Afternoon Delight – Your Whirlpool Tub or Spa…

“Skyrockets in flight…Afternoon delight” That was the refrain from a really nice little top forty song on the radio from 1976. Ah yes! In the last 44 years since that song came out, I find that my vision of an afternoon delight has been shifting to something more soothing and gentle- a nice hot bath or soak in a spa. Ahhhh.

So…quick shift! I have just done a brief survey of a few younger folks asking if they had heard of Legionnaire’s disease. The response was that they had heard the name but didn’t quite know what it was.  In 1976 the same year as our little song, the American Legion was having their annual convention in Philadelphia. Shortly thereafter these stalwart men began getting sick and then dying like flies from a mystery illness- a severe pneumonia. After frantic analysis it was discovered that a microbe, now called Legionella was living in the cooling system of the hotel…It is also very possibly living in your whirlpool tub waiting to make you so very sick.


Some years ago, we had a terrible smell in our house and after falsely accusing the dogs and the husband, the Marvelous Meggy discovered that one of her hundreds of flowerpots was not draining properly and that the water had become stinky, an organic soup…ptahh! Old water hanging around can start hosting all sorts of critters including Legionella. Our whirlpools do the same thing unless we are very diligent.

The pipes that run to the jets are a wonderful area for microbial growth. They are dark, moist, and warm. Although these tubs are supposed to be designed so that these pipes thoroughly drain, the reality is that they either don’t fully drain or that they simply stay damp. Either way, the result is bacteria heaven. Most of us have turned our whirlpools on and noticed black stuff coming out of the jets. Yep! That is the very stuff that I am talking about.

So, what to do?  Kohler Company, one of the makers of really high-end bathroom fixtures, tells you how to prevent this mess from invading your bath. Close up your air intake vents and fill the tub up to the max. Add 2 teaspoons of a low-foaming, powder automatic dishwashing detergent and 20 ounces of household bleach (5% to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to the water and then run the whirlpool for 5-10 minutes. You can use warm water because it is the beach that will actually do the sanitizing.  After running the system, empty the tub. Refill and rinse the system out with fresh water, empty the tub, and open the air intakes.

Finally,…fill it back up with hot water, grab a good book, and slide into the warm embrace of your bath-safely…afternoon delight indeed!

Ned Dominick does his best thinking in the bathtub! He and his qualified home inspectors have examined nearly 30,000 in Warner Robins, Macon and all of Middle Georgia For more go to his website at or call Ned at 478-738-0893.


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