Before you put your sauna outside
The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Infrared Saunas [2021 Guide]
Read this guide
Written by Christopher Kiggins
This guide can save you a lot of money This guide can save you a lot of money
Having your sauna outside adds an extra layer of fun that having your sauna inside doesn’t provide. It really makes you feel away from everything with not nearly the amount of distractions. You can listen to the sound of the rain, the birds in the morning or the drizzling of rain on the roof. I had my sauna outside for a long time. It’s just not the same in my garage now.
So, can you put your sauna outside?
It depends on what kind of sauna you have and whether or not it was made specifically made for the outdoors. You can put your indoor sauna outside, but it will depend on your location and if you can keep it covered.
In very cold environments like the Northeast, you will need a sauna specifically made for the outdoors. This is because these saunas (well, the good ones at least) are insulated and have extra wattage per cubic foot (i.e., more heaters). Additionally, they are designed to be able to handle the outdoor elements.
If I were to ask you which outdoor element causes the most damage to an outdoor infrared sauna, which one would you think? Rain, wind, snow or the Sun? It’s the Sun! This took me a while to comprehend, but I saw serious sun damage first hand. My parents had their two person sauna on their deck for years (pictured below). They got a bit lazy from time to time and did not properly zip up their cover. I saw how badly the Sun can effect your sauna.
What happens is that the wood begins to fade, then crack, then leak. This will happen to all types of wood that is exposed to the Sun. The ways to alleviate this concern is to (1) keep it out of the Sun and/or (2) place a heavy duty canvas cover over your sauna.
Before you set up your sauna outside there are some things you should consider first, namely—the warranty, where the power supply is located, the type of heaters, and the effect the elements will have on your sauna.
But having set up many infrared saunas outside, I have some tips for you.
Check your warranty Check your warranty
Most infrared saunas come with some sort of warranty, and many come with a lifetime warranty. Check the fine print of your warranty; however—most have a clause for outdoor storage that will void it if stored outside.
There happen to be ways around this. For instance, at SaunaCloud®, if you want to keep your infrared sauna outside and keep your lifetime warranty, all you need to do is use the canvas cover we provide.
You can also purchase our Sanctuary Outdoor infrared sauna specifically made for the outdoors. We cover our outdoor saunas with a 5 year warranty on all outdoor parts and a lifetime warranty on all indoor parts. It’s unfortunate, but companies just don’t expect their outdoor saunas to last as long.
Bottom line—Check the details of your warranty or call customer service before setting up your sauna outside! Again, get everything in writing!
The Effects of the Weather The Effects of the Weather
As I previously mentioned, the Sun’s UV rays are usually harsher to the exterior wood of the sauna than anything else; besides a hurricane (I’m talking to you people of Florida, who ask me about putting their sauna outside!) Long-term exposure to sunlight can effect the look of the exterior wood and allow for warping, cracking and eventual leaking.
Using a canvas cover when your sauna is outside offers some very important protections: it helps to insulate your sauna so it heats up faster and retains its heat, it protects from water damage and it protects your sauna from the Sun.
A quick note about covers: I would not get a dark color for your cover. I would choose a beige/tope color which won’t absorb too much of the Sun’s energy.
Here’s what a sauna cover looks like:
Snow in the Spring?! Tornado in the Fall?! Depending on where you live, the weather can be very unpredictable. You have to make sure your cover is on properly and zipped up every night. I’ve made this mistake thinking “oh, it’s Summer, it won’t rain…” Not fun waking up to the rain and your sauna’s front panel is leaking water!
Additionally, you will want to keep the snow off of the top of your sauna if you can. While it’s true that most infrared saunas are designed to withstand some moisture, if pools of water are left standing on top of or around the base of your sauna, you may seem some negative effects like mold or warped wood. Usually this won’t affect the actual operation of the sauna, but you’ll need to check with your model.
Bottom line—Keep the rain and snow off with a cover to stop the moisture from lying directly on top of the wood for extended periods of time.
