We love our Almost Heaven Sauna!
First off, it is worth mentioning that my wife gave me a really hard time about buying it. We won’t use it, it takes up a ton of space in the yard, it is expensive, … Fast forward a couple of weeks and now she is in it every night with me and agrees that it is one of the best purchases we have ever made. She suffers from fibromyalgia, constant muscle pain, and fatigue. Sauna use has improved all of her symptoms. For me, it has lowered my resting heart rate by about 10 beats, has reduced joint pain, improved sleep, and improved my overall cardiovascular capacity. Not a doctor and I don’t know the specific reasons why this occurs, but the benefits are real.
I don’t purchase things on a whim and we are not wealthy. I wanted the best and have been researching saunas for the last couple of years. I had read about these saunas on a few forums and decided to call the sales office for more information. Mitch was incredible and after he answered all of my questions without applying any sales pressure, I knew that I would be buying from them. The problem I encountered is that most retailers don’t have the barrel models on display. Luckily, I live in SE Ohio and could drive to the manufacturing location. 15 minutes after arriving we were loading a display model onto my trailer. George, April, and Jonathon were all fantastic. I can’t stress the excellent customer service I experienced every step of the way!
One last interesting story before I give you the low down. I stopped at a gas station leaving town and one of the employees that worked at the factory was getting gas at the same time. We talked for about 30 minutes and he told me about how he had made the very sauna I was hauling home. Made in the USA!!! It was really nice to meet someone that I was helping support locally. Great guy!
A few things I learned that might help you:
-Costco alternates sales on the smallerlarger saunas every month. The savings are substantial, so it is worth waiting. I got a steal since I was able to buy direct from the manufacturer and pick up the unit in person to avoid shipping.
-Upgrade to the cedar, you won’t regret it. It is only a few hundred dollars more and the look and more importantly the smell are incredible.
-You will need an electrician to install it unless you are VERY handy. I paid someone; it was about $600. You will want to factor that into your costs.
-Level the site where you are going to build it ahead of time. Mine is not completely level and it is going to be a pain in the butt to move it and level the spot in spring.
-Your electric bill is going to go up. We use ours most nights and it looks like about an additional $15-$20 per month.
-Buy the biggest sauna that you can afford. We have the 8-person barrel with the porch and it is just big enough where I can lay down on the bench. (I am 6’ tall) Could you fit 8 people in this sauna? Yes, but you are going to be very close friends. (And hopefully most of you are small) Realistically, I would say you could comfortable fit 4 average sized chubby Americans in my sauna. (I can say that because I am a chubby American. 😊)
-Buy the ladle, thermostat, and bucket kit. They are incredible quality and are worth every penny.
-Be careful about door choice, we have the full wooden door and my wife loves the privacy. I personally would have rather had the glass door. (Gives you hope when you want to give up and may be helpful for folks that are lose their minds in tight spaces.) I also don’t care if my neighbors see my bare ass, so maybe something else to consider.
-Don’t use all of the rocks that come with it. You need to have plenty of air circulation in the heater. Mine wasn’t getting hot enough at first, it was because I overfilled the heater.
-You will want some sort of timer. I bought a wooden one on Amazon, not sure if Almost Heaven sells them. I should have asked or checked their website.
-You need to heat your sauna for 45-60 minutes before using depending on the ambient temperature outside. It has a timer that is super simple to use.
-I would recommend not going in for more than 20 minutes your first time. Make sure you are hydrated ahead of time and take a water bottle in with you. I sit mine on the floor so it stays cold. You can gradually work your way up to more time. Or multiple cycles.
-Try using it beforeafter workouts. I personally like it better after a workout, but before stretching. Doing it before a workout relaxes you too much, it makes the workout torturous.
-I use tap water to pour on the rocks, but I let it sit in an open jug for a few days to let all of the chlorine and other chemicals evaporate.
-If you want to get it above 170-175, then move your thermostat below the heater instead of on the wall in the upper right-hand corner. This is a pro-tip after you get used to the sauna, use good common sense and don’t cook yourself!
-You might want to consider some sort of fan to circulate the air. (Hot air rises to the top of the barrel) I simply waive a towel around to push the air down. (Works fine)
-Tighten the bands if you have water inside. Mine were too lose when I did the setup and I had some water leak-in. After tightening everything up, we now have minor seepage that is normal.
In closing, don’t buy a cheap, junky, Chinese made infrared sauna that probably has a bunch of nasty chemicals in the wood. Kick it old school in a real sauna that is built to last a lifetime right here in the USA. I am super frugal and it was worth every penny. Thank you Almost Heaven!