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Mike Lamb

Disinfect Whirlpool Tub

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What do all you tell your client, if anything, when black crap comes out of the whirlpool tub jets? I tell my clients to throw a couple cups of bleach in the tub with water and run it for a few minutes.

When I told my client this she said the HI who inspected her house wrote in his report that her whirlpool tub needed to be professionally disinfected.

Sounds like HI stupid talk.

Sometimes this is pretty nasty and I do not clean the crap up.

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I tell them pretty much the same thing.

I don't clean it up either. If there's a hand held sprayer, I'll try to spray some of it down the drain, but that's it.

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I don't run the tubs. Maybe I'm like Jowers with roofs, but I refuse to subject myself to aerosolized rotted body parts/ fluids that have been basking in the dark warmth of bacteria for God knows how long. I quit flippin' the switch after inspecting one that literally looked like a Play-Doh factory with extruded tubes o crud.

That's pretty much what I tell my clients, then I suggest they have the tubs professionally cleaned or removed. Bleaching does nothing to remove an established bio film.

You guys don't clean the crud but you do reach down through the water to open the drain.

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I once ran a jetted tub in new construction, drained it and when I got to the unfinished basement there was 30gl of water on the floor along with a piece of the drain. The plumber had forgot to use glue.

Anyway I tell folks to go to the store and buy a product designed to clean jetted tubs, yes I run them.

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Bleaching does nothing to remove an established bio film.

You guys don't clean the crud but you do reach down through the water to open the drain.

Maybe that's why I have a hand growing out of my ear. Anyway, it's probably safer than climbing 12:12 roofs.

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I don't even fill them. I run the water to make certain they drain properly and I hit the button for a split second to make certain the motor's working. That's it. If they're leaking, there will be signs somewhere to that affect. I've never had a call-back regarding a jetted tub to this day resulting from this cursory inspection. Sometimes, when I explain my method, the buyer insists upon a more thorough test. I always say, "Be my guest. I'm going to continue to inspect the rest of the home." The client's never discovered anything I wasn't able to figure out by another means.

I'm not a jetted tub fan either - wouldn't own one. By the time you fill one of them the water is already getting cool.

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Filling up the jetted tub will tell a few things:

How long will the hot water last? Is it enough hot water?

Does it work as designed? Check water pressure? Temperature?

Does the water drain out? Slow? Fast? Noisy?

Always recommend disinfecting. See front pages of tub manual for procedure and timing. 100% of the water does not drain out--always some left over for the next bath!! Yuckoh!

Hint: Always fill tub to cover the jets.[:-party]

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You guys don't clean the crud but you do reach down through the water to open the drain.

I Purell.

There's lots of good reasons for not running the stupid things. I often do what Mike said, just hit the button to see if the motor works.

No one uses them, except folks with little kids; I tell them they're washing their kids in excreta.

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According to something I read someplace, bacteria from uncleaned whirlpool tub jets is the #1 cause of staph and mersa infections.

We fill them to about 3 inches above the jets and then run them through their paces. I do it specifically to cause the crud to flush out of the system and into the water so that the client can see that and hopefully get a little grossed out and motivated to clean the damned things. Then I tell them not to use the tub until they've either cleaned the circulation system themselves (after finding out how to do it from the manufacturer) or had it done by a professional.

Kills two birds with one stone; the client knows that the thing is working and the client knows that the system must be cleaned out.

The flooding thing? Yeah, had it happen a time or two. Last time was a couple of years ago in a brand new house. The house was staged and in the dining room below the whirlpool tub with the broken pipe there was a huge gorgeous dining room table about 15ft long. By the time I got downstairs to see what all the yelling was about, there was about 20 gallons of water coming out of the ceiling fixtures and onto that table and from there onto the hardwood floors and from there into the basement. We didn't have anything to soak up the water rapidly so we pulled down all of the curtains used to stage the house and turned them into towels. The agents and clients spend nearly half an hour sopping that water up, carrying those drapes out onto the balcony and then wringing them out before they got all of the visible water mopped up.

I've got about a dozen Shamwow-like chamies in my car now.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I always test them.

I also ride a bike (motorized or not) with out a helmet, run in the hallway with scissors, drive my car with out my seatbelt on (unless I spot the man), eat medium rare steaks (because their just so friggin' tasty that way). I even sneak a cigar upon occasion.

Honest to God I sometimes wonder how mankind has evolved (or not).

I must admit though that I won't percolate in a public hot tub (just to creepy) but to test them?

With regards on how to clean them - follow manufactures recommendations. If that is not available then put some Cascade dish washing detergent in the tub with hot water (low suds - less cavitation of the pump) run for 10 minutes, drain & fill with plain hot water, run pump for 10 minutes, repeat processes.

After that light candles, open a nice bottle of wine and enjoy your new house. And yes, I've actually said that.

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No one uses them, except folks with little kids; I tell them they're washing their kids in excreta.

