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Product Review: Insignia IN9001 Steam Shower Enclosure

Although technically the Insignia INS9001 is a rectangular cabin, at 1100mm x 890mm x 2200mm (W x L x H), it has more of a square appearance. Being one of Insignia’s more spacious models means that the Insignia INS9001 is likely to find its place in a main bathroom rather than an en suite, however it still takes up less floor space than a standard bath, which may allow home owners a bit more flexibility when it comes to making best use of their space. On that note, as a free-standing, self-contained shower cabin, the Insignia INS9001 can be placed adjacent to a wall without the wall needing to be tiled, which may open up further options in some bathrooms, specially budget wise. The Insignia INS9001 comes in a total of 12 colours, including the ever-popular matte white, matte black and mirrored glass and the 9 new “carbon” colours, which cover a broad spectrum from silver and gold to bold, primary colours such as red, green and blue.

As with all Insignia hydrotherapy showers, the Insignia INS9001 comes with a 5-year warranty (upon registration) and all support is provided from Insignia’s UK base (in Milton Keynes). Insignia also stocks back-up parts in the UK, so that prompt service can be provided at all times.

Key Features and Benefits of the Insignia INS9001 steam shower

The Insignia INS9001 has been designed to combine advanced features with simplicity of use so that it appeals to everyone from people who just want a shower to people who really want to make the most of it as an investment in their mental and physical health.

For users who just want a “no fuss no frills” experience, the only choice they have to make is whether they want to use the monsoon shower head, which is contained in the roof enclosure or the hand shower which is situated to the right of the central column (when facing the shower). The former drenches the user in water, so that it almost feels like having a bath except that the user is standing (or seated on the provided stool). The hand shower is essentially a high-quality version of the classic shower. It will please traditionalists as well as people who are really pressed for time. The hand shower is on a riser, so it can easily be adjusted to suit the height of the user and it has three power settings, which go from a stimulating jet to a soothing mist via a regular spray. Both showers are thermostatically controlled thanks to a thermostatic cartridge with Vernet wax element, which ensures safety as well as comfort.

The 6 hydrotherapy jets in the central column are positioned so that they can be enjoyed either from a standing position or when seated on the provided stool. They are likely to be particularly appreciated by anyone who suffers from back pain. The central column also contains three small outlets at its base which are barely noticeable but hugely important. These holes are the only visible sign of the new Insignia Tri Jet system, which replaces the old steam pod. The most obvious reason this is an improvement is that it removes an obstacle, albeit a small one, from the inside of the cabin. By doing so, Insignia has not only saved shower users from stubbed toes but also made it virtually impossible for the new steam system to be physically broken either by an accidental kick from an adult or by children using it as a toy. Again, this improves safety as well as comfort. Another benefit, which will become apparent during use, is that the new Tri Jet system significantly improves the diffusion of steam.

Another “invisible”, but very much appreciated, component of the Insignia INS9001 is the aromatherapy modular injection (AMI) system, which makes it possible for users to add fragrance to their steam. In keeping with the principle of full-featured simplicity which underlines the whole design of the Insignia INS9001, users can opt for a ready-made blend created to stimulate a particular effect (such as lifting the user’s mood or encouraging relaxation) or they can look into using specific essential oils to address their individual needs (or enlist the help of an aromatherapist to do this for them). The AMI system, therefore, really is a major benefit of Insignia steam showers.

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While the primary purpose of a shower is often to address physical wellness, in particular cleanliness, these days, there is increasing recognition of the need to maintain our mental and emotional health and quality “me time” in the Insignia INS9001 can play an important role in this. For example, the Insignia INS9001 comes with chromotherapy lights, which can cycle through 8 different colours or be set to the colour which best complements or addresses your mood when taking your shower. The link between colour and emotion has long been recognized and so, even though this feature can simply be used for fun (for example to entertain children), it can be a real benefit to some users.

