• Walk-In Bathtubs FAQ’s

    Where to Purchase a Walk-In Bathtub 

    What Certifications Should I Look For?

    Certifications

    Certifications, Approvals, and Accreditations

    Walk-in bathtubs should have certain approvals as IAPMO, UL, and  ETL. Certain states will not allow a walk-in bathtub to be installed without these approvals.

    Here are links to each of these companies:

    BBB accreditation for a business, although perceived to be an authority in business/consumer disputes are not. The organization acts as a mediator between business and consumers. It can only refer serious patterns of complaints to the state Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers should  know that they are not a government agency, complaints are handled  in the area the accused company is based, and they are not considered a consumer watchdog. The Better Business Bureau , although a non-profit organization does collects fee from companies to become a member. As any other organization or company, it too has favorable and unfavorable remarks and ratings. 

    The BBB :

    • Creating a community of trustworthy businesses
    • Setting standards for marketplace trust
    • Encouraging and supporting best practices
    • Celebrating marketplace role models, and;
    • Denouncing substandard marketplace behavior

    http://www.bbb.org/us/

     • Which is Better: Fiberglass vs. Acrylics?

    Fiberglass vs. Acrylics

    Acrylic Walk-in bathtubs are constructed using a large sheet of solid colored acrylic plastic.  The acrylic is heated; then vacuum pressure is used to stretch the heated acrylic over the walk-in tub mold to achieve the desired shape. The acrylic is then reinforced with a composite material, such as fiberglass on the back side to strengthen the acrylic shell for structural support.

    Fiberglass Walk-in bathtubs are manufactured with composite materials, the same materials that are used to make automobiles and yachts. The fiberglass manufacturing process is critical, after the mold is formed, the liquid gel-coat must be applied evenly on the molds at the correct temperature. Many companies use a special polyurethane blend in there gel-coating process to protect the fiberglass from UV rays.

    When it comes to repairs, many consumers have a misconception that acrylic walk-in tubs cannot be repaired. This is NOT true! However, fiberglass is easier to repair in the field, but both acrylic and fiberglass tubs have successfully been repaired. Repairs performed correctly are permanent and virtually invisible.

    Finally, the verdict comes down to consumer preference. Both materials have their pros and cons. Acrylic, although  easier to clean have a higher price point. Fiberglass, is more rigid and easier to repair with better price point. After everything is said and done, both materials are good and have their benefits.

    • What is Hydrotherapy?

    Hydrotherapy

    An option in a walk-in bathtub includes; therapeutic spas massage jets. These jets are often referred to as whirlpool jets, hydrotherapy jets, or spa massage systems. Some companies offer Dual systems, meaning the use of both air jetted and water jetted systems. Make note that there is a difference between the two jetted system options. Consumers must ask if these options are available. The simplest terms, to refer to these systems are; Air jetted system and Water jetted system. The combination of both these systems is known as a Dual jetted system. These options are an upgrade to a basic bathtub known as a Soaker. These options can have an added cost of $500 to $1500. Hydrotherapy is known as a water cure commonly used to alleviate pain associated with arthritis, blood circulation, fibromyalgia, and many other infirmities, in general terms, pain relief. Water jets are a more aggressive movement of water and may need to be regulated for the elderly consumers with sensitive skin. Air jets are suggested for spa therapy, as recommended by most companies and physicians because of its softer jetting system. This system does not re-circulate water, as the water jetted system does. Its softer pressure allows the consumer a longer treatment time to eliminate ailments pains. Older air and water jets should include a purging system to clean out the jet streams. Newer systems are built to be self-draining. On some bathtubs a purging system is used as an automatic cleaning cycle that pushes out any remaining water from the jet lines to eliminate build-up, calcification and bacteria from forming. It is important to confirm all walk-in tub equipment is UL approved. Beware of pumps that are not UL approved. If you have any concerns. Ask questions and seek proof. As a consumer you have the right to know. If you asked the questions and where told the equipment is in compliance. Inspect the walk-in bathtub when delivered. All certifications and approvals should be visible. If not, send the unit back with explaining of the issues.

    • How Does the Installation Process Work?

    Installation

    How are installation done?

