What should I know about baths?

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Baths can be either free standing or more commonly fitted drop-in types. (Note – the term drop-in refers to the way that the bath is fitted into the bathroom. It is not being suggested that there is a type of bath where friends can drop-in.)

Baths come in many shapes, a popular one being the corner bath.

Bath specifications provide length, breadth and height measurements.

The filling capacity is also provided in litres. A bath will generally be filled to a level, which contains more than 100 litres. A five minute shower would use approximately 20 litres.

Bath Materials

Baths are made from acrylic resin, cast-iron, pressed steel coated in enamel, marble or other stone crushed chips, various resins. Amanzonite is special coating applied by one of the bath manufacturers.

Jacuzzi versus Spa Bath versus Hot Tub

Two other sanitary ware items related to baths are the Spa and the Jacuzzi.

There is much confusion around the use of these terms. They appear to be used interchangeably across the sanitary ware industry. The following discussion sheds light or perhaps more confusion on the issue.

Jacuzzi is a company that produces whirlpool bathtubs and sanitary ware. The company advertises that "they are Jacuzzi, and everyone else's are just hot tubs." Their current slogan is "Jacuzzi: The Home Spa Experience."

In strict and most common usage there is no real difference between a hot tub and a Jacuzzi. Both are used to describe tubs of hot water which use jets of forced air to produce currents and bubbles, either for therapeutic or strictly pleasurable purposes.

Jacuzzi is a brand name, and so strictly speaking describes only those hot tubs and spas manufactured by the Jacuzzi company. The Jacuzzi brothers immigrated to California from Italy in the early half of the 20th century, and according to the company's website were prolific inventors. Starting with aviation inventions, the Jacuzzi brothers moved into hydraulics, making great strides with the agricultural pump. In 1956 they invented a hydrotherapy pump for personal use. This pump, the J-300, was then sold to hospitals and schools.

In 1968, Roy Jacuzzi created the first whirlpool spa, which he called the Roman. The Roman was based on the hydrotherapeutic pumps of Roy's parents and grandparents, integrating them seamlessly into a standalone unit. Roy brought his invention around the country, capitalizing on a national obsession with cleanliness, and it became an overnight success — to such a point that within a few short decades the brand name has become virtually synonymous with the invention itself.

In colloquial use a hot tub is often seen as distinguished from a Jacuzzi or spa by its lack of jets. In this sense any hot bath or basin of water could be correctly referred to as a hot tub. More often, however, it is used specifically when discussing such things as wooden barrel hot tubs, often with wood-burning stoves or other alternative forms of heating.

This distinction does not hold up in industry discussions, and from the perspective of a strict definition, it is best to treat hot tub and Jacuzzi as mutually interchangeable words. Product literature, for example, refers often to ‘Jacuzzi hot tubs’, giving the general product (hot tub) and the brand name. If we accept the definition of hot tub as being necessarily without jets, then the term Jacuzzi hot tub becomes an oxymoron.

Generally, a Jacuzzi bathtub is an indoor, jetted tub. A Jacuzzi spa, on the other hand, is what many people call a ‘hot tub.’ Of course, sometimes, indoor-jetted tubs (or whirlpool tubs) are also referred to as spas. Jacuzzi spas are generally kept outdoors. They also have jets, but they have water that is continually kept hot (and it does not need to be drained after every time it is used!)

The term ‘Hot Tub’ originally referred to the wooden, barrel-shaped tubs, which became popular in the late 1960s. Early hot tubs were fairly simple devices, which basically held hot water and had enough room for one or two bathers at a time. When the industry began building tubs of moulded fibreglass or with thermoplastic shells, they were given the tag ‘spa’ to differentiate them from their wooden cousins.

The wooden hot tub has evolved over time to include such amenities as seating, jets, filters, and most of the features associated with a spa. In fact, the phrase ‘hot tubbing’ can be taken to mean soaking in either type of vessel.

Another source describes a hot tub as an open-topped tank filled with circulated, filtered and chemically treated water. A hot tub is considered portable, as it is a totally self-contained unit that is typically found outdoors. On average, the water in a hot tub is drained once a quarter for regular maintenance purposes. A spa typically refers to an in-ground unit that is constructed on-site, and is most often part of a pool/spa combination. A whirlpool tub is commonly found indoors in the master bathroom or in other indoor facilities. Whirlpool tubs are filled and drained after each use and are not chemically treated. Jacuzzi® is a brand name that describes only those products manufactured by the Jacuzzi Company.

It is possible to convert an existing bath to a spa. Porcelain, cast iron, steel, fibreglass and cast marble bathtubs may be retrofitted into factory-type, jetted bathtubs in one day, without disturbing the surrounding bathroom walls or plumbing. The finished product has custom located hydrotherapy jets, an air volume control which regulates their force, and an on-off switch. Bath fittings may be matched to existing bathroom décor and fixtures.

Bath Taps and Mixers

Bath taps usually have 20mm (3/4 “) threads.

Some bath mixers include a diverter in the spout to channel water into a hand-held shower.

Note that even though most basin taps and mixers include flexi-connectors, they do not include angle valves, the small taps that can turn-off water supply to the taps when repairing them.

Bath Waste Drainage

Bath waste fittings are 40mm in diameter.

A legal requirement for a bath is an overflow hole which drains water into the waste pipe. The overflow can be exposed or hidden.

Freestanding baths are supplied with fitted waste plumbing to avoid compatibility issues.

The waste outlet is closed using a standard plug, or may have a pop-up or Click Clack closing mechanism. The Pop-up lever or handle is often an integral part of a mixer.

Bath Accessories

Baths can be fitted with heaters and underwater lights. This presents a situation where the heater would be damaged if it were switched on without water in the bath. A safety feature included in the waste system is a Run-Dry System which switches the heater off when the bath is drained.