Before buying a walk in bath, Windsor Baths advise that being happy with the purchase should be most important. Windsor Baths offer the advice points below to help in the decision making process:
1. It should be remembered that with a walk-in bath, the user will be locked in the bath until the water has drained. Ensure that the bath doesn't have a pop-up plug or the user may sit for up to 20 minutes while the water drains. Major world vendors of walk in baths use normal plugs as this is the quickest way to drain the bath.
2. As the bath locks in the user, fast fill taps are necessary. Fast fill taps deliver 30 to 40 litres a minute, standard taps deliver 5 to 15 litres a minute. Again, major vendors use these type of taps and are most commonly made in the UK or Australia.
3. If the walk in bath has a grab bar fitted to the body, ask for a certificate of compliance to Australian Standard AS1428 in writing. Windsor Baths don't fit grab bars to the bath body, as the grab bar cannot be attached to fibreglass to meet the AS1428 standard. Leading vendors like Seabridge Bathing of Canada don't fit grab bars into the bath body for a good reason.
4. Does the spa inclusion use water or air? Most vendors use only body temperature heated air to prevent bruising to delicate skin that a water spa can cause. Windsor Baths' air spa system is made for hydrotherapy applications by the provider in Canada. You can turn on a heated-air spa 10 minutes before you enter the bath, to heat the bath shell, you can't do this with a water spa. Leading vendors like Seabridge Bathing of Canada only use air-spas for a good reason.
5. Avoid conventional lay-in type baths. While a door may help acess into the conventional type bath, the big risk is getting stuck on the floor of the bath and this is why lay-down type baths aren't fitted into aged care environments in Australia. The larger water capacity of lay-in type baths means standing [or laying] in the bath for a longer period while it fills. Sit-in baths represent over 98% of walk in bath sales world wide. Sit-in baths can safely provide comfortable bathing for decades.
6. Some low quality walk in baths have hand held showers incorporated into the bath shell. Because of the weight of a metal flexi-hose and shower head, these can be clumsy and difficult to use. Use a vertical ASNZ Standards approved external grab bar above the bath, with an attached, sliding,removable shower head on a flexi hose is recommended. They are easy to fit, as the hose screws into the existing shower outlet. Walk in bath suppliers, Seabridge Bathing and Premier Baths use this method, as it is far safer and easier to use.
7. Will the walk in bath fit through the doors to the house? A standard door is 2'8" wide [81cm] less the door jambs offering about 31"[79 cm]. If the smallest dimention of a bath is over 29.5" [76cm] it may not get through your doors. Check this.
8. Australian Standards Compliance. This is a key issue as it is largely about user safety.
Here are questions to ask before buying.
- What is the IP (waterproof) rating of the electrics.
- If there is a hand held shower in the bath, what is the WELS rating?
- If there is a grab bar attached to the bath, is there an AS1428 compliance certificate?
- What is their Watermark number on their plumbing?
- Do their spa motors have Australian Compliance test certificates
- Do the spas have multiple one-way water flow protection systems to stop water reaching the 240V electrics?
- If there is a heated water spa, are there 2 thermostats as required by Australian Standards? Failure of a single thermostat model can have tragic results as the water gets hotter and hotter.
- Are the baths sold through reputable retailers?
Ask for written proof of specific Australian Standards Compliance and written proof of the country of manufacture and research products before buying.