Similar comments can be made of the Insignia INS9001’s support for music. There is an integrated FM radio, which supports channel pre-sets so it’s easy for you to find your favourite presenter or programme while you’re in the shower. Alternatively, you can make use of the Bluetooth functionality to pair your smartphone or tablet with your shower so you can access your own choice of music and perhaps create playlists specifically to enjoy while showering. The Insignia INS9001 comes with a high-quality speaker, which provides distortion-free sound even when the shower is in full operation.

All of these features are controlled from the M touch panel, located towards the top of the central column (and therefore out of reach of inquisitive little fingers). The top half of this unit contains an LCD display, which can be read easily even by those with poor eyesight and the bottom half contains 8 buttons which are clearly marked with pictures representing their functions. This means that even though the operation of the M touch panel is clearly described in the user guide, even the most technophobic shower users will find they can use it without any problems. The buttons are, literally, touch sensitive but the control panel will auto-lock after 10 seconds of inactivity to avoid accidentally presses creating undesired results and also to make it even harder for young children to operate the panel by themselves. Adults can unlock the control panel with one press of a button.

The Insignia INS9001 addresses all the practicalities expected of a shower which is intended to provide years of robust service in a family bathroom. Entry to the cabin involves a low step through easy-glide doors with magnetic closure. While these can be managed simply by users of all ages, the tempered glass is also strong enough to be long-lasting and safe in use. Likewise, the synthetic wooden floor provides more than just an attractive covering for the sturdy, steel-framed acrylic base, it is easy to keep hygienically clean and is splinter-free. On the subject of hygiene, the Insignia INS9001 also benefits from the O3 ozone-cleaning system, which activates automatically as soon as the shower is powered down. Lastly, but by no means least, the Insignia INS9001 incorporates a glass shelf with chrome rail, so that users have somewhere convenient to put their showering necessities without cluttering the floor and creating the risk of tripping and there is also an elegant and practical removable stool, which has a synthetic wood seat and metal legs, so shower users who wish can have a place to sit either for greater comfort or to assist those who are less steady on their feet.

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Technical Details of the Insignia INS9001 Steam Shower

Water-pressure requirements

The recommended water pressure is between 2.5 and 3 Bar. If the pressure is too low, the Insignia INS9001 will be unable to operate effectively. This means if the Insignia INS9001 is supplied by a gravity-fed water system, then it is highly likely that a pump will be required. Mains fed systems, by contrast, are unlikely to have any problems achieving the minimum pressure, in fact it may be advisable to have a pressure-reducing valve fitted to ensure that the water pressure never exceeds 3.4 Bar as this may cause damage to the system, which will be outside the scope of the warranty. For similar reasons, if you live in a hard water area, installing a water softener is also a recommended precaution as lime scale damage is also excluded from the warranty.

Electrical requirements

The total electrical requirements of the Insignia INS9001 are as follows:

Voltage Rating 220 -240AC

Frequency Rating 50HZ

Power Rating 2.8KW

This is well within the capability of any modern electrical system. The connection between the shower and the household mains supply must only ever be made by a qualified electrician. Failure to observe this requirement will invalidate the warranty and may also invalidate the home owner’s insurance. It is also likely to be a breach of local law.

Installation

The Insignia INS9001 will be delivered in several boxes. One of the boxes will contain an installation manual with a list of all included parts. The home owner should check that the everything is as detailed in the list and if not, contact Insignia within 48 hours of receipt and before starting to assemble the shower so that Insignia can replace anything which is missing or damaged. Insignia will supply all the hardware required for the actual assembly of the shower, the home owner will simply need to supply 3 flexible braided hoses of at least one metre in length (each), plus plumber’s mait and bacteria-resistant sanitary silicone. Given the nature of the product it is important to use special sanitary silicone rather than the standard variety. Assembling the Insignia INS9001 requires two people, although only one requires DIY skills, the other just acts as their assistant. If you are not sure about whether or not you have the skills to assemble this shower, then you could undertake a dry run by assembling the shower without adding the silicone to the joins. If everything goes to plan, you can then take it apart again and reassemble it with the silicone. If not, it should be a straightforward matter to find a local trades person to assemble it for you.

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The INS9001 is a large rectangular steam shower in Insignias range that claims to host a whole range of features - here we give it the full run down