Walk-in tubs come as soaker models, air jet therapy models, or hydrotherapy jet (water jets.) models they also come with a combination of air and water jets.
Soakers are just like a regular tub that doesn’t have jets, you simply fill the tub to the desired depth and bathe.
Walk-in tubs with air jets are tubs equipped with a small electric motor that blows air drawing only about 3.6 amp. This blower delivers air through small air hoses to as many as 16 small jets placed throughout the tub. When the air passes through the jet it is broken up into smaller air streams creating smaller bubbles. This is called Air Jet Therapy or Hyrovescent Therapy. The air is released into the tub and agitates the water assisting in cleaning. It’s like being in a washing machine for the body and can lend a helping hand to a person who is mobility challenged and perhaps has difficulty reaching hard to get body parts. This blower motor is not a heater and contrary to what some companies will lead you to believe, it will not maintain water temperature but have the opposite effect. That being said, the benefits of air jets make them worth having. Air jets are also offered in combination with Hydrotherapy jets and in-line heaters.
Water jets or Hydrotherapy Jets, as they are referred to, take bathing to the next level! Powered by a whisper quiet electric water pump drawing about 8 to 9 amp, the bath water is drawn from the bottom of the tub, circulated through the water pump, then through a separate stainless steel in-Line Heater which draws about 13.5 amp maintaining bath water temperature. Some manufacturers try to make use of the little heat generated by the water pump for this purpose, but it’s not effective in maintaining bath water temperature.
A separate stainless steel in-line heater is the only way to maintain bath water temperature for as long as required! Heated water is directed out massage jets located in areas of the tub where they offer the most benefit, focusing on the lower back, legs and feet. Each jet’s water flow is adjustable from 0 – 100% flow and can be directed to pinpoint just the right spot. These jets also have an aerator (mixing air with the water) which gives a soothing relaxing sensation and helps increase circulation.
The health benefits of hydrotherapy are undisputed and is used regularly by physiotherapists. When a individual becomes less mobile, circulation becomes an issue. Being able to relax, stretch, and have your muscles massaged in a warm heated bath offers many health benefits...read more. Air jet therapy, sometimes referred to as hydrovescent therapy, was the first jet option offered on walk-in tubs, but today almost all manufactures have reinvested and retooled so they can they meet the growing demand for the optional hydrotherapy whirlpool water massage jets. Whirlpool baths have a long history having been on the market since the late 1950′s. They continue to be very popular and sold worldwide by leading bath and sanitary manufacturers, with excellent credentials. By following a simple maintenance schedule, hydrotherapy water jets are very easy to clean.…read more.
If a walk-in tub has electrical components, you will require GFI’s (ground fault interrupters) to be installed. If the tub only has a small blower motor used for air jet therapy (referred to as hydrovescent therapy) it can be plugged into a GFI receptacle, and because the blower motor doesn’t draw much power, this circuit can usually be borrowed from an existing circuit in the bathroom. If the tub has a water pump or in addition has a separate in-line heater, then one or two 15 amp GFI’s will need to be installed into your electrical panel. You’re not saving labor costs to install one GFI as opposed to installing two GFI’s because the time it takes to fish one or two lengths of wire to the electrical panel is the same. The additional costs would only be the second GFI and the wire. Most existing electrical panels will have room for a couple more breakers, but if they are all used up then a small sub panel will need to be installed for them.
Always consult and employ a licensed electrician when installing a jetted walk-in bathtub.