
residue in the whirlpool system and may cause false reading of the water level sensors. If excess accumulations
persist, you should discontinue use of these products.

Also stated twice a month cleaning with their recommended product and a (CYA) statement to clean after each use.

Garth Sheane
12-16-2013, 1:16 PM
Too bad we didn't live closer. We are just getting rid of our whirl pool tub and putting in a regular tub. We hardly (me never) ever used the whirlpool because it took so much hot water. I don't know about where you live, but our contractor tells us that he puts in far more regular tubs than jacuzzi style, even in high end homes. That tells me that these tubs may detract from value or saleability of a home. They just are not energy efficient which seems to be the name of the game today.

Larry Browning
12-16-2013, 1:44 PM
When we built our house 15 years ago my wife wanted one. The builder said he would be glad to put it in, but suggested we go with a relatively low end one and then we could upgrade later on when it was worn out from use. Well, she used it about 5 or 6 times and my daughter used it a few times, but I think I can count on my fingers and toes how many times it has been used in the past 15 years. She does take a bath in the tub on rare occasions but never turns on the jets. I suppose it would be a good selling point if we ever decide to sell the house, but other than that, it was a waste of money in our household. I'm glad the builder talked us into the low end version.

Rich Engelhardt
12-16-2013, 2:10 PM
Keep em coming!
These are great!
Knowing my wife, she'd feel compelled to use the thing - whether she admitted that or not - and end up costing us a bundle in hot water for using something she really didn't want to use in the first place,,,but,,is using it just because I put it in for her.

Given the choice between a whirlpool and the tools I could buy for the shop for the same $$, this is a no brainer for me ;).

Brian Elfert
12-16-2013, 2:29 PM
For some reason I decided to have both a whirlpool tub and a large shower installed in my master bathroom when the house was built. I have never once used the whirlpool tub while the shower is used all the time. As already mentioned, make sure the wife will really use it.

Mike Henderson
12-16-2013, 2:44 PM
Most people want a jetted tub and then over time rarely use it.

That is the absolute truth. I've never known anyone who used it on a regular basis, except people with certain medical conditions.

And it has a second disadvantage. Often the side of the tub is higher than a normal tub which makes it hard to get into when using it as a shower. I know one couple who put one in, used it a few times, but mostly took showers - and then spent a lot of money to take it out and convert it to a regular shower stall (no tub at all). Expensive lesson.


Val Kosmider
12-16-2013, 2:53 PM
First house I built had one. The (young) kids loved it; the adults never used it. The second house I put one in the Master. Used it a few times, and then it just sits. Jacuzzi brand. It leaked through the ceiling into the kitchen below. Warranty covered ALL repairs, but still....water spots on your ceiling are not comforting.

This house? No tub in the master---jetted or otherwise. I (and many people, I hear) don't ever use them.

Art Mulder
12-16-2013, 2:54 PM
Personally, I'd rather have a hot tub on the back deck, and forget the jetted tub. Easier to get rid of if/when you decide you're done with it.

Larry Browning
12-16-2013, 3:51 PM
Keep em coming!
Given the choice between a whirlpool and the tools I could buy for the shop for the same $$, this is a no brainer for me ;).

Just a word of advice here. I wouldn't mention that particular line of logic to her:eek:

Larry Browning
12-16-2013, 4:16 PM
This reminds me of a funny story.
One day our then 3 year old grand daughter was taking a bath in whirlpool tub. I decided it might be fun for her if I turned on the jets. I was leaning over the tub a bit when I turn it on. She literally climbed over the top of my back to get out of the tub screaming bloody murder. She wouldn't go back in that room for weeks.

dennis thompson
12-16-2013, 4:20 PM
We've been in our house 8 years, I have never used ours and I think my wife has used it 2 or three times. Based on the other responses I think we are pretty typical.

Jerome Stanek
12-16-2013, 4:38 PM
My wife wanted one until she found out how much hut water it would take. One of her friends had one and told her that the water cools down really fast and she doesn't have a heater in hers.

Jay Jolliffe
12-16-2013, 4:47 PM
To bad you weren't a little closer. I have a new never used or installed 2 person one for sale.... Kohler brand....

Ted Calver
12-16-2013, 6:36 PM
We've used ours three times in eight years. The thing is terribly noisy. What a waste of space and money. Tearing it out and replacing with a nice big two person accessible shower is in the plans.

Mark Bolton
12-16-2013, 7:44 PM
In my opinion, if it's your only shower/tub in your bath, i.e. your showering in a deep tub with a curtain, the design was flawed from the get go. A jetted tub is typically in a bath with an ample shower for daily use (unless your the queen mother). I could see a jetted tub being a nice treat in an ample bath with a large shower even if only used a handful of times a year. It seems though they are often used even less than that.

I could see myself using one for a sore back or a long day of outside work in cold weather. But I tend to rinse in the shower before I tub (because I'm usually filthy) and then also after, because I simply can't see stewing in a brew of your own filth as getting "clean".

My gut feeling is today's hectic lives prevent most from relaxing enough to take advantage of such luxuries. EDIT: which is sad

Jeff Heil
12-16-2013, 9:09 PM
We built a new home earlier this year. We put a large stand up shower in the master bath and a separate large soaking tub. Didn't use go with the jetted tub, just a large soaking tub that is 6' long and wider and deeper than normal. Additional costs besides the larger hot water supply lines included the tile work around the tub, the larger 75 gallon hot water heater and the wood paneled front built to match the cherry cabinetry in the bath. We have used it more than I really thought we would, the kids loved the deep tub when they were in it to take a bath. My wife takes a bath and reads in the tub regularly and it is the first tub I have owned that I fit comfortably in (I'm 6-2, 250). I think the soaking tub was a good compromise in cost/use. That said, I agree with Mark and I wouldn't put a tub like that in without a separate shower as it is really deep to step in/out of. Not a replacement for a 6-8 person hot tub outdoors in my view.

