Steam Shower Sensations

Top of the Line

Steam-shower manufacturers are wagering that steam showers are poised to be the number one luxury item in the American bathroom since the advent of the whirlpool and Jacuzzi. According to the National Association of Home Builders, growing numbers of homeowners are installing steam showers and showerheads, with no evidence of the trend slowing down any time soon.

What is a Steam Shower?

Basically, a steam shower is a moisture-enclosed unit that delivers clouds of hot steam during your shower - all at the touch of a button! It works very simply: Cold water is piped into a steam generator, which heats the water to its boiling point. The steam is then sent your way via an aperture in the shower stall. You can adjust the temperature and duration of the steam by means of digital control, and today's high-end steam showers allow you to control "bonus" features such as lighting, music, a pump for aromatherapy oils, and more.

Your At-Home Spa

Indulging in a hot steam shower at the end of long stressful day has been likened to a visit to the most upscale health spa, complete with all the bells and whistles. Steam vapors open your pores, cleanse your skin, and do wonders for your sinuses. And you don't have to stand in the steam shower, either. Similar to the sauna at the health club, many steam shower stalls are equipped with a bench for you to sit on. At the push of a button or the turn of a dial, you will be floating on cloud nine as you melt into the soothing, scented vapors of cloudlike steam, relaxing to your favorite music and bathing in the mood lighting of your choice. Once you have been revitalized and feel as good as new, simply turn on the shower to rinse off.

"Going Green" with Steam

Since you can steam for a good 20 minutes and consume only two gallons of water, it has been said that steaming is an environmentally friendly or "green" way to shower. Installing a steam shower isn't as kind to your budget or electric bill, however... Utility bills are bound to increase due to the energy required by the steam generator, which can range from a seven-kilowatt generator to one double that capacity.

Steam Shower Costs

Installing a steam shower costs roughly $2,500, however, for the "full spa" experience you can expect to pay an additional fee of approximately $2, 000.

Luxury Bathroom

Additional high-end amenities and modern accessories often found in a luxury bathroom include:

•- Smart Toilet (lid automatically lifts, flushes, and closes)

•- Electronic Faucets (energy savers that control water flow)

•- LED lighting that changes color in accordance with your mood or the time of day.