Whirlpool, Aromatherapy, and Soaking tub
Almost all of our tub models can be ordered as a basic soaking tub, a whirlpool tub, an air tub or aromatherapy tub, and also as a combination whirlpool tub with aromatherapy air system. What is the difference between a whirlpool bath and an air tub (aromatherapy tub) and a soaker?
The soaking tub
A soaking tub is just a good old bathtub. No water jets, no air jets, just a bathtub. You fill it with warm water and soak. Simple. No electrical is required, only a waste and overflow kit (incl. on Deep Blue models) and a faucet. Soaking tubs are the least expensive because there is no water or air movement.
A whirlpool bath starts out as a normal soaking tub. A whirlpool system is then installed in the soaking tub turning it into a whirlpool bath. Holes are drilled into the sides to install whirlpool jets, suction fittings, lights, and a few holes are drilled on the top lip to mount air controls and on/off or electronic pump controls. All fittings are permanently sealed with a waterproof silicone sealant and are tested for leaks prior to leaving the factory.
The Whirlpool Tub
In a whirlpool water is sucked from the tub by a water pump or "jet pump" through a suction fitting normally located on one sidewall of the tub near the bottom. This suction fitting has what's called an "anti-vortex" cover on it. The anti-vortex cover is there to prevent anything from being sucked into the pump and to prevent any kind of entrapment of hair or skin. It's a safety cover. The water is sucked into the whirlpool pump then forced back into the tub through the jets under a fair amount of pressure. Each jet has a water line and an air line running to it. As the water moves through the jet on its way back to the tub, you have the option of allowing air to mix into the water flow using the venturi principle. Air controls installed on the top lip of the tub pull warm air from around the tub to help prevent the tub from cooling off. The air controls allow you to control the amount of air that is mixed into the water flow as it passes through each jet. The addition of this air makes the massage feel much more powerful and at the same time nice and soft. It's similar to the feel of water flowing from a brand new kitchen faucet with a good aerator but with much more power.
The pumps on many of our models use a powerful 7 amp motor but we also offer upgrades to either a 9 amp or 13 amp motors. These pumps will typically move around 60 to over 100 GPM. This water is divided by the number of whirlpool jets in the tub, normally at least 6 jets and as many as 20 in some of the more powerful and upgraded models. If you want to add more jets you can also upgrade to a larger more powerful pump.
How does a whirlpool bath feel?
Whirlpool baths provide direct massaging pressure to your muscles. Leisure Concepts tubs use mainly jets that are both directional and volume controllable. That means that you can aim the water flow any direction just by moving the directional eyeball in the center of the jet. You can also turn each jet face to increase or decrease the amount of water moving through that one particular jet. This is a nice feature because it allows you to turn off a few jets which will then increase the pressure at the remaining open jets. If you have a sore back you can turn down a few jets at the foot end of the tub and increase the water flow and pressure of the jets behind your back. If your feet hurt you can turn off a few side or back jets and get a super powerful foot massage. We also offer upgrades where you get some back jets that are not directional but instead they force the water out in a rotating pattern. These jets are not adjustable but instead they force the water into the tub in a constantly moving, rotating pattern which is especially nice for a good back massage.
Pumps and Controls
Most standard whirlpool baths have a single speed pump that is turned on and off by an air switch. This switch is normally mounted on the top lip of the tub. It's a simple button that you press. Press once to turn the pump on, another time to turn it off. The button is connected to a small vinyl tube that runs back to the motor where the switching actually takes place. Air switches are incredibly simple, effective, and really reliable and because of this air operated design you can use it with wet hands and while sitting in the tub with complete safety.
Leisure Concepts also offers more powerful pumps and even variable speed pumps too. Since each whirlpool is custom built to your specifications you can add extra jets if you want. If you add more than a couple it's a good idea to also increase the output of the pump so the jets still give you a great massage. Our more powerful variable speed pump comes with an electronic control that allows you to choose the exact level of water pressure you want. There's even a pulsating mode that automatically increases and decreases the water pressure for you. Nice! This electronic control will also control an underwater light and even an air pump if you choose to make your whirlpool into a combination whirlpool / air tub.
