If you or a family member has mobility issues or is interested in aging in place, a walk-in tub may be a worthwhile investment to consider. With its low threshold and built-in safety and comfort features such as non-skid flooring, grab bars, anti-scald valves and seat, walk-in tubs can make bathing a safe, enjoyable experience for seniors and others with decreased mobility. Here are a few of the pros and cons to help you decide if a walk-in tub is right for you.
Pro: Health Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Walk-in tubs that offer hydrotherapy features such as jets, along with deep seats for a warm, relaxing soak, provide a variety of health benefits to seniors. These include increased mobility and relief from pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism and fibromyalgia, as well as the general aches and pains that come with age. Hydrotherapy can also provide stress relief, as well as help increase circulation, which can be an issue for diabetics.
Con: Waiting for the Tub to Fill & Empty
One of the biggest downsides to walk-in tubs is the time it takes to fill and empty them. One necessary but inconvenient feature of walk-in tubs is that you have to get in and close the door before turning the water on, which also means that the door can’t be opened until the water has been completely drained. While it only takes about seven minutes to drain, that’s plenty of time to catch a chill as you wait, especially for older people who are more susceptible to the cold. Many tubs feature heated seats to help counter this problem, but it’s also wise to have a towel handy to cover up with as the water drains out.
Pro: Similar Water Usage
While you would think a deeper tub would use more water, this is not always the case. A standard non-jetted tub holds between 35 and 50 gallons of water, while a shower uses between 25 and 50 gallons, depending on the flow of your shower head and the length of the shower. In comparison, many walk-in tubs hold around the same amount – about 50 gallons. While deeper, many walk-in tubs are also narrower than a regular tub. Some have heating systems to keep warm water circulating so you don’t have to add more hot water to keep the bath warm.
Con: Cost of Installation
Walk-in tubs are an investment. They can be fairly expensive and generally are not covered under Medicare or Medicaid. The price for the walk-in tub itself runs from $1,000 on up to $5,000. Installation costs can also vary greatly, depending on whether you need a home plumbing repair, a new water heater or an upgraded electrical or plumbing system. The total cost including walk-in tub installation can reach $10,000 on the high end.
Trust Our Plumbing Professionals
If you are ready to install your own walk-in tub, your next step should be to call Handyman Connection at 1-800-88-HANDY. One of our experienced plumbers will come out and take stock of your bathroom situation, then let you know exactly what it will take to install a walk-in tub in your home. Call today!