`Compact' Saunas Use Little Electricity

Article excerpt

Q: I want to get a small, do-it-yourself, home-size sauna kit for relaxation and losing weight. Are there any simple, energy-efficient saunas available in kits? How much would using one push up my electric bills? - R.T.

A: A sauna bath, a combination of high heat and low humidity, is relaxing and healthful. It supposedly cleanses the body of toxins through perspiration. A 20-minute sauna burns up to 300 calories and about one quart of perspiration.

Many designs of small sauna kits specifically designed for home use are available. Several one- and two-person portable models literally snap together in minutes and apart again for storage - no tools needed. Some of these personal saunas use a small 1.7-kilowatt electric heater (with rocks) that plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet. This uses about as much electricity as a small space heater or hair dryer. Since the heater cycles on and off, average electricity usage is less than 10 cents an hour. In the winter, heat that is lost through the heavily insulated walls just reduces the heating load on your furnace. Portable models, some on casters, are ideal for home use. The insulated wall sections with built-in benches fasten together with clips or cam locks. The door has a window, and the heater is prewired. Just plug it in. Even though they may look alike, all saunas are not created equal. They vary in amount of wall insulation, wood material and construction, ventilation, heating controls and features. Compare several models before buying one. Family-size, do-it-yourself sauna kits are available in two designs: modular and precut. Modular kits include complete, insulated and wired wall, floor and roof panels, heater, rocks, controls and accessories. They are easily bolted together in an hour or so. …