Here in Vancouver I find that most times the builder of the project allows the plumber to position the steam generator where ever they want. 60% of the time this is under the bench or the tub deck. Another 30% of the time I see them installed in the ceiling space above the steam shower or in the home's drop ceiling space.
What is the best location?
Does it need to be so close?
In reading many of the specification sheets provided from the various steam generator providers a steam generator can be installed quit some distance from the steam shower. A steam line can be run up and then down but not down and then up. The reason for this is so that there is no way the steam line can plug itself with a load of condensed steam in the line.
When I told a designer that a steam generator should not be installed under the bench because the distance to combustibles is not accounted for he told me that is how they have always done it. I asked if the plumber has ever read the specifications before.
I asked this same question over on Link'd In and got my first set of questions. I'm sharing them here as well in order to break the ice and get the ball rolling.
Nancy Cooper asked
"Is there a unit out there, that doesn't make so much noise when it is operating?"
"Does having a sloped ceiling really make a difference in the drip factor?"
"What size seat would you recommend?"
"Does having natural stone on the walls help with the comfort level because the stone retains the heat?"
Thanks for the input Nancy!
Many times the noise is cause by the installation of the unit and poor connections in the cover plates. Vibration of the steam generator and the pan can cause a lot of noise. I'll look into other ways of improving this and hopefully find some good ideas for you.
Steam shower seats should be comfy! 18"tall 18" deep and 48" wide a great bench for two.
I try and avoid natural stone in a steam shower for many reasons and what I hear from most of my clients is that they preheat the steam shower so when they get in the steam is already toasty.
I have hade many steam showers and never once has a drip on a ceiling affected my enjoyment. I have never even felt a drop. What I like best is using a rain head set to ice cold water as a cool down measure. Most times a steam session is under 15 minutes. Unless you can handle the heat.
Sloped ceilings are required in commercial projects but not in private steam showers by our local Vancouver Inspectors.