Archive for the ‘Toolbox – Build it Fix it’ Category

Is it a Good Time for a Bathroom Remodel?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Believe it or not, now might actually be a good time for upgrading your master bathroom and creating a luxurious oasis in your home. The obvious reason that this is a good idea is because if you do it now, then you will be able to enjoy your new bathroom for years to come. If you do it today you will get more enjoyment out of it than if you did it next year.

A less obvious reason is that a mid-range to high-end bathroom remodel projects might just be a great place for investment in your home if you are looking to improve the resale value. Although Remodel Magazine is predicting in their Cost vs. Value Report for 2009-2010 that the value of remodeling a bathroom will not recoup as much of the costs as other renovations, even they admit that despite falling home prices pushing the value of remodeling investments down for the fourth consecutive year, small-scale projects and replacements may be leading the way to recovery.

For a full mid-range or high-end bathroom remodel  you are likely to recoup around 75% of the job’s cost if you hire an architect or designer and let the professionals handle the entire project. That’s pretty good for a more-or-less hassle free remodel, considering the enjoyment you’ll receive from having a magnificent new bathroom will surely be worth the 25% of the costs. If you do the work yourself your costs may be decreased, but you may not recoup as much of  the work done as you would if a professional had handled the job.

It is also interesting to note that just a year ago the remodel of an upscale bathroom was on an upward trend, despite the housing crisis. We think that in the next year or two buyers will really be analyzing the enjoyment and the carbon footprint that a house brings, valuing these criteria much higher than just the typical luxury renovations.

Upscale Project Projections

Upscale Project Projections

The enjoyment that one receives from a spa-like bathroom continues to gain in popularity as spas and spa services continue to spread to new markets. A more luxurious bathroom is definitely a major selling point in homes today, and we see this trend continuing as people not only want luxury in their homes, but they also want to pamper themselves at home.

One way people are increasing the value of their homes, while creating their own home spa is by installing a luxury steam shower during their remodel. In a recent episode of the HGTV show “Bang for your Buck” a homeowner blew the designer away with his new luxury steam shower, complete with ThermaSol’s Serenity Light & Music system. (You can view the HD Video here).

Bang for your buck video

Bang for your buck video

One thing to consider before you decide on turning your average bathroom into a magnificent home spa is whether or not you really want to spend the money on this renovation. A typical, mid-range bathroom remodel will cost you around $17,000, while a high end bathroom remodel will be closer to $50,000. You will also need to look closely at your house and make sure that there’s nothing else more urgent that could use this investment. It doesn’t make any sense to spend this kind of money on a bathroom remodel if you are going to need a new boiler or roof in the next few years. Lastly, no one knows exactly what is going to happen in the housing market in the future, so your guess is as good as anyone’s. That being said, if you plan to spend at least the next 5-10 years in your home, have the money and don’t have any other urgent projects that need to be completed why not treat yourself to a luxurious home spa remodel!

Things To Consider Before Installing A Steam Shower

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The bathroom that you are planning on installing the steam shower in should be in good shape. You don’t want to spend money on a luxury item such as a steam shower if your bathroom already needs work. You’re better off investing the money into fixing up your bathroom.

Make sure your current bathroom fan is vented directly to the outdoors, and that it is big enough to move enough air to displace the steam from your steam shower. If your contractor thinks the fan is too small, then make sure to install a larger one.

Make sure you have a suitable location to install the steam generator, so that it will function properly and meet local codes. You’ll need an area where electrical and plumbing lines can be run to and from the unit and where you can get access to the steam unit itself. Most steam generators are fairly small, about 1 foot wide by 2 feet long, so finding a good installation space is usually not an issue.

You will need to install a “steam door” which is a special glass shower door that can completely seals the opening around the tub/shower area so the steam cannot escape. Depending on your setup, this door may have to be custom built, which may add even more money to an already expensive job.

Steam Shower

Steam Shower

How To Size A Steam Shower Generator

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers

There are 2 methods for sizing generators:

Non-ThermaSol Steam Generator Sizing Method:
If you have ever bought a steam generator that was not a ThermaSol then you are well aware of the “formula”:

Provide Length x Width x Height of the room.
Adjustment to room volume for: natural Stones: natural marble, stone, shale, glass block or concrete. Multiply by X.
Ceramic or porcelain tile on cement board or mortar board. Multiply by Y.
Number of glass panels. Add X %.
Any windows or sky lights? Multiply by X.
Then add for outside walls, how many? Add Y for one, Z for 2 etc.
Add X % for ceiling height.
Now calculate your adjusted cubic footage.

After completing this formula that is the equivalent of filling out a “tax return”, chances for error are great and if you have a problem that the generator is not making enough steam, it’s your fault! And, as one of the steam shower manufacturer says… even if you did everything as requested, it’s only a recommendation and if it’s not correct it’s your fault. Other steam shower companies want you to physically send them the plans!

