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What Are the Differences Between Whirlpool, Air Baths and Soaking Tubs?

Generally, tubs fall into one of three categories: air baths, whirlpool tubs and soaking tubs. You can get air and whirlpool combined on many tub models.

Soaking tubs are the simplest bathtub as they have no air or jet features. This can be a common bath tub, claw foot tub or other configuration, but there is no water or air movement.

A Barclay claw foot tub

Air baths are more gentle and soothing than traditional whirlpool baths (sometimes called jetted tubs). Air baths create a champagne effect as heated air bubbles are forced from the bottom of the tub. Air baths are usually quieter, since they pump heated air, only.  The channels stay dry and are less prone to produce the growth of microbes.

Typical floor placement of air jets

The tub at right shows a typical tub with it's faucet, called a Roman tub filler. Roman tub fillers are similar to the sink faucet, but are larger and have much greater capacity to fill a tub quickly. Some fillers have hand showers in addition to the spout and valves. Some tubs feature a built-in filler spout which many times doubles as a waterfall during operation. We feature whirlpool and air baths tubs by Americh, Aquatic and Acryline.

A tub dropped into a deck showing the action of the typical air or whirlpool bath.

Whirlpool tubs, improperly referred to occasionally as "Jacuzzi", a brand name, are jetted systems that shoot water mixed with air, at high pressure, from the sides of the tub. Whirlpool tubs are generally more vigorous than air baths. Many whirlpools have special back jets that can simulate a massage. Because droplets of water, along with body oils, can linger in the piping after use, over time, microbes can grow. Proper care is essential.


Typical whirlpool jet.

Cleaning a whirlpool bath is not difficult. The unit should be run for about 15 minutes with a special cleaner periodically to kill bacteria and fungus. These solutions usually contain chlorine beach and detergent. If your manufacturer doesn't have a dedicated cleaner, a cup of Clorox with liquid automatic dishwashing detergent will do. Never mix bleach with ammonia. Always consult the manufacturer's care guide for your tub's recommended procedure.Keeping the pipes on the underside of your whirlpool sanitary is necessary, but easy.


 

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