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Why whirlpool tubs are for suckers

The 'proud' owner of one explains how the cons far outweigh the pros of having one of these energy-sucking water hogs in your master bathroom.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 3, 2012 10:10AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com on MSN MoneyOnce again, I thought I'd pass on a little advice and save a serious case of buyer's remorse for the six people left in America who are still looking to buy a home.


No, no. I'm not going to tell you why corner lots are for suckers again. This time, I have some advice for those of you who may be thinking about putting a jacuzzi-style jetted whirlpool tub in their master bathroom. Don't do it.


Trust me, I'm the "proud" owner of one, and the cons far outweigh the pros. In fact, here are a whole gaggle of reasons why jetted whirlpool tubs just aren't worth it: Post continues below.

  1. They're expensive. Good luck trying to find a decent one for less than $1,500. And that's before adding in the costs required to have someone install it, assuming you aren't the do-it-yourself type. Then again, even if you are …
  2. The manufacturers recommend you don't install them yourself. For obvious reasons. Most people are simply better off getting a licensed general contractor, electrician or 24-hour plumber who knows what they're doing.
  3. They're not romantic. Yeah, yeah. On first blush the seductive thought of relaxing in a deep tub of warm water with your significant other, surrounded by lots of candles and rose petals, seems extremely romantic. It's not. One big reason why is because . . .
  4. They're noisy. Not only is the sound of the running motor and pump a mood killer for those looking for a little romance, it also works against those simply looking for a little relaxation after a long hectic day.
  5. Bubble baths and whirlpool tubs don't mix. If you aren't very careful, the water jets tend to cause a foaming issue, which can result in a bubble bath on overdrive. Besides . . .
  6. They take too long to fill. That's because they're so deep, which also means whirlpool tubs require a lot of water. So much so that . . .
  7. They tend to completely drain traditional hot water tanks. Larger whirlpool tubs can use between 50 and 80 gallons of hot water, which is bad news for the other people living in the house who may need hot water for other reasons while you're busy getting squeaky clean.
  8. Before you know it, you're sitting in a tub full of cold water. Well, unless your tub has a built-in heater. Then again, if it does, that heater, coupled with the whirlpool tub's pump motor, ends up leading to . . .
  9. Higher energy costs. Yep. Depending on the tub model, how often you use it, and the price of electricity, you could spend up to $40 per month or more over a traditional soaker tub.
  10. Ventilation concerns. The larger amount of heat and moisture that is generated by whirlpool tubs can become a problem if the bathroom has inadequate ventilation.
  11. Higher maintenance costs. It's true. You'll be paying for those motors, pumps and other electronic and mechanical parts that fail beyond the manufacturer's warranty period.
  12. They're prone to algae growth. Algae is a common problem with a whirlpool tub because, even after you've drained it, water tends to sit in its internal network of pipes, nozzles and jets, thereby allowing it to grow. As a result ...
  13. They require frequent cleaning. At least twice per month, I'm told -- unless you're the type who likes seeing bits of black and green algae floating in your bath water.
  14. Washing your hair or shaving in them isn't wise. At least it isn't if you plan on using the jets. That will only make cleaning even tougher than it normally is.
  15. You'll hardly ever use it anyway. And if you have to ask why, go back to the top of this list and try reading a little more slowly.
  16. They don't add anything to your home's resale value. I don't care what your real-estate agent tells you. For most people looking to buy a home, a whirlpool tub is not very high on their list of "must haves." And for good reason.

