Do Saunas Need to be GFCI Protected? (Home Sauna Electrical FAQ)

Before you start looking for a home sauna, you should make yourself aware of any electrical components you might need. This starts with understanding how a sauna is plugged in. This includes knowing whether it needs to be GFCI protected. 

Saunas generally need to be GFCI protected. According to electrical codes, a standard home sauna must be plugged into a 240v 40amp GFCI protected outlet. Also, the GFCI protected outlet should only be dedicated to the sauna and have nothing else wired to it. By wiring other things, it can cause an overload and trip the circuit.

Read on to determine if you need a special outlet for a sauna, the amount of energy it uses, and code requirements for having a sauna. Finally, discover the reason why your sauna keeps tripping.

Do you need a special outlet for a sauna?

The first step of owning a home sauna is plugging it in, but what are the requirements for the outlet used?

The general requirement of the outlet for a sauna is that it matches the sauna’s voltage and be GFCI protected. If purchasing a 240v sauna, the outlet must be 240v. This is often reserved for outlets where washing machines or larger appliances plug into. Also, the outlet must be dedicated to only the sauna. If not, it can overload the outlet.

Understanding the type of outlet you need is an important first step before purchasing a sauna. To make sure you have what you need, always check the voltage of the outlet you plan to use, and also check to see if it is GFCI protected. This can save you the hassle of having to upgrade the outlet after the fact. 

Using an outlet that does not meet the set requirements can cause the following issues:

  • Electrical Short
  • Electrocution
  • Damage to sauna
  • Damage to other electrical devices

Read on to find out what a GFCI outlet is. 

What is a GFCI outlet?

Before purchasing a GFCI outlet, find out what it stands for and how it benefits you. 

A GFCI outlet, also known as a ground fault circuit interrupter, is designed to prevent electrocution. In short, it senses when someone is being shocked by electricity, then cuts off the power supply. GFCI outlets are primarily used outside or where the circuit may come into contact with water. 

Continue reading to determine how much a sauna can increase your energy usage. 

How much power does a sauna draw?

Power usage is another factor to consider before purchasing a home sauna. 

Generally, the average amount of power a sauna draws is between 3 kWh (kilowatt per hour) and 7 kWh. However, this amount can fluctuate depending on the size of the sauna and the duration in which it is used. This can be determined by the wattage of the sauna. A 1,000-watt sauna is equal to roughly 1 kWh, a 2,000-watt sauna is equal to roughly 2 kWh, and so on. 

Here is a table estimating the number of kilowatts a home sauna will use based on its capacity. 

Number of PeopleAverage Kilowatts Used
11.5 kWh
2-33 kWh
4-68 kWh

Read on to find out how to wire a 240v sauna heater.

What about wiring a 240v sauna heater?

Instead of plugging it in, can you wire a 240v sauna heater?

Generally, some situations call for wiring a 240v sauna heater and it is a common practice. However, is best to not try this on your own if you are not a skilled electrician. There are certain code requirements for the wiring setup and wire used that must be met. Otherwise, it can cause harm to you, your sauna, or your house. 

Continue reading to understand the code requirements for installing a sauna. 

Sauna code requirements

Before installing a sauna, it is important to know and understand the code requirements for it. 

For home saunas that you simply plug in, there are very few code requirements outside of the outlet matching the voltage and ensuring it is GFCI protected. However, if you are building a dedicated room that is a sauna, additional code requirements exist for the materials used in the room. This route often involves permits and city inspections. 

Read on to find out the basic power supply requirements for a home sauna. 

Sauna power supply

The code requirements for a sauna’s power supply are very simple. 

Generally, the only code requirement for a sauna’s power supply is that it matches the voltage of the sauna itself. If the power supply is less than the sauna’s voltage, it can cause an electrical short. This can damage both the sauna and the electrical wiring in your home. 

Read on to find out the basic circuit breaker requirements for a home sauna. 

Sauna circuit breaker

There are two code requirements for a sauna’s circuit breaker. 

Generally, the code requirements for a sauna’s circuit breaker are that it is GFCI protected and that you have a dedicated circuit breaker for it. A GFCI protected circuit breaker prevents possible injury. Using a separate circuit breaker prevents an overload situation and ensures that other areas of your house will not be affected by an outage. 

Continue reading to determine why your sauna keeps tripping. 

Why does your sauna keep tripping?

After installing your sauna, you might have issues with it continuously tripping.

Your sauna might keep tripping because you have overloaded the outlet or the circuit breaker. First, make sure the voltage of the outlet matches the voltage of the sauna. Next, unplug any other devices you have plugged into the outlet. The outlet you use for your sauna should match the voltage and be a dedicated outlet for only the sauna.

For more info on this subject learn more about why your sauna is always tripping your breaker!