Are you looking for a way to improve your health, enjoy more relaxation time in the morning, or just have an extra luxurious shower experience? A steam shower might be the perfect option for you. Steam showers are still relatively new on the market so there is some debate about their benefits. Their pros and cons will help you decide if you invest in one.
Steam showers have many health benefits, improve the value of your home, save on space, water, and electricity bills, and provide a luxurious, spa-like experience. However, they’re costly to install, can cause mold and mildew, need lots of planning, and aren’t used enough to justify their costs.
What is a steam shower?
A steam shower is a steam-sealed shower enclosure that delivers steam at a safe temperature of 118°F before, during, or after a shower. Steam showers work by channeling cold water into a steam generator where it is heated into steam. While you shower or are simply seated, the steam generated enters the enclosure and mingles with your body to deliver a spa-like experience right in your home bathroom.
Steam showers are different from sauna baths which use dry heat instead of moist or wet heat like traditional steam rooms do. They can even be enjoyed without taking a bath with special features such as chromotherapy (colored lights) and aromatherapy that will help set up the desired mood.
You can adjust the temperature of the steam and its duration using a digital control on the steam generator.
To get the best steam shower, consider the following aspects:
- Remote control: with remote control, you can adjust the steam settings from across the shower with no need to go to the controls on the wall.
- Steam delivery speed: this determines how long the steam will last.
- Water capacity: this refers to the volume of water that can be stored in your shower’s tank, which means you won’t have to refill it often and waste time waiting for more hot water. The higher its volume, the better.
- Size of enclosure: make sure there is enough space inside before buying a unit as some models are only designed for specific sized bathrooms or showers etc. Smaller enclosures may also mean less room for maneuvering around when taking a bath/shower. Pay attention if anyone else might use it with you too.
- Heater power wattage: this is important because it indicates how much energy your steam generator will need from an electric socket at any one time. Knowing this info will help you determine how many amps your steam shower is going to need from a power board etc.
- Price: steam showers cost about $5,000 on average. Consider the price of different models and sizes so that you can buy one within your budget range. Remember, quality does not always come cheap as some brands may offer inferior units at higher prices purely for profit purposes without offering anything more than the basic features. However, it’s worth noting that those with pricier units tend to be more durable too which means they last longer.
- Auto-flush: this automatically flushes the calcium deposits on the heating element every 50 flushes reducing the need for a manual flush. You should also consider using a hard water softener or conditioner if you have hard water in your area.
These aspects should be discussed with your installation expert in relation to your needs, budget and area of installation. Always wear light clothing or no cloths at all when using a steam shower just like what you wear in a sauna.
Steam shower pros and cons
|Creates a spa-like experience||Expensive to install|
|Creates relaxation and healing||Units can fail unexpectedly|
|Helps lose weight||Danger of scalding|
|Increases the value of the home||Health risks|
|Saves on bills||Needs lots of planning|
|Saves on space||Not used enough|
Steam shower pros
The most common steam shower benefits include:
Creates a spa-like experience
Steam showers are luxurious and create an atmosphere of well-being both at home and in the workplace. If you like to unwind after a long day or if you simply need to take some time for yourself, nothing is better than spending your free time relaxing in a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing space that brings peace and comfort.
The best part about choosing this type of bathroom design over others is that it can be customized in almost any way imaginable allowing you to alleviate stress the way you see fit.
Creates relaxation and healing
Steam helps clear sinuses for those with this problem. It also helps with skin and breathing conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, bronchitis, cold, and many others. With a steam shower, you also get relaxation from joint and muscle pain and fatigue besides relief from arthritis pain. Those with allergies also gain relief from steam showers. In general, steam showers have a detoxing effect on the body.
The humidity level inside a steam room is usually very high since water boils at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius. This creates lots of hot vapor filled with tiny droplets that are close to pure water when it evaporates into the space surrounding you. This helps keep even dry skin healthy by moisturizing it naturally while also adding hydration back into sensitive red areas caused by dermatitis, eczema, and other conditions.
In addition, many find they have fewer problems than normal when they use their favorite body wash in combination with this type of steam shower since the heat and humidity can help open up your pores so that these cleansers are more effective.
Steam showers have been shown to even improve breathing in people with asthma or allergies by loosening inflammation in their nasal passages while increasing hydration levels around mucous membranes which also helps relieve congestion.
In addition, many find they sleep better at night when taking a hot steam bath before bedtime due to both of these factors working together. As such, humidifying dry air from moments earlier along with naturally opened pores allows for easier removal of dirt and sweat during a restful slumber without having an irritable cough interrupting it in the middle of the night.
Helps lose weight
Combined with a proper diet and a focused exercise routine, a steam shower can help shed off some pounds with the heat and steam. You should do that with intense heat and at least 15 minutes in the steam. Even with that, always consult your doctor before including it in your weight loss routine.
Increases the value of your home
Steam showers add a feeling of luxury to your home and can add value if you’re planning to sell. A steam shower makes a bathroom more pleasant and can help people with asthma or allergies breathe easier due to the amount of moisture in the air.
Saves on bills
Steam showers conserve water and electricity when compared to conventional showers. This is because less water is used to create steam in a given session than what a rainfall showerhead would use. A normal shower with a water-saving showerhead can use up to 50 gallons of water for 20 minutes while a steam shower will only use about 2 gallons of water in the same period.