ThermaSol Sizing Method:
Simple Sizing: Length x Width x Height = Cubic Footage; then choose your unit from the Price Schedule.

Summary:
ThermaSol’s sizing method offers multiple advantages:

1. Simple and can be sized by anyone. (no complicated tax return formula)
2. Little chance to select the wrong generator size. (great potential for error with competitive sizing, and it’s your problem)
3. With a ThermaSol brand steam shower generator you can still buy the correct unit even if you haven’t chosen wall materials. (cannot be done by the competitors; they must know material to size the unit)
4. If you choose a type of tile and then change their mind, it’s no problem. (competitors unit will not be sufficient if they change to a more porous material; huge problem)
5. ThermaSol generator number provides added assurance since the number tells you how many cubic feet it does. (A Pro 240 does 240 cubic feet, a Pro 650 does 650 cubic feet, etc.)
5. For peace of mind there is only one sizing method that makes sense: Simple Sizing by ThermaSol.

ThermaSol, the choice of professionals worldwide since 1958.

PowerFlush Feature On Your Steam Shower

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers –ThermaSol.com

Find a ThermaSol Dealer near you!

Inner-tank maintenance; are you aware that there is only one system that actually works?  PowerFlush is standard on all ThermaSol generators, it is the only bona fide inner-tank cleaning system.

Other Steam Showers:
These steam shower manufacturers have terms such as “Flushing System” sound good but the reality unfortunately does not live up to the verbage. Each of the competitors use inaffective gravity drains whether manual or auto. The water within the tank is released and drained via gravity, nothing more.

Imagine a pot with a 1/2 inch drain hole at the bottom. Pour some Corn Flakes to cover the bottom of the pot then add water or milk filling half the pot. Let it sit over night. The next day remove the drain plug. What happens? The water or milk will slowly find its way through the Corn Flakes and drip out virtually leaving all the corn flakes in the pot. This analogy demonstrates the system used to try and clean the inner-tank in competitive generators. Unfortunately gravity alone doesn’t suffice.

ThermaSol Steam Shower Generator Method:
PowerFlush, was specifically designed to purge calcification build-up from the inner-tank. This unique system uses a combination of household water-line pressure (40 to 80 lbs) and specially designed inner-tank “speed slots” to increase the water pressure. This water pressure effectively sweeps the bottom of the tank removing build-up.

Picture the same pot but rather than just having a drain plug it was used as a water inlet. Now, instead of draining the tank via gravity you PowerFlush the Corn Flakes from the bottom of the tank, and out the top. There would be a compelling difference in the amount of Corn Flakes removed when using pressure rather than gravity.

Summary:
1. To remove sediment from the tank it requires pressure. (gravity alone does not work)
2. PowerFlush increases the lifespan of your generator. (your personal maintenance man)
3. By using the drain as a water inlet you’re no longer required to plumb it to a drain. (installation savings, only from ThermaSol)
4. There is only one effective inner-tank cleaning system, PowerFlush.

ThermaSol, the choice of professionals worldwide since 1958.

How to Install a No Touch Steamhead

Monday, November 16th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers –ThermaSol.com

WARNING
Avoid contact with Steamhead! It will burn you! Avoid direct contact with the steam  coming out of the  Steamhead! It is extreamly hot and will burn you! Never put Aroma oil in the Steamhead when the unit is in the ON position, or when steam is emitting from the Steamhead.

Parts Enclosed with Generator:

Steam Shower Head

Steam Shower Head

 

  • NoTouch Steamhead housing

Parts Enclosed with Steamhead Kit:

  • Clear Silicone
  • No Touch Steamhead
  • Aroma Therapy Sample
  • Quick Reference Guide

Materials Needed:

  • 1/2″ drop elbow
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • 1/2″ Copper or Brass Pipe Nipple (in appropriate length)
  • 1/2” Copper Tubing

Tools Needed:

  • 1” deep socket and ratchet
  • 2-1/2” hole cutting tool
  • Other plumbing as required

1. Drill a 2-1/2” diameter hole in the shower wall or wall above the bathtub rim for the steam outlet line. (see Figure 6).

Figure 6

Figure 6

2. Connect a 1/2″ NPT brass pipe or tubing to the steam outlet on the generator running the pipe to the 2-1/2” diameter hole in wall to connect with the Steamhead housing. Use Figure 4 as a guide. It is very important that the pipe is firmly secured to the wall, so that when the Steamhead is installed it doesn’t push the housing back into the wall. The steam line can run up, down, or horizontal; but cannot run down and then up. If it does, a steam trap may be produced at the low point blocking the flow of steam. Install a 1/2” drop elbow on the end of the 1/2” pipe or tubing for the Steamhead housing. For all the connections, use Teflon tape/solder and do not over tighten fittings. DO NOT USE PVC CEMENT.

