Do Saunas Need a Drain? (Home Sauna Plumbing FAQ)

Health and wellness is typically the idea or the goal when going to a sauna. The idea of rejuvenating your skin, releasing tension, and pain relief from the comfort of your home is a driving force for in-home saunas. Those new to the concept may ask what are the plumbing requirements?

Commercial saunas have drains for hygiene and cleanliness purposes. However, home saunas do not require a drain as the amount of water that may be used for it to function is small and the cleaning process does not require a significant amount of water. While a drain is not necessary for your home sauna, you should invest in a waterproof floor.

Read on to discover more about saunas, the different types of saunas, and what is required for a home sauna. 

How do you drain a sauna?

You’ve decided to install a sauna in your home – congratulations!

You know that you want to sweat out toxins and revitalize your pores. However, have you decided on a dry sauna or infrared sauna and will it be indoor or outdoor? 

Infrared saunas tend to operate at a lower temperature and warm your body directly, while dry saunas use a higher temperature to heat the air around you. To achieve its temperature of 120-140°F, the infrared sauna has four to seven electric heating panels. 

Meanwhile, the dry sauna has a single heater that will allow for its temperature of 150-195°F. 

The single heater used by dry saunas could be wood, gas or electric. However, the most popular is electric. These heaters often have stones that will produce steam and humidity for the dry sauna when wet with water.

The amount of water that is sprinkled or splashed on the stones with a ladle is not enough to require a drain for the sauna.

Generally speaking saunas, both dry and infrared, are made of softwood (to absorb humidity) and can fit one to five people (and even more if needed). They typically have a wooden bench for you to sit on and/or to lay out.  Knowing the amount of people you want to accommodate will help determine the correct size for your unit. 

Also, when considering the size of the sauna, you would want to take into account where you plan on installing the sauna and the size of the biggest person in the house.

No matter which type of sauna you choose, you don’t have to worry about installing a drain or any other major plumbing as neither a dry sauna nor an infrared sauna use a large enough quantity of water to require anything more than the occasional wipe down.

While saunas can be placed indoor and outside, having them close to a water source is beneficial to the user post-sauna session. After spending time in the sauna, it is recommended that you drink water and rinse off. 

Does a dry sauna need a floor drain?

A floor drain is not required for a dry sauna because a dry sauna does not utilize enough water to warrant one.

Does an infrared sauna need a floor drain?

An infrared sauna does not require a floor drain because it does not use water.

The only time water comes into play for this sauna is during the cleaning process and that process does not use enough water to warrant a drain.

Traditional dry sauna plumbing requirements

If you’ve decided on a traditional dry sauna, your thoughts are probably now focused on if the location you choose is suitable for the sauna.

While your specific needs may vary, most people won’t need to run a water line or install a drain when putting in a sauna, but you may need to bring in an electrician to ensure your location can handle the voltage requirements.

Keep reading to learn the specifics about what you’ll need when installing a dry sauna either inside your home or outdoors.


Building/installing a sauna in your home gives you the convenience of experiencing relaxation without leaving the comforts of your property. When considering to build/install indoor, you want to find a space that will fit your unit.

Special plumbing is not needed as a drain is not required. However, what is required is a 220-240 volt electrical hookup for the heater with a hard wire which may require a professional.  

Saunas can be placed anywhere in the home. 


When thinking of requirements, the main consideration for an outdoor sauna is location, location. 

You want to consider an area that is protected from harsh weather conditions and has a leveled foundation. You may also need an electrician as most heaters require 220-240 volt electrical hookup with a hard wire. 

Do you plan on hosing down your sauna in order to clean it? If the answer is no, then you do not require a drain in your sauna. And if you don’t have a drain then the need for plumbing is non-exist. 

Just know that it is advised that you rinse off post-sauna as part of your cool down period, so having a water source nearby would be beneficial. If you planned to install an outdoor shower then the plumbing would be for that but not the sauna directly. 

Infrared sauna plumbing requirements

Your decision to go infrared as opposed to traditional could have to do with the lower temperatures of infrared saunas or the fact that you can stay in an infrared sauna longer. But do their differences extend to their setup and installation?

Since infrared saunas do not use water and require minimal cleaning, no plumbing upgrades will be required for your installation.

Infrared saunas require less power than dry saunas, and your standard electrical outlet is likely to already have the voltage required.


When installing a new infrared sauna in your house, do you need to bring in a plumer or electrician to assist in the upgrade?

The clean up process for saunas does not require a hefty amount of water. Therefore, a drain is not required for an infrared sauna which means no plumbing is needed.

What aids in the simplicity of the clean up is making sure you rinse off prior to going in the sauna.

Infrared saunas are generally considered better for indoor use since they can be plugged into a standard electric outlet as they only require 110 volts to function. 

As opposed to traditional saunas that require hardwiring, infrared saunas do not, there is no need for an electrician. However, should you have questions you can consult one for clarification. 


Just as any other home sauna, installing an infrared sauna outdoors does not require any special plumbing. A drain is primarily used for cleaning purposes in commercial saunas. 

You can consider plumbing if you choose to opt for a drain which as mentioned is not required or if you plan to install/build a cool water source (like a shower) for your pre or post- sauna rinse off.

What needs to be considered with placing a sauna outdoors is a level foundation, an area protected from harsh weather conditions and the proximity to the powersource. 

Infrared saunas whether indoor or outdoor need 110 volts.