What is a steam shower good for? Steam showers are a great way to wind down after exercise. The warmth helps to open capillaries, which allows blood to flow. This removes the metabolic waste that builds up in muscles, causing muscle soreness. They can also help improve circulation.
They provide soothing and beneficial stress relief after physically and emotionally demanding days. There are many physical and mental health benefits of steam showers. There is a reason why fitness clubs, spas, healing centers, and hotels all offer steam showers. Ancient Rome originally discovered the many healing qualities and benefits of steam.
DAD’s Construction is one of the very few who install steam showers in Orange County. They are the only installer that actually lives and works in South Orange County. DAD’s is the best steam shower installer. As the only true local professional, you will experience the best home town service and the most beautiful steam shower.
Let’s look at a steam shower from the following perspectives:
- What is a steam shower?
- How does a steam shower work?
- What are the benefits of a steam shower?
- How much does a steam shower cost?
- Steam shower manufacturers?
What Is a Steam Shower?
A steam shower is a warm, vaporous steam room. Steam has many health and wellness benefits. This is especially true for your circulation, skin, sinuses, and muscle recovery and relaxation.
Residential steam showers are part of your regular shower. Integrated into your regular shower area, you can enjoy all the benefits of a steam and regular shower without the expense of installing separate rooms. With a combined steam and regular shower, you can choose your relaxation experience day by day.
Their natural water saving features and energy efficiency make them a green product. The average 20-minute steam shower uses less than one gallon of water. In comparison, a water-saving shower head sprays about 50 gallons of water in the same period. A whirlpool bath requires 40+ gallons of heated water.
The size of the steam generator is based on the showers volume in cubic feet, its shape, and what it’s lined with (tile, stone, etc.). A typical 4-by-5-by-8-foot shower stall (160 cubic feet) covered with ceramic tile requires at least a 7-to-10-kilowatt generator. A shower tiled in stone requires twice as much steam-generating capacity.
The time to add a steam shower is when you are remodeling your bathroom or shower. Adding will require some adjustments to your existing shower space. These work best with an 8-foot slanted ceiling (allows the steam vapor to “run-off”). You will also need a floor to ceiling 3/8-inch tempered glass enclosure. You may wish to consider adding a louver in the glass to add flexibility to your steam experience.
Making the Shower Efficient
It is very important to limit heat transfer into and outside of your steam shower. If you don’t, the results will be less than optimal. It is also very important to remove the steam after using. Trapped moisture from your steam shower will damage your bathroom if not removed. This damage includes mold, mildew, peeling paint, and crumbling drywall. Therefore, these important items must be included in your steam shower project:
- Window. You must have a properly sized window. The window must be Low-E argon filled double glass minimum. In California, all new and replacement windows must meet this minimum criterion. Triple glass is even better. The window should be vinyl or fiberglass. Do not use wood, wood clad, or aluminum windows. A window also allows for the escape of steam when you are finished.
- Exhaust Fan. The fan must be rated for at least 110 CFM. It must also be on a humidistat. The duct size must be a minimum of 4”. Always insulate the entire exhaust fan ducting. Locate near the outside of the steam shower’s glass enclosure. Vent through the roof whenever possible vs. through the exterior sidewall. Never vent directly into the attic, floor, or wall cavity spaces.
- Insulation. All the wall and ceiling cavities surrounding the steam shower should be insulated. If you can insulate the floor under the steam shower, that reduces the transfer of cold even more.
The window and fan are the primary mechanisms for removing the steam after using. When properly installed and used, these discourage the growth of mold, mildew, and damage from occurring inside your bathroom.
Shower Characteristics For a Great Experience
Do not install separate or additional heating, venting or air conditioning devices inside the steam shower. The 110 CFM minimum exhaust fan outside the steam shower is all the mechanical ventilation that’s needed.
You do not want the steam shower to be air tight. In fact, some air infiltration, especially around the shower door, allows you to see the steam form and slowly escape. This helps to properly regulate the inside environment.
You always want a seat in the steam shower. A built in fully tiled seat is best. Although a teak folding seat is acceptable for smaller spaces, I find their comfort less than desirable.
