Master Bath - 2 person tub / whirlpool ?

jannz77April 15, 2013

We are in the process of designing a new house. We do a lot of hiking / exercising and would like to have a tub of sorts to come home to relax/soak -- relieve sore muscles.

We've considered the outdoor hot tub however have heard from most who own them that they just don't get used often... just not convenient enough. So we are now looking into a 2 person INDOOR tub / whirlpool / air massage type tub.

We currently have an Ultrabain 1 person tub now... but it's loud - builder didn't know you could install the motor/blower outside which I assume would have made for a quieter experience where you could have a conversation at least ... AND the water gets cold after a 40min soak.

So the points I consider important are the noise level, the ability to keep the water hot, and also any bacteria issue... that I've been reading about from others.

Would appreciate any comments / suggestions / recommendations / links... on brands, models etc. to consider and also to NOT consider.

Many thanks!!

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raehelen

Well, we love our outdoor hot tub, and use it at least once a week, and when we've been working in the yard a lot and have sore muscles, then almost daily. I've actually heard more people say they never use their indoor whirlpool! LOL

Anyhow, keep in mind, water stays in your outdoor hot tub all the time, in an indoor one built for two, you have to fill it with each use. That can be a lot of water, will you be installing a tankless on demand hot water heater?

Ironically enough, I am planning to put a Bain Ultra tub in our next bath reno. They now have a new version/feature called Geysair that keeps the water warm, can't remember the exact technology, but it addresses the cooling down problem. Also, just to clarify, the motor can be installed away from the bathroom, but not outside...we'll be putting ours in the basement store room underneath the bath (but even then, don't know how much that will help...)

The bacteria issue is why I'm going with an air tub inside rather than a whirlpool. I don't want the maintenance issues of having to deal with jets.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:08PM
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jannz77

Thanks raehelen -- No, we're not installing the tankless water heaters. My husband researched and we've decided to go with tank water heaters and a 'circulating' system. (I think that's what it's called).

There's a couple of tubs I've identified so far... the Jason CC550 http://www.modernbathroom.com/showers-tubs/jason-cc550-tub__cc550.aspx

& an Bain Ultra -- http://www.bainultra.com/our-products/therapeutic-baths/tmu

...hoping someone has some feedback if they've researched or installed these models.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:12PM
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lee676

First thing I'll say is... yes, absolutely go for it! 2 person tubs are awesome. You get convenience, privacy, and all-weather usability that outdoor hot tubs usually don't offer. I really, really wanted one in my current new-addition bathroom and allotted a 6' x 3' space for a tub, but cost, time, and small water heater considerations resulted in settling for a 6' tub/shower designed for one, though two will fit in a pinch.

You do want to be sure there's enough hot water to fill the tub. You'll also need to think through whether you'll usually bathe together or only occasionally. If the latter, you'll be using alot more water than in a smaller tub, at least with the two tubs you linked to. Some tubs (like one) are cleverly shaped so one portion of the tub sized for one fills first, with a raised portion that can be filled only when needed for two. However if you usually will bathe together, than a tub with a more common full-width floor will be roomier and more comfortable. And though the total gallons of water needed to fill the tub on the specifications page can look scary, remember that two bodies will displace alot of that water, so you won't need as much water to fill the tub. And even if you still wind up using more water than a small 5' tub, you'll still likely save water by bathing together rather than two single baths or one bath + one shower would have used.

Some two-person tubs are shaped with backrests on both sides, so you sit on opposite ends. Others are designed to have you both facing the same direction. Some work well either way. I like some slope to the backrest(s) for comfort - more than the Jason tub you linked to has - but it's hard or impossible to tell how comfortable a tub is by looking at a picture. Not sure if you're also changing out the valves/controls, but a handshower is nice; if feasible, I like an overhead showerhead option as well.

I've had noise issues with some whirlpool and air tubs - I wish they all had rheostats so you could turn them down so you don't have to scream at each other to be heard over the roar of the jet motors. Ironically, most whirlpool tubs I've used would be better served by less force from the jets anyway. The noise issue is another reason I like the side-by-side configuration better than the facing-each-other setup.

Do you have a separate shower? And are you only considering (5 foot?) corner tubs? Also, I think the bacteria issue is overexaggerated - with proper maintenance, I've seen 20+ year old whirlpool tubs that still run clean.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 3:23AM
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jannz77

Thanks lee676 -- You're comments are really helpful.... especially about the 5' size...and I also want a reclining backrest. I need to see if there are bigger sizes than that and it sure would be nice to see different models in person.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:26AM
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mrspete

This is kind of an odd suggestion, but before you commit to this two-person tub, could you find a hotel that has one . . . and do a "try before you buy"?

The hotel where we stay when we visit our college daughter has two-person tubs, and -- although we enjoy using them occasionally -- we agree that they're not something we'd choose for our own house. They take forever to fill up, and the large amount of surface area means that the water chills off rather quickly. Admittedly, the tubs in this place are not only two-person, but super-sized two-person.

However, you might disagree with our assessment, which is why I suggest you look around for a place where you can "try before you buy".

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 5:47PM
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lee676

There are substantial differences in the flow rate of tub-filler valves - one with a high GPM (gallons per minute) rating will speed things up - and running 3/4" rather than 1/2" pipes right to the tub valve control helps further. I don't care for giant-sized tubs either, but just enough room for two works well in real life, as I noted upthread the water needs only to fill the remaining space. If you fill the tub only halfway beforehand, you'll be surprised how much the water level rises once two people are in it. That may not work as well with triangular corner tubs though - many of them have backrests/headrests on both sides of the diagonal section, but it seems the corner between them would usually be usused empty space, but still need to be filled with water. I've almost never used a corner tub though so am not familiar with them. I haven't noticed much difference in the cool-down rate of large vs. small tubs. Water in an unheated whirlpool or air tub seems to cool down faster than a plain tub of the same size though.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 1:15AM
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