Ultimate Guide on Traditional Sauna Electrical Requirements

Ultimate Guide on Traditional Sauna Electrical Requirements

In today's world, the allure of a traditional sauna is hard to resist. Known for their amazing therapeutic benefits, saunas have shifted from being a luxury to a necessity in many homes.

If you're considering adding a 4-person traditional sauna to your space, you're on the brink of unlocking a world of relaxation and healing. To make the most out of your sauna experience, it's essential to address two main components: the heater and the power source.

Whether you opt for the wood-burning variety that calls for a steady supply of firewood or an electric heater that requires specific electrical hookups, ensuring you have the right setup is crucial.

In this guide, we'll discuss the electrical requirements for a traditional sauna to help you make an informed decision when purchasing or installing one.

1. Electrical Setup and Usage

When setting up a traditional sauna, remember that it's more than just plugging in a single appliance. For starters, you'll need at least two outlets: one for the heater and another for the lighting. If your sauna dreams include more sophisticated features like a lighted salt wall or a sound system, be prepared to add more outlets to fit these enhancements.

Following the heater manufacturer's installation guidelines is key, as each model has its specific requirements. Generally, traditional saunas lean on a 220v power supply and necessitate being hard-wired directly to your home's electrical box. For heaters that operate at 4.5kw or 6.0kw, a 30-amp breaker and 10/2 wire are needed. However, if your sauna's heater is positioned over 30 feet from the breaker, an 8/2 wire is required to ensure safety and efficiency.

For those opting for a more robust 8.0kw heater, upgrading to a 40-amp breaker with an 8/2 wire is essential. It's typical for traditional saunas to feature LED lighting that conveniently plugs into a standard 110v outlet, adding some ease to the installation process. All required wiring should be fed into the sauna through a designated hole in the wall beneath the heater or, in barrel saunas, upward through the floor below the heater.

2. Keeping an Eye on Electricity Consumption

Keeping an Eye on Electricity Consumption

Despite the seemingly high power requirements, traditional saunas are surprisingly efficient. Running on 220v and drawing less than 40 amps, they're built from thick, high-quality wood that provides excellent insulation.

This efficient design means that, depending on your sauna's size and frequency of use, monthly electrical costs can be as low as $20, making traditional saunas an economically sensible choice for regular relaxation and wellness sessions.

How Many Amps Does a Traditional Sauna Use?

When you decide to install a sauna at home, it's really important to know about its electricity needs. Saunas need electricity to heat up, and the amount they need can vary a lot. For example, a small, portable sauna that you can move around uses electricity differently than a big 6 person sauna. We measure this electricity need in "amps," which tells us how much electricity the sauna uses to run. "Voltage" is another term we use that tells us how quickly electricity is sent to the sauna.

Different saunas need different amounts of amps, and this can change based on the sauna's design, what company made it, and other factors. Most of the time, the kind of saunas that heat up with electricity need about 15-20 amps. Saunas that use wood to get hot need more electricity, around 30-50 amps, and infrared saunas that use infrared technology also need about 15-20 amps.

If you're thinking about getting a sauna for your place, whether it's an indoor sauna or an outdoor sauna, it's super important to have a professional electrician set it up. They'll make sure it's connected right to your home's electric system and follows all the safety rules. This will prevent problems like the electricity going off too often or other dangers.

Before you buy a sauna kit for your home, you should check if your electric system can handle it. Most newer homes are okay and have more than 50 amps ready for a sauna. However, some older homes might only have 60 amps in total. That means you'll need to see if your home's electric system can support a new sauna before you get one.

And if you find out your home doesn't have enough electric power for a sauna, don't worry! You can always upgrade your home's electric system to make room for your new relaxing spot.

3. Dedicated Circuitry

When adding a traditional sauna to your home, it's super important to make sure it has its own special circuit. Think of a circuit like a path that electricity travels on through your house. Just like you wouldn't want too many cars on a small road because it could cause traffic jams, you don't want too many appliances on the same circuit because it could get overloaded.

This special circuit for your sauna is called a dedicated circuit. This means it's just for the sauna and nothing else. No sharing with other gadgets or lights. It helps keep everything running smoothly and safely, making sure there's no risk of overloading.

Overloading can be bad because it might trip breakers, cause power outages, or even create hazards. So, always remember, your sauna needs its very own circuit to work its best and keep everything safe.

4. GFCI Protection

When setting up your home sauna, there's another super important thing to think about, and that's making sure you have GFCI protection. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. That might sound super technical, but it's actually something pretty simple and really important for keeping you safe.

