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Reuben Saltzman

Whirlpool Maintenance

Have you ever turned on a whirlpool and seen a bunch of nasty black gunk shoot out of the jets?  I’ve heard it’s either mold or some kind of bacteria that feeds off dead skin cells.  Personally, I don’t care what the stuff is – it’s gross no matter what.  If the water in the circulation piping sits stagnant for a while, there’s a good chance that this black gunk will start growing; it can take as little as a month for this to happen.

Nasty WhirlpoolWhirlpool Gunk

To prevent this black gunk from accumulating in your whirlpool,  you’re supposed to clean it at least monthly, depending upon the manufacturer.  Pretty crazy, huh?  Here’s what a few of the larger manufacturers say:

American Standard: Once a month, fill the whirlpool with warm water, add two teaspoons of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent and 4 ounces of bleach, and run the system for two minutes.  Drain the tub, fill it again with cold water, and run it again for five minutes.

Kohler: Twice a month or more, fill the whirlpool with warm water,  add two teaspoons of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent and 20 ounces of bleach, and run the system for five to ten minutes.

Jacuzzi: Twice a month or more, clean the whirlpool with their exclusive cleaning product, called Systems Clean.

My two cents: Maintaining a whirlpool tub is a lot of work.  Not as much as a spa, but still… who would have thought?  Oh, and to Jacuzzi for only giving instructions to clean with their exclusive cleaning product – boo.

If you’re planning to sell your home and you have a whirlpool tub, take the time to clean the system out, especially if you never use it.  If a bunch of black gunk comes out of the jets when the home inspector tests the system in front of the buyers, they’re really going to be grossed out with your bathroom.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Home Inspector Minneapolis

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No responses to “Whirlpool Maintenance”

  1. Ben
    September 27, 2011, 5:36 am

    Nothing worse than getting sprayed by this nastiness. It never fails that the pressure is just a tad bit too high and you get shot in the face with a few drops. Clean em’ people!

  2. Is your water heater large enough for your bathtub? | Structure Tech Home Inspections
    October 4, 2011, 3:41 am

    […] your candles, you’re turned on some Enya, you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine, you cleaned the gunk out of the jets last week, and you’ve filled your tub with hot water… oh wait.  Your tub is only […]

  3. Running out of hot water | Fair and Square Remodeling
    October 17, 2011, 1:04 pm

    […] your candles, you’re turned on some Enya, you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine, you cleaned the gunk out of the jets last week, and you’ve filled your tub with hot water… oh wait.  Your tub is only […]

  4. tim
    October 22, 2011, 8:42 pm

    have a american standard whirpool tub the back jest will not work what could be my problem. p.s. we clean the tub twice a week

  5. Reuben Saltzman
    October 23, 2011, 6:00 am

    Hi Tim,

    I’m no expert on whirlpool repairs; your best bet would be to contact American Standard directly.

  6. Jess
    October 22, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Any advice on cleaning an old whirlpool bath with BROKEN jets? Previous owners can’t even remember the last time they worked.. I miss my bubble baths!

  7. Reuben Saltzman
    October 22, 2012, 7:41 pm

    Jess – no, I’ve never tried repairing broken jets.

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