A steam room can be a great place to relax, both mentally and physically. Steam is also good for your skin because it helps to remove excess oil and dirt. You can enjoy these benefits in your home by converting a standard shower into a steam room.
Before you start your remodel, though, make sure the materials in your bathroom are ready for the switch. The walls and ceiling will need to be able to handle very high humidity. If you're not careful, you could end up with bubbled ceilings and peeling paint, or dangerous issues like mildew and mold.
Step 1 - Select the Location
Another crucial planning move is determining where you'll be installing the steam unit. Installing it in a side room is the safest option, and it will allow you to easily access it for maintenance purposes. You'll need to provide plumbing and dedicated electrical power to this location. The most effective location is on the outside of the wall which contains the shower head. This will save the work of running a primary water line. Select a nearby spot for the control panel.
Step 2 - Install Plumbing
Turn off the water to the bathroom. Use 3/4-inch PVC pipe and the appropriate PVC connectors to run a water line to the location you selected for your steam unit. Use the closest plumbing available to tie into. Run plumbing from the location where you'll be installing the steam unit to just below the shower head.
Step 3 - Run the Electrical Wiring
Cut power to the breaker panel using the main breaker. Run a 10x3 electrical wire from the breaker panel to the location you selected for your steam unit. Run 12x3 electrical wiring from the steam unit to the control panel location. 10 AWG Size of wiring is suitable for a 7Kw Steam generator. This means you can check specifications if you have a smaller steam generator, which can potentially save you money.
Step 4 - Installing the Steam Unit
Install the bracket included with the steam unit, then connect the wires. The white should be hot, the black wire neutral, and the exposed copper wire the ground. Connect the plumbing provided to the steam unit, and attach the line securely.
Make sure the line which connects to an active water line is connected to the input on the steam unit. Installation instructions can vary somewhat depending on the model, so it is important to consult the manual to verify proper installation.
Step 5 - Install the Steam Nozzle
Install the steam nozzle just below the shower head. Tie it into the water line you ran from the steam unit. Most models mount directly to the wall so you will need to use an L connector on the PVC pipe to gain access to the piping. This is simply attached to the line running up the wall from the steam unit and it should stick slightly out of the wall.
Step 6 - Install the Control Panel
Connect the control panel bracket to the wall. Connect the electrical wiring to the control panel. Remember—white is hot, black neutral and exposed copper ground.
Step 7 - Install the Shower Door
Install the vented shower door placing the top of the door in the top track and swinging the bottom of the door until it is resting in the bottom track.
Step 8 - Install the Breaker
Connect the wires from the 10x3 run to your breaker panel into a new breaker, and snap the breaker into an open location on your breaker panel. Turn the power on to the breaker panel and turn on the new breaker. It's important to note that the circuit breaker must be an appropriate ground fault circuit breaker, and the power feed line must not be broken. To avoid breaking the power feed line, avoid switches along the cable.
Step 9 - Seal up
Seal up any locations which have been cut open for installation using caulk. This will prevent water from getting behind the wall and causing hidden moisture damage.