Wednesday, 22 July 2009

How to Design and Build a Steam Shower

Nothing beats a shower when you want to "get clean and get on with life". If you want your shower to do more, you can equip it to provide a steam bath or a water massage. Whether or not, it doubles as a mini-spa, a shower must be solidly constructed and should be absolutely waterproof.

In a steam shower, a small yet powerful electric generator heats water from a dedicated supply line and then sends plumes of stream into the shower stall through one or more nozzles near the floor. The stall should be completely sealed with tightly fitting floor-to-ceiling glass door so that steam can't escape. A steam shower must also have a separate fan.

Installing a steam shower is not so hard. You just need some some electrical and plumbing skills. The key part to keep in mind is that steam is a form of water and can penetrate into ceilings, walls and floors and may create a rot effect. Different steam units take different time to build steam in the room. Due to different internal designs, some steam shower make steam more faster than other units. Also the sizing of steam generation unit should be take care of. It should depend upon the type of wall surface and cubic feet of area.

Though the steam generator is no larger than a carry-on suitcase, it requires additional space and a point of access for repairs. Typically, the generator is installed in a closet that abuts the shower area, in the basement, "but the closer the better".

The cost of the generator is based on the size of the shower enclosure. Outfitting an average-size shower can cost up to $4,000, and a shower lined with natural stone instead of ceramic tile will absorb steam more quickly and require a larger generator. For $ 1,600 to $6,000, you can buy a prefabricated steam-shower unit with the generator built into fiberglass stall. A steam generator requires a dedicated 240-volt circuit, which can cost another $300 to $600. If your electrical panel won't accommodate the addition, the price will go up by $800 or more. However, in most areas, the electricity to run a steam shower for 15 minutes costs less than 30 cents.