How Do Walk In Tubs Work? Pros And Cons To Know
written by: Michael Lamew
Bathing should be a relaxing and pleasant experience for everyone.
But this sadly isn't always the case when you're older, injured, or dealing with mobility issues. A normal tub poses a higher risk of slipping and falling.
And there's the issue of privacy and always having to rely on someone else.
Fortunately, there's one thing that could help: walk-in tubs.
Sure, in reality, it's just a bathtub with a door. But with its number of safety features, your bathing experience could be something you find enjoyable again.
The simple option to "walk" in your tub can make a big difference. Walk in tubs can help you become more self-reliant while ensuring your safety and comfort.
But how do walk-in tubs work? Is it exactly what you need? Let's weigh the pros and cons.
Now let's jump right in.
How Do Walk In Baths Work… The 7 Things You Need To Know
If you're confused about how walk in tubs work, don't worry.
In essence, walk-in tubs work just like your normal tub except that it allows you to take a bath in an easier, safer, and stress-free way.
Here's everything you need to know in a nutshell.
1. The mechanics
Walk-in tubs come with a water-tight door with a low step-in threshold. These allow you to walk into the tub without having to bend your knees and lift your legs too high.
Once inside, the door seals and the tub fills with water. Walk in tubs have a fill and drain system that keeps the door closed as long as there is water in it.
You can only walk in and out of the tub when it's completely empty. This system ensures safety while going in and out of the bath.
2. What's the difference?
The most noticeable difference is that a walk-in tub has a door. The door will be on the front or side of the bath.
This design removes the need for sliding doors with high step-in thresholds, preventing added danger. Grab bars are also attached along the side walls to help you sit safely onto the water.
A walk-in tub is also taller than it is wide. It comes with an elevated seat, making it easier for mobility-impaired bathers. All in all, it is designed to ensure safety and comfort.
Most walk-in tubs vary in shape, size, and design. However, an average walk-in tub is approximately 3 feet or higher and 26 to 32 inches wide. But don't worry.
A walk-in tub will usually fit into the same space as a regular 60-inch bathtub. If not, extension kits are available to ensure a perfect fit.
4. How much water does a walk-in tub hold?
Walk in tubs have a higher water depth which means it needs more water than the usual tub. In contrast, a standard bath can only hold 25 to 45 gallons.
5. What are the features of a walk-in tub?
Top-rated walk-in tubs offer dozens of features and modifications, depending on your needs.
For example, some bathtubs allow easier access, specifically for wheelchair users. Standard features include handrails, higher walls, and non-slip floors for added safety measures.
You can also include therapeutic features like hydrotherapy jets, chromotherapy lighting, and heated seating.
These days, a walk-in tub can come with the same features a normal bath tub can offer. So you won't have to worry about missing out on any luxury features.
6. How much does a walk-in tub cost?
The cost of walk-in tubs varies depending on the model and features.
7. Do you need to have a walk-in tub professionally installed?
There are many things to consider when it comes to walk-in bathtub installations.
The most important thing is to ensure the tub is installed as safely as possible.
You can try self installation if you consider yourself handy enough.
Portable walk-in tubs, for example, are easier to install. However, be sure to do your research thoroughly before you plan on doing so.
Poor installation may result in future problems that would have easily been avoided in the first place. If in doubt, it's best to hire professionals to ensure a perfect and stress-free installation process.
Most sellers offer installation services along the walk in tub purchase, which takes as little as one day to complete.
1. It's safer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 235,000 people end up in the ER for bathroom-related injuries every year. (2)
That's because of mobility issues as we get older increase the risk of injuries.
A walk-in bath offers a safer alternative to traditional bathing. The ability to walk in and out safely and sit comfortably dramatically reduces the risk of slipping and falling.
Ultimately, this increases bathroom safety for elderly.
2. It's easier, allowing you to gain your independence back.
Let's face it. The worst thing about getting old or injured is the feeling of helplessness.
For a lot of people, myself included, it's not easy asking for help. However, a walk-in bath is excellent if you want your privacy or independence back.
Jacob Holman, CMO of Independent Home put it best:
"Some bathers use walkers, scooters or wheelchairs in their homes so having a safety walk-in tub can be an excellent way to keep the task of bathing as simple and as enjoyable as possible." (3)
If you're craving for independence, a walk-in tub is definitely priceless.
You might be able to take a bath with needing minimal help or without any at all. And you'll no longer have to worry that every bath could lead to a future accident.
3. Health and luxury features.
You don't have to worry about missing anything with a walk-in tub.
It offers the same features as any tub, even more.
Many models provide hydrotherapy, a method that uses water and jets to help soothe pains and aches. Also, more high-end models will often include mind-relaxing chromotherapy lights.
A "safe" tub doesn't have to mean you'll have to settle for boring baths. Provided you're willing to pay a little extra for the luxury, a walk-in bath can still offer you a therapeutic session after a long day.
Just because you have mobility or impairment issues doesn't mean you can no longer have the spa bathroom of your dreams.
1. Walk-in baths are more expensive.
There's no going around it. Walk-in tubs are more expensive than regular bathtubs. Pre-installation electrical or plumbing work could bump the cost up.
For example, you might need to upgrade your current water heater. A walk-in bathtub has a higher water depth, which means you'll need more hot water to ensure a comfortable bathing experience.
However, keep in mind that these are only initial costs. If you think of it as an investment for your health and safety, it's well worth it.
2. The draining system requires you to wait.
A walk-in tub needs to fill and drain before you can walk out of it.
This fact poses two issues:
1) the water temperature needs to be comfortable from the start, and
2.) it might take up to 7 minutes to fill and drain.
These things can cause your bath water to be on the cold side and warm side before you can safely exit the tub.
You might think higher water pressure will quicken the process, but it may compromise the health of your plumbing system.
However, there are plenty of top-rated fast-filling and quick-draining models that help to alleviate these drawbacks.
Summing It Up: What To Do Now
Is a walk-in bath tub really worth it?
The bottom line is, for anyone willing to invest in their health, comfort, and safety, getting a walk-in tub is an easy decision.
If the initial costs are still holding you back, you should know that many manufacturers offer flexible payment plans and guarantees to suit you.
If you buy one for medical safety reasons, it might even be tax-deductible.
Overall, it would be best if you put considerable thought and research into purchasing a walk-in tub. After all, there's no price for your peace of mind.
Now that you've seen the pros and cons ... want to know the top-rated options available in 2020?
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