Steam rooms and saunas have a long history in Europe and Asia. It is estimated that 25% of homes in Northern Europe have saunas or steam rooms. Historically uncommon in the United States, the YMCA was the first organization to bring the benefits of saunas and steam rooms to the public. Today, these are a given for the YMCAs and the public expects to find one in their facility.
In the early years, it was primarily the older male generation who used saunas and steam rooms. However, today there are multitude of people from all ages and genders that use sauna and steam room services as part of their daily health and relaxation regimen.
Bud Herman, Facilities Maintenance Director of six YMCA's in Philadelphia, PA says "It's okay if we shut down the racquetball court or the pool for a week, the members can handle it. However, when the sauna goes down or the steam room is not clean, members’ complaints start to roll in." This shows us how important sauna and steam rooms have become for the general public.
Traditional Tile Rooms
Traditional steam rooms are tile and grout rooms, primarily because there was no other material alternatives for many years. But they come with their own set of issues. All forms of tile are porous to varying degrees and combined with grout, the overall steam room interior surface is a rough and semi-permeable surface. In most cases, such as swimming pools and locker room floors, tile is an acceptable material option mainly due to the chemicals present (chlorine) or acceptable cleaning chemicals used each evening for cleaning. Steam rooms, by contrast, are enclosed rooms (no ventilation) that maintain a consistent warm (1050F to 1100F) and wet environment. These conditions, combined with heavy human traffic create the ideal environment for mold, mildew, bacteria to grow and flourish. Additionally, these conditions are ideal for preservation and transmission of human elements such as viruses and human related bacteria such as MRSA which can survive in temperatures of up to 1400F (At 1800F, dry saunas offer a more sterile environment). Maintenance Managers, Facility Directors, and members do not need statistical or scientific data to understand the health concerns of such steam rooms. One step inside the old traditional tile steam room and the musty smell will immediately inform you of the condition of the room.
Advanced Hybrid Steam Room
The Advanced Hybrid Steam Room solves all the murky issues associated with the traditional tile rooms. Hybrid steam room is a new material design approach that takes advantage of advanced plastic construction and reduces porous surface area by 90%. It also incorporates new cleaning technologies that practically eliminate the need for daily chemicals and scrubbing. Hybrid Steam Rooms are a brilliant white in color, sterile steam room environments that stay fresh and clean all day and eliminate health and sanitary concerns. Gone is the hassle of re-grouting every 2-3 years and retiling every 5-7 years.
Hybrid Steam Rooms are practically maintenance-free and remain fresh, clean and sterile with once-a-week cleaning with a mild biodegradable surface cleaner. These rooms do not require traditionally large boilers as they heat up within five minutes and use 30-50% less energy than a traditional tile room. Because of the rapid heat-time and superior heat retention, many clubs opt to eliminate their 24 hour timers and switch to a 60 minute timer. This results in even more savings, as the steam room only runs when a member is present, decreasing energy costs further by 60%.
The Advanced Hybrid Steam Room is your solution for energy efficiency, room longevity, and maintenance costs. Switch now if you haven’t already!