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COMMERCIAL STEAM SYSTEMS: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOUR GYM OR SPA?


A Spa Owner’s Questions Answered

As MrSteam’s Engineering Manager, Peter Titolo is the man with right answers at his fingertips when it comes to the commercial uses of MrSteam equipment. He recently spoke with the owner of a day spa and we thought what he had to say might help others who have the same questions – but haven’t yet had the opportunity to ask him directly! So we’ve recreated the conversation below.

Spa Owner:
I’m the owner of a day spa and am extremely interested in supplying steam bathing facilities for my patrons. I know many of them would certainly enjoy a steam bath after a beauty treatment or a massage. I see that MrSteam has two types of commercial steam systems. How do I know which one is right for my particular location?

Peter:
Before I answer, let me ask you a couple of questions in return. How many people will be using the room at one time? And how large is the space you envision turning into a steam bath? 

Spa Owner:
I think it would be one or two people at one time – and the room is about 350 cubic feet.

Peter:
That makes it a very clear choice: you would choose a MrSteam CT day spa unit.  Unlike our CU units, which are for large, heavily used rooms, the CT day spa units are geared toward a more intimate experience where only one or two people would use the steam room at a time. Note that with this equipment, you should not use the room for more than six hours over the course of a day. Three hundred and fifty cubic feet is well within the maximum size limit for a CT unit, which, when we take construction materials into account, shouldn’t exceed 675 cubic feet.

Spa Owner:
Good to know. So how do I determine precisely which of your generators I should use? And what do you mean, exactly, when you tell me to take construction materials into account?

Peter:
Now that you’ve decided on a CT unit, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  1. Measure the room to calculate the basic room volume. The formula for that is length x height x width to arrive at the cubic volume. I’m assuming you’ve already done so, since you know the room is 350 cubic feet.
  2. Then you need to adjust that size to compensate for the materials you need. For ceramic, porcelain or glass tile, you’ll want to add 40% to the basic room volume; for natural stone, marble, glass block or concrete 115%; and for fiberglass and/or acrylic, deduct 15%.
  3. Finally, you need to consider the room height. If it’s between 8-9 feet, you need to add 15%; between 9-10 feet, 30%.

By adding all these numbers together, using the formula below, you’ll arrive at the adjusted room volume: 

ROOM VOLUME + CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS = TOTAL ADJUSTED VOLUME

Now look at the chart below to figure out which generator size is perfect for your steam room.  Note that the right size generator is essential. Too small, and the generator will need to work overtime to fill the room with steam. Too large, and you’ll be wasting power unnecessarily.

CT Generator Chart

Spa Owner:
I’m a little concerned that the sheer size of the generator might overwhelm my space – and would love to know more about where to store it.

Peter:
All CT generators are 17” wide, 18-1/2” tall and 7-7/8” deep, so you don’t have to worry that it would be too big. Your generator can be installed anywhere within 60 feet of the steam room, provided you locate it in a temperature-controlled space where it can’t freeze, and in a spot where your day spa customers can’t access it. We suggest keeping 12” of space to the left, right and top of the steam generator to facilitate any service that might be needed, but it’s not a requirement. While we don’t recommend it, you can actually sit up against combustible surfaces, such as a wood shelf, without creating a hazard.

Spa Owner:
Okay, so I’m clear on which generator is right for my spa and am no longer concerned that it will be too large. Now can you tell me what equipment I’ll need in addition to the generator? 

Peter:
We’ve made this easy for you, bundling everything you need as a package together with the steam generator. The following comes with your generator: an in-shower control, an Aroma Designer steamhead, temperature probe, CT Steamstop button, condensation pan, and a CT AutoFlush.

In terms of your in-shower control, you can pick one of two options: the iSteam3, which will give your patrons total control of every aspect of their steaming experience or the iTempoPlus, with an easy-to-use interface which still allows patrons to customize their steam bath. Each control has its own aesthetic, so your design considerations will come into play when making that choice.

Spa Owner:
I’m anticipating that my new steam room will become one of my most popular services. If it takes off the way I think it will, I’ll likely add another one so that I have two. Can I use the same steam generator for any additional rooms?

Peter:
Every steam room will need its own dedicated CT generator and control system. But you’re right in thinking that it should quickly become an extremely popular feature.

Spa Owner:
What about the amount of water I’m going to be going through? Isn’t that going to be costly? And do I need a special type of water to run the steam bath?

Peter:
Just the opposite – you’ll find steam bathing is an incredibly eco-friendly feature in terms of water usage. A 15-minute steam shower consumes just two gallons of water – compared to 40 for a conventional bath, or the whopping 400 gallons of water needed to fill a hot tub. And for the most part, water straight from the tap is perfectly fine. However, if you live in an area with hard water, you should invest in a water softener to improve the longevity of your steam generator. Our Installation, Operating and Maintenance manual includes water quality guidelines, so do check those out.

Spa Owner:
Speaking of water – are there any specific plumbing requirements that I should be aware of?

Peter:
Here are some things to keep in mind when the plumbing is installed. Don’t install any valve in the steam line which might obstruct the flow of steam. Use ½-inch brass pipe or copper tubing from the unit to the steam head – check your codes to see what is permitted. Insulate the steam line with fiberglass pipe insulation or something similar – rated for 212° F or higher. And finally, pitch the steam line line 1/4" per foot toward the steam head or steam generator to avoid valleys and trapping of condensate.

Spa Owner:
Do you recommend any add-ons to give my patrons the full steam bathing experience?

Peter:
Absolutely! All of our Steamtherapy add-ons will more fully enhance the experience – and will keep your customers coming back over and over again to enjoy steam at your spa. This includes infusing the steam with the fragrance of essential oils via Aromatherapy. If you opt to use the iSteam3 control, you can also install ChromaSteam3 to add mood lighting, as well as our AudioSteam3 to allow your clients to listen to soothing music while they steam – which you can pair from your cell phone right at the reception desk or elsewhere in the spa.

Spa Owner:
This is all great information – and I’m excited to get started. Who can I turn to if I have any other questions?

Peter:
We’re here for you! Call MrSteam at 1-800-76-STEAM or visit our website at www.mrsteam.com. In addition to loads of resources and more information about everything we’ve discussed, we also have a chat function right there on the website.

 

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