    Some sites will suggest that any plumber or person can replace and install a bathtub or a walk-in bathtub. Consumer’s best way to know the requirements for replacing and installing a walk-in bathtub is to call the local building department.

    When hiring a local plumber or general contractor to handle the installation project, the removal and disposal of the existing tubs, cleaning pipes and plumbing, the installation of the new walk-in bathtubs, and installation of the faucet should all be included.

    • What Insurance/Financing is Available?

    Insurance/Financing

    Medical Insurance & Financing

    Walk-in bathtubs are not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. Unfortunately, walk-in bathtubs are considered a luxury fixture or item.

    The VA (Veterans Affairs)  is one agency that may cover a percentage of the cost for a walk-in bathtub.

    Research has shown that not too many companies offer financing for walk-in bathtubs. Some of the Big Box retailers, may offer financing. Caution note to consumers! Be cautious of the interest rates if you find a company that offers financing.

    • Which is Better: Inward vs. Outward Swing?

    Inward vs. Outward

    Inward vs. Outward Swinging Door

    This is a particularly popular topic. Consumers ask or say? Which is right for me?  I only want an inward (or outward) swinging door.

    Logically, an inward swinging door and the physical water pressure in the tub work together to keep the door tightly sealed. Another point is that an inward swinging door is ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant because you are not stepping away from the fixture to gain access. Although, an outward swinging door enables the bather to open the door in case of an emergency and exit the bathtub. WORD OF CAUTION TO OUR CONSUMERS! Please be mindful that the room will be flooded with water. 

    There are certain tubs built in the market with outward swinging door mostly for bathers that are wheelchair bound and need the extra space to be able to slide into the bathtub.

    • Walk-in Tub Pricing?  Rick, make similar to original page

    • Safety Facts

    Safety Facts Everyone should know

    Fall Injuries

    Falls are considered the second leading cause of un-intentional injury deaths. They are the most common reason for admissions to hospital trauma centers and causes of injuries.

    Unfortunately, 10% of all injury results in death. In 2001 alone, over 15,000 people died as the result of a fall. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury in the United States, accounting for close to 783,000 hospitalizations and an estimated 11.5 million minor injury cases that were not hospitalized.

    One of every three adults aged 65 years and older suffers a fall each year. Of those that have fallen each year, two thirds fall again within six month period. The majority of consumer falls occur within the home, young children and elderly having the highest incident rate.

    Facts about the elderly who Fall:

     • The risk of falling increases with age

     • For people age 65 and older, more than half of all falls happen at home

     • In many instances, people don’t know how they fell. Many do not recall a fall that happened 2-3 months earlier

     • Older Adults that have fallen are 2-3 times more at risk to fall again within a year.

     • Approximately 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls.

     • Fall-related statistics for death and hip fracture hospitalization are increasing

    Falls in Nursing Homes:

    • Out of 1.5 million nursing home residents, approximately 50% fall at least once a year

    • Roughly 1800 fatal falls occur each year in US nursing homes

    • Among people that are 85 years and older, 20% of fall-related deaths occur in nursing homes

    • These causes many times are due to weakness and walking problems and possible environmental hazards

    The Cost of Falling Injuries amongst the Elderly:

    • One of every 3 people age 65 and older falls each year

    • Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries 5 times more often than for any other injury

    • Of the ones that  fall, 20% to30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that reduce mobility. Hampering their independence, and increase the risk of premature death

     • In 1994 , the average cost for a fall injury was $1400 for a person over the age of 65, totaling over $20.8 billion dollars.

     • By 2020, the cost of fall injuries is expected to rise to over $32.4 billion

    Falls result in related to people over the age of 65 years old

     • About 9500 deaths per year

     • Close to 87% of fractures

    Most falls that occur in the house are due to environmental hazards such as:

     • Slippery surfaces

     • Uneven floors

     • Poor lighting

     • Loose rugs

     • Unstable furniture

     • Tripping hazards

    Taking Action: Install grab bars, remove tripping hazards

    Conduct Home Assessments and Environmentally Modify the Home for Safety

    Because the elderly spend most their time at home, 50% to 65% of all falls occur in or around the house. Many injuries related to falls are simply from a standing position height, usually caused by tripping rather than falling down stairs case. Consumers are advised to consider installing stair railings, ramps, and grab bars, primarily in bathrooms, which are simple but effective modification solutions.

