Frequently Asked MrSteam Plumbing Questions
Kris Lee, MrSteam’s Plumbing Channel Manager, is happy to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about installing a MrSteam steam shower in a home setting. This article is a first in a series of MrSteam Team blog posts, in which we bring you first-hand knowledge you can use as you integrate steam into your home or commercial venue – from initial design through installation, use and maintenance.
MrSteam makes it easy to install our steam systems with total confidence. Our systems simplify your life in the field, as well as aiding in the creation of beautiful home spas. But of course, we recognize that plumbers – as well as homeowners – may have questions about safely and efficiently installing MrSteam systems into residential and commercial settings.
The answers to the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) about steam should make the plumbing installation easier. And while some of this information may seem very technical for homeowners – one reason why we always recommend working with a licensed plumber – our responses can be a good way for you to ensure that your plumber is doing what he or she needs to do to optimally install your steam shower!
Generator Placement FAQS
How far away can I place the generator from the shower?
MrSteam generators can be installed up to 60 feet from the steam room when steam lines are properly insulated. The generators come standard with a 30-foot cable, but an optional 60-foot cable is available for purchase if needed.
We do recognize that sometimes the bathroom design or other factors requires that you exceed this 60-foot line. If you are faced with a situation like this, we recommend that you consult with MrSteam through our Customer Service Experts to learn how best to proceed.
>> Read our step-by-step blog post to learn all about installing a steam generator.
Why must we install the generator with a 12" clearance? Is it because of the heat?
The generator should be installed with a 12″ clearance, though the back of the steam unit can be placed against a wall. The reason for this is not because of heat. MrSteam generators are zero tolerance, which means they don’t become hot on the outside. The 12″ clearance is only needed for any future service and maintenance.
Can the steam generator be installed above the shower?
Yes, you can situate the generator above the shower. However, make sure that you do not install the generator or plumbing lines in an unheated attic or any other location where water could potentially freeze. The generator can also be located in a service room, equipment room, or boiler room in a high rise, under a vanity, in the wall, or almost anywhere else.
The one thing to be certain of is that you provide easy access as required by electrical codes for future maintenance and potential service. Under no circumstances should you install the generator outdoors or inside the steam room.
Can I lay the steam unit on its side?
The steam generator must be installed upright and level. MrSteam generators use electronic water probes, which allow us to accurately read the water level inside the tank. Placing the unit on its side means that we don’t have the ability to read the correct water levels.
How far should the steam head be off the floor?
Position the steam head 6″ to 12″ off the floor. This ensures that the steam will be emitted at just the right level to fill the steam shower from top to bottom.>> See Where Does the Steamhead Go? Exploring the MrSteam SteamHead Options
Is it okay to put the steam head near the bench?
Placing the steam head near someone’s seat could make the steam shower experience less than pleasant. The steam head and the steam emissions are extremely hot, so you should not locate the steam head where someone might come into direct contact with these elements.
Because of this, MrSteam recommends positioning the steam head at a distance from the seating area.
Plumbing Connections and Insulation
Is it all right to use PEX tubing, or PEX pipe, to install the generator?
No. PEX is plastic and is not rated for steam, which reaches temperatures of 212ºF.
Can the steam line be run down and up?
Absolutely not. The steam line should never create a “U,” as this forms a trap. The trap, the lowest point in the system, collects condensation. Subsequent back pressure in the system created by condensation in the trap can become hazardous. Residential steam generators are intended for atmospheric operation only, and back pressure in the steam line created by the trap will force the pressure relief valve on the steam generator to open.
Which way should we pitch the steam line?
The steam line can be pitched in either direction, either toward the steam outlet or toward the steam generator. The pitch should be ¼″ per foot, which allows all the water and condensation to drain from the steam line.
Should I use unions to connect the plumbing?
You should always use unions. In the unlikely event that the unit ever needs to be removed for repair, this makes removal much less time consuming and costly.
Do we need to insulate the steam line and, if so, what type of insulation should we use?
Steam cools as it travels through the steam line. To reduce heat loss, MrSteam recommends 220-degree rated fiber glass insulation.
Is the AutoFlush unit really necessary?
Extending the life of your steam generator unit is important. Doing so with the AutoFlush will mean far fewer maintenance calls – which ultimately translates into a happier steam bather and homeowner!
AutoFlush flushes sediment out along with left-over water after every steam. This means that sediment takes a much longer time to build up. While many users enjoy their steam showers daily or weekly, other bathers may wait a long period between steams.
With the AutoFlush unit, you avoid the problems that stagnant water just sitting in your generator can cause.
Is a pressure reducing valve really necessary?
Nobody likes a noisy steamshower, which might detract from the bather’s sense of tranquility and desire to escape the stresses of everyday life.
MrSteam recommends installing a pressure reducing valve to reduce the water intake noise.
Can we drain back into the shower?
I’m not sure why anyone would want to drain back into the shower. It’s not necessary to push water and any possible sediment through a steam head back into a shower and onto tile and grout, especially in a newly renovated shower.
To keep the shower looking immaculate and new, it is best to flush dirt and sediment into a drain.
Is the drain pan required?
We always recommend a condensation pan. In some areas, building codes require it. The last thing a homeowner wants is to fail their plumbing inspection because you failed to supply this simple unit.
The AromaSteam System
How far away can we position the AromaSteam System?
The ideal location for the AromaSteam System atomizing nozzle is within 10 feet of the steamhead. The length of tubing between the AromaSteam pump and the atomizing nozzle in the steam line shouldn't exceed 30 feet.
Unlike the generator, you can’t install it on a separate floor as the maximum height difference between the AromaSteam System and the atomizing nozzle can’t exceed six feet.
Meeting these requirements will ensure that the aroma oil is fully vaporized for even distribution in the steam.
Be sure to install the AromaSteam system in an accessible area so that you can monitor the consumption of essential oils and be able to easily replace the bottle when needed.
I hope that plumbers and homeowners alike find the answers to these frequently asked questions about steam useful. We know that a successful MrSteam steam shower installation means years of steam happiness– and want to support you as you make that happen.
Do You Have Additional MrSteam Plumbing Questions?
Our Customer Service Experts in New York City and Los Angeles are available to assist you eleven hours a day. We’ll give you experienced assistance every step of the way. Do let us know if there are any other plumbing questions we can answer – and congratulations on making the right steam shower choice!