Q. Dear Ed, we find your plumbing column fun and educational. My question is about a new product that I would like to have more information on. I believe it's called a "bubble" style bath. But I'm a little confused. Is there a difference between these bubble tubs and a regular whirlpool tub? It sounds like the same thing to me.
A. The product you are asking about is called a "BubbleMassage" tub, and like the name says, it uses "air bubbles" to massage and relax the user, instead of "jet pumps" like a traditional whirlpool tub.
Basically, the tub bottom is dotted with dozens of tiny holes, and has a hollow watertight chamber under those holes. When the tub is filled and turned on, an air blower pressurizes this chamber and bubbles of air escape through the holes and gently massage the user. Simply put, it's like taking a bath in a glass of champagne! It's very relaxing, but less intense than a water-jet style of whirlpool. This makes it a very popular choice for more sensitive users.
Another great feature is that after the tub is drained, the air blower also purges the used water from the chamber, so it's easy to keep clean. While installation costs can be less than a traditional whirlpool's, still plan your spending carefully so you don't burst your remodeling-budget bubble!
• Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org.