Midland Bathroom Distributors Ltd
Useful Information About Whirlpools and Spa Baths
The HydroMassage Experience
If you're considering buying a whirlpool, you've probably already visualized yourself taking a tranquil soak or enjoying the revitalizing effects of a brisk water massage. The first step in selecting which system is deciding which type of water experience is right for you.
The Difference between a Whirlpool a Spa and a Jacuzzi bath
Whirlpools are the most common, they are made by adding venturi jets to the side of the bath, and these jets feed a mixture of water and air into the bath, to create a water massage (also known as HydroMassage) effect. A suction point lower down the side of the bath completes the circuit. The pump (which is mounted to the bottom of the bath) draws water and passes it through a manifold. Air can then be added via the “air” control and into the second manifold, enabling a range of gentle to vigorous massage be achieved.
Spa baths use a blower instead of a pump, and air is blown through jets on the base of the bath creating a massaging turbulence throughout the bath. The air jets are fitted along the bottom of the bath and these can vary from 12 jets, to 24 jets, depending on the base area of the bath and personal preferences.
A pneumatic switch (which is essentially like a bellows) sends a burst of air to control the switching of the bath.
A Jacuzzi bath is a very famous brand/trade-name.
Choosing between a Whirlpool or a Spa Bath
Whirlpool baths can give a greater level of control over spa baths, as the adjustable water massage jets are directional, and can be individually targeted to specific areas of the body, and the air/water mix can be varied to suit the user, A system of back jets that simulate a spa massage which loosens tension on the back and shoulders and encourages deep breathing, can be added. In addition jets for the feet area can also be added.
Spa baths use air to blow through the jets on the base of the bath to create a soft cascade of champagne like bubbles which creates a massaging turbulence throughout the bath. An in-line heater is included with the blower unit, and a three speed setting can also be specified. If an electronic keypad with wave function is specified an underwater light is automatically included.
Both systems are available with electronic keypads for a sleeker look and a computerised control programme that offers a wave function, and feature variable power settings.
Final choice is down to personal preference but most people (90% approx) will opt for a whirlpool bath, but increasingly some people choose the best of both worlds and combine both systems.
Types of baths required for Whirlpool or Spa Bath fitting
Whirlpools and Spa’s can be fitted to almost any bath we supply, and as the system is fitted within the confinements of the bath a normal panel, once fitted means that no extra space is taken up.
Jets & Nozzle Variations
Whirlpool jets are normally positioned on both sides of the bath half way up. A basic configuration would be 6 jets with three on each side, but there are many variations, and four back jets and two foot jets can be added at the ends of the bath, When four back jets are fitted they are positioned to spread out the water massage over an area of the back and are not concentrated in one area, as we do not recommend having too much water massage concentrated on one part of the spine. There is also a further option of 12 and 16 micro jets that can be fitted, with an equal number being fitted to each side of the bath. And again back and foot jets can be added to this.
Spa baths can have either 12, 18 or 24 air jets fitted to the bottom of the bath, and are available in a White or Chrome finish.
As a further choice we can supply a dual system which will combine the benefits of both the whirlpool and spa systems in one bath.
A whirlpool or spa bath is both relaxing and enjoyable, the massaging action of the water can be varied, and any benefits should be looked at with this in mind. People with high blood pressure and other medical problems are advised to seek medical advice before using a hot water whirlpool or spa bath.
Used properly however a whirlpool or spa bath can be a source of fun and relaxation, which in turn can help to ease away aches and pains.
Pump protection in the form of a timer can be added to the whirlpool system, to protect the motor if it is left to run with an empty bath.
There is a choice of underwater lights positioned inside the bath to illuminate the water, providing colour to enhance your mood. These come as sealed units and are especially designed for whirlpool and spa baths. These come with 7 different coloured lens covers that can be changed as required.
Chromo-therapy lights have the ability to change colours via the control pad.
Both types of underwater lights are of the LED type and can be run safely with no heat build up with an empty bath.
In-line water heaters are included with all spa systems, to add additional heat to the air that is blown through the bottom of the bath.
They are not required on standard whirlpools, as the water which is already warm is pushed around the bath and this does not have any significant cooling effect.
A whirlpool bath recirculates the water around the bath so for cleaning all that is required is to add a special whirlpool cleaner to a bath full of water and let it circulate through the whole system.
A Spa-bath blows air through the bottom of the bath, so for cleaning you simply fill the bath with water and add the sterilising solution and leave it to soak into the air jets at the bottom of the bath.
Cleaners are available here.
Aromatherapy Oils & Bubble Bath
Aromatherapy oils work particularly well with whirlpool and spa baths as the water turbulence ensures an even distribution, and so releases the true potential of the oils to work on your body and mind. Bubble bath solutions need to be of the low foaming type, as normal bubble bath if used will foam excessively, and will easily overspill the top of the bath (you may also get lost in all that foam).
Positioning of the Controls
As with the jets, the controls can be positioned almost anywhere on the top of the bath where there is enough space for them to physically be fitted. This can be especially useful for people who may have trouble reaching controls placed behind them. The controls are splash proof, but they must not be fitted directly under a shower. The positioning of the controls can be specified when ordering the bath.
Extra Plumbing Work Required
A whirlpool bath is supplied as a complete unit so the plumber will fit the bath in the same way as a normal bath and no extra plumbing work is required.
After fitting the bath, it is relatively easy for a qualified electrician to make the electrical connection.
The fitting of an RCCB is also required.
Pumps & Running Costs
The pump for most whirlpools is rated at ¾ horsepower and constant running power consumption is less than 4amps (but this will be higher on initial start-up, when the pump first starts to move the water around the system).
Larger pumps of 1¼ horsepower are also available. Physical size of the pumps is about 15 inch long and 10 inch tall.
The pump is supplied pre-wired to the pneumatic switch box. All that is required is a 13amp twin & earth supply. The fitting of an RCCB is essential.
Very little maintenance is required if the whirlpool or spa bath is used regularly, as the only working parts are the pump, motor and pneumatic switch.
The pump and motor both have high temperature seals which are designed to allow them to run continuously over long periods of time, and as whirlpools are run for relatively short periods, they should give many years of good service.
However they should not be allowed to run dry on an empty bath.
Regular cleaning of the inside of the system is essential however, to remove soap residue, and special cleaners are available for this purpose. Cleaners are available here.
Existing Bath Conversions
Our whirlpool systems are factory built and are manufactured on a workbench table, and tested, and so unfortunately cannot be built on site whilst the bath is in position.
All whirlpool baths supplied by us carry a peace of mind standard a three year manufacturer’s guarantee. A unique serial number is marked on the bath, and included is a set of user instructons and these documents also contain the whirlpool serial number which identifies the bath, the date of manufacture, specification and contact details.