I'm glad they're not vogue any longer. I hardly ever see them in new homes - not even really nice homes. Now the deal is showers that look more like a high-tech car wash. [:-tophat]

As a matter of fact, I saw an amazing thing the other day in a 5500 SF home: I peered into the shower and noticed it was a H U G E two person shower with a shower head on each of two surfaces forming a corner. Then, I noticed another glass door at the end of the shower - into another bathroom. Like an idiot, I started thinking, wait a minute.. a shower attached to two bathrooms?.. who wants that?.. Then I rounded the corner to realize the master bedroom suite had "His" and "Hers" bathrooms connected by that huge shower. That was a first for me. I kinda liked the idea. A PLAY GROUND!!.. [:-thumbu]

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I hit the button to see if the motor works and if it has a GFCI that I can find. I do not fill them with water and run them. On a new home that has never been lived in, I will fill them with water and run them for about 10min. I have had a couple just stop (motor burned out) on new construction units. Seems that they do not like sawdust and the like from the home being built!

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I always run them. I tell the client the floaties will occur if it's not used for a period of time due to mildew buildup in the water remaining in the lines, and that they can sometimes just run, drain and refill, or run a spa line cleaner through it.

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OK. I had to investigate to see what cleaning instructions are out there. From Kohler:

Flush your whirlpool system twice a month or more, depending upon usage.

1. Adjust the jets fully clockwise so there is no air induction.

2. Fill the bath with warm water to a level 2" above the highest jets, or leave water in the bath after using.

3. Add 2 teaspoons of a low-foaming, powder automatic dishwasher detergent and 20 ounces of household bleach (5% to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to the water.

4. Run the whirlpool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then shut off the whirlpool and drain the water.

5. If desired, rinse bath surfaces with water.

6. Clean KOHLER® cast iron and acrylic bath surfaces as needed with recommended cleaners

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Flush your whirlpool system twice a month or more, depending upon usage.

They've gotta be kidding.

Ya ever read the instructions for owners to test their garage doors?

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Flush your whirlpool system twice a month or more, depending upon usage.

They've gotta be kidding.

Ya ever read the instructions for owners to test their garage doors?

Simply because there is such a thing as infinity, we can rest assured that somewhere in North America there is a person that religiously follows those instructions - right after he straightens all the tassles on his Persian rug...

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I run every whirlpool tub. Shoot, fellas, you've gotta die from somethin'.

How 'bout being smothered in the flesh of a thousand senioritas.....(?)......

Beats getting the axe from tub skank.

I finally had a moment today that will change how I think about testing bubble tubs..........

I fill the sucker, turn it on, everything's fine (I think at the time), I let it run while I check out the rest of the 2nd fl...............then I hear water splashing........

The stinking tub stopper leaked just enough water after 5 minutes to drop the water level to around jet height, so the jets @ the back end are blasting water all over the bathroom when I enter the door. It dripped all the way to the 1st floor. Stinkin' freakshow mess.

I'm thinkin' the quick button touch....on and off.....is sounding a lot smarter.

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Good points made from both sides. Here's how it balances out for me: I run jetted tubs for the same reason I operate kitchen appliances and bidets; not because I am an expert in their many nuanced functions, but because it only takes a few minutes and my clients overpay me to do so.

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I've had clients start a jetted tub when the jets weren't submerged enough. What a mess.

A lot of what we do is judgement calls, based upon our experience. I used to flood shower pans with the old rubber ring and test 'em. Then one time, I did it on a vacant house. The stain didn't show up in the ceiling until we were all long gone. So, when my clients moved in, they immediately wanted to know how I missed the stain in the ceiling and the failed shower pan. Fortunately, I was able to remind them that I tested it and we did not observe a stain. Apparently, the shower pan was in the infancy stages of failure and I magnified everything by flooding the shower. That was the last time I ever tested a shower pan with a rubber ring.

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What do all you tell your client, if anything, when black crap comes out of the whirlpool tub jets? I tell my clients to throw a couple cups of bleach in the tub with water and run it for a few minutes.

I tell them to clean the tub per the instructions on the manufacturer's website.

When I told my client this she said the HI who inspected her house wrote in his report that her whirlpool tub needed to be professionally disinfected.

Sounds like HI stupid talk.

I think I know where that comes from. Back in 1994, I (and probably every other ASHI member) received in the mail a very official looking packet from the "National Council for Whirlpool Bath Health & Safety." It contained a cover letter explaining that the Council needed the help of ASHI inspectors to get the word out that Whirlpool Baths were dangerous and required regular cleaning and occasional "professional cleaning." The rest of the packet contained a bunch of "Disclosure Certificates" that I was supposed to hand out to my customers. It was actually pretty good and included lots of useful information about whirlpool baths, but little that wouldn't be included in the manufacturer's instructions. One paragraph on that "certificate," though, was particularly interesting. It read, "While the Council does not promote individual products, policy permits identification of key sources or sole suppliers of services or products which may be of benefit to consumers, users, manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of whirlpool baths."

I was curious about them, so I called the number, expecting to get an office in Washington, DC. A tired woman answered "Hello?" In the background I heard crying kids and a barking dog. When I told her I was calling about the National Council for Whirlpool Bath Health & Safety, she fumbled through some papers and asked how she could help me. I told her that I had questions about the Council. She said that she'd have someone call me. No one ever called.

After that I suspected that the Council was a thinly disguised marketing effort by some whirlpool bath "professional cleaning" company. (Their Disclosure Certificate prominently recommended professional cleaning and featured a photo with the caption, "Used with permission of HYDRAVAC CORPORATION, Dallas, TX.")

Now, when I google "National Council for Whirlpool Bath Health & Safety," I find reprints of that "certificate" on the web sites of many home inspectors. Much more interestingly, though, I find that Mike Casey was Director of that Council from 1992-1995.

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif ncwpbhs.pdf

402.36 KB

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