Three Things You Need to Consider Before Investing in a Walk-In Tub
If you or someone in your household has mobility issues, installing a walk-in tub can be a lifesaver. However, these tubs require a significant investment, so it's important to consider all the facts to ensure you're making the right decision for you and your loved ones. Here are three things you need to know about walk-in tubs to help you determine whether this is the right product for you and to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
You May Need to Upgrade Your Water Heater
Walk-in tubs tend to be large due to their design. In fact, many resemble small hot tubs. Because of their vertical height, these bathtubs require a lot of water to fill them. For instance, one brand has a fill capacity of 55 to 63 gallons, and another needs about 40 to 50 gallons. While you won't be filling the tub completely with scorching hot water, your water heater needs to be big enough to handle the demand these tubs can put on it, especially if you live with other people who may be using hot water in other parts of the home at the same time.
Most manufacturers of walk-in tubs recommend customers' water heaters have a 50-gallon capacity at minimum. If your water heater is smaller than this, you may find yourself running out of hot water before the bath can completely fill up. Therefore, you may need to either upgrade your existing appliance to a larger size or consider installing a tankless water heater to specifically service your walk-in tub.
Medicare Generally Doesn't Cover the Cost
Walk-in tubs typically require professional installation. Because of this, they can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000. Since more often than not people who purchase these tubs typically have medical issues that require them, you may wonder whether Medicare will cover the cost.
Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay to have a walk-in tub installed in your home. This is because they don't consider these products to be durable medical equipment. Walk-in tubs can be used by anyone in the household; thus, they are not a tool designed specifically to aid the mobility-challenged person like a wheelchair would be.
However, it may be possible to obtain reimbursement for a portion of the cost of getting a walk-in tub. To qualify for this benefit, the tub must be prescribed to the patient as a medical necessity. You would need to submit paperwork to the insurance provider with information about the diagnosis, a prescription from the doctor, and a note outlining why the tub is required. If Medicare accepts your reasoning, then it will reimburse you some money for the tub, but only after you've already paid for it.
There are other programs that may provide some financial assistance with getting the tub. For instance, Medicaid may pay part or all the cost of this product in some situations. There also may be grants available through the Veterans' Administration that could make the tub more affordable.
You Must Account for Filling and Emptying Times
Unlike regular tubs, you have to get inside a walk-in tub and wait for it to fill up before you can start bathing. Likewise, when you're finished, you have to wait until the water drains out of the tub completely before you can get out. This can be somewhat of an inconvenience for people who are chronically short on time. Additionally, it may be uncomfortable for you or your loved one to sit and wait for the bath to fill and empty if it's cold in the bathroom.
This is something you need to plan for when using this type of tub. This may involve turning up the heat so keep the bathroom warm or buying a special bathrobe to wear while the tub is filling and emptying.
Walk-in tubs can add a lot of convenience to your life, and knowing these facts can help you better prepare for owning one. For more information about walk-in tubs, contact a contractor by visiting sites such as http://www.twincitystairlifts.com.