How To Fully Optimize the Use of Your Indoor Barrel Sauna
If you’re fortunate enough to have an indoor barrel sauna at home, it's natural to want to know how you can get the most effective use out of it.
From knowing how to place your sauna, such as choosing the best type of flooring, to learning how to take care of it and relax while inside, will significantly maximize your sauna experience.Keep reading to learn how to fully optimize your indoor barrel sauna so you can get the best use out of it!
Choose a Heater
When it comes to an indoor barrel sauna, choosing a high-quality electric heater is essential. Since this is perhaps one of the most important features when optimizing the use of your indoor barrel sauna, you’ll want to ensure it’s up to par.
The question is, how powerful of a heater do you really need for your indoor barrel sauna? Depending on the size of your sauna, an ideal sauna heater will typically require a 220 to 240V outlet power source to allow the heat to flow evenly throughout the room. You will also require a hard wire breaker. Whether you plan to DIY your indoor barrel sauna or not, you’ll need the services of a professional electrician to install the electric sauna stove safely.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, electrical equipment can become a significant safety hazard if they come in contact with water or other liquids. Ensure the wiring in your indoor barrel sauna has a clear path free of fluids.
When it comes to optimizing the use of your indoor sauna barrel, perhaps the most significant part is digitization. You can now quickly and safely power up your sauna heater from anywhere at any time, using the Xenio WiFi touch panel with heaters like the Harvia KIP Electric Heater.
The best part about a wifi-controlled electric heater is that you can control it using an app on your phone or tablet. Some even come with Alexa or Google Home integration so that you can change their settings with just your voice.
Automating your home sauna can also help improve its efficiency by allowing you to set things like a heating curve or an automatic turn-off timer. The mobile app displays the temperature and timer in real-time. So you’ll be notified immediately as the sauna reaches your desired temperature.
Flooring for an Indoor Barrel Sauna
When trying to figure out the floor of your indoor barrel sauna, carpets are a big no-no. The carpet will be continuously exposed to moisture, sweat, and dirt from under your feet, which can lead to permanent staining and discoloration. Plus, it’s completely unhygienic. And suppose you wanted to move your sauna; your carpet will have unattractive rug indentations.
Consider placing your sauna on vinyl, tile, concrete, or stone for the flooring. When it comes to barrel saunas, the indoor floor is curved, which some people like, while others prefer a flat floor. If you think you’d prefer flat over curved, you might want to get a barrel floor kit, which will make the interior of your indoor barrel sauna leve.
Maintaining the Moisture Levels
Not every type of heat is the same for a sauna. Unlike a traditional wood-burning sauna that typically results in an uncomfortably heated and humid environment, an indoor barrel sauna typically requires electric stove heaters that can help provide a pleasant warmth.
But even if you’re using an electric heater, you need to be mindful of the temperature, which can directly affect the overall humidity levels. Besides making your sauna experience not-so-pleasant, high humidity can also damage your sauna’s wood with time, per HGTV.
The North American Sauna Society suggests following the “Rule of 200,” which dictates that the maximum combination of air temperature and humidity should not exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Though, it’s up to you to decide what you prefer. So if the surrounding temperature is, say, 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity should be a maximum of 60%.
In addition to following the “Rule of 200,” there are a couple of other things you can do to maintain the moisture levels in your sauna.
For starters, consider rearranging your sauna stones to ensure that air is flowing correctly.
Make sure to keep the temperature sensor away from the heat source. You should also try closing the vent below your heater to avoid potential heat loss.
Be mindful of humidity levels and make adjustments if necessary. Also, make sure to have a proper drainage system in place. This will help avoid the extra water from pooling — due to the high humidity.
Proximity to Shower or Pool
One way to optimize the use of your indoor barrel sauna experience is to alternate your sauna session with a quick shower or a dip in the pool.
Known as the “Nordic Cycle,” this practice was started centuries ago in Scandinavian culture. Alternating between a hot, steamy sauna and a cooler environment has immense health benefits.
A sauna session followed by a cold shower or a swim can help you get a more restful and deep sleep through thermoregulation, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Current Opinion in Physiology.
Your body tends to cool down in the evenings, which signals your brain that you’re ready for some shut-eye. As you relax in high heat, your body temperature rises. When you step out of the sauna into a cooler environment, like a shower or a swim, your body works hard to decrease your internal body temperature, increasing melatonin production and convincing your brain that it’s time to sleep.
Heat and cold therapies are also popular for alleviating pain associated with acute injuries. In fact, a survey from the U.S. Pain Foundation revealed that heat and cold therapy is actually the most-used relief option for people with chronic pain.
