Having a personal sauna comes with its fair share of operation and installation questions. Making your sauna a seamless part of your home means figuring out how it will affect the existing structures of your house. No one wants their drywall or floor to suffer! The good news is that we have all the answers to your ventilation and drainage questions. The even better news is that it’s easier than you might think!
Unlike a steam room which contains very little airflow, a sauna room needs to breathe. The comfort of the room depends on this, and all saunas rooms should be designed with a natural airflow circulation. You will often see adjustable sauna vents that are critical to the airflow within the sauna. The goal of the airflow in a sauna is to provide fresh oxygen while circulating the heat constantly. Check out our range of Portable Sauna Melbourne to help with your problem.
In order for the airflow to work there needs to be intake and exhaust. Because hot air rises, the exhaust vent should be placed high up near the top of the sauna. The cold intake should be lower towards the ground. Often in sauna design, the base of the door and the floor is used to vent the cold air by ensuring a ¾” to 1″ floor gap. The upper vent is used to control the airflow by providing an adjustment louvre. Ideally, six air changes per hour provide the most comfort. As the sauna temperature increase the natural convection will increase as well. Adding steam to produce Loyly will act as a piston and force the air out of the vent port, increasing the circulation.
Does my sauna need to be vented?
Yes, but no need to worry: All Almost Heaven saunas have not one, but TWO built-in vents. One vent, under or behind the heater, helps to bring in fresh air for the heater to operate. The second will be near the ceiling opposite the heater, a sliding or spinning cover that can be adjusted for your comfort. If you want some fresh air flowing through, great – open that vent up! If you’d rather keep all that hot air in, keep the vent closed—no need to be concerned if you opt for closed vents. The softwood construction of the sauna room is designed to be breathable as well.
You do not need to build any additional ventilation onto your sauna. Venting the sauna to the outside may even cause your sauna to take longer to heat up due to differing temperatures and barometric pressures. Just keep your sauna an inch or two away from your existing walls, and you’ll be golden.
Regarding steam or humidity wreaking havoc on your walls, the amount of humidity created will be far less than a shower. Between the absorbent softwood of the sauna room and the dry heat, far less steam will escape the sauna – even with your vents open.
Does my sauna need a drain?
Understandably, most people don’t want to flood their homes. However, keep in mind that a sauna is not a steam room! While you’re able to create humidity by sprinkling water over the stones, the sauna room is constructed of a softwood that absorbs moisture. The heat then keeps the dampness at bay and helps to dry out space. If you’re picturing yourself dumping buckets of water over the heater and it spilling all over the floor, know that is way too much water for the heater to handle at once. A ladleful will do, and your floor will stay dry!
Since indoor saunas are made to use your existing flooring, choose a flooring that is heat and water-resistant (concrete, tile and luxury vinyl planking are some of our favourites! And if you want a floor made to match and fit the rest of your space, we have an option for you!). At most, you might experience condensation that will either dry up with a few extra minutes of dry heat or can be easily wiped up. For residential saunas, a drain is not necessary!
We advise venting the sauna back inside the house rather than out to the outdoors
The main reason is that the barometric pressure outside is often different than indoors, and this can create reverse flow bringing air from the outside in. Also, you always want to minimize penetrations to the outdoors. It might seem like a great way to heat your house, but the sauna will add very little positive heat to your home as by design it is meant to heat a small enclosed space. And, the sauna will not add any significant moisture to the adjoining air space. Even when you ladle water over the rocks, you add very little actual humidity to the air. Saunas provide very dry air. The humidity of a sauna ranges from 10-35%. Looking for Sauna Melbourne? Look no further, Portable Sauna has you covered.
Most importantly, the air coming into the sauna through the intake opening should be fresh and cooler than the heated sauna air. Fresh air also affects the sauna heater’s thermostat and hi-limit sensors. Otherwise, the sauna heater may sense that the room is prematurely hot and thus shut the heater down before the desired temperature is reached. Also, the fresh air will have slightly higher oxygen levels but do not be concerned with oxygen levels as the sauna rooms are nowhere near airtight. Many saunas do just fine with a wide crack at the bottom of the door serving as the intake vent.
Can I vent my sauna heat back into my house?
