How to reduce infrared sauna warm-up time in unheated room

Where do you plan to install your sauna? Outdoors? In a cold garage? Basement? The you need to know that it will probably take longer to warm-up than it is said in sauna promotional materials. Maximum sauna temperature can be lower too. I base this statements both on a simple logic and responses I’ve read from people who have sauna in a cold, unheated room.

It is evident that in a cold room an infrared sauna will lose more heat during warm-up and session than in a warm one. The tricky question is if this difference in heat loss matters enough to alter your sauna experience significantly. I can tell, from some second-person experience, through communicating with my readers vie email and reading some health and sauna related discussion groups, that for some sauna models warm-up time can go up to one hour and max temperature can fall noticeable.

Infrared sauna rooms are rather large and it may be uncomfortable to place one in a living-room. Using an unheated room or placing sauna outdoors is a really appealing alternative, but if you have a cold time of the year in a place where you live, you need to take room temperature into account.

There are three main factors that affect infrared sauna warm-up time and max temperature:

  • heaters net power;
  • volume of sauna internal space;
  • how good sauna walls conduct heat.

Indeed, sauna with more powerful heaters will warm-up more quickly. Small sauna need less energy to heat up than a large one. If walls are thin or have gaps between boards, the heat will go out quicker. Looking for a sauna to place in a cold environment, look for one with best heaters power to volume ratio and well thermoinsulated walls. Talk with selling side to know if they have an idea how their sauna works outdoors. Look for sauna models which have an outdoor cover as additional option. It makes sense even indoors, as it helps to keep the heat inside the sauna.

If you have a choice, place an infrared sauna in a potentially warmer place, with not much air flow, and in a corner, so only two walls will be open to the room space. Close windows and doors during your sauna warm-up. You can ventilate room when sauna will be hot, to allow some fresh air into the room.

To summarize things to know when placing a sauna in an unheated room:

  • look for the sauna with best net heater power to volume ratio;
  • sauna with more thick and solid walls will store heat better;
  • outdoor cover can provide additional thermoinsulation, so it makes sense even indoors;
  • place your sauna in a potentially warmer room, without much air flow;
  • with your sauna placed in a corner, only two sides will face open space, thus less heat loss;
  • close doors and windows for a faster warm-up, to ventilate room later.

I personally think that placing an infrared sauna in an unheated room is a good idea if you can afford it, and if done with proper planning your sauna experience will not suffer.

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