whirlpool baths question

We're adding a master suite with a bathroom large enough to accommodate a whirlpool (jetted). I'm not convinced that we will use a whirlpool often enough to justify a huge expense, so I'm curious about your collective experience with "low end" whirlpools. I'm trying to keep the cost of parts (tub+motor, faucets, drain assembly, in-line heater, timer, trim kits) under $2000 - 2500.
So far I've looked at the Jacuzzi Espree at Lowes, and at several of Kohler's lower priced models (such as Devonshire-1357, and models 1157 and 1148). All but the Devonshire are 72x36, using 65-80 gallons. The Devonshire is a 5' tub.
I plan to use an in-line heater and drop-installation with a tiled surround. Our contractor will install the tub.
What is your experience with any of these models? Or any other low-end models?
What size hot water tank would you recommend? Special plumbing (like 3/4" pipe)? Is a 1 or 1.25 hp motor adequate?
I'd appreciate any and all advice!
TIA -
Carol
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I have a ~one person whrilpool bath that must need about 50 gallons to fill. I would consider it a low end unit (not a lot of features & came with the house) If I adjust the input temp to my desired final temp I "run out" of hot water before it's full. Actually the incoming temp falls below useable. I have got a 75 gallon WH.
So I have to run in all hot at first & then cold near the end of the fill. The cold water is down near 45 in the winter.
IMO the current tub I have ~72 x 36 is too small AND it sorely needs some sort of "reheater" as the water temp (in winter) qucikly falls below comfortable preventing a low leisurely soat w/o having to repeatedly adjust the water temp :(
Only you can decide about the size & cost of the unit. but IMO you'll remember the lack of performance low after you've forgotten the bargain price.
When I get my wife to agree I would to remove the small one we've got & replace it with a bigger one with a pre-heat / re-heat festure.
I don't know the hp of our current tub but 1 or 1.25 seems more than adequate for a tub. We have an outdoor above ground spa that fits 4 easily / 6 more snugly (~8' x 8') and it has two jet motors; one ~ 1 hp & the other ~3 hp
I would definitely go with 3/4" pipe to the tub; you want to fill it in a resaonable amount of time.
cheers Bob
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More and more, I hear people say they could care less whether a master bathroom has a large, jetted tub or any tub at all. When talking about bathrooms, many people think of counter space, large showers, and storage. If you are considering the tub for when you sell the house, then you have to look at the market rather than your own comfort. After all, you bought the house without a jetted tub, so someone else will buy it from you.
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I have to agree. We have one and almost never use it. However when I used to mow the lawn myself in 80 degree plus weather I did use it.

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I installed a American Standard (60wide x 20 tall) jetted tub from Lowes, ~$300. No heater, just a pump. The water from the tap is enough for me. I could not justify the cost of an booster heater and the electrical circuit it required. I installed a new 30 gallon gas heater and the tub holds just about what the hot water tank can produce on the middle of the road setting. I always shower afterwards and the heater is still catching up for awhile after the shower.
Next one of these I install I might consider porcelain.
I have 6 jets and a 1 hp pump. If there were more jets it would need more power.
Do not forget about a good high volume exhaust fan. The humidity climbs in my home when I use it. I use my tub for reading and relaxing 3-4 times a week. If your a bath person then by all means. If your not you probably are just spending more money.
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FurPaw wrote:

I bought a ~6x3 ft tub from HD about 3 years ago, for ~$700. It was so much cheaper than any other whirlpool tib I priced it was ridiculous. It is an american standard, and the guy at HD said it was a special deal with HD, and it was aa ridiculous price. As far as the quality, I am sure there are better, but I like it. It fits two peple nicely, and I can fit in it great ( I am 6'1").
BUT, we dont use it a whole lot.
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