The best material for a steam shower is porcelain or ceramic tile (porcelain is the best). The more porous a material (e.g., marble, shale, granite, glass block, or concrete), the more quickly it will dissipate heat, rather than retaining it. Cement the walls and use a high-quality grout. Do not use drywall, cement backer boards, Polystyrene panels, or Polyethylene sheeting. See How Do You Remodel a Shower on best practices.
How Does a Steam Shower Work?
A residential system has three basic components: the steam generator, digital steam shower control, and a steam head. There are also additional options that will take your home steam shower experience to the next level. The control and steam head are installed inside the steam shower enclosure. Other components can be installed in a closet, under the sink, wall cavity, or other small space near the enclosure.
How it works. Cold water piped into a steam generator is heated to the boiling point and then sends fresh steam to an aperture in the shower stall. Digital controls inside the shower let the user adjust the steam’s temperature and duration. You can even add piped-in aromas, lighting, and music.
Residential steam generators require a dedicated 40–60-amp homerun circuit breaker. There must be a power supply disconnect within sight of the steam generator or one that is capable of being locked into the open position.
The generator also needs a dedicated water supply with a manual shut off valve. The safety relief valve (similar to a water heater T&P valve) and auto drain valve must discharge into an ABS drain or outside. Both can be installed into the existing ABS drain pipe or directly outside (limitations).
The generator can usually be installed under a sink, inside a cabinet, closet, or inside wall space. Although they can be installed in the attic, it is not recommended in unventilated attics. There must be unobstructed access to the generator. The generator must be installed no more than 50 feet from the shower steam head. The closer the better. Steam piped from the generator has a temperature of about 212ºF (100ºC). Therefore, the unit must be protected from combustibles and body parts.
Especially in Orange County, California, when installing a steam shower, you need to install a water filtration system. I strongly recommend a ScaleBlaster system. It’s compact, inexpensive, there are no filters or chemicals to add, and it works.
ScaleBlaster will eliminate the build up of calcium, lime, and calcium deposits in your generator and piping system. It will prolong the life and efficient operation of your generator. Don’t skip this important step. Install a ScaleBlaster!
What are the Benefits?
There are two primary benefits of a residential steam shower. Firstly, they offer a wealth of health and wellness benefits. Secondly, they increase the selling value of your home by about 30%.
Health and Wellness Benefits of a Stream Shower
Steam showers are an effective way to improve health and wellbeing. These allow you to live a more active lifestyle. Here are some of the many health benefits.
- Improved Circulation. The increase in temperature increases blood flow to all parts of the body. This improves muscle recovery.
- Metabolism and Weight Loss. Because steam increases your pulse rate, your cardiovascular system is stimulated. This increases your metabolism. Therefore, your body burns more calories. This, along with other healthy choices and exercise, helps you lose weight.
- Stiffness and Joint Pain. When muscles are relaxed, tension on your joints and cartilage is reduced. It’s the same feeling you get after a good stretch – only better!
- Cardiovascular System. When using a steam shower, your bodies pulse rate increases. Your air intake is also increased because the heat opens up the airways in your lungs.
- Steam showers cause the body to sweat. This removes toxins and chemicals that have accumulated within your body. Removing these pollutants will make you feel healthy and energized.
- Working out and performing physically demanding labor increases metabolic waste build up in your muscles. This is what causes feelings of soreness and fatigue. Steam showers help flush these elements out of your system. By increasing blood flow, joint pain and sore muscles are relieved.
- Fighting off Colds. Steam loosens mucus in your nose. This eases sinus congestion and irritation. Simply standing in a steam shower and taking in a breath full of warm air will decongest your chest and ease your respiratory system.
- Skin Care. Steam is good for your skin. It acts as a moisturizer. The combination of warm air and moisture opens clogged pores so they can absorb oxygen, vitamins, and valuable minerals. This leads to beautiful, youthful looking skin! Open pores also permit your skin to breath and perspire, allowing your bodies cooling system to function properly.
- Stress Management. When your muscles relax, your mind, body, and spirit relax as well. The reduced tension allows you to sleep better. When you are rested, relaxed, and free of stress, these translate into a positive mental well-being.
A word of caution on stream showers. They are not good for those living with heart conditions or diabetes. Heat can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Consult your doctor before using a steam shower.
