Saunas by their very nature consume energy to produce the heat that we enjoy whilst sauna bathing.
Saunas are never as expensive to operate as people may think, as like your heating at home, the sauna heater works with a thermostat which shuts off the power once the desired temperature has been reached.
I often tell people that the heater will only actually be in operation for around 60-70% of the time the sauna is switched on, but even so, we can and should try to save energy wherever possible.
Here are some points that you may wish to consider when installing a sauna, or things to look out for to try and improve the efficiency of your existing sauna.
There is a trend currently for full glass fronts and side panels for saunas, and while these look visually appealing, especially if you have a view worth looking at (over a swimming pool or perhaps a spa garden ?), each glass panel will reduce the energy efficiency of your sauna by around 10%.
So, a fully glazed front will reduce the energy efficiency by 10%, a glass side panel of any considerable size by a further 10% an so on.
We all want to make the best use of energy, both for the sake of our ever increasing energy bills, but also from an environmentally responsible viewpoint, but as with all things in life, we sometimes have to make a trade off with the benefits.
Another thing to consider which will have a big impact on energy savings is ventilation. Sauna heaters require convection of air to work efficiently, and blocking or closing air vents in the sauna in an attempt to “save energy” will have an opposite effect.
Each sauna heater be it a behind the bench version or a conventional heater within the sauna will be supplied with Peridotite rocks to retain the heat. If you overfill the rock basket, or pack them in too closely, this will also affect the heaters efficiency.
There is a current trend for sauna heaters with extra large log baskets, and while these look great aesthetically, they may also affect the circulation of air in and around the heater if not installed correctly.
Sauna heater with extra large log basket
We are also being asked more and more for information on log burning stoves, and if you have ready access to logs, this may be another option worth considering, however this may also impact on your “Green Credentials” from the point of view of emissions, so worth thinking about.
There is a common “myth” that adding water to the sauna heater will increase the temperature, which is not correct.
Adding water increases the humidity which makes the sauna FEEL hotter, but actually decreases the temperature and puts added strain on the heater.
That is one of the benefits of providing an automatic sprinkler system to your sauna, as this will remove the “temptation” for your sauna bathing clients to keep adding water.