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A Comprehensive Guide to Whirlpool Baths
Whirlpool Bath Info
A luxury item found only in the best bathrooms across the United Kingdom, the whirlpool bath is one of the most pleasurable and most cherished bathroom appliances in the country. Also known in some places as a hot tub or Jacuzzi, the whirlpool bath is a regular bathtub fitted out with jets that circulate streams of hot water within the tub.
Many whirlpool baths are made specifically for therapeutic purposes and the health advantages are many. An increasing number of these playfully healthy therapeutic toys, however, are being installed in private homes simply for the sheer fun of the experience. And there is no denying that whirlpool baths are a world of swirling fun.
Depending on your budget, whirlpool baths can come as basic or as luxuriously intricate as you can afford. Whether you need that polished, futuristic look to your modern bathroom or the breezier, softer tones of a subdued comfort zone, whirlpool baths come made from many different materials including steel and extra durable acrylic. You may not mind taking your whirlpool bath apart every once in a while to scrupulously clean the embedded pipes and other hidden parts, or you may appreciate an integrated disinfection system that can take care of all that for you and allow you to never have to worry about it. In every case, there is a whirlpool bath for you.
Certain whirlpool baths offer combinations of the whirlpool technology with other therapeutic or just plain fun effects. There are air spa whirlpool baths that shoot out jets of air as well as water. There are chromatherapy whirlpool baths that feature slowly changing underwater coloured lighting display effects. There are ozone generating whirlpool baths, hydropools and hydrospas, which are two relatively evolved forms of the same thing, jetted hydrotherapy baths, and many more. Whether fun or remedial, what all of these baths have in common is that they all use special nozzles to pump streams of water through the tub to create a full body effect that is both soothing and massaging for the entire person.
The ancient Romans were famous for their use of baths that featured rapidly circulating water to both relax their stressed upper class citizens and revitalise their fatigued upper class citizens. The famous Roman baths relied on natural means to both heat and circulate their water systems and were some of the earliest ancestors of the modern whirlpool bath. These baths were are also an important feature of the Roman social structure as they allowed nobles and senators to associate with each other in their down time and develop strong bonds and alliances in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Today, many whirlpool baths are private and individual affairs enjoyed alone or with a friend from the comfort of one’s home. Even though the whirlpool bath has lost much of the original social spice given to it by the Romans, it has still managed to retain all of the original fun and therapeutic effects and has maybe even gotten better with time.
The idea of a domestic whirlpool bath was developed in California in the early 1900s by a group of Italian brothers who were known at the time for manufacturing aircraft and agricultural pumps. Due to the combination of the death of one of the brothers in an aircraft accident and the development of rheumatoid arthritis in one of the children of another brother, these innovative men turned their attention toward developing personal submersible bathtub pumps. Although the original idea was simply to attempt to sooth the suffering of the young boy’s chronic pain, these water-based therapeutic aids turned out to be a hit in the celebrity market and began receiving rave reviews from famous personalities across the United States.
Soon the brothers incorporated the submersible pump and the tub into a single unit and called it the Jacuzzi, after their own last name. These first Jacuzzi units quickly became icons of the luxurious Hollywood lifestyle and were soon being ordered and delivered around the country and then around the world.
The Jacuzzi brothers kept on steadily improving their design until, by the late 1970s, the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath featured an internal heating system to make sure the water stayed warm and an internal filtration system to make sure it stayed clean and fresh. They also began marketing what they called spa units — larger versions of the original Jacuzzi design, geared toward more commercial and public use. Soon other companies around the world began offering their own takes on the jet stream bath concept, which had originated in California with the Jacuzzi brothers, and the modern whirlpool bath was born.
For the most part, whirlpool baths are made from either of two basic materials, steel or acrylic, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Acrylic whirlpool baths generally feel warmer than cold steel to the touch and, therefore, allow the water to warm up faster and retain its warmth for longer. Acrylic whirlpool baths can also be made in more exotic and intriguing shapes than the ones their steel counterparts allow for, giving them a more adaptable and decorative reputation.
Steel whirlpool baths, on the other hand, are the more robust of the two. Their surface is very sturdy and strong, due to the tough makeup of the metal from which they are made, and they can take a lot of roughhousing and strenuous use. They are beautiful in their own right and fit much better than acrylic into many different types of bathrooms.
