With so many questions surrounding the purchase of a walk-in bathtub, it's sometimes difficult to remember all of them when you meet with the salesperson. That's why MySeniorSource has put together a little Q&A section to answer some of the common questions. If we've missed anything, feel free to ask us and we'll do our best to get the answer for you!
Q - How much water does it take to fill a walk-in tub?
A – Typically 40-80 gallons
Q – Will my water heater be big enough to fill one?
A – Many residential water heaters do not have the capacity to adequately fill a walk-in tub. A 40 gallon tub will actually hold much more than that if you fill it completely. Your two options are to either purchase a larger water heater, or purchase a tankless water heater. Many people prefer the tankless water heater, however the cost of these can run as much as $4,ooo installed. Keep in mind though that this will also be useful for the water throughout your entire house, not just the tub!
Q – Can you fit a wheelchair into a walk-in tub?
A – Unfortunately most of these tubs will not accommodate a wheelchair. They are however set up so that you can wheel yourself to the door and then use handrails to pull yourself into the tub and onto the seat without much difficulty.
Q – Will a walk-in tub raise the value of my home?
A – This may be possible, but generally only if you live in a retirement community. Bathrooms are one of the more important aspects in selling a home. Most people want a standard tub and shower. This is especially true for the main bathroom of the home. If you do not live in a retirement community this may actually decrease the value of your home, and will certainly increase the amount of time it takes to sell the property.
Q – I hear a lot about “hidden costs” for these tubs. What should I look out for?
A – The first thing to be aware of is the actual cost of the tub. Added “bells and whistles” such as water jets, heated seats or floors, and quick fill and quick drain fixtures are not standard and will cost extra. The next thing to understand is the installation fees. Some bathrooms are smaller than others. Sometimes doors and hallways won’t be large enough to allow the installers to get the tub in. Make sure all of these things are taken into consideration. You also want to check the size of your water heater. You may find that you will need a larger water heater to accommodate your needs. If you decide to get the quick fill/drain fixtures, check to see if additional plumbing will be needed.
Q – How long do walk-in tubs take to fill and empty?
A – Obviously this is going to vary based on the size of the tub, the size of your faucet and the size of your body and how much water it displaces. Figuring out how long it will take to fill your tub is a relatively easy process. Using your current bathtub faucet, fill a five gallon bucket with water and time how long it takes. Next you will want to multiply that by the number of gallons your tub will hold and divide by five (since you filled a five gallon bucket). Finally, you will want to subtract out the number of gallons of water your body will displace. On average this is one gallon of water per 10 pounds of body weight, so if you weigh 150 pounds your body will displace approximately 15 gallons.
Q – Do the quick fill faucets really fill the tubs faster?
A – This depends on the plumbing in your house. Most houses have half inch pipes. The quick fill faucets that are sold with these tubs typically come in three quarter inch or one inch sizes. If the plumbing from your water heater to the faucet is only half an inch in diameter, having a larger faucet will not make a difference. You will need to have the plumbing redone in order to reduce the amount of fill time.
Q – I see pictures of walk-in tubs where the person is lounging in water up to their shoulders, but my friend told me his only goes to his stomach. What gives?
A – Two things you will want to look at when it comes to the water depth are the seat height and the height of the overflow drain. If you have a seat height of 12 inches and an overflow drain at 20 inches, you’re only going to be sitting in water that is eight inches deep. Make sure you get the depth that you want!
Q – How much maintenance is needed for a walk-in tub?
A – Generally speaking, there is not much more maintenance needed than for a standard tub. Sure it is bigger so you will have a larger surface area to clean, but it doesn’t require much more time. You will want to make sure you keep the door seals clean so that they seal properly. In addition to this, if you decide to have water jets, you may need to clean the tubing to prevent buildup depending on the valves. You will need to ask the manufacturer for more specific information.
Have additional questions? Feel free to ask, and we’ll get you the right answer!