16 Reasons Why Whirlpool Tubs Are For Suckers

Once 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’ve got 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 reasons why jetted whirlpool tubs just aren’t worth it:

1. They’re expensive. Good luck trying to find a decent one for less than $1500. 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. The sound of the running motor and pump is not only 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 too.

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 extremely 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 that 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 slower.

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.

Actually, make that 16 reasons.

Photo Credit: Suppa

Comments

  1. 1

    tracee says

    I agree!!! My parents put one in when they built their house 12 years ago. I don’t think it has been used in the last 6.

  2. 3

    says

    You forgot high water bills. Each bath would probably cost close to a dollar in water and sewage charges, on top of the charges to reheat the water in the water tank. That’s *literally* sending money right down the drain!

    • 4

      Len Penzo says

      “Water down the drain!” Good one!

      If they live where I do, I pay about 0.5 cents per gallon, so a 50 gallon fill up would cost me 25 cents. I should try and figure out what the cost to reheat the water in the tank would be.

    • 8

      Len Penzo says

      I paid the builder of my house $600 back in 1997 to “upgrade” from a soaker tub to a whirlpool tub. I know.

  3. 9

    says

    I totally agree. I had an inground jacuzzi bathtub installed in a new construction. The thing was so heavy, it could only be installed on the ground level encased in concrete for support. Indeed it drained the largest hot water heater available and the water was cold in no time. The worst thing of all was the black algae that grew in the jet nozzles. I’m sorry, but no amount of cleaning could get rid of that mess! Nothing infuriated me more than filling that thing with gallons of hot water only to turn on the jets to find thick black mold floating everywhere rendering bathtime impossible. Grrrr! I lived in that house for 6 years and used the tub maybe twice. Never ever again.

    • 10

      Len Penzo says

      That algae is really disgusting. In fact, the first time I noticed that stuff floating in the bath water, I wasn’t even sure what it was. I thought it was crap coming from the water pipe. I was all fired up to call the city and complain about their water, before I finally figured things out. LOL

  4. 11

    says

    Let’s call it what it is: a silly luxury expense. I never understood why would would want a Whirlpool tub when you can toss your hot tub outside and enjoy a little nature. The bathroom might be nice, but I’d rather look at a tree than my toilet.

    (What do I know? I bought a house on a corner!)

  5. 13

    Jennifer says

    I totally disagree. Although, I never use the jets on mine. A big deep soaking tub was a must have on my house shopping list. I have a very bad back/neck and soak in mine 3-5 times a week. We have a well/septic, so the extra water/sewer costs are not an issue. There are those of us who love a big tub and have them positioned not to look at a toilet in the bathroom!

    • 15

      Richard Bryant says

      Jacuzzi tub has given my wife a quality of life. I won’t comment on using a tub for fun but the jets coupled with the heat gives my wife the ability to go down the steps to the rest of the house. If the view from your tub is what drives you then you have bigger issues.
      Rick

  6. 16

    Christy says

    We have a very deep jetted tub. It’s pretty much the same size & shape as a regular tub, just deeper. We use the tub all the time, obviously, and use the jets once or twice a month. It’s small enough that you can fill it and still have lots of hot water to spare, but deep enough for us to actually have a good relaxing soak in. (we’re both almost 6ft tall, so deep tubs are a great find!)

    I think if it had been a whirlpool tub like the one in your picture it wouldn’t be as functional.

  7. 19

    Sandy says

    Thanks for the heads-up on the noise – that alone would drive me nuts. My last house had an add-on master bedroom (that was beautiful) and to code, with a deep tub (no jets). Here’s an idea: they had a 2nd water heater outside in like a little closet next to the master bedroom, just for that add-on. This was great because the other water heater, in the garage, was for the rest of the house, including the other master bedroom, so no cold water problems.

    However, the problem I had with the deep tub was that it was a pain to have to clean it! It’s hard to clean a tub that’s deep like that. Anyway, I was commenting to give you an option to have 2 water heaters, but of course that raises the $$$, but at least you’d have all the hot water you could handle!

