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BATH & KITCHEN DESIGN GUIDE
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
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CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
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ENGINEERED WOOD Flooring
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RELIEF VALVES - Water Heaters
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Jetted tub & spas: this article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc.
We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets.
A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included.
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Our photo (left) illustrates a Japanese style bathing tub installed in a Minneapolis home. Traditional Japanese bathing (wash thoroughly before ever entering the soaking tub) also includes deep tub designs, often fed from a natural hot spring and sometimes installed in a cascade of several tubs of varying temperatures.
Material choices for jetted tubs and other oversized “soaking” tubs are the same as described above. However, with the added stress of higher water levels, multiple bathers, and the vibration of jets, the choice of material is more critical.
The most durable type of tub, enameled cast iron, has limited offerings and are very heavy so they are not often used. Acrylic is an excellent choice, as are some of the proprietary materials, such as Americast (American Standard), Vikrell (Sterling/Kohler), and Armacryl (Kallista/ Kohler). A tub with a nonslip surface is recommended for safety.
Jetted tubs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and depths and are designed for either a drop-in or niche installation with a tile flange. Typical rectangular or oval units range from 5 to 6 feet long, 32 to 45 inches wide, and 18 to 24 inches high, and many offer an optional skirt to finish the front and conceal the motor and plumbing. A drop-in requires a custom-built surround and requires more floor space (see Figure 6-52).
[Click any image or table to see an enlarged version with additional detail, commentary & source citation.]
Jetted tubs can be rather noisy. If this is a concern, look for a unit with flexible hoses connected to the pump, which helps reduce the vibration and noise transmitted to the tub. Some manufacturers also offer quieter jet mechanisms as an upgrade.
Some jetted tub fittings circulate air, some water, and some both, producing the most vigorous massage.
It is best to try out a system at a showroom if possible. Also pay attention to jet locations.
Jets high and on the sides will provide swirling water, while jets placed where bathers will sit and directed toward the back and other stress points will provide a more effective massage.
Some manufacturers will customize jet locations. Other options to consider are:
Look for a pump with automatic protection against burn-out if accidentally run dry.
Pumps range from 1/2 to 3 horsepower, and many manufacturers offer a horsepower upgrade for a modest price increase, often a worthwhile expense.
The pump comes with a cord and plug that requires a GFCI-protected receptacle.
Watch out: Since the receptacle is inaccessible, it should be either downstream of an accessible GFCI-receptacle or on a circuit with a GFCI breaker. Locate the receptacle where it does not block access to the pump.
To ensure safety, make sure that the unit purchased is UL-listed for the entire system, not just the individual components.
If the occupants expect to take long soaks in the tub, an accessory heater is advisable.
Energy-efficient models capture waste heat from the motor and pump to provide a modest degree of supplemental heat, while others use a conventional electrical heating element that can maintain the water temperature indefinitely.
where the volume of the tub exceeds the capacity
of the home’s water heater, some manufacturers offer
an instantaneous water heater that will heat the water as it
enters the tub.
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
Continue reading at SPAS, WHIRLPOOLS, INSTALLATION or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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