Without GFCI, the electricity could keep running through the water, and if you touch it, you could get a serious shock. But if you have GFCI, it's like a superhero that quickly turns the electricity off to prevent you from getting shocked.

For traditional saunas, having GFCI is just as important. It keeps an eye on the electricity flowing through your sauna. If it notices something wrong, like electricity trying to take a dangerous path, it immediately shuts down the power. This happens so fast, in a fraction of a second, to make sure you're safe from electrical shocks.

5. Sauna Light and Controls

When setting up your traditional sauna, you can't forget about the lights and how you control everything. Here are some key things to remember about sauna lights and the controls that make everything work smoothly:

  • Voltage Needs: Most of the time, the lights inside a sauna need a 110-120V power source. This is pretty standard, just like the outlets you have in your home for plugging in a lamp or charging your phone.
  • Amperage: The lights and controls usually use less than 5 amps. This isn't a whole lot, so it's super easy on your electrical system. Just make sure they're hooked up right to keep things safe.
  • Separate Circuit: It's a smart move to connect your sauna's lights and controls to the main power source but keep them on a different circuit from the big heater. This helps make sure that if there's a problem with the lights, it won't mess up your sauna's heating system.

By keeping these points in mind, you'll help ensure your sauna is set up for easy use and relaxation, keeping safety and convenience in focus.

6. Wire Sizing and Insulation

If the wires are too thin for the amount of electricity power your sauna needs, they can get too hot. This isn't safe because overheated wires can be dangerous.

Here's a simple way to understand which wire size you need:

  • If your sauna needs up to 30 amps of power, use a wire that's size 10-gauge.
  • For saunas that need 40 to 60 amps, go for an 8-gauge wire.

Also, because saunas are warm and moist places, you need to make sure the wires are protected.

Wiring an Electric Sauna Heater

Wiring an electric sauna heater is a task that requires special skills and knowledge about electrical systems, so it's super important to get a professional electrician to do it. If you're not experienced with electrical stuff, trying to wire a sauna heater by yourself can be risky.

Hiring a pro isn't just about making sure the job is done right; it's also about making sure everything is safe and meets the National Electrical Code.

Even though it might seem like a cool weekend DIY project, wiring up a sauna heater requires following specific codes and instructions. Always check the manual that comes with your sauna heater, as it has the exact steps and details you need.

Here are the basic steps a pro would follow to wire an electric sauna heater:

  1. Install a Circuit Breaker: Your electrician will start by adding a new circuit breaker to your home's breaker box. This is usually a 40-50 amp breaker, but they'll make sure it matches your sauna heater's needs.
  2. Read the Manual: They'll double-check the sauna heater's manual to understand the specific requirements, like whether or not to use a GFI breaker.
  3. Run the Cable: A cable that's the right size will be run from your breaker box to the back wall of your sauna.
  4. Install a Circuit Protector: In the sauna, they'll install a circuit protector or a disconnect box where the cable ends.
  5. Make the Connections: Wires from the disconnect box will be connected to a junction box for the heater.
  6. Wire up the Heater: Finally, they'll connect the electrical heater to the junction box, ensuring everything is properly sealed.

Remember, working with electricity is a serious business, so it's worth getting a professional to handle it.

Related: Wood Burning vs. Electric Sauna Heaters

Frequently Asked Questions

How much power does a traditional sauna use?

A traditional sauna typically uses between 7-9 kilowatt hours of power for a standard two-hour session. This includes warming up the sauna for the first hour and maintaining the heat for the next. The initial hour is more power-intensive, consuming about 4-5 kilowatt hours, while the following hour uses slightly less, around 3-4 kilowatt hours.

Are saunas expensive to run?

Running your home sauna might sound like it uses a lot of electricity because it needs to get really hot. But don't worry, it only adds a little bit to your electric bill, about $4 to $6 a month, if you use it 2-3 times a week for a 3-4 person sauna. This is way cheaper than a gym or spa membership!

The Takeaway: Traditional Sauna Electrical Requirements

Traditional Sauna Electrical Requirements

Understanding the electrical needs of a traditional sauna is crucial for safety and efficiency. We covered the importance of having the right type of wiring, making sure your sauna's lights and controls are safely installed, and the necessity of hiring a professional electrician to wire your electric sauna heater.

Following these guidelines ensures your sauna is not only a place of relaxation but also a safe space that meets all electrical codes.

If you're looking to buy a sauna, we offer a wide selection of high-quality traditional saunas that fit your needs and preferences.

Contact us to learn more about our products and how to safely set up your sauna for years of relaxation and enjoyment.