It is best to vent the sauna back inside the house rather than to the outdoors. The main reason is that the barometric pressure outside is often different than indoors, and this can create reverse flow bringing air from the outside in. Also, you always want to minimize penetrations to the outdoors. Though it might seem like a great way to add heat to your house, a sauna will add very little positive heat to your home as by design; it is meant to heat a small enclosed space. Also FYI, the sauna will not add any significant moisture to the adjoining air space. Even when you ladle water over the sauna heater rocks, you add very little actual humidity to the air. Saunas provide very dry air. The humidity of a sauna ranges from 10-35%.
Sauna Vent GrillMost importantly, the air coming into the sauna through the intake opening should be fresh and cooler than the heated sauna air. Fresh air also affects the sauna heater’s thermostat and hi-limit sensors. Otherwise, the sauna heater may sense that the room is prematurely hot and thus shut the heater down before the desired temperature is reached. Also, the fresh air will have slightly higher oxygen levels but do not be concerned with oxygen levels as the sauna rooms are nowhere near airtight. Many saunas do just fine with a wide crack at the bottom of the door serving as the intake vent.
Learn how to build your sauna kit to avoid mistakes properly
At Saunafin, experienced staff can provide the right type of advice to build a variety of sauna kits properly. At the same time, they can advise about specific mistakes to avoid while building your sauna kit. Throughout the GTA, homeowners can fully rely on Saunafin to build it right.
Saunafin specializes in prefabricated sauna kits; sauna material kits; special infrared saunas; as well as steam generators. With everything under one roof, Saunafin can provide it with all.
Pre-planning your sauna will help avoid costly mistakes
- The allotted space should be adequate for both seating and reclining.
- As a rule, there should be 2 feet of bench space per person. For comfortable reclining, the bench should be 6 feet or longer.
- Upper bench widths should be 20″ – lower bench widths should be 16″. A sauna space should not have angles, alcoves or vestibules (too much-wasted space and can affect heater efficiency). Two bench levels are important.
- The upper bench is for maximum heat; the lower bench is for stepping up or for sitting at the lower temperatures.
The advantage of having a shower close by
Before the sauna, a shower using soap to cleanse the body. For many people, saunas are a “hot-cold” cycle. Depending on your experience, preference and tolerance, most people will sit in the sauna for 7-to 15 minutes. Then step into a cold or cool shower (or jump in a lake if one is handy). Repeat the hot-cold cycle two, three or four times as desired. Once you are finished with your sauna, take one last cool shower. Damp dry and then sit or lay down for 10-20 to air dry and relax.
Making sure that the sauna is properly ventilated
- Sauna ventilation is not required for safety reasons, but it makes the sauna experience more comfortable. And improper or insufficient airflow can impede heater operation.
- Sauna venting is not like venting for a shower. You are not venting humidity (saunas are very dry) and you do not vent to the outdoors.
- Sauna vent inlets and outlets are inside the house. If possible, the outlet vent should direct exhausted air back to the inlet vent area.
- (Note for exterior saunas. If your sauna is outdoors, you can’t vent into the house. For an outdoor sauna, some will skip the venting initially and only add it later if required. For outdoor venting, the exterior should have a “mushroom cap” style cover, so air from outside does not blow into the sauna.
- It’s best to install a lower vent (for air intake) and an upper vent (for exhaust).
- The lower vent brings in the air for added comfort, while the outlet vent expels used air.
- The lower vent should be close to the floor and close to the sauna heater (allows the heater to work efficiently).
- Outlet vent should be in the far corner from the sauna heater and inlet. The upper outlet vent is usually placed about 6″ below the ceiling.
- Typically, no ductwork is required for the vents.
- Sometimes outlet vent through the far wall is not possible. In such cases, it may be possible to vent through the ceiling and duct exhaust air over the drop ceiling to available space.
Ceiling height of the sauna and door installation
The norm for a sauna ceiling is 7′ from the floor. This height allows for heating efficiency. Depending on the heater model, the ceiling can also be as low as 75″ if desired. Saunas taller than 7′ have more of the “hottest” air above the sauna seating area, so they will not feel as hot.
As for the sauna door, it must open outwards for safety reasons, and should not be installed with a lock. The sauna door should be 24″ wide (standard) in order to prevent the unnecessary loss of heat.
Sauna height affects inside temperature variations
Sauna heat is stratified because heat naturally rises from the floor to the ceiling. That is why two-tier benches and lower ceiling height are so important. At 7′, you are sitting closer to the warmest air in the sauna. A high ceiling causes heat to be above bathers’ heads. Excessive ceiling height is a mistake to avoid while building your sauna kit.
