Clarion Bathware Walk-In Tubs
Mar 03, 2016
The main reason why Americans buy Chinese walk-in tubs is that they're significantly cheaper than tubs made here at home. Some predatory companies advertise their product as being made in the US when they are actually imported over from China, lowering the cost of manufacture while increasing the price for consumers unjustifiably. The US-assembled models, regardless of the location of origin of the parts and components, are actually a safer bet for American seniors for reasons detailed below.
Chinese manufacturing methods are not bounded by watchdog companies that are in place to protect American seniors. This is important because the national regulatory process and safety restrictions in one country will not always share those same filters with another country. The ADA-compliant seats in American walk-in tubs are built with the population's average height in mind. Seats of Chinese walk-in tubs, on the other hand, are not. This makes certifications and accreditations of companies a good indicator of the safety standards being met by a company's model.
American businesses with a perfect A+ rating from the BBB is always a good sign of the quality of the service they're providing and walk-in bathtub companies are no exception.
US walk-in tub companies that are members of the IAPMO are regulated to making sure that the plumbing systems in all their hardware are up for the task.
One more filter for determining the quality of the model is UL-listing of the company. Being UL-listed means that the Underwriters Laboratories team have tested the safe use of the walk-in tub that you're being sold.
These filters of quality should make you feel secure and confident about what you're buying. You're gambling every time you buy an imported model.
Chinese companies are not tested to be of high-quality in terms of American plumbing systems. If you thought a 4-minute long filling was excessive, try waiting for 17 minutes for your tub to fill. Chinese walk-in tubs are very slow when it comes to draining/filling because they're not compatible with our plumbing lines.
This raises another issue: the method of installation. Local retailers will always try and hire contractors to install the tub for you at the fraction of the price of an independent installer if you were to hire one yourself. Whether you're buying a US-made model or a Chinese one, you're going to have to pay for installation.
Contingent on the type of installation, contractors are often paid anywhere between $500 and $5,000. If you do the math, you'll find that the money you're saving with the purchase of a low-quality Chinese tub is actually being allocated towards installation costs and shipping fares. You'll end up saving a few hundred bucks at the most. Is it worth it?
Veterans cannot collect VA grants to afford the quality product that they deserve if they have their sights on a Chinese-made model. Both the Home Depot and Lowe's offer a year-round 10% discount for veterans that are "currently serving in, or retired from, a qualifying branch of the Armed Services, or.. the immediate family member of someone who is and have a valid military ID Card, or.. a veteran who receives VA benefits and have a valid Veteran Identification Card (VIC)."
Walk-in tub companies themselves have VA memberships and affiliations that aid in the purchase of a tub for qualifying veterans. Texan stationed Best Buy Walk-In Tubs, for instance, is approved by VA. Texan veterans who have injuries connected with their service that resulted in their being 50 - 100% disabled can be given a grant of up to $6,800 from the Home Improvement Structural Alterations (HISA) for the purchase of a walk-in tub.