Steam Shower FAQ

Steam Shower Guide Answers Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

How much water does a steam shower use?

Steam showers are incredibly efficient when it comes to water usage versus a traditional shower or bath. On average – a 30 minute steam shower uses just 2 gallons of water.

Showers use that amount or more per minute. The average American shower lasts about 8 minutes so water consumption for a traditional shower can surpass 16 gallons. Baths typically use even more water. Of course, it depends on the size of the tub but typical sizes range between 35 and 50 gallons. That is a whole lot more than traditional showers or steam showers.

How much does a steam room cost to run?

Running a steam shower is pretty inexpensive given the level of luxury. Exact rates will depend on many factors, most obviously on the cost of electricity and water but also on how hard your water is. Since steam showers use way less water than a regular shower, their cost to operate from a water perspective is actually lower than the alternatives.

Electrical cost will vary based on the price of energy and the size of the steam generator your space requires. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration average U.S. energy costs are about 13 cents per kilowatt hour. If you’re using a 6.5 kw generator and operating it for 30 minutes (10 minutes to warm up and 20 minute steam shower) then your cost would be about 42 cents per shower.

The other cost to consider is maintenance. Luckily, steam showers are pretty easy to maintain. If your water is very hard, you may want to consider periodic descaling treatments.

How much does it cost to build a steam shower?

Steam showers have become an affordable luxury but prices can vary drastically depending on your exact space and requirements. Costs are divided between three main factors: steam shower products costs, installation costs, and shower construction costs (if applicable).

At the entry level, there are some prefabricated systems that contain everything you need in a single unit. This can be an option if these systems match the size of your space and the look and feel of your space. Some of these systems end up not being the value they seem at first, but they can be a viable option.

Prices range from as little as $1,500 to over twelve thousand dollars. Installation costs are only slightly higher than a traditional prefabricated shower. Do be wary of the construction materials. Some of the prefabricated units use materials that are not really intended for the wear and tear of steam.

For custom steam showers, you’ll need to budget in the construction of the shower which is usually about the same as any custom shower of comparable materials and size. Generators (which will require a control as well) start at about $1,200 and can go up to the ten to twelve thousand dollar range for residential generators. Make sure you use a steam generator sizing calculator because you need to factor in more than just the raw cubic footage of your shower space.

There are also feature add-ons like aromatherapy, in-shower speaker systems, and more that can affect the overall project cost.

Labor costs can also vary based on the project specification. A good rule of thumb is to budget 6.5 hours of plumbing/electrical but your contractor should be able to give you an exact quote and rates will vary based on regional labor rates.

Is a steam shower good for you?

In terms of health benefit, you should contact your doctor for an official opinion. However, steam showers have been enjoyed for millenia for their health benefits. The four most cited benefits include improved circulation, reduced stress, skin benefits, and recovery from exercise. We’ll be exploring each of these in more depth on our blog: The Benefits of Steam.

How does a steam shower work?

Steam showers are pretty basic to understand. The steam shower generator heats water up to the boiling point and the system pushes that steam into the shower enclosure. So while the idea is pretty basic, the devil is in the details of how different units handle more specific tasks. Like how long does it take the unit to have the steam shower up to temperature? How consistent does the unit maintain the temperature within the shower. There are patents galore on how to best optimize the steam experience beyond the basics of boiling water.

How do you take a steam shower?

There’s no right or wrong way to take a steam shower. People tend to create their own ritual based on what matters most to them. Most modern steam shower units are easy to operate. Many include a basic on/off switch and temperature setting. So simply turn the unit on and let it warm up to your desired temperature.

Here are some common tips:

  • Many people like to take a quick shower rinse prior to the steam shower to remove surface impurities and dirt. This may help with the detoxifying effects of a steam bath.
  • Enjoy a glass of water prior to your steam shower to help replace water you’ll be losing.
  • Begin with shorter duration steam showers and then work up to 20 minutes at most.
  • Many people combine steam with alternating dips in cold water like a pool. If done at the proper intervals, it is believed to affect blood flow even more.
  • Many people rinse off after a steam shower as well.

How often should I take a steam bath?

You should always consult with your healthcare provider about how often you should take a steam bath, particularly if you’re taking steam showers as part of a therapy regimen. That being said, for a typical healthy adult, there is little literature suggesting that one should limit their exposure to steam. Some people cite dry skin if steam is used to often and that is something to consider. Some may recommend only one steam shower per week, while for others, three may be the right number.

How long can you sit in a steam room?

This is up to the individual but most resources recommend a maximum steam shower length of no more than 20 minutes.

Is a steam shower good after a workout?

The jury is still out on how much if any a steam shower helps after a workout. However, proponents of the steam shower regimen swear by it. They cite increased blood flow to aid in recovery of muscles, less injury, and a more systematic cool down as tangible benefits of the post work-out routine.

The fact of the matter is there just isn’t enough solid science to state definitively one way or another. There are several small studies in the last few years that seem to indicate some positive effects. Read more in our blog about exercise recovery.