Inspecting Hydro Massage Bathtubs (Whirlpool Tubs)
Whirlpool tubs are a fairly common feature that home inspectors come across when inspecting a bathroom of a home. You may be using a specific Association or State Standards of Practice that do not require you to inspect the whirlpool tub, but one of the most important things home inspectors should be looking for are potential safety hazards that can affect the safety of the occupant of the home.
You may exclude the whirlpool tub from your inspection report, but it is good practice to look for any safety issues that may be present with it. Home Inspectors are not Code Inspectors, but below are a few key characteristics a home inspector should check for to make sure the whirlpool tub is safe, according to the 2012 IRC:
- Power is supplied by an individual branch circuit
- The motor is plugged into a GFCI protected receptacle that is readily accessible
- Electrical equipment (pump motor) must be accessible without damaging the building structure or building finish.
- Disconnecting means are required within sight of the motor
- Metal parts of the bathtub must be bonded together with at least an 8 AWG solid conductor copper wire. If the whirlpool tub is constructed entirely of plastic or fiberglass, there may not be any components that require bonding to the pump motor. If metal water supply and drain piping serves the bathtub, those pipes would need to be bonded.
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