Steamin’ Hot

The spa oasis is complete.  The Thermasol SSA 395 steam generator, Microtouch Time/Temp controller, and steam head have finally been installed.  It took some doing.  Mother nature just would not cooperate, so it took a couple of weeks after the unit arrived before Mr. McGhee, my electrician could run the electric.  I didn’t have the heart to ask him work in the extreme cold and rain.  The easiest way to run the line was to run a conduit on the outside from the panel into the location where the unit will be housed.  I was fine with that since I haven’t painted the house yet.  The conduit will be painted and hopefully blend well enough that it really won’t be noticeable.  He tucked it near the window trim, which minimizes it further.  The unit requires a 60 amp breaker and the wire for that was super thick.  Thanks to the larger panel Mr. McGhee installed for me several months ago I had the space.

When he was able to do his work, the plumber didn’t show up.  That marked twice that he no showed me without so much as a call, so my negative streaks with plumbers continued until I called Zins Plumbing.  Zins was able to send a service man, Kevin, out the same day, Thursday.  He was awesome, funny, and efficient.  Their web page (can’t call it a site) states their goal is 100% customer satisfaction.  If you aren’t smiling, we haven’t done our job!  They did their job well, I’m smiling, and I now have a plumber.  I didn’t get any pictures of Kevin while he was curled up in my crawl space, but the end result was spot on.  Even Mr. McGhee, who returned for the final connection after the plumbing work was done, commented on the quality of Kevin’s soldering.

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The one thing Zins would not do is drill the hole in my tile for the steam head.  I was ready for that.  The steam head required a 1 1/8″ hole.  The controller a 1 1/2″ hole.  I got both sizes, Kempton Coated Diamond hole saws, from Amazon.  Keeping the saw steady in one spot until it starts to embed in your tile is a challenge, so I bit on a suggestive sale and purchased a Drilax Drill Bil Hole Saw Guide with suction cup.  It worked like a charm.  Kevin provided me the measurements between studs, so it was easy and accurate project for me.

The only thing I could not accomplish was connecting the pressure valve to a drain.  I called Mitch Altman (owner of Thermasol who gave me his number to call if I had any problems – LOVE THIS GUY) said I should not have any problems and that a drain connection wasn’t necessary.  Just to be safe I did connect a metal tipped pipe on it (like the one on my water heater) which ends over a small bucket.

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There are countless articles on the Internet that tout the benefits of a steam room.  There are actual health benefits that come about due to the humidity generated in a steam shower.  This Healthline article really spells them out well.  My gym pals from the Health Plex use to tease me for my lack of sweat.  Flushing out toxins through sweat is the one thing I’m looking most forward to.  I found a SteamSauna for your healthy lifestyle blog that stated the best temperature for a steam shower is between 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, the body’s metabolism rises to the extent where core temperature begins to be regulated. This causes more energy consumption, an increase in circulation, and an increase in heart rate.  I never used the sauna or steam room at the gym.  The Health Plex did a terrible job keeping the locker rooms clean, so I never trusted using theirs.

Time to give my personal, private, steam room a try.  Thank you Mitch Altman.

Thermosol Man

 

Adding a New Water Line

In my post Here They Come to Save the Day…..Maybe  I wrote about adding a steam unit to my shower to compensate for the disappointment I experienced with my Signature Hardware Exira Shower unit.  The owner of Thermasol, Mitch Altman, took a personal interest in this project after reading about all the issues I was having.  Signature Hardware finally started providing the level of customer service I had been accustomed to receiving when dealing with issues with their product and refunded the cost of the shower unit.  That made the purchase of the Thermasol unit possible, but not probable.

The unit needs a constant water source and I did not want to splice into the existing water line to feed the unit.  The two Hansgrohe shower heads that I bought to replace the Signature Hardware heads are working great and I did not want anything to circumvent that.  The beauty of being hands on with the restoration project is I knew exactly how and more importantly where the water lines were run to the shower.  My manifold has three empty slots, so my decision to move forward with the steam unit was depended upon my ability to run a dedicated line.  These pics show the path before the HVAC ducts were installed.

