Installing a Home Steam Bath - Part Two
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Installing a Home Steam Bath – Part Two

Selecting and installing the residential steam bath generator.

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If you just arrived at this page from somewhere else, this is Part Two of this topic.  You might want to read Installing a Home Steam Bath - Part One.

Ready? Okay, let's continue our discussion.

Selecting the Steam Generator

For your very own steam bath you need the proper sized residential steam generator. 

Most manufacturers of these esoteric items can provide guidelines for choosing a generator which take into account the size of the steam room and the materials which have been used to construct it.  Generators are commonly rated by the number of cubic feet of the steam bath.  

NOTE: Additional capacity must be factored in if your steam bath is constructed of heat absorbing materials such as glass, concrete, or marble.

Location, Location, Location

Once the proper steam generator has been selected, you have to decide on an installation location for the generator.  A residential steam bath generator should normally be installed in a low traffic area.  Possible locations include bathroom vanities, bedroom closets, or insulated attics or basements. 

NOTE: It is important tha the steam generator NOT be installed outdoors or in a cold location.

How Low, or Far, Can You Go?

You actually have a lot of leeway here. Most steam generators can be installed up to 20 to 40 feet away from the steam bath, which gives you plenty of options when choosing a location.  Keep in mind, however, that besides being in an insulated spot, it will need access to electricity and water. There should also be a drain close by.

Shocking News

The electrical connection probably has to be 240 volts and the water supply can be either hot or cold.  The line from the steam generator to the steam bath should have a slight slope and avoid any dips or gullies that could trap condensation.  Pockets of condensation could prevent the proper flow of steam, and this, in turn, can result in a dangerous build-up of steam pressure.

You May Want to See It Again Someday

One final consideration about where to install the steam generator -- make sure that it is accessible for servicing. Although most units are quite dependable, you don't want to be tearing open walls if your steam generator stops working.

Actual Installation Itself

Even though either hot water or cold water can be used to feed the steam generator, hot water is generally preferable because it will help the steam generator...well...generate steam faster. 

To make a connection between your hot water heater and the steam generator you must first turn the water heater off and drain it. Cut the pipe from the water heater in two places to install a tap. After the tap has been soldered into place, run a line from it to the steam generator.

With the steam generator finally in place, make the connection from the hot water heater to the generator and solder it.  The steam outlet is now connected to the steam bath with ½ inch copper pipe.  Thepipe is run from the generator to the steam head in the bath.  The steam head should be installed low to the floor – between 6 and 24 inches from the shower floor.

As noted previously, the steam pipe needs to have a slight downward slant and must be free of gullies or turns that could trap condensation.  Once it is in place and the connections soldered, wrap the steam pipe with insulation to avoid loss of heat...or burning somebody.

Now Become a Control Freak

With all the connections soldered properly you can turn the water heater back on and allow it to fill with water.  As the water is re-heating, connect the controls to the steam generator.  The control panel can be placed either in the steam bath or on the outside wall, but it must be installed away from the steam head.  Follow the manufacturer's directions for making the connections between the generator and the control panel.

Plug in the steam generator and test it by using the control panel to turn it on.  If everything is connected properly the unit should light up.  Don't use the steam bath right away, however.  For safety, wait at least 24 hours to allow all the connections to dry properly.

Difficult? Nah! Not really.

Despite seeming a little scary, this is actually a job that can be handled with anyone with moderate plumbing skills.  Of course, if you have not done this type of work before, you may prefer hiring a licensed plumber to install a steam bath for you.  If you decide to do the work yourself, it may be worth while to hire a plumber to inspect your work before using the steam bath.

Parts and Pieces

If you do decide to turn this into a DIY project, you may have a bit of trouble finding parts for a home steam bath locally. In the end, most parts are simple plumbing supplies and can be picked up at Home Deport, Lowes, or perhaps even WalMart.



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Install a Home Steam Bath Part II
Page Updated 7:43 PM Saturday 10/25/2014