Operate whirlpool tub jets?

Hi gang,
When inspecting a tub for flow and drainage, what if it is a whirlpool jet tub? Must the inspector also operate the whirlpool jets?

Many thanks to you all!

In my state it’s in the standards of practice, so yes.

Even if it weren’t though I would still, if you were a home buyer you’d want it to be checked.

Cheers & Good luck.

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Yes I always did. Be sure the water level is above the jets though. Might get messy otherwise. :rofl:



InterNACHI’s SOP states:

The inspector is not required to:

  • determine the adequacy of whirlpool or spa jets, water force, or bubble effects.

If you decide to exceed the SOP, the Plumbing course has the following procedure:

4.18.2 Recommended Whirlpool/Jetted Tub Inspection Procedure

  • Fully open the hot and cold water faucets and fill the whirlpool tub with water at least 1 to 3 inches above the whirlpool jets.
  • Do not operate the pump until all jets are submerged.
  • Direct the jets downward before activating the pump.
  • Inspect the amount of bubbling with the controls.
  • The suction inlets typically have very small openings, less than 1/8-inch in diameter, to prevent catching hair and pulling someone’s head under water. This has happened in the past and some suction inlets have been recalled.
  • If dirty water comes out of the jets, the circulation system is probably dirty and the tub is not sanitary, and the inspector should recommend a professional cleaning.
  • There should not be any odor emanating from the tub.
  • All whirlpool tubs should have a dedicated electric circuit protected by a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter).

If the motor/pump is reasonably accessible, look for the bonding wire connection.
Half the time I find them missing.


You might want to do the third item FIRST.

As Patrick said, I always do it simply because it is something the client likes to know. There have also been a few times when there was no access for the pump. I report that as an installation defect. The pump should be accessible for service.


Keep this in mind. If the tub is not routinely used, nasty black particulates will come out of the jets. The worst part is when you drain the tub, the black stuff will stick to the sides and bottom of the tub. If it dries there it is like trying to remove black super glue. I keep a pitcher (from a past Oktoberfest, if you know what I mean) in the truck so I can easily rinse the black junk away before it starts to dry.


Me, too…the same as Doug.

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Wow! More to consider here than I thought. “Not required” but “I ought to” but “horrendous black staining” and “time-consuming cleanup” and “time consuming to fill the tub”.

I just did a call-back on the client where the jets hadn’t been tested. It wasn’t the jets but rather a slow leak at the drain itself. It didn’t become evident during the 4 hour inspection, but the water leaked to a location above a fluorescent light fixture. No sign of it in the ceiling nearby, but the new homeowner noticed water collecting on the plastic diffuser covering of the light fixture after bathing the children. It took a long time for the water to puddle in the light fixture, but when it did, they contacted me and fussed.

Now I’m taking note of how to approach it next time so it doesn’t bite me again.

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Your contract should specifically exclude “latent defects.” (a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection)


IMO, determining the adequacy does not mean do not operate. You need to power the thing on for normal operation.


I use the timer on my phone so I do not forget the tub is filling up. Two minute increments so I can continue to inspect things nearby. But, sitting there and watching it fill is the safest bet.

And we are there to operate things under normal controls. If a pipe leaks then it was the pipes fault, not yours.


But but… … …what if … … …
May be a … … …
Some may have seen this.


Interesting. This is why I do not operate secondary valves. If a component is shut down, it stays that way during my inspection.

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I definitely agree! I believe we should be checked these components.

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I test them all and verify that they are GFCI protected and that it works.


Bob, I will edit the Spectora contract of terms to include that.

In the case of that video posted above, who becomes liable for that water damage?

I believe the video says the listing agent turned the water on. It’s ON them!

My state requires the following wording (in 14 pt. Bold type) in the report:

“The results of this home inspection are not intended to make any representation regarding latent or concealed defects that may exist, and no warranty or guaranty is expressed or implied”

This is typical of the wording required for latent defects.

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Had one in an inspection this past Friday. Filled it but didn’t operate the jets. The On/Off push switch was missing it’s protective cover. Wasn’t about to stick my finger in there to test it. Client was present and understood. Also no service access panel. Just a small cut out where the GFCI receptacle was.

I drained the tub and finished up my upstairs work. While walking around downstairs finishing up and talking to the client, we noticed a damp area on the floor. It first looked like where someone had spilled something and didn’t wipe it up. Touched it and sure enough it was wet. Looked up and it was right under where that tub was located. Cabin style house and the flooring/ceiling are wood plank. Tub had a leak at the drain and slowly dripped through the plank floor/ceiling into the downstairs room.

One I could have missed if my client and I were not chatting and walking back through that area downstairs.

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