It is becoming increasingly common for people to purchase infrared saunas for personal use at home but those without space inside their house or apartment might wonder if they can put their infrared sauna outside to save space indoors.
Most infrared saunas are designed for use indoors and aren’t supposed to be exposed to the elements, but some models can be placed outside of your home. You need to make sure the infrared sauna you have is built as an outdoor unit to stay under warranty and it should be well-insulated, and constructed with waterproof solid wood.
Read on and find out more about infrared sauna, which makes it different from traditional saunas, and how it can benefit you. We will also discuss how you can tell if your infrared sauna can be placed outdoors or designed only for indoor use.
Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna
Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to deliver infrared light to the body, experienced as radiant heat, which is then absorbed by the skin’s surface and increases the body’s thermal energy. Unlike steam saunas that use the conventional hot rocks as heating elements, infrared sauna heaters use the infrared spectrum to promote wellness benefits and relaxation. However, can an infrared sauna go outside?
Infrared saunas and traditional or steam saunas are different in the way they apply heat. To put it simply, a traditional sauna uses a single heater to heat the air, which, in turn, heats your body. On the other hand, an infrared sauna uses advanced therapy to generate heat in the body, with only a small part of this heat heating the air. What you get is a deep sweat at lower ambient air temperature.
An infrared sauna operates between 46.11°C to 57.22°C (115°F to 135°F), while traditional saunas can get up to 90.56°C (195°F).
Traditional Sauna: Heating Method and Benefits
In a traditional sauna, sweating is achieved when you stay in a properly heated cabin with warm walls, an air temperature that has achieved a specific temperature, and very heated rocks. These heated rocks and walls emit far-infrared heat, combined with the heated air to envelop you with heat. Most traditional sauna users pour water over the heated rocks to create steam and raise the sauna’s humidity levels.
Pouring water over the rocks is beneficial in such a way that it makes the cabin more comfortable. It moistens the nasal passages, allowing you to use essential oils and apply aromatherapy.
Infrared Sauna: Heating Method and Benefits
In an infrared sauna, heat waves penetrate your skin and add heat to your body and effectively raise its core temperature. This increased temperature is achieved through far-infrared emitters, which create infrared energy with a wavelength that is close to that which the body emits naturally.
As such, your body’s infrared energy is well-received, first penetrating deeply through your skin and tissues, then warming your muscles and joints.
When infrared energy enters your body, your body temperature also increases, which ultimately results in sweating. The emitters or heaters in an infrared sauna need to remain on since there are no heated rocks to retain heat. So even if most of the energy is converted into efficient infrared energy, this type of sauna is designed to allow the constant and continuous operation of its infrared emitters.
Infrared sauna manufacturers claim that in an infrared sauna, 80 percent of the heat directly heats your body, and only the remaining 20 percent heats the air. As such, the heat penetrates more deeply into your body tissues than warmed air, allowing you to perspire at a lower temperature intensely.
The supposed benefits of infrared sauna include relaxation, better sleep, detoxification, relief from sore muscles, weight loss, relief from joint pains and arthritis, improved blood circulation, clear and tighter skin, and relief from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Moreover, infrared saunas are more efficient and require less electricity than a traditional sauna. An infrared sauna’s warm-up time is much quicker.
Infrared Sauna: Indoors or Outdoors?
Some manufacturers say that their infrared saunas can be installed inside or outside. However, the truth of the matter is that it is hard to find a true outdoor infrared sauna because most are designed to be installed and used indoors.
Why Most Infrared Saunas Are Best for Indoor Use
According to Planet Sauna, their infrared saunas are built with a flat roof structure, which does not allow for a good runoff of rainwater, snow, or debris from nearby trees. This makes it prone to standing water, which can eventually rot or warp the wood of the sauna cabin.
Planet Sauna also noted that the electrical wiring for most infrared saunas is located on the roof. So rain and electricity won’t be a good combination. Their saunas are also made of wood from top to bottom. While it is high-quality wood, it is wood nonetheless, and when rain and snow come into play, it can still result in damage. Pests that destroy wood, such as termites, is another huge consideration.
Exposing your infrared sauna to other elements like heat, humidity, and wind can also damage them. It will also be harder to keep the heat inside if your infrared sauna is not insulated well enough for outdoor use.
Things to Consider When Placing Your Infrared Sauna Outdoors
There are infrared saunas that were built to be installed outdoors. An outdoor infrared sauna is built with waterproof solid wood; it is well insulated and comes with a roof.
Here are also other considerations when you decide to place your infrared sauna outside:
The Lifespan of Your Sauna
Because your infrared sauna will be exposed to the elements, especially humidity, the life expectancy of your sauna’s controller and power supply becomes lower. Even if it has a cover protecting it, snow can still build-up, and your wood can still be stained underneath. Wind may also blow your cover around and introduce the elements.
Animals and Other Creatures
Wild animals tend to be attracted to heat during the colder months so that an outdoor sauna would look like a luxury home for them. You should be aware of rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, ants, spiders, and other insects who would want to share your sauna.
You should know that there are a couple of holes on your sauna’s floor that could serve as an entryway for these creatures, one being under the bench and the other being in the front right where you can plug in your heater cables. It is recommended that you cover these with steel wool to keep most insects out and prevent cold drafts by placing a small hand cloth.
The ambient temperature will affect your sauna’s warm-up time. If the ambient temperature outside is lower, your warm-up time may have to compensate for it.
Proximity to a Power Outlet
Good Health Saunas added that infrared saunas require electricity to function, so the best place to install them is within proximity to an adequate power outlet.
Effects of Sunlight
Sauna Cloud also explained that the sun’s UV rays are harsher to the sauna’s exterior wood than anything else. As such, long exposure to sunlight can affect how your sauna looks from the outside. It may not harm your sauna’s functional aspects, but it can negatively impact your sauna’s appearance.
Most infrared saunas, according to Sauna Cloud, come with a warranty. Many of them even have a lifetime warranty. So make sure to check the fine print warranty. Some may have a clause that voids the warranty if the sauna is stored outdoors.
What to Do if You Want Your Infrared Sauna Outdoors?
Planet Sauna suggests that if you want your infrared sauna outdoors, you may want to consider placing it on a covered patio where it will be kept safe and dry and protected from the elements. Better yet, place your sauna in a shed or outbuilding.
If your sauna is locked up, you can be sure that no random creatures will be able to get inside and make a home out of it.
Having your infrared sauna outdoors is an attractive thought, especially if you don’t have room for it inside your home or if you want it near your pool and Jacuzzi. However, you will need to make sure your sauna is fit for an outdoor location. If you cannot be sure that your sauna is safe from the elements and wild creatures and pests, the best choice is just to keep it securely indoors.
After all, an infrared sauna is a rather costly investment, and you would want to make sure you’d still be able to enjoy it for many years to come.