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Do-It-Yourself Infrared Sauna
Buying an infrared sauna can be too expensive, especially if you are not sure that it will benefit you. Infrared blankets, bags or domes force you to lie in one place for half an hour and they are not cheap either. However, there is another option – do the infrared sauna yourself.
In this article, I want to tell you about two ways to completely build a sauna with your own hands, without assembly kits. It can be a relatively inexpensive solution, so you can enjoy a sauna at home for a reasonable price. You can build it to prove to yourself that an infrared sauna will do some good for your health before you buy an infrared sauna, or it can be a convenient way to have a home sauna when you don’t have a lot of free space at home.
Before I get into the explanations, I want to warn you about safety. If you build a sauna yourself, you may need to do some electrical wiring. Infrared heaters used in saunas usually have high power requirements – up to 1000 W. Please do not attempt to build a sauna yourself if you do not know what you are doing. Rather, ask or hire someone with electrical experience to do this for you. If you are going to place the sauna in the bathroom, keep in mind that as a wet place, it has strict requirements regarding the safety of electrical wiring.
Infrared sauna with two infrared heaters
The first way to set up a home sauna is described by Jim Clements in his article The Bathroom for FIR Sauna, in which he explains how to use two infrared heaters placed in a relatively small space (5×11 feet recommended). He uses two 500-watt, 9-amp infrared heaters from THMI, which he says give a similar experience to an infrared sauna. He doesn’t give any specific information about these heaters other than wattage and doesn’t know if any other brand of heaters would fit this sauna setup. I think it is important that the heaters should not be too high power (not above 600W).
These two heaters should be placed on either side of the room (5-6 feet apart). Since they are 9 amps, use a 20 amp outlet or use an extension cord from another outlet in the house to split the current between the two 15 amp outlets. Make sure the extension cord can safely meet the power requirements of the infrared heater.
During the preheat phase, Jim recommends facing the heaters towards a door or wall to help warm up faster. Do not place heaters too close to walls or other objects due to the risk of ignition. The heating time is usually longer than with an infrared sauna and can be from 30 minutes to an hour. Once the room is heated, you can use it like a regular infrared sauna, just go and sweat in there. You may want to place a towel under the door and not use ventilation as this will allow the air temperature in the room to cool down. You don’t have to use the bathroom for a sauna; you can use any suitable place or make a special case.
In addition to the two heaters, Jim uses a 250W infrared lamp suspended from the ceiling of the room (in his description he suggests attaching it to the shower curtain rod. He says he uses a Sylvania bulb, but I think other manufacturers will be fine. Try to get a lamp with non-focused, but radiating infrared light.
Infrared sauna with infrared lamps
Another way to build an infrared sauna in your home was suggested by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. On his sauna page he describes how to use three 250W infrared lamps to build an infrared sauna. You will need three 250W infrared bulbs (not pure heat as it says they have the wrong spectrum). He recommends using Philips, General Electric or Sli lamps. You’ll also need three ceramic or plastic bulb sockets, fifteen feet of heavy-duty lamp cord, a medium-duty male wall plug, and a switch, or better yet, a timer switch that can handle seven amps of current.
The outlet should be mounted on a 46″ high by 15″ wide (or 12″ high by 24″ wide if wall mounted) board of wood, plywood or veneer. They should form a triangle with a middle socket at the top. When sitting, the upper socket should be at chest level. The sockets must be connected in parallel. Connect the socket wire to the switch. After attaching the sockets to the board with screws, you need to make a cover of machine cloth to prevent the bulbs from touching anything.
Be very careful when using this sauna, always fix the board to the wall so that it does not fall. Do not allow children to play with or use it without your supervision.
dr. Wilson also describes how to build an enclosure for your sauna with a pipe kit. They form a frame that can be covered with blankets or other fabric to create a small room that can be used for a sauna.
Comparison of two methods
The first method described by Jim Clements is much easier to implement than the second method described by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. And more importantly, it uses mounting hardware, so no additional wiring is required, so the risk of damage or failure is low. The heaters are covered by design so they can’t be touched and all the wiring is done at the factory. The disadvantage is that infrared heaters are more expensive than infrared heat lamps.
On the other hand, the sauna dr. Wilson, if it is made well and accurately, is no worse than the first, but it costs significantly less. To build, one must know how to do the wiring or have someone do it for them. The safety of this sauna depends on the skill of the person who built it and can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
Again, I want to warn everyone who wants to build a sauna that you should only do it if you are sure that you are doing it. You should be familiar with electrical wiring and have the skills and knowledge to do it right. Neither the authors of the original articles nor I can be held responsible for misuse of the sauna or any problems with poor construction. Remember – safety comes first.
I hope you find this review of ways to build your own infrared sauna useful. If you are interested, I recommend reading the original instructions from the authors of these methods.
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