    Conducting a safety check in your home is a good idea. Home assessments can be performed by individuals on behalf of a family member, or working collaboratively with community groups to canvas high risk households. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a checklist to help locate and remove such hazards that can be found in your house. Visit www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/toolkit/brochures.htm  for a checklist that suggests removing things that can be tripping hazards close to stairs and paths ways, removing small throw rugs or using double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping, keeping used items in cabinets that can be easily reached and accessed without a step stool, installing grab bars next to toilet and tub or shower, using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors, improving lighting in the house, installing handrails and lights on all staircases, wearing shoes that give good support and have thin non-slip soles, and avoid wearing slippers and athletic shoes with long treads.

    Encourage Exercise Programs for the Elderly

    Much health care insurance companies encourage the elderly to exercise. There are sponsored programs in local fitness center that offer classes for the elderly “Silver sneaker is popular program”.

     Exercise programs can be administered on-site by trained health care professionals at hospitals too, nursing homes and other senior care facilities under the supervision of a physician. Walking programs to increase physical capacity could also complement the strength and balance programs for the elderly.

    • US vs. Import Tubs

    US vs. Import

    US vs. Import Walk-in Bathtubs

     This question has primarily been propagated by companies and consumers alike. The true question is concerning quality of construction on the consumer side and justification of price on the marketers’ side.  

    The first thing to remember is that there are several different countries that make walk-in bathtubs and their components may come from anywhere in the world.

    The fact is that many products we use on a daily basis are made overseas and many are from  China. When it comes to the walk-in bathtub market, it is no different. There are definitely different grades of quality that come out of China as from any other country in the world including the United States Therefore, it is just as important to research the walk-in tub company  and products as any other products consumers’ purchase. Consumers may want to look at a company’s BBB standing to check for service and complaints (Please check BBB accreditations information on this site before basing your decision strictly on their reviews). Many walk-in bathtub companies will claim to assemble their tubs in the U.S and they are actually bringing the tubs in from overseas and warehousing them in the U.S. Most companies do this and will still state that they are U.S made. The more important factor is, if the company institutes a quality control system and if they have a water testing facility for the door seal and jets. (Ask for pictures of their facility.) There is virtually no other way to tell the difference between a product assembled in the U.S. or overseas. Facts are that some companies importing tubs from overseas will have better quality standards than some U.S. manufacturers.

    The Hydrotherapy system should ONLY be manufactured in the U.S, UK or Canada. This may be verified and consumers should ask for the name of the manufacturer of the jet system.

    Another important thing to ask for is UL approval as well as IAPMO approval.

    Certifications are given by third party control companies to make sure the components adhere to the strictest form of quality and craftsmanship control.

    Certifications:

     • UL-(Underwriting Laboratories) Electrical certification

     • IAPMO certification -International Association for Plumbing and Mechanical Organization. (Plumbing code)

     • Some states will require these codes in order to install. (M.A, W.A)

     • CSE( Canadian Approval)

     • RT, CE & ETL both covered under IAPMO certification.

    • Walk-In Bathtubs vs. Roll In Showers

    Walk-in vs. Roll-in

    Walk-In Bathtubs vs. Roll-In Showers

    There are many differences in these products in terms of features and practicality. A roll in shower is more cost effective, but lacks many of the core features of bathing experience. There is different purpose when considering the shower versus a walk-in bathtub. Roll-in showers are more of a commercial institution product, typically not sold to residential consumers.

    • Consumers may take a shower in almost any walk-in tub on the market. Extendable showerhead and adjustable riser rod assist users to stand and take a shower just like a traditional shower.
    • Hydrotherapy or deep soaking is not possible in a roll-in shower.
    • Walk-in tubs have a contoured ADA compliant 17” seat for comfort and safety of the user. Placing a seat or utilize a fold down bench in a roll-in shower, may not be safe or comfortable for bathers.
    • If assistance is needed in a roll-in shower the assistant may physically be in the shower with the bather. With a walk-in tub it is easy and comfortable stand or sits next to the tub and assists in the bathing process.