Home Value of a Steam Shower
Do steam showers increase home value? Residential steam showers not only allow you to relieve stress on a daily basis from the comfort of home – they take the stress out of selling a home as well! According to a report from Zillow, home listings that mention steam showers sold for 29% more than their expected value.
Of the four million homes listed for sale on the Zillow website between 2016 and 2017, those mentioning “steam shower” in their listing descriptions earned their sellers the highest premium among more than 100 listing terms analyzed. There you have it! Proof from an outside source that steam showers increase your home’s value.
The New York Times reported similar findings. According to real estate agents they interviewed, potential home buyers are wowed by the presence of a steam shower. They predict that adding a steam shower to your home is at least a breakeven proposition.
If you’re considering adding steam to your bathroom, my advice is to go ahead and craft that special space. The feeling of elegance and the wow-factor if you do decide to sell will be worth the investment. And just think of all the health and wellness benefits you will be enjoying in the interim!
How Much Does a Steam Shower Cost?
There are various components to a steam showers cost. It starts with the size and configuration of your shower and bathroom area. This determines the generator you will need. After that, your selection of a steam head, accessories, and finishes will determine the final cost. You can spend $5,000 to $9,000. Cheaper units can run $2,000 to $5,000. WARNING! Cheaper units do not perform like the better units and do not last. They also do not have the best warranties or service.
Installing a steam unit is something you do while performing a shower or bathroom remodel. You do not add or retrofit steam systems into an existing shower. Therefore, many costs are not part of the steam shower installation but part of the overall remodel costs.
You may need to add or replace the window and exhaust fan. This, along with adding a dedicated 40–60-amp homerun circuit breaker can add another $2,000 to $4,000 to the cost.
There will also be additional construction expenses. These can add another $2,000 to $3,000 to the overall cost. These are:
- Building a sloped ceiling
- Tiling the ceiling
- Building and tiling a seat
- Hot mopping
- Insulation and waterproofing
Does it make sense to invest in a residential steam shower? Knowing that they increase your homes asking price by about 30% is convincing enough. Further, consider what you would spend going to a spa or gym. You will also enjoy all the health and wellness benefits of a steam shower. Add this to the convenience of having this powerful stress reliver in your home, and I think the answer is Yes!
Steam Shower Manufacturers
There are six major residential steam shower manufactures. All make reasonable generators and accessories. However, only one provides a full line of residential and commercial steam generators and accessories. They’ve been at this for over 75 years and have stayed at the forefront of technology and features. They have some of the most robust features in the industry. This manufacturer is Steamist.
I recommend Steamist. They are a top-of-the-line manufacturer. The full featured spa-like features offer best in class performance. If you’re looking for the highest quality, best warranty, and years of trouble-free enjoyment, then they should be in your list. Steamist products excel in improved usability over the competition. They offer things like aromatherapy, lighting effects, music, and digital controls. Their steam head selection and wealth of designer accessories and finishes puts them way above the competition.
- AromaSense™ infuses your steam experience with fragrant 100% undiluted essential oils.
- ChromaSense™ transforms the steam shower experience with chroma-therapy (lighting).
- AudioSense™ allows you to bring all your favorite music into your steam shower from your smartphone, iPod, tablet, or any Bluetooth enabled music player. The premium digital control installs inside the steam shower. It operates all spa options and has two user profiles. It is pre-programmed for connectivity with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Its built-in WiFi interface and connectivity with Pandora, Spotify and iHeart Radio enhances your spa experience.
- ShowerSense™ lets you enjoy your steam experience and follow it up with a refreshing shower from up to three different outlets.
The Steamist Total Sense Generator (TSG) features InstaMist™. This dramatically shortens the time to warm the steam. This clever feature eliminates cold waits you get with some generators. The second differentiating feature is what Steamist calls Steady Steam. Steady Steam is an innovation that precisely controls the in-shower steam temperature to the users desired set point. This is another common complaint of some lower end models where temperatures can fluctuate as much as ten degrees.
The Steamist warranty is the best. There is a full two year warranty on the generator. After this, it has a limited lifetime warranty on parts. Their customer service is superior to all others.
If you would like more information on a steam shower, or enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call DAD at (949) 380-0177 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free in home consultation (DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California including Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo).