Doesn't the thought of assembling your very own sauna in your home or backyard get your pulse racing with excitement? Well, it should! But there's more to saunas than just relaxation and detoxification. There's an entire science that goes behind powering up your sauna. So, let's dive into the labyrinth of sauna power consumption, and unearth the essentials of electrical requirements that ensure your sauna heats up to perfection while prioritizing safety.
What's the deal with sauna power systems—hardwired or not?
The decision to hardwire or not is primarily dictated by the size and the type of the sauna you fancy. If you're thinking of going all out with a large, traditional sauna that replicates the heat of an arid desert, you're most certainly looking at a hardwired electrical system. Smaller, infrared saunas that maintain a more moderate climate can usually operate with simple plug-in connections. A study in the Energy and Buildings journal (2014) sheds light on this subject. Traditional saunas, due to their voracious appetite for power, demand hardwired electrical systems and the finesse of professional electricians.
In my experience of sauna installations, engaging the services of a licensed electrician is always a prudent move. On the surface, it may look like a cost-saving measure to do everything yourself, but you're dealing with electricity here—the stakes are relatively high. If your sauna requires a hard-wired installation, then you must have a certified electrician handle this.
The finer aspects of sauna installations demand the tact of a skilled electrician who is well-versed with the ins and outs of safety and local building codes. Don't just take my word for it, the Electrical Safety Foundation International lays serious emphasis on hiring licensed electricians for home improvement tasks that involve electricity.
Can I use my wall outlet?
Maybe. If you're opting for a smaller, usually infrared, home sauna, you might get away with running it on a standard 120-volt, 15-amp electrical outlet. But tread lightly if you've got a bigger sauna. They typically warrant a dedicated electrical circuit that falls in the range of 220- to 240-volt, 20- to 60-amp. This information was gleaned from a study in the Journal of Light Construction (2007). It's a common mistake to plug a high-requirement appliance like a large sauna into a standard outlet. This can overload your power circuits and pose serious electrical hazards.
What's the deal with special sauna outlets?
Although smaller, portable saunas or at-home infrared saunas may seem content with a standard outlet, it's a whole different ball game for larger saunas. They demand more powerful heaters that gulp electricity, needing higher amperage than what standard outlets can manage. This is where dedicated circuits step in with special outlets that typically range from 220 to 240 volts to safely power your relaxation haven.
For the most enchanting sauna experience, remember safety is paramount, and functionality comes next. Consult with a skilled electrician when installing your sauna, keeping the size, type, and power requirements of the sauna in focus.
 Energy and Buildings, 2014 "Power demands of Sauna Heaters" (paywalled)
 Journal of Light Construction, 2007 "Home Sauna Power Usage"