When you subject your body to a hot, steamy environment, your core body temperature rises, which results in improved healing and elasticity. This, in turn, can help reduce pain, according to Medical News Today. Cold therapy, conversely, reduces your body temperature and constricts your blood vessels, reducing inflammation and swelling for pain relief.
Optimal Duration of Sauna Session
How long you should sit in a sauna will vary depending on your tolerance level. Most experts, however, recommend only staying in your sauna for 15 minutes. Professional, long-time sauna goers can sit for up to 45 minutes.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests taking it slow if you are new to a sauna. So start with a total of 5 to 10 minutes per session, and you can gradually scale it as you figure out your optimal tolerance level. Ensure you wait 10 to 15 minutes to enter a sauna after your workout.
The Finnish, folks who invented the sauna, recommend staying in a sauna until your body feels hot enough. But if you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded, it’s best to leave right away.
Caring for Your Sauna
Keeping your sauna neat and tidy will help you get years of good use out of your purchase. Saunas are generally low maintenance, so it’s pretty easy to care for them. Consider deep cleaning your sauna every two weeks or so.
How To Care for the Exterior of Your Sauna
Cleaning the wood on the outside of your indoor sauna barrel is typically unnecessary. If you still wish to take the extra step, however, you can use a wood stain remover. Just make sure to follow the directions really carefully.
How To Care for the Interior of Your Sauna
For starters, avoid using any stain, paint, varnish, or sealants to clean the inside of your indoor barrel sauna. Why is this so? Well, it’s because the wood should be free to absorb and release moisture. When it comes to cleaning the inside of your sauna, there are three things to take care of: the benches, the sauna floor, and the wall.
Your sauna benches get the most traffic during your session. After every session, you should wipe your sauna benches with a soft cloth and warm water. If you notice sweat stains on the wood, gently sanding the area will rid you of your problem. Just don’t use any stain removers.
Your sauna floor is the next space that will require some extra care. Sweep the area to get rid of any dirt and grime. Use the hand-held attachment on your vacuum to clean dust or dirt. Mop using warm water mixed with essential oils or a gentle sauna cleaner.
You can use tea tree oil, which has great antibacterial properties, per a 2001 study published in Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry. Consider adding a few drops of lavender and orange essential oils for a pleasant smell. You can also use a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water for better results. For cleaning the sauna walls, you can use the same cleaner you used for the floor.
Making Your Sauna Hotter
Over time, you may notice that your sauna no longer reaches its maximum temperature. Fret not, though; they're a couple of easy steps you can follow to make sure that your sauna session always delivers the results
Check Your Sauna Heater
If you’re using a heater like the Harvia KIP Electric Heater, mount it five to seven inches from the ground to make sure the hot air reaches the bottom of your sauna as well. Try lowering your temperature sensor to keep your heater from shutting off before it should.
Check Your Sauna Vents
Once your sauna session starts, consider closing the vents to maintain the temperature levels. If you close them too early, however, you might turn on your sauna’s high-limit sensor. When it comes to an indoor barrel sauna, ensure the corks are in your drain stave so that cold air cannot flow near the bottom of your sauna. Open the vents afterward for fresh air to flow into your indoor barrel sauna.
Add More Humidity
Consider drizzling some water on your sauna stones to circulate steam in the room. The temperature will stay the same, but your body will feel hotter.
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Make Sure Your Sauna Is Secure
To maintain the temperature levels in your indoor barrel sauna, ensure that the barrel sauna staves have no gaps. Tighten the bands and the door hinges as well. Add weather stripping to cracks around the door.
If you really want to get years of use out of your indoor barrel sauna, you need to keep up with its maintenance.
Shower before your session to rid your body of any dirt and sweat.
Always use towels. That’s non-negotiable. Place one on the bench where you are sitting and one on the floor beneath your feet. This will help avoid stain formation on your sauna floor.
Replace your sauna stones immediately if you notice any cracks.
Air your sauna out afterward to help remove any remaining moisture to avoid mold buildup. Wipe down the surfaces and leave the doors and vents open to let in the fresh air.
And That’s a Wrap!
Knowing how to optimize the use of your indoor barrel sauna fully will provide you with decades of relaxing sauna sessions right from the comfort of your home.
In addition to good flooring and electricity, make sure to keep your sauna clean. Consider keeping your sauna as hot as possible by checking vents and airflow before you slip into pure bliss.
By following these simple steps, your sauna will provide an amazingly therapeutic experience every time. If you have any tips and tricks on how to optimize the use of your indoor barrel sauna even further, we would love to know in the comment section below.