More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Feb 4, 2012 12:50AM
 A few years ago when I re-built, I took my chance to design my bath around a small whirlpool; I have never regretted it.  I did have to install a new large high efficiency hot water heater but that year I got a state tax rebate AND rate adjustment from my electric co-op.  It must be cheaper to run, because even before the tub was installed, there was no difference in my electric bill than from when I'd been using the the smaller one.  Also, due to recovery from a  recent injury, I'd not been able to get into a tub for several months, & again there was no difference in my electric bill.  But even if there was, the deep heat & massage is worth it.  I didn't get it as a "selling point", I got it for me.  I LOVE my small Jacuzzi!
Apr 17, 2012 7:02PM
this guy is a moron...... or maybe just a boring cheap-skate, granted I do my own elcetrical, mechanical, plumbing, and carpentry, and other finishes (trades all my life) ...look into minimum ventilation requirements in the IMC and you'll find it is easy to exceed code minimums, and necessary minimums, 230cfm exhaust fan, no biggie, factory installed heaters are common without adding huge cost to tub, so no cold water, install a 65 gallon water heater while replacing DOA water heater anyway and plenty to fill, a little bleach in the system for even the lazy people rids green yuk, 3-minutes effort to clean immediately after use, no biggie, $1,500.00 tub during a total master bath remodel, no biggie, the physical and metal therapy and pleasure of using your own spa in the privacy of your own home, PRICELESS......
Feb 3, 2012 3:37PM
And one big pro reason that trumps the 16 listed cons... the wife wanted it badly.  Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet!  Smile
Feb 3, 2012 6:41PM
I understand all the points, but I still want one - and it's not because I'm uninformed.  I had one of these for 2 years, in a house I used to own.  That was 7 years ago, and I've missed it ever since.  I didn't mind cleaning it - I did it at least once a week, often twice.  To me, it was worth every penny of the energy bills.  I suffer from clinical anxiety and a great deal of accompanying muscle tension, and nothing beat the whirlpool for getting rid of the worst symptoms.  Not to mention how great it was on a sore back.  The noise wasn't bad, and though I love bubble baths too, I was fine refraining from them in this tub.  We had 2 bathrooms in that house, and I just used the upstairs one if I wanted bubbles.  Now I live in NYC, in a winterized fishing cottage, and I dream of someday adding a whirlpool to my bathroom.  Sigh.
Jun 30, 2013 10:59PM
Then you've bought the wrong one. I own a watertech jetted tub. In 10 yrs it outlasted my appliances. No problems, I clean the tub only. No reason to clean anything else. I use it at least once a week. We have a tankless hwh - so no problems there.  In a high end home, a jetted tub is expected.  Bad advice throughout the whole list. Do your homework instead.
Feb 4, 2012 1:57AM
I love my Jacuzzi tub and have not seen a difference in my electrical bill if I do not use it.
Mar 31, 2013 6:19PM

Hmm, naked in a jetted tub with the one you love isn't romantic because you can't afford the water?  You can't wait to fill the tub?  Well maybe you can use the sand box, it's cheap, doesn't run empty and you can bring your Tonka toy.


I for one, will light some candles, put on some nice music, jump in the tub, a nice long romantic bath with plenty of nice conversation about us.


On cleaning jetted tubs.  There is new understanding of biofilm, which is what is in jetted bathtubs plumbing lines, and how to properly and effectively clean the tubs.  The University Of Bozeman’s Center For Biofilm Engineering’s has studies showing how cleaning chemicals like detergents and bleach (sodium hypochlorite) can’t penetrate and remove the biofilm.  Biofilm is like an armor coating, it only lets in what it wants let in. Bleach and detergents are on the do not enter list. It takes specialized cleaners like the ones the lodging industry uses like Scientific Biofilm Solutions Oh Yuk Jetted Tub Cleaner to effectively clean the tubs plumbing lines making the tub safe and clean.

Jetted tubs are like swimming pools, they are very safe and clean when cared for properly.



Jul 12, 2013 6:06PM
Bought a house that had been vacant many years.  Takes exactly six minutes to fill.  Plenty of hot water left.  Electric bill isn't exorbitant so far as I can tell. Took a little bit of blue stuff in a jar, to clean out the algae, used some every other day for about two weeks.  It's not a problem now because I use this tub four or five times a week -- it's a godsend -- wonderful place for a quick nap, too, if you don't have a romantic partner trying to get in with you.  Romantic?  Invite them and they will join you.  Couple of years now and it hasn't failed me yet.  If I want bubble bath I just use it, judiciously because yes you can get too much otherwise.  And ya, if I'm going to wash my hair or have tons of sunscreen or some such on me I'll jump in the shower first, it's not far away.
Apr 18, 2013 5:43PM
this seems like a personal preference so you dont like [the writer] maybe someone else will thats what makes this world such a beautiful place different people different minds i respect your opinion well respect mine i want a whirlpool tub ...what
Feb 3, 2013 5:24PM
hmmmmmmmmhhhhh ------------ Sounds like someone installed a whirlpoool tub before considering everything about them.

Jun 28, 2014 11:10PM
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