Most whirlpool baths have various settings for the jet stream action they are famous for. The lowest or relaxation setting is a soft, bubbly ripple designed to sooth the nerves and bring peace to not only the body but also the mind and soul. In this setting, the water flows gently across the skin and calmly hypnotises the nerves and senses. In the slightly more robust massage setting, the water provides a steady pulsating action much like a firm, kneading massage. This setting is designed to relieve sore muscles, knots, and aches with a water pressure that is a little more forceful yet still uniform. The massage setting can typically be enjoyed for great periods in many different positions.
The strongest setting is best enjoyed for brief, power periods and is designed for a thorough rejuvenation of the body. The jets of water churn the surface of the skin, drawing energy and life from within and bringing forth a general feeling of vigour and liveliness. This invigorative setting can pep up the most fatigued soul and help him tap into reserves of energy and longevity that he never before knew existed within him. Each of these settings has its own health benefits and can be used to produce very different and almost opposing yet equally satisfying effects on the body.
Some whirlpool baths feature an air spa option. The air spa action is a form of very light massage produced by combining jets of air with jets of water from the whirlpool bath. This is often enjoyed best by children or the elderly but may also bring light health benefits to the infirm.
Things to Look for
The most important things to look for when purchasing a whirlpool bath have to with the maintenance, durability, accessibility, and safety of the bath. Each of these factors plays its part and, although there may be a bit of give and take between them, in general, a good whirlpool bath will have stellar marks in all four areas.
In the maintenance arena, make sure your whirlpool bath will be easy enough to clean and service. If there are hidden jet spouts or pipes, it is often best that these are self-draining to avoid a lot of extra hassle. If there is an automatic cleaning and disinfection system in your whirlpool bath, make sure the necessary cleaning chemicals affordable and available in your area.
As far as durability goes, your whirlpool bath should be manufactured and marketed by a respectable company with a good reputation and it should come with some kind of warranty service. Make sure that the company’s customer service branch is efficient and helpful just in case a servicing emergency should arise, and find out beforehand if there are any specific conditions in your warranty that you should be aware of so that you don’t accidentally void it.
Make sure all the controls are in top working condition, easy to use, and suitable to your style. Some customers prefer electronic reins for their whirlpool systems and some drool over manual controls. Either is easy to obtain. Sometimes the taps and fittings for your whirlpool bath need to be purchased separately and, if so, make sure that this fits into your budget. If you like full control over both the direction and force of your jet stream, make sure that the jets are fully and easily controllable.
Last and by no means least, make sure your whirlpool bath has all the appropriate safety features. If the water inlet gets blocked, your whirlpool bath should have an automatic shutdown feature to help avoid personal injury. There should be a system in place to make sure that your whirlpool bath does not run if it is empty of water, and there should be an RCD cut out device to avoid electrical shorts. You may need a timer or some kind of built-in alarm if you plan to take naps in the water, and most users generally appreciate a temperature gauge of some type so they can make sure that the water is not to hot before stepping in.
Keeping your whirlpool bath clean is an important part of owning one of these. No one wants to bathe in a dirty bathtub. Here are a few tips to help you keep your whirlpool clean and shiny both inside and out.
To start the cleaning process, fill the basin of your tub to the brim with warm or hot water and make sure the air induction control is switched off. Once the tub is full of still water, throw in half a cup of bleach and a couple tablespoons of regular dishwashing liquid. Step back as far as possible to make sure no bleach gets on your clothes and turn the jets onto a medium setting. Allow them to run interrupted for about fifteen minutes before draining the water.
Once the first part of the cleaning process is complete, fill your whirlpool bath once again with water, this time making it ice cold. This is the rinsing section of the process so withhold the soap. Allow the jets to once again run at a medium speed for another fifteen minutes or so. If you like, you may repeat this rinse one more time just to make sure.
Now that you have successfully cleaned out the inside of the jets and their corresponding pipes, it’s time to clean the tub itself. This can’t be done by simply filling it with water — you’ll have to get in there and scrub. Use a strong detergent that is also tub-friendly, and make sure not to leave it on any surface for longer than the directions on the bottle suggest. Before using any form of detergent on the tub, test it out on a small, barely noticeable section of the surface, allowing it to sit for a short while to make sure there are no adverse effects. Use a toothbrush to get into the cracks and make sure that no spot is left unattended.
Once you are thoroughly satisfied with your scrubbing efforts, rinse out the tub with a good dose of cold water. You may be tempted to take a relaxing bath after all this hard work but it’s best to let the tub sit for at least two hours after a cleaning to make sure all the chemicals have dissipated.