Power Supply / Plug Location Power Supply / Plug Location
Again, we can’t speak for all infrared saunas, but every SaunaCloud® model requires at least a 120 volt plug. I used to think that 110 volt and 120 volt plugs were the same (whoops!), but they’re not. 110-volt plugs have the two vertical plugs and 120-volt plugs have three prongs (with one horizontal and one vertical). Like this:
It’s pretty easy to install a 120-volt outlet, but most homes in the United States don’t come standard with them outdoors, so you’ll need to account for that.
If you are buying a larger outdoor sauna, or one that is made for the outdoors, these saunas are almost always 240-volts. Here’s what a 240-volt plug looks like:
There are many infrared saunas that have their power supplies located in the roof and many under the bench. This makes a difference for a few reasons.
• If your sauna’s power supply is located in the ceiling/roof then you will want to make sure it is very protected from water damage. Rain usually washes right off the top of your sauna. However, if you live in a place that snows, your roof will accumulate snow, which will turn to ice then try its damned best to seep down into your sauna—damaging (and maybe even destroying) your power supply. I lost the stereo in mine this way.
• Having the power supply in the roof means that the power cord will be coming from the roof as well. This takes away from the total distance it can travel to your outlet. Most saunas have an eight foot power cord; however, infrared saunas made for the outdoor usually only have a six foot cord.
Bottom line—Make sure you have the right plugs in place for your saunas power requirements.
Best Style of Infrared Heaters for the Outdoors Best Style of Infrared Heaters for the Outdoors
Let me give you a big warning about putting an indoor infrared sauna outside. Do not put a pure carbon sauna outside under any circumstances. Their heaters simply do not hot enough to heat up
Here’s a crucial point to understand regarding outdoor saunas that often gets overlooked—When your sauna is outside and it’s freezing (like literally 32°F), your sauna and all of its heaters, controllers, power supply, thermostat, wires, stereo and wood are all frozen.
In order for you to use your sauna you actually have to unthaw your sauna. If your sauna only has weak, carbon heaters it simply won’t unthaw! You need hotter heaters. At the very least, make sure there are at least two halogen heaters (preferably 350 watts each) in your outdoor sauna. Because they have a surface temperature of 775°F (instead of 140°F of pure carbon heaters), your sauna will actually warm up (and in a very reasonable amount of time, maybe add an extra 5-10 minutes).
Space Planning Space Planning
We can’t speak for every type of infrared sauna, but most of our saunas weigh between 500-1000 lbs and take up at least 4′ x 4′. If you’re going to put your sauna outside on your deck or patio, please make sure that the surface you’re going to put your sauna on can handle the weight.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you allot enough space around your sauna when it’s outside to allow for proper water runoff.
Also, if the space you plan on putting your sauna has literally any chance at flooding, I would highly recommend raising your sauna up off of the ground using cinderblocks, or something similar.
Buy a sauna specifically designed for outdoor use! Buy a sauna specifically designed for outdoor use!
Yes, we saved the best for last. If you’re keen on permanently storing your infrared sauna, why not buy one that’s specifically designed to stand up to the elements?
Our newest line of IR saunas, the Outdoor Sanctuary line, are purpose-built for the outdoors. The main differences between our traditional line of saunas are:
• Composite wood (similar to a Trex decking material) to make sure the outside of your sauna does not leak or fade in the Sun.
• 1000 pound sauna that will not be moved or destroyed by the wind or outside elements (your roof won’t fly off).
• (4) 500 watt full spectrum heaters to make sure your sauna can heat up even in the coldest environments.
If you’re interested in learning more about outdoor saunas, please don’t hesitate to request a catalogue or get in touch with us.
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I am glad infrared saunas have developed the way they have, because I couldn’t imagine my life without the benefits they provide, like deep sleep, lower blood pressure, less joint pain, weight loss, and a boosted immune system. Here at SaunaCloud I sell saunas that are some of the best history has offered. My far infrared saunas use advanced ceramic-carbon combination heaters for an amazing sauna experience. For more information on how SaunaCloud’s infrared saunas work and how they can improve your health, download my book The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas. Just give us a call at SaunaCloud 1.800.370.0820.
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