Do infrared saunas need to be vented?
A far infrared sauna is a small space where you can enjoy quiet, relaxation, and health alone or, depending on the size, with a friend or two. The sauna is usually made out of wood and has four sides, a floor, and a roof, so airflow is important. Just like a traditional sauna, an infrared sauna does need to be vented. Also Portable Sauna Melbourne page which has everything Portable Sauna related that you might need
What does venting the infrared sauna do?
To allow heat to flow through the sauna properly, you will need an intake vent on one side, usually a small gap under the door or something similar. This allows cool air to get in. Because heat and hot air rise upwards, the outtake vent should be high up on the opposite wall.
This outtake vent allows stale air to exit the sauna. The hot air flow keeps the temperature more even and makes it more comfortable to breathe in the sauna during use.
The vents also help promote drying out of the wood between uses, keeping the environment healthy.
Such a sauna ventilation scheme is known and used for a long time: air supply – space under the door or the hole by the heater to the next room. It is the oldest system of ventilation, which is used from immemorial times. It works quite well and naturally. Additionally, you do not need to take ventilation into the opening in the chimney or install the forced blower. However, such ventilation has disadvantages:
- Big differences in temperatures between zones of the first and second benches;
- Insufficient oxygen supply in the benches area.
Thus, natural ventilation works perfectly, but it has significant disadvantages. Therefore sauna experts offer a new model of ventilation for some time. According to this model, the airflow remains the same as for natural ventilation – the gap under the door or a hole in the wall under the heater, and the exhaustion of air is offered a double – in the ceiling and under the benches.
The main mistake is detected during the installation of sauna ventilation – incorrectly matched height for the air exhaustion. According to the physical laws, the hot air is easier than the cold one, so it goes upwards. The greater the difference in temperatures is, the greater the difference in weight of the air is, and the greater the movement of air streams is. There are very big differences in the weight of air and its temperature in the sauna, so the air heated by the heater rises easily. If the air outlet is installed in the ceiling or the wall by the ceiling, then a lot of energy is lost – hot air rises to the top and is exhausted. If the heater is not powerful enough, or its power hardly accords with the heated volume of the sauna, then it is possible that energy input will be significantly bigger. Check out Portable Sauna Melbourne specialists in providing solutions to your problem.
The higher the exhaustion vent is set in a sauna, the greater amount of warm air is lost; however, the temperature difference is the power that causes the air to move. If the air supply and exhaust were set by the floor, where two vents were opposite each other, that would also be wrong, because the hot air in the upper part of the sauna wouldn’t be changed, but only the cold lower part of the bath would be aired. There it is advisable to install a double extraction of air in the sauna – in the ceiling and about 65 – 70 cm from the floor, under the benches. Functions of air exhaustion:
- To provide good air circulation while being in the sauna;
- To ensure sufficient ventilation of the area after the sauna procedures.
Air exhaustion outlet, located beneath, while taking a sauna should be open, a pull could be controlled by setting the adjustable ventilation valve or a valve controlled by remote control. Exhaust air vent, located at the top of the ceiling, should be closed while being in the sauna, it only opens after a bath to remove excess humidity and dry out enough sauna wood. Flat galvanized tin flues of a depth of 5 cm, connector, transition, outlet and other details combine the vent of exhaustion. All sauna systems of air exhaustion are carried to the chimney hole designed for ventilation or to the planned hole of a forced extraction.
Airflow in the sauna can be controlled by opening and closing the valve of air exhaustion (ventilation). If you reduce the exhaustion air by not completely closing the vent valve, it will not get more air in the sauna. Airflow can be regulated through the air supply opening, an exhaustion opening, and sometimes through the heater.
The intensity of the air circulation in the sauna is also determined by the power of the heater or its design. Common sauna heaters of permanent firing burn a lot of oxygen, less accumulative and heaters of periodic firing do not burn oxygen at all while being in the sauna.
Ventilation is one of the most important elements of the sauna. Many people who like going to the sauna state that its ventilation is the second most important element after the sauna heater. The main functions of ventilation are: removal of humidity excess and providing a good fresh air circulation while being in the sauna. Professional contractors of saunas note that while taking a sauna, the air in it should be changed 7-8 times in one hour. This means that air must not only enter the bath, but should circulate there – saturated carbon dioxide is released and removed, and the sauna filled with fresh air again.