With the increase of health consciousness and the benefits of heat for purifying toxins from the system, home saunas are increasingly being installed in homes across the land. While at first glance the installation may seem overwhelming, anyone with a modicum of do-it-yourself ability can create a home infrared sauna.
There will be a few details that must be worked out before you can begin the actual construction. A home infrared sauna can be built either indoors in an existing room or it can be situated outside. Check with local ordinances to find out what permits, if any, will be required for construction. If you will be using electricity for a heat source, that will also need to be investigated for applicable utility code compliance.
Begin with a detailed scale plan of the infrared sauna you wish. Make sure to include placement for the heat source(s) as well as the bench, light, and temperature controls. While a traditional sauna uses wood for heat, most modern-day saunas are constructed using electrical power and specially designed emitter units. With such units you can quickly determine how many will be needed. The standard formula is 17 watts of emitter power for each cubic foot of the interior of the infrared sauna.
Choosing the right wood for your infrared sauna is essential. You will want a wood that does not crack or split in high heat conditions. You will want untreated wood, at least on the inside of the sauna so that it will not outgas toxins when hot. Particle, fiberboard and plywood are especially bad choices for an infrared sauna. Not only can they degrade in the heat, the glues used to make them will release toxic fumes.
While insulation is not required in an infrared sauna, its inclusion can make for a more energy-efficient structure. Fireproof insulation around the heat emitters will also help make your sauna more efficient and safe. a raised floor will help prevent contact with any moisture that may accumulate. Add plans for ventilation in your infrared sauna. Have an intake on one side and the ventilation outlet on the opposite side of the sauna.
During construction it is critical to make sure all screws, especially the interior ones, are well recessed into the wood. This will prevent burns from contact while the unit is hot. The general rule of thumb is that electrical emitters are situated vertically on the sides of a sauna, any emitters below the level of the bench should be situated horizontally. Most sauna walls are built around 2″x4″ studs set at 16″ centers. Using a tongue and groove jointing for the interior boards will give the sauna walls much needed flexibility through the extreme temperature changes the wood will experience.
If designing your own infrared sauna is beyond your skill, there are prefabricated units available and competent electricians that can make sure the wiring is done properly. Since most sauna units use 240 volts, having a professional electrician do the wiring can be justified as a major safety precaution.