By Kathryn Weber

Soothe Winter's Chill with a Steam Shower

Unlike a hot tub that requires a large amount of space, a steam unit can be installed in most existing showers and can turn your home shower into a spa

Showers have vastly improved from the simple spray heads of yesteryear.

Today's showers will massage you from virtually any direction and douse you with pulsing water. Some even do so with light and sound! But one of the more common shower improvements -- mostly limited to spas and health clubs -- is the steam shower. If some steam heat on aching joints makes you melt just thinking about it, maybe it's a home upgrade to consider.

[ Also: | ]

Steam Showers Require Minor construction

Unlike a hot tub or spa that requires a large amount of space, a steam unit can be installed in most existing showers. A steam shiower is a nice upgrade that can be added for around $2,500. The price depends on what changes need to be made to convert your existing unit to a steam shower and the cost of the steam unit you buy.

To install a steam shower into your current bathroom, it's important that all the shower surfaces be covered in tile, and that the shower can be fully enclosed. Because steam showers become wet and slippery, flooring needs should be textured to prevent falls. You'll want a contractor to finish enclosing your shower if it's open and have a glass company install a sealable door with weather stripping to lock in the steam.

A Nice Addition

To make the experience more enjoyable, it also helps to have seating in the shower, so you can truly relax during a steam. A shower bench is ideal, placed as far from the steam vent as possible to prevent burns. Your bathroom will also need an exhaust fan that can handle the additional steam to avoid mold buildup.

Steam units are available from plumbers and plumbing stores starting at around $1,000. For the price of a weekend getaway, you can create a soothing retreat right in your home.

Your contractor will need to make sure there's adequate electrical power to run a steam generator; most units require a 220-volt line. Smaller steam units can be purchased that run off a 120-volt electrical line but these are designed to work with a one-person shower. In general, the larger the shower, the more power required. Of course, the unit will also need a water line to generate steam.

Steam Showers Provide Major Relief

A steam shower is an indulgence that can bring relaxation and damp heat, the kind most recommended to sooth aching muscles and sore joints. In addition to steam, some steam units have reservoirs for scented oils to give your shower a eucalyptus or lavender fragrance.

Steam showers, while enjoyable, are not recommended for those with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, or for pregnant women.

Adding a steam shower to your bathroom will create a home spa that won't require running in and out of the cold to use a hot tub -- and it doesn't require extra space.

[ Also: | ]

Available at

Cut Your Energy Bills Now: 150 Smart Ways to Save Money & Make Your Home More Comfortable & Green

It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living

Sean Conway's Cultivating Life: 125 Projects for Backyard Living

Soothe Winter's Chill with a Steam Shower - Ideas for Your Bathroom

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services