When shopping for steam there are three things to consider – the generator, the control and accessories. The generator is pretty simple. A heating element in water powers up to produce steam, which is piped into the steam room space. A sensor in the shower monitors the temperature and shuts the generator off when it’s too hot and turns it on when it get too cool. Care must be taken to size the generator properly to avoid a common problem called “cycling” in which the generator turns on/off, on/off constantly.
Some companies are addressing this problem with multi-element generators which bring the water up to full steam and then lower the heat to keep simmering, much like a pot on the stove. The idea is to keep the steam to a steady flow thus keeping a constant temperature and quite operation.
To create a full spa effect one can add “chromatherapy” and “aromatherapy” options. Chromatherapy includes one or more light fixtures which can be set to different colors to influence different moods, relaxing, energized, soothing and such. Aromatherapy is added in one of two ways. Simplest is a small well on top of the steam head to which drops of essential oils can be placed. Injection systems allow oils to be mixed with the steam before it enters the space filling the room with fragrance.
The steam control can make a big difference in the enjoyment of your steam shower, especially if you choice to add music and additional therapies. Of course you want to be able to control on/off and temperature from within the shower but what about lighting? Low/high/on/off. And the aromatherapy. What about music? Are you happy to have sound piped in at one volume or would you like to be able to adjust volume and what song is playing? And wouldn’t it be nice to have the whole unit turn on with just the settings that you or your partner like without having to adjust everything every time? How about being able to turn the unit on by remote when you walk into the house? The proper control allows you the mix of features you want for full enjoyment.