Tag Archives: heat

Steam Showers pay for themselves!

Many of us do not need a reason to purchase a steam shower enclosure for our own home, as there are already many obvious explanations including health and relaxation benefits. One reason that may have already been overlooked by yourself and many others is how much financial gain you can get from installing a steam shower in your home. According to real estate experts, individuals who install steam showers or saunas can expect to gain back at least 5 times what you initially paid for it, increasing the overall value of your home.

The Cascade Duo – A popular 1200mm x 900mm corner model

In addition to this, having a steam shower or private home sauna immediately makes your home unique and compelling to buy. Luxury additions such as these are considered just that – Luxurious. If a potential buyer finds themselves torn between your home and another with very similar price tags, the inclusion of a sauna or steam room may be the exact thing that sways them towards you. Not only does it increase the overall value of your home, you improve the chances of selling your home quicker.

A typical freestanding steam shower enclosure combines standard showering features such as a shower head, with the added benefit of a steam generator. Users can then enjoy a 30 minute steam session followed by a cold invigorating shower to wash away all the toxins – All in the same space. There is no need to allocate the steam generator at another point in the house, as typically they are built onto the back of the unit itself. This results in a straightforward installation that’s completed at a fraction of the cost of a wet room.

Unlike a wet room, you dont’ need to worry about creating a water resistant enclosed area, inclusive of membrane and selective tiling. Furthermore, you need to ensure your door system is air tight to ensure that water and steam alike stays in the room. Creating a waterproof membrane can be quite costly, especially if not done correctly in the first place.

If you’re looking to add instant proven value to your home, consider the option of a steam shower enclosure when upgrading your bathroom. You’ll be benefitting both your body and your wallet.

10th Annual Sauna Championships!

It’s that time of year again – Quite the challenge if you ask me, but one that these folks take on board with great dedication. The concept – Stay in the sauna the longest and you win. Seems pretty simple really, but when you realise the temperatures they’re playing with, this is no relaxing endeavour. This is an event that works up a great deal of sweat whilst competitors simply sit still.

The 10th Annual Championship took place in Heinola, Finland, over the space of a weekend with 160 men and women from 23 countries pitting their wills against one another. It was to no surprise of the audience, to see the Finns dominate for the 10th year running.

Finnish born Timo Kaukonen won the men’s only event by lasting in the sauna for 3 minutes and 46 seconds. The women’s title was taken by Russian born Tatyana Arkhipenko with an impressive 3 minutes and 9 seconds.

Now you may be scoffing at those times, especially with my use of the word “impressive”. However, please take into account that the saunas they used were heated 110C with half of litre of water being poured onto the stones every 30 seconds! This makes it everything a relaxing sauna isn’t, which is normally heated to around 70-80c.

Organiser Ossi Arvela admits “It’s no fun after two or three minutes. It’s difficult to watch.”

What affects the value of my home?

A new report conducted by Nationwide has been released, revealing vital knowledge that should be taken on board if you are looking to maximise the overall value and future saleability of your home. Whilst location still remains the biggest factor, the report showed that a 10% increase in overall floor space added 5% to the price of a semi-detached or terraced house and 7% to a detached house. Adding an additional bedroom complete with en suite bathroom through the means of a loft conversation can add up to 20%, whilst extension to a property to add the same combination can add around 11%.

Past projects show that it is relatively cheaper to build a larger property than it is to build a smaller one per square metre, although it is common for us to build smaller properties in relation to the number of bedrooms required when compared to the past. Old properties such as those pre-war dated, tend to be much larger. A four bedroom detached home from this era compared to one built by today’s sizing standards is typically worth £60,000 more.

In light of us constantly looking at new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, un-green homes without efficient central heating systems look to lose an average of 9% of their value.

Size really does matter after all.

Source: Homebuilding & Renovating magazine – August 2009

$500,000 health tests show its time to Detoxify!

David Duncan, 51, took part in the ultimate health examination to discover firstly how healthy he actually was, and secondly what science could tell him about the near future. He transformed himself into the human guinea pig undergoing a vast list of investigations including genetic constitution, how his environment impacted his body and how his organs, muscles and bones were standing up to wear and tear. The tests cost in excess of $500,000.


