Sauna Electrical Requirements

What sort of electrical service is required?

The sauna heater will require 220v power and must be hard-wired to the heater.  If your sauna is located 30 feet or less from your breaker box, the unit will require 10/2 with ground wire and a 30amp breaker for a 4.5kw – 6.0kw heater, and a 40amp breaker for an 7.5 – 9kw heater.   Over 30 feet will require 8/2 with ground wire.

The light will require 110v power with 15amp service and an on/off switch must be wired inline at a convenient location for your specific application.  All wiring for Barrel Saunas will come into the rear of the sauna on the back wall or through the floor below the heater.

Be sure to follow the specific heater manufacturer’s installation instructions for their respective heater.  You should always have a licensed electrician do your wiring according to local electrical codes.

In addition to electrical requirements, you may find some of the following information useful when planning the setup of your new cedar sauna.

The costs of operating a wet/dry sauna are minimal for a couple of reasons.  First, the unit operates on efficient 220 volt electric and draws less than 40 amps of power.  Second, unlike a spa or other household appliance, a sauna only draws power when you want to use it.  You heat up the sauna no more than an hour or so before you want to use it and then shut it off when you’re finished.  The costs of operation are negligible under normal use, much like the cost of a clothes dryer or electric oven.

Heat-up time is based on ambient temperature, so the sauna will get to temperature faster when the outside air is 50F when compared to, say, 20F.  Also, the optimal sauna temperature varies by individual; some people like their sauna at 165F where other like it at 190F.  However, as a rule of thumb, the sauna will heat to 165F in 30-40 minutes, and to 190F in less than 60 minutes.

Unlike most saunas, Almost Heaven Saunas are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.  Red Cedar is naturally resistant to decay, and the ball and socket design of the staves makes for a robust seal and solid structure for outdoor use. Additionally, the thick softwood staves are excellent at retaining the heat of the sauna and the circular barrel shape provides excellent distribution of heat.

The great thing about Western Canadian Red Cedar is that you don’t need to treat it.  Left natural, the wood will turn a silver color over time due to the effects of sun and rain with no detrimental effect on the wood itself.  If you wish to retain the rich, natural color, you should treat the exterior of the sauna with a UV inhibited stain that will resist the weathering effects of sunlight and rain.  Your local paint professional can assist with a suitable product.  Note: never treat the interior of the sauna room.

Almost Heaven Saunas can be used in any environment, but in all cases it is important that the surface supporting the sauna is firm and level (a slight taper for rain run-off is fine.)  Suitable surfaces include wood decks, concrete patios, paver stones, pressed gravel, etc.  The Barrel Sauna can be placed directly on the ground due to the synthetic plastic cradle supports, which create a barrier between the red cedar and the bare ground.

Almost Heaven Saunas are very easy to assemble and can typically be put together by two people in only a few hours.  The saunas come partially assembled and the sections simply need to be fitted in place.  The Barrel Sauna comes with pre-assembled front and back ends and requires the staves to be placed around the ends and then tightened with the stainless bands. Bench sections are prebuilt and simply need to be installed after the room is assembled.  Easy to follow instruction manuals are included with the sauna or can be viewed in the manuals section of our web site.  There is also an assembly video available for the popular Barrel Sauna.

From an operational standpoint, very little maintenance is required.  Depending on the humidity and weather conditions in your area, you may need to tighten the bands or place additional filler staves in the sauna after a period of time, usually in the first few months.  This is because any swelling and shrinkage of the wood will occur due to the amount of moisture absorption, and the desired effect is to have the wood “swell” or expand into the bands.  You may want to periodically scrub the floor or benches of the sauna with a mild solution of water and baking soda, but other than that, simply enjoy your sauna!