Thanks to the popularity of residential steam baths, there is a good selection of steam generators on the market today. Figuring out which is the best model for your home can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips for choosing the best steam generator.
The size of the steam room is the most important factor when deciding which model to buy. Other considerations include how often the steam bath will be used and the possible locations where the generator can be installed.
Almost all steam generators are powered with electricity. There are a few gas steam generators, but they are mostly for commercial use. When choosing a location to install your steam generator, make sure that it has access to electricity.
Steam generators are rated by their output capacity measured in cubic feet. This refers to the actual size of the steam bath. Measure the cubic feet of your steam bath by multiplying the height by the width and the length of the enclosure.
You may need a higher capacity steam generator depending on the types of materials the steam bath is made of. Concrete or marble walls, for example, absorb heat so the cubic foot capacity of the generator needs to be increased. Other heat absorbing materials include glass, stone, and slate. Additional capacity also needs to be added for exterior walls and high ceilings.
As an example, if you have a steam bath which is 2 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 8 feet high, the enclosure is 128 cubic feet. If the walls and ceilings are covered in ceramic tile, you can use a generator which is rated at about 120 cubic feet to 130 cubic feet. If the walls and ceilings include glass or stone, however, your steam generator should be rated at about 250 cubic feet.
Steam generators with a higher capacity are more expensive mainly because of their larger size - they require more materials to construct them. However, prices may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer for units of the same size. The price of a steam generator is affected by the quality of the machinery and the amount of aftermarket service the manufacturer offers. Steam generators with a substantial warranty usually have good quality components which makes them more expensive.
Some steam generators include extra features like sensors which detect problems in the water or electrical supply. Sensors are useful in pinpointing any problems that may arise when using your steam generator.
Choosing a Steam Generator
There are several well-known manufacturers of residential steam generators. The big names include Steam-Whirl, Steamist, Thermasol and Amerec. All these companies offer both industrial and residential steam generators and backup their products with generous guarantees. You will find that their prices are quite similar, although some may offer special features such as aroma pumps and advanced steam controls.
You can ask your plumber for recommendations before deciding on any particular steam generator. He can give you good advice about steam generator capacity and installation locations.
You may also need to hire the services of a building contractor. Unless your bathroom is specifically designed to accommodate a steam bath, you may need some modifications. Before installing a steam bath, it's always a good idea to get a clear picture of the costs involved and how much work is required.
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