We welcome you to read the following information as we can nearly guarantee it will assist you in choosing the correct steam shower for you. Throughout our 5 years of selling steam showers to the United States and Canada we have learned that there is no substitute for quality. While you might pay a little more for a durable and long-lasting My-Bath.com steam shower the benefits far outweigh the nightmare scenario of other low end, cheaper steam showers. Unfortunately many people fall into this trap only to have headaches a few months down the road from receiving their product. We know this is the case because we too have been guilty of originally offering inferior products that were poorly designed at the cheapest price available.
In fact many of the steam shower units you see on various websites and eBay today are the very units we used to sell. Of course the product looks great in the pictures but when we inspected the products closely we were horrified in what we found. Plastic valves and faucets, paper thin acrylic, loose and inferior quality fixtures were only a few of the issues that we had discovered. We realized if we could not install one of these units in our own home how could we possibly sell these units to our customers. From that day forward we made it our mission to sell only the highest in durability and quality steam showers to the public.
THE BIGGEST DETERMINING FACTOR... CERTIFICATION!
If the unit you have purchased or the unit you plan on purchasing does not display the ETL or cETL logo than you might be in for a big suprise. This logo in short means the entire unit conforms to UL standards. According to many state laws any electrical device (especially a steam shower) installed in your home must have an accredited electrical certification. While many units sold on the internet have a CE certification, this is of no use to any North American installation. The following scenario has been experienced by our customer support in the past hundreds of times: a customer will purchase non-certified steam shower, pay a contractor to custom install the unit and then when the home/city inspector comes to pass the job they are told to remove the unit because it has no UL or ETL certification. So not only is the customer out the funds of the cost of the steam shower; they have also had to pay a contractor for water line installation, drainage, electrical line installation, product setup and then finally product removal. This can be more than just a costly headache. Always find out if the product you are purchasing is ETL certified before purchasing a steam shower. Note: Royal SSWW and Ariel steam showers are currently NOT ETL certified! It really does come down to the old saying, "Buyer Beware".
As a specialist in the steam shower industry, My-Bath.com
understands the importance of making the correct buying decision that will hugely reduce the risk of discolorization, acrylic cracks and product breakdowns. The following is essential advice to read and check before you buy your new steam shower. Steam shower prices vary and here are some of the reasons why...
Reinforcement - To cut costs many factories use a composite material, combining ABS on the inside with acrylic PMMA sheets on the outside.
Check its Color - An easy test to tell a good quality acrylic from a bad one is by its color and flame-retardation. Cheap materials mixed in the acrylic can cause the color to have too bright a white finish and catch fire more easily. In addition, this low quality, high brightness acrylic is likely to clash in your bathroom.
Price - Some factories use acrylic that costs just $1,149.00 per ton, some others use acrylic at $1,436.00 - $1,531.00 per ton. In fact, the acrylic My-Bath.com uses costs $2,393.00 per ton. This higher quality acrylic will last longer and also fade less over time.
Fibreglass and Reinforcement - Be careful of cheap fibreglass that uses a high degree of resin. This discolors easily devaluing and weakening the steam enclosure. All of our bases and most panels are acrylic with 3-4 layers of fibreglass to reinforce the more vulnerable areas (e.g., base, under seat, bathtub). To cut costs a manufacturer may use just 1 or 2 layers of fibreglass reinforcement.
The Aluminum Frame
Are they aluminium? - Check that the profile that holds the glass is not simply plastic with a metal coating. The profiles coating may come off and is definitely not as strong.
What is the profiles thickness? - To save costs some manufacturers have a 0.5mm thick aluminium profile and whilst being weaker is also more prone to dents. My-Bath.com steam showers use 1.2mm - 1.6mm aluminium profiles.
Aluminium Quality - Some companies use recycled aluminium and perhaps a composite of other metals. This effects the aluminiums hardness and likelihood of being dented.
Structural Frame Support - The strength and durability of the support frame is essential as it forms the foundation of your shower or bathtub. Typically, a metal frame that doesn't rust (like stainless steel) will offer the optimum support as opposed to a wooden structure.
Thickness - Typically, it is suggested that a tempered safety glass of 5 - 6mm would provide optimum safety, below which the risk of breakage increase. As standard, My-Bath.com uses 6-8mm thick tempered safety glass on all steam showers.
Edge Protection - The risk of tempered glass breakage heightens if knocked at its edge. Therefore, the glass edge should be protected within the aluminium profile.
Break Test - One safety standard states that a 120mm square piece of tempered glass should break into 45 individual pieces. My-Bath.com's tempered glass surpasses this and will break into 60 small pieces with no sharp edges. The smaller the pieces the safer.
The Water Flow
Pipe Clips - To minimise the risk of water leakage, stainless steel clips provide stronger and longer lasting protection to water leakage over the plastic clips used by some manufacturers.