Besides that, less electricity is used to produce enough steam to fill the shower stall than heating water for a whole shower session. On average, just $1 worth of energy is used per steam session.
Saves on space
Since steam showers have similar or even better benefits than soak tubs and yet they take up less space, they can replace soak tubs. In the process, they save on space in your home.
On average, steam units measure about 160 cubic feet (4 x 5 x 8 feet) and will require a 7.5 kW steam generator like the EliteSteam 7.5 KiloWatt Steam Shower System.
Steam shower cons
The disadvantages of steam showers include the following:
Expensive to install
Steam showers are expensive to install. They are also more difficult for a homeowner to install than other types of showers because the plumbing must be situated differently to work properly with the steam generator.
The typical costs for a steam shower include the following:
- Wall tiles: about $640 to $1,300
- Glass enclosure: $500 to $1,300
- Wall enclosures: about $700 to $1,900
- Steam generator: about $500 to $2,000 for a 4.5 to 12 kilowatts generator
- Installation cost: at least $1,000
These costs vary depending on the size of the shower and quality of materials.
Units can fail unexpectedly
The steam shower system is complex by nature. Even though it’s just part running all the time (and therefore isn’t always fully “on”), there still might be issues like leaks and electrical problems that arise over time which could end up costing you down the road unless they’re caught early enough. It’s best practice then, when having a steam shower, to have it inspected and maintained regularly by a professional.
Danger of scalding
Steam showers require exposed plumbing and electrical components that can be dangerous for children or pets who may pull on them. The spout through which steam enters the shower is also very hot and can scald you if touched when in use.
Steam exposure has health risks
The high temperature of the room during steaming winds up being an environment where bacteria thrive because there are no chemicals used when steaming. It’s recommended then to keep the door open after each use to let out any moisture/steam build-up before reusing it. This also goes hand in hand with increased energy bills if not properly vented out every time.
The other issue here though is that this will lead to condensation buildup inside which in turn can grow mold and mildew if the steam room is not used very often, leading to health issues for those with asthma or allergies.
Since you sweat in the steam shower, you will get dehydrated hence the need to take lots of water before using this shower. If you have some issues such as heart conditions or asthma, consult a doctor before using a steam shower or sauna.
Needs lots of planning
To avoid steam leaks, mold and mildew growth, and other issues in your home, it’s important to plan your steam shower well. This means taking into account how much space you have, what type of flooring is in the bathroom, and even where the plumbing lines are located under the floors. You may need an electrician or plumber to help with this process before getting started on construction.
Not used enough
Most steam showers in the home aren’t used enough to justify their costs. Not only are they expensive, but the installation is complex and requires a professional to complete. Not only that but there needs to be some sort of ventilation system in place because of how steamy these showers get. If you’re not a pro athlete or want to use steam showers for health-related issues, it can be hard justifying their costs.
When it comes time to build a steam shower, make sure that everything goes smoothly by following the pros and cons above.
How to steam-proof a shower stall
You have the choice of building your own custom steam shower by making your stall steam-proof or having an expert build it for you. The procedure for making a shower stall steam-proof is as follows:
- Start by sloping the ceiling slightly to allow the condensed steam to flow to one side. Any condensation that forms there will drip down onto your shoulders if you don’t.
- Next, protect the wooden framing by overlapping the edges of the joists and studs with 6-mil plastic by a foot at least.
- Fill the gaps between the moisture-proof concrete backer-board panels with thinset and mesh tape.
- Waterproof the entire backerboard surface with a waterproof covering. Embed flocked polyethylene sheets, like the Kerdi membrane by Schluter Systems, in wet thinset to cover every inch of backerboard.
- Remove any old ceramic tiles or grout from the floor with a damp mop. As usual, apply tile and grout. If you’re using stone, be sure to seal it with an impregnator. This procedure must be repeated every two years.
- Place the O-rings and gaskets supplied by the manufacturer around any fixtures that go through the tile, including shower and steam heads, digital controls, and valves.
When you’re done, give it time to dry up and be ready for use. Test for any leaks before using it.
How to build a steam shower
If you’re wondering how to build a steam room, the steps to follow are quite straightforward but ideally require the input of an expert. You can build your own steam shower enclosure as follows:
1. Decide on the design
First, decide on aspects such as the size, location, windows, skylights, shower door, location of the steam generator, and any other additions you might have.
2. Design the steam shower
Next, implement your design ideas making sure you have the right locations for the seat, steam controls, steam outlet, and ceiling sloping. For the ceiling slope, it should be at least 1 inch of slope per foot of horizontal travel. Choose whether to add a towel bar inside the shower or not a super your needs.
3. Choose materials
Choose materials that can withstand up to 212°F (100°C) of heat and are waterproof. Insulate the interior of the steam shower to conserve energy as well.
4. Install the door
Choose a shower door that is properly sealed to keep the steam in but open at the bottom to facilitate easy opening and closing, and ventilate the room too. You choose framed or frameless shower doors although the framed ones will offer better insulation.
5. Finish up
Make sure all the connections are secure be they electrical or for the water for safety and maximum results.
Are steam showers worth the money?
A steam shower is worth the money since it greatly upgrades the home and has many benefits to justify the cost. Compared to a typical shower, a steam shower isn’t too much costlier and its costs are justified with the benefits you obtain from it. When it’s time to sell or rent the home, you’ll fetch more with a steam shower in it than without one.