As more and more Americans look for ways to enhance their homes and their health, there has been a huge increase in the number of families prioritizing wellbeing. We are receiving more and more requests for home sauna installation.

Why sauna?

This Scandinavian tradition delivers numerous health benefits and is a constant area of research. Recent studies demonstrate improvements to both mental and physical health.

For example, sitting in an enclosed space where a wood stove or electric heater generates temperatures of 195 degrees or higher eases chronic stress and muscle pain, while lowering the risk of serious ailments including cardiovascular disease.

For those working from home during the pandemic, saunas provide regular opportunities for spa experiences and escapes – keeping stress at bay.

Over the past decade, the market for saunas has expanded significantly. Nowadays, it meets the needs of nearly every budget, as well as home space. However, there are several factors which will determine your choice.

The four types of sauna

When most people think of saunas, they think of the traditional Finnish sauna, overlooking the other three types available. Each offers a unique experience that is worth exploring before making your decision.

The traditional Finnish sauna is wood-lined. Within it, you’ll find hot rocks, a bucket of water and a ladle. Humidity is controlled by placing water on the rocks and can take moisture levels from 20 to 40 per cent.

Dry saunas, like the traditional Finnish sauna, have heated rocks but its use doesn’t require water for a dry, low-humidity heat.

Steam baths are a type of sauna that reaches temperatures of approximately 120 degrees. Rather than wood, the space features tiles, glass or acrylic. Run at a lower temperature, it maintains humidity at 100 per cent – making it feel hotter than it actually is.

Infrared saunas stand out as they offer no humidity. Instead, units heat up your body temperature, enveloping your body in a heat glove.

Where to sauna?

Modern saunas can be installed just about anywhere.

Outdoor saunas, for example, can be invigorating on a crisp, autumn evening. Set apart from the main home enhances the experience: giving that feeling of a secret escape.

Indoors, many homeowners install a sauna in a spare room. However, if space is a premium, then consider incorporating it within the master suite.

What type of wood?

The type of wood you choose affects the look of your spa, as well as its durability. Choose woods that are heat and moisture resistant to avoid issues, like unsightly resin secretions appearing on your benches and interiors.

Cedar and aspen are hugely popular choices. However, if you’re looking for a darker and more elegant finish, choose treated magnolia, ash or radiata pine.

What type of build?

Home installation sauna kits offer homeowners an affordable solution for homeowners. Available widely, kits can typically be constructed quickly by a competent handyperson, with electrical support from an experienced electrician.

Some manufacturers offer modular designs which can be tailored to your exact needs, including footprint, interiors, lighting and glass. Often, this is a more affordable way of achieving a truly unique sauna design.

What are the electrical requirements for your home sauna?

By law, sauna owners must ensure that electrical connections are made by a qualified electrician in line with the National Electrical Code, as well as any local or state codes in force at time of installation.

Generally speaking, infrared (and some traditional saunas) are ‘plug-n-play’, meaning they can operate on a standard household circuit (GFI-protected 110-120v, 15-20 amp).

However, because they put such a huge requirement on the circuit, a dedicated line for sole use by the sauna – is recommended. This  helps minimize the risk of overload and nuisance tripping, while ensuring safe operations.

Traditional saunas featuring a standalone heater draw considerably more power, thanks to that heater which draws more than 4kw of power. Typically, these must be connected to a dedicated, GCFI-protected 220-240v, 30-60amp breaker.

If the sauna is connected to a non-dedicated circuit, overloading will result in nuisance tripping which requires resetting of the breaker switch at the house electrical panel.

Always refer to your owner’s manual to check your electrical requirements as the information provided is for general guidance only.

Be sure to hire an experienced, licensed electrician for your sauna installation project, so you can rest assured that you sauna is safe to use and will serve your family well for years to come.

Contact OHM Electrical Contracting today to get started.

Note: image credit for the photograph of the sauna used on this page is due to The Ice Bath,