I took these steps:

  1. Cut a whole in the crawl space floor.  I cut the section directly behind where the shower water lines were located.  Turns out holes were drilled in the joist, so the line to the basement were over one joist.  Bottom line I had to remove another section of the floor.
  2. Push a remnant piece of pex through the floor joist until I reached where I could see the existing lines turn down.
  3. Cut a hole in the drywall of guestroom closet.
  4. Blind feel for the piece (found it almost immediately) and pull it through the opening.
  5. Drill a hole into the floor of the closet from the basement near the existing lines
  6. Push new pex line through hole up to the point where I cut hole in drywall.  Since I was working by myself I taped a loop at the end of the line, so I could fish for it in the wall with a hanger..
  7. Tape the two ends together and then return to crawl space and pulled the new line to the shower.
  8. I had to make 5 elbow connections.
  9. Order the the steam unit as mission was accomplished

Mitch, again I have to stress that the owner of Thermasol took a personal interest in my plight, worked with one of his authorized dealers to help me meet my budget requirements.  I am getting their Thermasol SSA 395 unit and Microtouch Time/Temp controller.  I also got their Aromatherapy 100% organic Essential oils; French Lavender to promote calming and relaxing effects, Portuguese Eucalyptus to stimulate, sooth and cool (I plan to mix these two) and Italian Bergamot Citrus to reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia (every insomnia night moving forward I will turn to my shower vs. tossing and turning until I fall asleep out of exhaustion).  I can’t wait.  Hopefully the weather will be great next week, so Mr. McGhee can run the electric line.

Here They Come To Save The Day…..Maybe

Distraught does not begin to describe my mindset when I accepted the realization that my vision for my shower with the Signature Hardware Shower system would never materialize.  At the start of this project I wanted that shower to be a steam shower, but the cost of the unit was three times the cost of the shower system, so I settled on what my friends coined “the human car wash”. One single function spray does not a car wash make, so I decided to research steam units again.  Fortunately I had already made the decision to completely enclose the shower, to keep the steam from the water in, so I knew one hurdle was down without any additional cost.

Build.com has been my go to website for a lot of the items in my house, so I started there.  They had several brands:  Mr. Steam, SteamSpa, Steamist, ThermoSol, and Kohler.  With that list I started looking for reviews of systems on the Internet and consistently Mr. Steam and ThermoSol were popping up.  Then I stumbled across a ThermoSol company video.  There was a statement in the video “employees are empowered to help the customer” that really jumped out at me.  I decided to go to their website to learn more about their product.  Not really knowing what I would need I clicked on the word “Consultation” on their website.  They provided your choice of 4 phone appointments of various lengths.  I selected Steam Shower, a 30 minute, speak with a ThermaSol Specialist to discuss the features of a ThermaSol steam shower.

I got to select a day, time in step 1; I selected early afternoon the following day.  Step 2 was your contact information and details on the size of your shower, and an opportunity to share any details.  I was fresh off the callous phone call with Signature Hardware where I was told they were severing business ties with me, so my details centered around the disppointment with the performance of their system.  I provided links to some of my post.  Approximately two hours after I hit confirm appointment my phone rang and it was a representative from ThermaSol, but not just any representative.  It was Mitchell Altman, the CEO.  He read my comments and pulled my appointment out of the cue as he wanted to personally handle my situation.  The man brought me to tears, this time of joy.

Following the call and on that same day we must have had a dozen back and forth emails. Some well past his business hours.  As promised he sent me a document with installation instructions.  I’d read some, have a question and email him.  The man responded back in minutes each time.  I sent him pictures behind the wall, in the shower with measuring tapes, so he could see heights and distances of locations where his instructions said equipment should go.  In the end he said his unit could definitely be installed, I had only one major hurdle.  Could I get a 60 amp service line up to the master bathroom.  My God send electrician, Mr. McGhee came over the next day.  He looked at my panel, determined I had space, and he studied routes to pull the line upstairs.  I have two options, but bottom line was yes, he could get a 60 amp line up to the shower.

I shared that news in another email with Mr. Altman who then sent me a package quote. With Fifth Third turning down my equity line application (due to finding no value in the collateral and for the house still being under construction) the ability to paint my house this year was doubtful, but I still have some funds I was going to allocate towards replacing the pillars out front.  I thought that would help improve the curb appeal in the short term.  Well I don’t live outside and I shower every day, so right now I’m strongly leaning towards reallocating those funds and moving forward with the ThermaSol system.  You’ll have to keep checking back for the final outcome.