    • 20

      Len Penzo says

      It’s definitely an option, Sandy. Now, if only I had options to also address most of the other problems too! ;-)

  8. 21

    Mindimoo says

    I agree totally with your points above. My kids begged me to install one when we recently renovated our bathroom. I refused. After all, I’m the one who is going to be cleaning it and I’ve heard about all sorts of nasty bacterial growths, not just algae, that can occur if they’re not cleaned properly. Instead I chose quite a deep regular soaker tub and I’m happy with it. Even so, I’ve only tried it out once in the past 6 months – I much prefer the shower.

  9. 23

    says

    I agree wih you, however my townhouse came with one. I think I used it twice in 14 years. I use the outside whirlpool much more often. I like the separate shower much more. The whirlpool tub is a nice extra, but meaningless overall.

    • 24

      Len Penzo says

      I’m not sure I’d even call it a nice option, being that I would never use it.

      I still don’t understand how these whirlpool tub companies manage to stay in business.

  10. 25

    says

    The bubble comment is so true!

    Bubbles and whirlpool baths = over-bubble nightmare if you aren’t careful. We had bubbles streaming across my in-laws bathroom, bedroom and hallway one time because we hadn’t read your tips first.

    I’ll stick with the unromantic shower over an unromantic whirlpool bath from now on.

  11. 29

    says

    Wow! Thanks a lot for sharing this! Before reading this post, a whirlpool tub wasn’t on my housing must-haves, but it was something that made me drool when looking at home ads online. Now I’ll put it in the list with “hot tub” of things that are nice on vacation but not so nice in your home.

    By the way, my husband and I got a cabin in the mountains for our honeymoon. Like you mention here, the jacuzzi tub was SO DEEP that the hot water tank was emptied before it was even half full. I had never seen a tub that deep in my entire life. If I was sitting on the bottom of it, sitting straight up, my head barely cleared the lip of the tub. So, yeah… Cool bath in a jacuzzi tub that was only 1/4 full (not even full enough to reach the jets so we could actually enjoy them) – not so romantic!

    • 30

      Len Penzo says

      I’m not even sure a whirlpool tub is nice to have on vacation! And I think a hot tub is definitely a much better option when it comes to the romance department.

  12. 31

    Monica says

    We have a 60’s brick ranch. We lived in it for 14 years before remodeling the PINK (pepto bismol shade) bathroom. We completely removed the bathtub. We always just used the shower anyway. There’s a company that makes a shower pan to fit the same footprint as a standard tub, and 6 or 8 colors to choose from. We got that, tiled the floor and the walls of the shower to the ceiling with 12″ floor tile. Ordered 1/2″ custom glass doors, and installed 2 shower heads with a diverter so they could be used together or independently. One a standard head, and one with a 6′ hose. We loved it so much we had another one done in the basement. There hasn’t been one day that I’ve missed that tub in 6 years. It’s the 2nd best money we ever spent.
    The best money we ever spent was fencing our yard…but that’s a topic for another post, right?

    • 32

      Len Penzo says

      What a great idea, Monica. Thanks for sharing that tip! If I could convert my whirlpool tub into something like that I would. Unfortunately, there are two windows around it, so that is probably out of the question.

  13. 34

    Kathy says

    When we renovated the master bathroom a couple of years ago, we left in the original jetted tub. Used it maybe 4 times in 8 years? We did however put in a *big* shower with jets! Although…..we don’t use the shower jets much….just when the back is really sore.

  14. 35

    says

    I was just watching a home show where people were wondering if they should get rid of their whirlpool tub. The realtor said that since it was there, to just keep it because people want them, even though they end up never using them. I think they are a huge waste of space and energy myself, but if I had one already, I doubt I would rip it out.

    • 36

      Len Penzo says

      I doubt I would really rip one out either just to do it. However, if I was doing a bathroom remodel, I certainly would.

  15. 37

    Wyoming Gal says

    I love my garden tub and I use it at least 5 times a week. Okay, so I only use the jets once or twice a month.

    This is the forth house I’ve had with a garden tub and jacuzzi and I have never had algae, repair problems, exhausting the hot water, or the other stuff you mention.

    It hasn’t kept us from selling the previous 3 houses. I don’t need the jets but I definitely need the tub!!

  16. 38

    says

    Our jacuzzi is why I have been taking showers for the past 5 years. For most of the reasons you mention.

    In our defense, we really didn’t want one, in the same way I hate fireplaces. But there weren’t many housing options that came without. Well, there was the snake house… it had a huge carpeted room with a sunken tub in the middle facing large glass doors to the outside. That was a little bizarre.

