Jetted Tub/Shower Advice

Old 06-30-03, 12:53 PM
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Jetted Tub/Shower Advice

My wife and I are adding a master bedroom and bath to our home and are having difficulty in selecting a bathtub/shower. We're looking for a 5' jetted tub that can also be used as a shower (no handhelds please!). Most models that we've seen don't seem to double as a shower. Can you make a recommendation?

Also, we've noticed that jets come in two styles now--air and water. What are the pros/cons for each? Again, any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
Old 06-30-03, 03:57 PM
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As you mentioned, trying to get a combo unit to incorporate a shower is hard to find. Water will be left on top edge. Some good planning to add a shower would be in order if at all possible.

A whirlpool creates massage through powerful air and water jets in the bath sides which can be directed to wherever relief is most needed. The water is re-circulated around the bath by taking water out of the bath via the suction fitting and returning into the bath via the jets. The force is increased by allowing air into the system and this aerated stream of water gives the body a concentrated physical massage.

The water jets deliver a stronger blast through fewer, larger openings. Depending on the number of speeds in the motor, the sensations can range from a gentle nudge to the thumping of a jujitsu massage. The much smaller air jets deliver a gentler blast through many more openings; the more generalized sensations can range from the delicate touch of a thousand fingers to the rushing water of a mountain stream.

There are numerous manufacturers of the water-jetted tubs, but so far only two make the air-jetted type, Ultra and Americh. With Ultra’s Thermo-masseur, you can get anywhere from 34 to 70 air jets located around the lower walls of the tub, and as many as 64 variable speeds. The prices range from about $1,425 to $5,000. Ultra also makes a freestanding claw-footed whirlpool that sells for about $4,725. Americh’s air-jetted tubs have either 12 jets on the bottom of the tub which this is less effective because you will be sitting on the jets and blocking some of them, 20 jets along the side or both. Americh’s prices range from about $2,200 for a basic system to $6,200 for the "platinum" tub with a multi-speed pump, pillow, special trim, low water level sensor and mood lights, among other features.

Besides the wider range in pulsations from the jets, the motor for an air-jetted tub is less noisy, and you can add bath oils, bubble bath, sea salt or therapeutic herbs with abandon. If you use any of these things in a conventional wet-jetted system, you can damage or clog the system. And since no water is recirculated thru the air jet system, hair or small objects cannot get caught or sucked up into any of the openings.

But the main reason for the increasing popularity of the air-jetted tubs is that after the bath is over, no water residues will remain in the harnesses, the pipes behind the jets.

With conventional water jets, a small amount of water can remain in the harnesses after the tub is emptied and mold, bacteria and fungi can flourish there. If you use the spa infrequently, the mold and bacteria build-up may be readily apparent -- more than one unhappy homeowner has been surprised to find yucky black or brown stuff shooting out of the jets when they filled the tub and started the motor after not using it for several weeks or months.

Also note that a 5 ft self contained whirlpool is usually too small to really enjoy. The size doesn't allow for stretching out. There are those that have a motor than can be located elsewhere and piping needs to be done. Sometimes this restricts placement and overall function due to distance away from tub.

Hope all this helps!

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