Sauna Care and Maintenance
Starting Your New Sauna Heater For The First Time
Once the sauna is finished and ready for use, a number of steps still
remain before you can enjoy the first sauna. Curing a sauna is a simple
process of cleaning the sauna completely, operating the heater and
allowing the heat to "break-in" the woodwork.
Begin by removing all leftover construction materials, and vacuum the
floor, benches and walls. Wipe down all wood parts with a damp cloth and
warm water. The sauna rocks should be washed prior to installation in the
Think of your sauna heater as a "chimney" with cool air
entering the bottom, being heated and rising out the top. Do NOT put the
sauna rocks in the rock basket too densely. Try to bridge the second layer
over the first layer so you still get a good volume of air passing through
the rocks. Should the rocks be packed too densely, you will trap the
superheated air in the heater and likely trip the "high-limit"
temperature switch in the heater. Should this happen, let the heater cool
down, then reset the high-limit switch by pushing in the eraser end of a
pencil. You should hear a "click" and feel the snap when the
switch is reset. (The limit switch is usually located near the bottom of
the heater and can be accessed through the 1/4" hole located on the
side of the heater box.)
Remember to remove any plastic coating from the stainless steel
shell of the sauna heater, if you havenít already.
After all electrical connections have been completed, (make sure each
connection is tight!) operate the heater for about twenty minutes to burn
off any residue coating on the elements. The smoke and smell will
last for a few minutes during this period and is normal.
The sauna should be on for one hour at full temperature with the door
closed before anyone uses it for the first time. An occasional rock may
crack along a "fault line" during the initial heat-up. Once the
rocks are fully heated after forty-five minutes, pour about a quart (one liter) of water slowly on the rocks to "steam clean" them and
complete the final test. If water pools on the floor youíre pouring the
water too fast. The water should steam without any reaching the floor if
youíre doing it properly.
Care Of The Sauna Room.
A sauna requires little care and virtually no maintenance at all.
Sauna maintenance will be much easier if the floor has been fully
sealed and wood preservative applied to selected parts. When finished
using the sauna, propping the door open will allow good air-flow to dry
out all wood surfaces. Duckboards can be lifted up to dry.
A double layer of terrycloth should be used on the top bench for
comfort as well as for keeping the top bench clean from all perspiration.
The terrycloth should be washed occasionally.
Under normal conditions, a slight wash of the floor several times a
year will maintain its cleanliness. The cedar benches can be washed with a
mild solution of liquid cleaner and water to remove any buildup and
perspiration stains from the wood. Never use ammonia or harsh cleaners as
they can turn the wood gray. Homecraft Saunas has a specially-formulated
sealant that should be applied to cedar surfaces to prevent discoloration.
No stripping or sanding is required to re-coat. Do NOT use commercial wood
sealers from local lumberyards or hardware stores. These are not designed
to withstand the sauna temperatures or humidity!
Some swelling or shrinkage can occur in the door depending on the
seasons and the moisture levels in the home. The friction door catch can
be removed and the pressure-setting can be adjusted.
The light bulb can be replaced by any 40 or 60 watt bulb of any color,
including white. Amber-orange colored bulbs are the most ideal for a soft,
warm and comfortable light. A shorter bulb life is normal for sauna
lights. One suggestion is to use a "rough service" bulb, the
type used in automotive trouble lights. These will last longer.
Heaters usually require little or no regular maintenance. To clean the
stainless steel outer shell use a soft cloth with a mild, non-abrasive
cleaner. Never use steel wool as it will leave iron particles and create
rust stains. Never unassemble the heater or open the electrical box. This
should be done by a qualified person.
The granite rocks may need to be replaced in 6 to 10 years. In many
cases the rocks will last up to 15 years in good service.
Good care should be taken of the wooden bucket. When not in use, store
the bucket upside down to promote drying. Avoid leaving metal buckets on
the top bench as they can get hot to the touch nearer the ceiling.
Like bathing in a hot tub, excessive exposure can be harmful to a
personís health. Persons with poor health should consult their
physicians before using the sauna.