Valves - The flow, temperature control and water pressure within the shower will be valve controlled. To ensure the longer life of those valves check they are made from ceramic as opposed to plastic.
Water Testing - Water leakage can be costly and hasslesome. Make sure your shower has been fully water tested before shipping and fully checked for functionality of its steam, plumbing, water tightness and electrics.
Thermostatic Temperature Valve - As a safety consideration and to reduce the risk of scalding a thermostatic valve will offer a non-fluctuating water temperature. Every modern shower should be equipped with this safety valve that will eliminate those huge fluctuations in water temperature while allowing you to select your desired temperature. Some thermostatic valves also provide a temperature restrictor for the safety of younger users.
The Product Testing
Corrosion Testing - The last thing you want is to receive your shiny new steam shower and then find that after a couple of months the chrome plating starts to deteriorate and peel off. Look for a company who will test the anti-corrosion level and protective layer of the materials used with salt spray equipment.
Door Rollers - Door rollers or runners often go unnoticed when they are functioning perfectly. However, if misaligned or damaged they can become a headache. Although, seemingly a simple part - quality should be evident in the detail. For example, SteamShower.org door runners are tested to pass over 100,000 consecutive uses.
Operational Testing - The best way to check that both electrics (e.g., lighting, radio, jets) are fully operational and water does not leak is to assemble and fully test a product before it leaves the factory. Why not check whether each individual product has been fully water tested with an electrical supply.
Residual Current Device (GFCI Breaker) - This is a device that will shut-off the steam shower as soon as a malfuntion or overheating is detected. When using a 3kw steam generator or 220V product this is essential.
Electrical Components - A steam shower often contains a complex electrical box that controls steam production, radio, CD, telephone, massage jets and many other functions. Some manufacturers do not test the electric box used within their products, while others may do for just 1-2 hours. In contrast, each function within the SteamShower.org electrical control box is run for 72 consecutive hours to ensure the reliability and durability of each electrical component used.
The Final Checklist
Trust the Brand - With many options in the market it is important to buy from a reputable brand so as to ensure that you get the necessary customer care and after service support. My-Bath.com receives telephone calls on a regular basis, from people who require parts for unknown steam showers that have malfunctioned or proven faulty. If the brand is unheard of, it's simply impossible to find parts that are compatible. My-Bath.com stocks a majority of spare parts and components for all of our units in our Southern California based warehouse. In the unlikely event of any part failing, you can expect a swift response and resolution to the problem. Our technical support team has been working with steam showers for over five years, so we are aware of most common problems and how to solve them quickly.
Interior Height - A costly or uncomfortable mistake may lead to you or your guests not being able to stand up straight inside your shower! This is an important design requirement and one which some manufacturers may overlook. Please be assured that each My-Bath.com steam shower has an interior height of at least 6' 3" or higher.
Steam Leakage - Have a look at the gap between the door and the base. The amount of steam leakage varies greatly between manufacturers and whilst you will usually have a little leakage you want to keep this to a minimum. Like My-Bath.com use, please check for good seals that are designed to reduce the escape of steam.
Door Handles and Fixings - Beware of plastic fixtures that have a chrome coating. These are liable to wear away more quickly and needless to say don't give a quality feel.
Delivery and VAT - These may be hidden extras, not shown to give the impression of a lower selling price. A steam shower is both bulky and heavy and delivery could add as much as $80.00 - $500.00+ to your final price. Make sure you buy from a company who offers you transparent pricing.
Stock - To cut costs some companies will hold very limited or no stock and simply start manufacturing a steam shower on receipt of your payment. Typically, this will result in a delay of approximately 6 - 12 weeks until your steam shower is ready. Make sure you check availability sooner rather than later.
Guarantee - Buying cheap may result in little or no after-service support. Check that you are supported in the event of a breakdown and for how long your product is guaranteed.
Showroom/Warehouse Viewing - It may be difficult to fully ascertain a products build quality and sturdiness without being able to feel and touch the unit. Where possible try and view a unit either in the companies showroom or perhaps they can show you in their warehouse. Make sure that dropping a bar of soap won't mean the end for your new steam shower!
Weight Test - Simply put: the thicker the acrylic/ABS, glass, aluminium and frame (is it a wood or stainless steel frame?) the greater the amount of material required in manufacturing. In addition, solid metal fixtures are far heavier than their plastic counterparts. Not only will this result in a more sturdy, stronger product but consequently the weight of the combined delivery boxes will be heavier. For peace of mind, why not check the weight of the product in which you are interested?
Features - Once you are happy with the build quality you will want to double check the shower you have chosen provides the features you require. Most steam showers offer a handheld shower, overhead shower and body jets. A feature such as ozone sterilization that will purify and kill bacteria after using the unit may be a differentiating factor. Other differentiating factors may be aromatherapy, foot massage or a thermostatic valve.