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March 21, 2013

Not Cool

New bathtubs have heated surface options

Q: My husband and I are planning to remodel our bathroom by changing all the fixtures, but basically we’re leaving the existing floor plan the same. My question is about choosing the new bathtub. Do they make heated bathtubs? I enjoy taking long baths, but do not like to keep adding hot water to the tub. We would need this tub to fit our existing space and we plan to install a tile-wall enclosure. Is this possible to have all these features in one tub? -- Jean, Ohio

A: Not only should that be possible, you should also be able to add another feature to your list. But, I’ll save that surprise for last.

First, let’s talk about the heating question. Yes, new-style bathtubs should be available in your area with heated surface options. You will need to check your local codes and work with a licensed electrician and plumber to have this type of tub installed, since it does have a built-in heating element.

When soaking in the tub, the heated surface can warm your back and neck with adjustable temperature settings. These tubs are usually made from acrylic materials and are available in different styles and sizes, along with different installation features.

For instance, in your case, you would want a tub with a built in “tile flange” so you can use wall tiles for the tub enclosure. Some heated tubs are even available with a “curved apron” feature that will fit the space of a standard tub, but will give you a little more soaking area.

When you add up all these features, I bet that a lot of people reading this will “warm up” to the idea of installing a heated bathtub!

(Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or email eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.)

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