Ken Platt
12-16-2013, 9:52 PM
Count us as another home with one of these that gets used maybe 1 time a year. And my wife loves the hot tub at the Y, but ours just ends up being a kind of noisy annoying bath. And, of course, if you don't use it much, the guink that comes out when you turn it on is pretty unappealing. It was here when we bought the place; I'd never put one in if I had to make the decision.


Brian Elfert
12-16-2013, 10:15 PM
I'm looking at building a new house in 2014 that will be quite a bit smaller (and less expensive) than my current house. I won't spend the extra money for a whirlpool tub this time. Unsure if I will do a separate tub and shower this time. (I have a very nice fairly new house now and might just stay, but my housing costs are higher than I would like.)

Roger Feeley
12-16-2013, 10:30 PM
We use our jetted tub fairly often. It does use a lot of hot water and that used to be a pain because it took two cycles of the HW heater. We solved that by putting in a tankless HW heater.

The tub is also our shower. I don't know that I would combine the two functions again. The repeated wetting can cause a lot of mildew and mold to build up on the intakes and jets. I fill it every couple of months and toss in some dishwashing soap. I run that for about a half hour and that seems to help.

The other issue I had when I put this in was the shower curtain rod. We took out a contractor grade tub and small shower. We had an 8' space to fill. The tub is 6' (big enough for...ahem...two) and then we put in a sort of tiled counter to fill the space with a cubby for towels. I had to figure out how to hang a shower curtain across an 8' gap. Such a thing doesn't exist that I could find. My solution was aircraft control cable. This is wire rope that doesn't stretch. I machined two disks of aluminum and screwed them to the walls. They have been there almost 10 years and the cable hasn't stretched. I used SS carabiners over the cable to hook to the curtain.

Our tub has no heater but it is heavily insulated underneath with urethane. There has been no problem keeping the water warm.

The pump is a bit noisy. We were never told to avoid bubbles and I can tell you that adding a little bubble stuff cuts the noise to about a third.

My next house will have the master bath on the main floor and will have an unfinished basement (shop). If I were to put in another jetted tub, I would move the pump to the basement. I would also put in some sort of valve system to completely drain the system.

Steve Peterson
12-17-2013, 11:02 AM
We've used ours three times in eight years. The thing is terribly noisy. What a waste of space and money. Tearing it out and replacing with a nice big two person accessible shower is in the plans.

I agree. A large shower with 2 shower heads is a much better use of bathroom space.


Bob Vavricka
12-17-2013, 1:29 PM
The jetted tub in our house gets used every night by my wife who prefers it to a shower. We have had two, the current one is a Sanijet brand that does not use any piping to circulate the water. Instead it has individual motors mounted at each jet location with a propeller of sorts that circulates the water from behind a cover. It is supposed to be much more sanitary since you don't have water staying in the pipes and can be cleaned easily. I have mine installed without any outside access to the inside of the tub because you can replace a motor from inside the tub if needed and I have done it so I know it works. The tub fits in a standard tub space although they make larger sizes. It was a trick to install it in a 5 foot wide bathroom. It is fairly quiet for a jetted tub, the motors circulating the water are similar to the motor used on a ceiling fan. It is taller than a regular tub, but my wife really likes it and what else matters.

Bill Cunningham
12-17-2013, 9:03 PM
We have a victorian style bathroom I| wanted a jet tub, I offered my wife the best one I could find, 4 speeds (low. med, high, & who needs a man) she turned me down and had me install a clawfoot tub to match the rest of the decor. I also installed a separate angled shower unit. Now, everyone showers, and the tub been sitting unused for more than a year.. I just run water in it once in a while to fill the water trap and keep it sealed.

Ed Aumiller
12-18-2013, 6:59 AM
Put in jetted tub over 30 years ago... rarely used.. replaced it about 12 years ago with a better one that wife wanted.. It only gets used once or twice a year, mainly when I overwork my back...
I will probably be removing it in future & putting in a standard tub/shower...
When grandkids were smaller, they enjoyed it... one still does occasionally..

We bought a jetted tub that will fit a 60" space... intend to install it where our upstairs tub/shower is when remove the 2 person tub in master...

Never had a problem with residue, etc as all pipes drain completely....

Unless you are truly convinced it will get used, not worth it in my eyes..

Greg Portland
12-19-2013, 1:57 PM
Most people want a jetted tub and then over time rarely use it.+2. IMO, get an outdoor spa if you want to sooth sore muscles. Be careful, the spa market is worse than buying a used car. Educate yourself!

Matt Meiser
12-19-2013, 2:29 PM
That's what we did...then after 6-7 years really weren't using it much at all and my wife got sick of taking care of it. We drained it for the winter and refilled in the spring...still didn't use it so we sold it.

Ruperto Mendiones
12-19-2013, 2:59 PM
re jetted tubs AND hot-tubs. Unless there are children/grandchildren to consider, it is cheaper by far to check into a hotel suite with one. Besides you don't have to clean it.

Mark Patoka
12-20-2013, 8:50 AM
The master bath in the house we bought had a large soaking or garden tub and a smaller shower. When we renovated the bathroom last year we tore out the tub and put in a larger shower with two heads. We rarely used the tub and it took up half the bathroom. Now we have room for a hamper and make-up vanity. We still have a regular tub in the 2nd bathroom so if we need to soak we still can. I think you're seeing a theme here, most of those tubs rarely get used.