    • 39

      Len Penzo says

      Wait a minute here … you hate fireplaces?!! That’s right up there with hating puppies. LOL ;-)

      I absolutely love fireplaces. Love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em! They’re just so cozy and warm. I’ve usually got a fire (natural gas — not wood) going all winter long — and I live in Southern California!

      • 40

        samiam says

        I used to hate fireplaces too, and for similar reasons to you hating whirlpool tubs.
        A newer gas appliance without a two story chimney makes sense, but a fireplace with a traditional chimney is just stupid: Where the chimney meets the house can be big maintenance $$$s. Energy loss – you can try to seal them, but a lot of heat and AC $$$s are lost through the chimney, even with closed flu gas.
        Next house: Gas appliance fireplace (no chimney), no tile or light granite, no whirlpool, water heater in the garage, single story.
        Good site btw

  17. 41

    Michelle says

    Ugh I bought a house with one and have never used it. I would prefer to have extra closet space…

    I filled it up one time to make sure the jets worked and brownish water came out of the jets. I’m too afraid as to what is growing in there!

    • 44

      Len Penzo says

      You must have a heater, Sam. I suspect if I could keep, among other things, the water hot, the algae at bay, the noise and maintenance to a minimum, and the electric bills down, I’d love mine too! ;-)

  18. 45

    Alan Thomas says

    I had mine installed in 2005 and have used it once or twice a week since then. I love, love, love it! I paid $1200 for mine, and got the extended length version, so one person can occupy it comfortably. I also got the extra jets, extra powerful motor, and a heater which does not run off of the pump. If you aren’t a “bath” person you won’t like it. If you don’t get the upgrades you probably won’t like it. As for the cleaning, all you have to do is run it with a little bleach in it every so often once you get out of it. I’ve never had any repair problems or cleanliness problems with it in the nearly 7 years I have had it and insist on having it in my next house.

    • 46

      Len Penzo says

      Just curious: How much did the tub cost with all those extras, Alan? Or was that $1200 for the whole kit and caboodle?

    • 47

      Deb says

      Alan, great points! I’ve wanted one for YEARS and just finally deciding to make a decision and just do it. I’m looking to buy one to replace my regular tub but I don’t want to end up with no pressure.

      From what I’m seeing, you have to be sure to get one that when it’s installed, it has individual hoses running from the pump to each jet rather than all the jets running on the same line or there would be no water pressure with the jets?

  19. 48

    Guy says

    Get a tankless water heater (or instant or whatever they are called). No reason to constantly be heating up gallons of water in the off chance you might want to take a hot shower or use the water for something. And then you won’t have to worry about running out of hot water either. Think that is what I might do in the future…

  20. 49

    marie says

    I’m Installing a brand spanking new jetted tub i got it for $400 originally costs over $1400 wow what a steal,Don’t really see your point on not having a whirlpool tub? I have lower back problems, Seems like a great thing to have in a bathroom compared to a crappy soaker tub, and as far as cleaning it,so what, whats so hard about cleaning it? It’s not like it’s going to be used everyday. I’m keeping the shower head and just will need a seperate shower cutain.Funny you seem to think everyone with a jetted tub uses them everyday and doesnt clean them? Also I live on a corner lot,Way better that any other lot, because we can have a seperate garage and drive in from the street, many advantages to having a corner lot and a nice jetted tub. Sounds to me like you wish you had a jetted tub and a corner lot and are just jealous you dont have either? I would say this website is for suckers. :)

    • 50

      Len Penzo says

      … and I would say, Marie, that I would never buy your house — even if you offered it to me for 99 percent off! ;-)

  21. 51

    marie says

    I guess to each his own, Just got the tub installed what a great addition,I even added a separate circit for the heater, great feeling having a nice jetted tub and shower combo. Who cares if it cost a few dollars extra a month. I planning to have a sauna built too, i’m sure you probably have 16 reasons not to own saunas too? Corner lots are great by the way, nice to have plenty of parking, guess it all depends on the location of the corner lot, don’t you think?

    • 52

      Len Penzo says

      I can’t speak for saunas, marie … I never owned one! :-)

      As for the corner lots, yeah, if you’re on a corner lot in the middle of nowhere — then it might (I said “might”) be tolerable. But I doubt it. ;-)

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