Jacuzzi-style bathtubs, also referred to as whirlpools, are a must have in any luxury bathroom remodel, but many people only factor in the additional price. They are often incorrectly assumed to offer many benefits while requiring no additional thought or maintenance than a standard tub. If the massaging jets in warm water are too much to resist, make sure to take a look at all of the pros on cons.
The cost is the most obvious drawback, starting at about $1500 for a quality tub. The prices do fall in a greater range, however, with basic models starting at around $250 and topping $4000 outside of custom designs. Additionally, most manufacturers do not recommend installation by the purchaser unless they are a trained professional. For remodeling projects, it is suggested that ten percent of the budget be set aside for the licensed general contractor, electrician or plumber.
After the initial purchase, there may be a slight uptake in utility use as well. Jacuzzi-style tubs are often larger and take more water to fill. If the tub comes with a built in heater, this, along with the jets, could bump utility cost up by $40 a month, depending on the frequency of use. And while there is generally a period that the system is covered under warranty, parts may eventually require replacement at additional cost.
It is also arguable on if the installation of a jacuzzi-style tub is actually an investment in the resale value of the home. It is not always a selling point for buyers so if the bath is the only part of the room receiving the update, it is likely it will not do much for the value.
Jacuzzi-style bathtubs do have some positive health trade-offs. The combination of warm water, weightlessness and massaging from the jets can significantly reduce both mental and physical stress. In particular, people suffering from skeletal ailments, such as tendinitis and arthritis, benefit from the increased blood circulation and muscle relaxation from the heat and see reduced inflammation. The warmth also help to reduce stress and prepare the body for sleep. This provides a more restful evening and generally helps improve overall mood and health.
Additionally, recent studies have begun to show that blood sugar may be positively effected by their use. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, subjects with type 2 diabetes spent half an hour submerged to the shoulder in the tub six days a week. By the end of three weeks, an average drop of blood glucose levels from 189 mg/dl to 159 mg/dl was found. This is explained by the hot temperatures stimulating some of the effects of physical exercise, which has been proven to be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The Romance Angle
Jacuzzi-style tubs are often thought to be luxurious and romantic. While this is definitely an opinion-based factor, there are a few points forgotten while daydreaming of candles and roses. The most important being the jets.
While they are definitely a benefit to your health, the massaging jets can be a mood killer as they tend to run loud. Additionally, while they are in use, it is best to avoid bubbles as they can grow out of hand with all the turbulence in the water. Any other foreign objects, like rose petals and oils, can potentially put the system at risk as well. In this circumstance, it might be best to invest in just a large garden tub.
Jacuzzi-style bathtubs require maintenance well beyond a standard tub. Major manufacturers suggest a full cleaning at least once a month, though most suggest twice. Even if the tub has drained, water may sit in the pipes, nozzles and jets, so it is important to make sure these are cleaned to prevent algae, mold and bacteria from building up.
With some air type jet tubs, this can be prevented just by just running the jets after each use. However, running the jets without water in many other types can serious damage, so err on the side of caution if you are unsure.
The suggested cleaning process starts with ensuring there is no air induction with the jets. From there, the bath should be filled with warm water up to two inches above the highest jets. Water from a recent bath may be used as well. Two teaspoons of low-foaming powder automatic dishwashing detergent and 20 oz of bleach are then added to the water. The jets are then run for five to ten minutes before turning off the system and draining the water.
Promotes relaxation and reduces stress
Requires additional cleaning and maintenance
Adds to home value in a luxury bathroom setting
Expensive and requires professional installation
Health benefits for certain ailments
May increase utility cost
In short, when it comes time to decide, the biggest determining factor is cost and, therefore, how often it will be used. If the tub is used frequently to take advantage of for all of the benefits it offers, while still being properly maintained, then a jacuzzi-style bathtub can be well worth the investment. However, if the jets system is not utilized, it may be worth looking into a more standard bath. Other factors, like their large size, are often available with options like garden tub.