Figure 4

Figure 4

3. When finalizing installation, install the Steamhead into the housing, making sure that the aromatherapy fill channels are facing upwards; see Figure 5. To ensure that no moisture gets behind the Steamhead and into the wall, place a generous bead of waterproof silicone around the Steamhead, using the machined groove (located on the back of the Steamhead) as a guide. Be sure there isn’t any debris within the housing, and that the two O-rings are in place on the Steamhead. Slide the Steamhead into the housing until the Steamhead is tight against the finished wall. You may need to wipe away any excess silicone. Use Figure 5 as a reference to these steps.

Figure 5

Figure 5

1.Drill a 2-1/2” diameter hole in the shower wall or wall above the bathtub rim for the steam outlet
line. (see Figure 6).
2.Connect a 1/2″ NPT brass pipe or tubing to the steam outlet on the generator running the pipe to
the 2-1/2” diameter hole in wall to connect with the Steamhead housing. Use Figure 4 as a
guide. It is very important that the pipe is firmly secured to the wall, so that when the Steamhead
is installed it doesn’t push the housing back into the wall. The steam line can run up, down, or
horizontal; but cannot run down and then up. If it does, a steam trap may be produced at the low
point blocking the flow of steam. Install a 1/2” drop elbow on the end of the 1/2” pipe or tubing for
the Steamhead housing. For all the connections, use Teflon tape/solder and do not over tighten
fittings. DO NOT USE PVC CEMENT.
3.When finalizing installation, install the Steamhead into the housing, making sure that the
aromatherapy fill channels are facing upwards; see Figure 5. To ensure that no moisture gets
behind the Steamhead and into the wall, place a generous bead of waterproof silicone around the
Steamhead, using the machined groove (located on the back of the Steamhead) as a guide. Be
sure there isn’t any debris within the housing, and that the two O-rings are in place on the
Steamhead. Slide the Steamhead into the housing until the Steamhead is tight against the
finished wall. You may need to wipe away any excess silicone. Use Figure 5 as a reference to
these steps.

Whisper Quiet Versus Potential Water Hammer?

Friday, November 6th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers – www.ThermaSol.com

Other Steam Shower Systems:

Other steam shower systems use a probe, circuit board and a solenoid valve to replace the water in their tank. The system is complicated however it is functional but one of the most alarming issues is the potential water hammer that most certainly would take away from the relaxation that a steam bath provides. If you’ve ever had a water hammer issue in your home you know it is irritating but can you imagine it happening each time the solenoid opens to refill the water while trying to relax in your steam bath?

ThermaSol Steam Shower System:
Since ThermaSol units do not use a solenoid valve to replace the water boiled away there is no potential for water hammer, none. This allows the steam bath experience to be what it was designed to be; a relaxing getaway that allows you to rejuvenate from the daily pressures we face in a world that appears to move faster every day.

Summary: ThermaSol generators stand alone for their quiet efficiency.
1. No solenoid valves to replace the water thereby eliminating any potential for water hammer.
2. There is nothing in a ThermaSol generator to take away from the relaxing, rejuvenating experience; whisper quiet.

Digital vs. Analog Steam Shower Technology

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers – www.ThermaSol.com

The differences between digital technology, and analog systems is comparable to going from a dial-up connection to DSL or from a black & white television to HDTV. ThermaSol steam showers are all made with 100% digital technology. They spent 33 months making all of their steam shower systems digital, back in October of 2007.  Every aspect of these steam programs was changed, and now all steam showers are updated with the latest in technology.

Analog Steam Shower Systems:

Old analog technology is what each of the present steam bath manufacturer’s use, and have since they founded their companies. They do have digital controls available; however, but all the commands are done via unidirectional analog command. An electronic pulse is sent through telephone style cables to the generator to command functions. It is an inferior system since the generator can only respond to a single pulse. There is no communication network to verify what the specific pulse is and the opportunities for error are endless so there are often cases where a steam generator will run for weeks, causing the destruction of a home’s drywall and more.

Digital Steam Shower Systems:

The complete 100% digital ThermaSol line was introduced in October of 2007. Today it provides the only networked system that contains 100% digital communication technology. The system protocol is such that everything connected not only receives information, it also transmits the information to ensure there can be no reading error as to what the command is. The network technology allows plug & play expansion so that you can plug in any component to the system and it is immediately recognized and joins the “family” discussion ensuring here-to-fore unparelled reliability. There is never a concern that a voltage spike, frayed cable or other outside influence will send a generator into a function that could be destructive.

Summary of Digital Technology :

  1. Plug & play expandability. (not a hodge podge of unrelated components hoping to work together)
  2. Most importantly, reliability beyond compare. (used by virtually every major industry; also known as CAN bus technology)
  3. Safety beyond compare. (peace of mind, no chance of a “run-a-way generator”)
  4. A solid foundation providing a platform for the latest innovations.
  5. Used in a myriad of applications including factory automation, building automation, aircraft and aerospace as well as in cars, trucks and buses.


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