Heaters and full draining design
A Leisure Concepts whirlpool baths can also be built with inline heaters. Each heater has a built in pressure switch and a built in fixed 104 degree thermostat. Whenever you turn the pump on and if the water is temperature is below 104, the heater will automatically turn on, raise the temperature to 104 then cycle on and off as needed to keep it there. An inline heater will allow you to sit in your tub for as long as you want with the temperature of the water holding right at 104 degrees. There is no need to add any hot makeup water saving you money while you soak in hot turbulent water as long as you want.
Leisure Concepts whirlpool baths are built using special full draining "V" shaped jets. They are designed so that the pipes coming off each jet go upward. No water can be left behind when the tub is drained. They are designed to be 100% full draining tubs. Many of our models include high density foam insulating spray on the exterior. This serves several purposes. It insulates the tub to keep it warm, it helps to deaden any sound for quiet operation and it helps protect the plumbing lines, jets, and fittings during transit and the installation process.
Each whirlpool is filled and tested at the factory then it is drained, cleaned, inspected one last time and finally padded and boxed for shipping.
The Air Tub
Leisure Concepts air tubs are very different from a whirlpool tub. Like a whirlpool tub an air tub starts out as a regular soaking tub and the air jet system is added to make it into an air tub.
There are 2 methods used to manufacture air tubs. In the first method tiny air jet holes are drilled along the sidewalls of the tub right near the bottom, usually only an inch or two up from the floor of the tub. These holes are positioned most of the way around the tub in most models. On the outside of the tub a channel is installed that covers the small holes. Fiberglass is applied over the row of air jets leaving a channel for air to feed to the air jets. It's kind of like a small tunnel with the air jets entering at the very bottom of that tunnel.
At one point that air channel has a pvc fitting installed right into the fiberglass to allow the heated air to enter. A heated air blower is then installed with the air outlet pipe connected to the pvc fitting that leads into the air channel. When you turn the system on the heated air is forced into that channel pushing all the water out and forcing hot air out of all the air jets that are connected to that channel.
When you turn off the air blower with the tub, full water will enter into the air jets and fill the air channel. When you drain the water out of the tub it will also drain out of the air channel via the air jet holes because that air channel is at least an inch higher than the bottom of the tub and the air jet holes are right at the bottom of the channel. This type of system normally has a single check valve right at the blower so there is no chance of water accidentally making its way into the blower. This method has been in use almost from the beginning of the air jet tub.
The second method is a little new system and is available in 2 varieties. The first consists of air jet holes drilled right into the bottom of the tub. There are normally 12 to 24 air jets spread out across the floor depending on the model and size of the tub. On the back side of each one of these air jet holes, the underside of the tub, is a special fitting attached with a powerful permanent epoxy. This fitting allows a single small air tube to be connected to it and has a built in check valve to prevent any water from entering the air jet. Since the air jets in this system are actually under the floor of the tub they are also directly under your body. As far as being effective this system will give you a better air jet massage then the side jet system because the jets are under you, not at your sides. This type system also includes an electronic control inside the heated air blower that will automatically turn on for 30 or 40 seconds about 20 minutes after you finish using the tub. Just in case any water was able to sneak through any of the check valves (one way valves) and is sitting in an air tub below the tub, this automated system will blow that water back into the tub so it can go down the drain. It insures that no water can remain inside the system to become stagnant.
The other variety of this system is the same in all respects except that instead of installing a check valve with epoxy on the bottom side of the tub, the holes are drilled a little bigger and an actual air jet fitting about the size of a dime is installed. These fittings are nearly flat against the bottom of the tub and have the check valve built right in. Each of these fittings will normally have 6 or 8 tiny air jet holes. Because each has several holes it's possible to use a little less of these to achieve the same air massage. One advantage with this system is that there are no areas that expose the laminated layers of the acrylic and fiberglass because the air jet fitting is sealed using silicone rubber. It also requires a few less holes be drilled in the tub floor.
How does an air tub feel?
Unlike the direct pressure of a whirlpool tub, and air tub is a more gentle jiggling of your entire body. The heated air hits your body and gently massages you as the bubbles rise to the surface. It's a more "all over" kind of massage. Treat yourself and get a combination whirlpool with air!