Sizing Your Steam Room

Select the right steam unit by following these tips
By Martin Siwy
May 13, 2011

When it comes to creating the ultimate luxury bathroom at home, steam showers have become an increasingly popular choice among homeowners, designers, architects and remodelers. For showroom representatives, the presentation of steam therapy appeals to their clients since steam is known to cleanse toxins from the body, soothe tired, achy muscles and promote better sleep. And what homeowner wouldn’t want a spa-like sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation in the privacy of their own home?

Selecting the correct steam unit for your shower doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are three factors that will ensure you get it right:

1. Plan ahead. The best time to introduce homeowners to the idea of a steam shower is when they’re drawing their plans. “Pre-planning is crucial,” said Joe Eginton, of George’s Pipe and Plumbing Supply in Pasadena, CA. “Homeowners need to know that when they want to install a steam shower, it’s not just about purchasing a steam generator.” For example, they should talk to their architect about creating enough space for a shower bench or, at the very least, a flip seat. Eginton also advises sloping the ceiling to avoid condensation from dripping onto the bather, and making sure the room is sealed properly. But most importantly, pre-planning ensures the electrical and wiring requirements can be easily met.

2. Choosing your materials. Choosing the right building materials is key when considering a steam shower; some materials are more porous than others and therefore require a higher kilowatt (kW) generator. This should be taken into consideration since the higher the kW, the higher the electrical requirement, wire size and breaker. The therapeutic steam experience doesn’t change based on materials. However, the cost factor does since the more porous materials require a larger kW generator. For those looking for the best value, tile is a terrific choice and works exceedingly well for a steam environment.

3. Generator size matters. The kW size of the generator is important since you want the room to maintain the desired temperature. The following are two sizing methods used in the industry:
1. Some manufacturers have a formula that takes into consideration cubic footage, wall materials, exterior walls and windows. They offer a sizing calculator on their websites and one of the companies, Mr. Steam, offers a phone application to assist in sizing your generator.

2. ThermaSol uses “Simple Sizing,” a simple L x W x H calculation, which produces a generator number that tells you how many cu. ft. it covers. For example: 5 x 5 x 8 = 200 cu. ft. In this case, the correct generator would be a Model 240. And this generator would work for any room up to 240 cu. ft.
When considering the immense value a steam shower can bring to your home and your quality of life, don’t let sizing get in the way. Plan ahead, simply size, and enjoy the benefits of having a private spa sanctuary right in your own home.

—Martin Siwy has been the Western regional sales manager for ThermaSol since 2009. He has more than 10 years of experience in the industry. Since 1958, ThermaSol has been designing and building technologically savvy steam bath and sauna environments. www.ThermaSol.com
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