A steam shower allows you to relax and unwind in the comfort of your bathroom, a luxury that would otherwise require a trip to a sauna. It’s a simple concept: a generator converts water into steam and pumps it into a fully enclosed shower, allowing you to sit or stand and unwind in the warm, soothing steam. Adapting to a steam shower is no sweat. Installing this type of shower, however, might not be so easy – at least, not if you don’t know what to expect.
1. Your Bathroom Needs Plenty of Space
Although having a steam shower seems like a luxury, they’re doable even for small homes and small bathrooms. But while size doesn’t matter a ton in terms of width and depth, the height of the shower is important. The taller the shower, the more steam has to be generated to fill the space. The ideal height is around 7 feet. Keep in mind that it’s ideal to have a steam shower large enough to fit a bench or seat, to make it possible to sit in the steam for 15 minutes or longer.
2. Where the Generator is Installed Matters
The unit that creates the steam is a critical part of any steam shower. This unit needs to be located close to the shower itself, and it should be in a heated part of the home so that there’s no chance of the pipes freezing during cold weather. The installation space should also have adequate room to allow for the generator to be serviced if necessary.
3. It’s Going to Eat Up Electricity
Generating steam doesn’t require much water, but if the shower is frequently used, expect to see your electric bill spike. How much more it will cost you to operate your steam shower depends on how often it’s used. The generator must be connected to electric power, typically at 220 or 240 volts.
4. Steam Equals Condensation
Remember, steam is water. And when that steam turns into condensation, things can get quite drippy in the shower enclosure. Not a problem in a typical shower, but feeling water drip on your head is a distraction during an otherwise serene steam session. That’s why the shower ceiling must be sloped: to direct dripping water away from where you sit or stand.
5. Beware of Slipping
A steam shower should help ease your aches and pains, but it could also be responsible for new injuries. The floor of this type of shower can get slippery when it’s in use, and that can be dangerous for elderly or disabled users. Make sure to install anti-slip strips on the floor before the shower’s first use, and stress to anyone who uses the shower that stepping in and out carefully is important.
6. Choose Sealed Fixtures
Steam will fill every part of the enclosure. If it seeps through any cracks or gaps in light fixtures, the moisture can damage the fixture or short out the light. Any lights within the steam shower should be vapor-proof. The walls of the enclosure should also be non-porous for maximum enjoyment and efficiency. Porous materials will absorb the moisture and heat rather than keeping it trapped in the shower.
7. Plan for Controlling the Steam
When you’re ready to take a steam, running to the utility closet to turn on the generator isn’t a viable option. Plan to install digital controls inside the shower stall itself, which should allow you to turn the steam on and off and even control the intensity and temperature of the steam itself. Some models even allow users to control their steam showers using apps on their smartphones.
8. Ward Off Door Leaks
The sliding glass door that some showers have aren’t going to cut it for a steam shower. If your shower currently has glass doors, they will almost certainly have to be modified or replaced to get rid of any small gaps and, if necessary, to bring the doors all the way up to the ceiling. Even a small crack between glass panes will allow steam to escape.
9. You’re Going to Need an Electrician
Hooking up the steam generator isn’t as simple as plugging the unit into a socket. You’ll need an electrician’s help to do the wiring necessary to get the generator up and running, and to run wiring for the steam control panel.
10. (And a Plumber Too)
An electrician isn’t the only pro whose services you’ll need to install a working steam shower. Water has to be delivered to the generator by a water line and another line has to travel between the generator and shower. The job can be a little more complicated in some cases.
A steam shower should take away from your stress, not add more complications to your life. Get your shower working quickly and efficiently with the help of an experienced plumber. Envision that first soothing shower and then call WaterWork Plumbing for a quote.