Duncan considered himself as a generally healthy man, from a family with little history of disease. He undertook many tests with some using the latest advancements in medical technology. One test required him to eat two servings of fish in one day to measure the change in mercury levels in his body (the change was big). Another required Duncan to provide blood samples to various scientists to indicate his susceptibility to certain diseases. He also sent blood and urine samples to a specialist laboratory in Canada who worked to monitor the intake of harmful toxins into the body – finding everything including shampoo, dust and even plastic food wrap – and how they had found their way deep into his arteries and veins. His sight, taste, hearing, and sleep efficiency were also tested.

It is these toxins which we work to remove from our bodies by inducing sweat through exercise or the use of a sauna. Sherry A. Rogers, author of Detoxify or Die states:

“What is the best way to get rid of toxic chemicals including pesticides, heavy metals and hydrocarbon residues when you can’t tolerate a sauna? When a sauna makes you feel weak, sick, have a fast heart rate, faint, dizzy, panicky, head achy or just plain miserable, what is the solution? The infrared sauna. Thanks to improved technology, the infrared sauna is far safer and infinitely more tolerable, because it uses heat energy that penetrates tissues, triggering mobilization of chemicals from subcutaneous fat storage, directly into the sweat”

David Duncan was fortunate enough to find that there was nothing seriously wrong. His knees were suffering from running too much on pavements, and he was made aware of a benign cyst on his kidney which was later removed. However, Duncan did reach two conclusions. First, that we have a lot to learn about the toxins that surround us each day in our work and home environment; and that it wouldn’t be long before full health tests like the ones he undertook became part of normal medical practice.

The amount of toxins that surround us each day, from motor pollution in the air to the varied skin products, is simply incomprehensible. These toxins inside our bodies really aren’t going anywhere unless we boot them out – I think I might go and have a sauna!

Making your home Greener!

There are a few changes you can make to your home that will save you money and help protect the environment at the same time. Study the following options to see if there is room for improvement in your home.

Insulate your home

Up to 40 percent of the heat that is lost in the home is through the roof and surrounding walls. This percentage can be reduced significantly by installing simple loft insulation costing between £200 to £300, resulting in an average saving of £150 per year. Cavity wall insulation prices start from £130 with an average saving of £100 a year. Obvious improvements such as double glazing will also reduce heat loss through the windows.

Reducing your water usage

At present, homes across the UK can use up to 1000 litres of water per day. One option is to install a water meter along with low-flush toilets. You can also take advantage of rainwater, by installing a harvesting system which can reduce your water consumption by as much as half whilst being used with toilets, washing machines and gardening. Systems such as this can start from £3500.

Generate your own Energy

Photovoltaic (PC) Cells or solar panels as we know them, operate by capturing solar radiation and converting it into electricity. An average home with a south facing roof could potentially generate half of its own needed energy using these cells. Systems vary in prices but are expected to be paid back within at least ten years. Wind turbines are also an option, but only effective in certain locations. It is important to carry out a wind assessment beforehand – Prices for wind turbines start from £1000.

Make small change around the home

Lighting in the home accounts for around 15 per cent of your annual electricity bill, so it is important to change over to energy saving bulbs throughout your home. Each bulb can save up to £7 per year! Installing an efficient condensing boiler is expected to save £150+ per year, whilst investing in a jacket and lagging for your hot water cylinder and pipes will pay itself back within one year of installation.

Sources: Homebuilding & Renovating magazine – June 2008

The River Thames can heat your home!

A couple based in Oxford have found a novel use for the River Thames, running just opposite their newly built home. Water from the free flowing river provides the raw material required for a water based heat pump which is being utilised to heat the water in their home. The principle is the same as a ground source heat pump, which extracts heat from the local environment, which in this case is the River Thames.

Combined with high insulation, and correctly glazed windows the demand for heating is less here than in the average home. The combination of the Thames heat pump and solar panels provides enough energy to warm both their home and hot water supply. Taking advantage of these new ecosaving energy sources could mean that we are getting ever closer to that cost-free shower first thing each morning!

So what’s the science behind it? Both air and water source heat pumps are enviromentally efficient ways of transforming natural heat sources to benefit our homes. Air heat pumps can be utilised for heating the home, whereas water based heat pumps can take advantage of the heat in a lake or from the ground. This technology can easily be explained when looking at your fridge at home.  A small heat pump located on the back of the fridge works to move any heat from inside the fridge to the outside, thus cooling down the inside.  For more information on heat pumps please visit the following link: http://www.ecoheatpumps.co.uk/heat_pumps.htm

Source: Grand Design Magazine – July 2009