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Heating Infrared Saunas

Infrared Saunas were designed to create a sauna experience for the user to stay in for a longer period of time, therefore increasing the amount of time the body will spend detoxing. Many Sauna users may be familiar with more of a Traditional Style of Sauna where you splash water on rocks etc. Those Sauna will feel MUCH hotter, making it much more difficult to stay in for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.

What is a Normal Temperature?

The temperature for a far-infrared sauna is usually set around 120º F (48ºC); however, unlike the traditional sauna, the goal in and IR room is not to achieve a high temperature. Instead, in a far-infrared room, the bather wants the emitters to remain active because infrared energy is only being emitted (therefore providing the benefit of the deep penetrating infrared heat) when the emitters are on. Because of this, the temperature difference is almost irrelevant, since profuse sweating results in both sauna types, but the method of heating the body is different. In an IR sauna the bather will feel hot and will sweat profusely, but at much lower temperatures. Thus, if the goal is to spend longer periods of time in the sauna.

How does Infrared Heat Work?

IR Saunas are designed to heat the human body NOT the air temperature. In a far-infrared sauna, the heat waves penetrate the body to effectively heat the body and raise the body core temperature. To achieve this increased temperature, Far-infrared emitters create infrared energy which is close to the same wavelength as that which the body naturally emits—often referred to as the "Vital Range” of 7 to 14 microns, so the energy is well received by the body. The infrared energy deeply penetrates the skin and warms the muscles and joints. When the energy enters the body, it causes the body temperature to increase and ultimately results in perspiration. In an infrared sauna it’s important for the emitters/heaters to remain on almost constantly.

The Temperature on the Keypad

The keypad may be confusing to some users who are focusing on the number on the thermostat instead of the feeling of the sauna. The number you see on your keypad is almost irrelevant when you consider that Infrareds focus is NOT to heat the air. Some Infrared Saunas will allow the keypad controls to be set to 140ºF, your sauna will likely never reach that temperature because of 2 factors. First is what was mentioned above about Infrared not heating the air. Second would be the fact that IR emitters should be on the entirety of your sauna bathing session. What this means is, if you were to set the thermostat to 40ºC then once the sauna room reached that temperature, the emitters would shut up and then turn on again when the temperature began to drop therefore interrupting the penetration of the Infrared to your body. Thus, even though most of the energy is turned into efficient infrared energy, IR saunas are designed for almost continuous operation of the infrared emitters.

Heat up Time

For a Far-Infrared room, a person may begin bathing when the room is turned on, since the infrared energy is being emitted by the heaters; however, some bathers would prefer to wait until the room is 90º F or hotter. There are two schools of thought with how to use the room. To some, 15 minutes was "wasted” while the infrared energy heated the wood paneling inside rather than heating a body, while others find a pre-heated room to be more comfortable.

IR Saunas in the modular form are designed for indoor use what this means is that the Sauna room should be starting its temperature increase at room temperature (22-25ºC). Having a sauna in a room that is below room temperature or also outdoors means it may not heat up as quickly as one that is. Also the user may feel cold air drafts while they inside using the sauna. If the air surrounding the sauna is lower than room temperature, we suggest that the user have an electric space heater nearby to help limit the cold air drafts they may feel and to also help the ambient temperature of their sauna.

Under ideal circumstances a modular unit may heat up in about 30-40 minutes to the 45ºC range. However like mentioned above, IR saunas are not focusing on heating the air so it's very normal to see minimal heat increases over time. Once the user enters the sauna room and begins their session they may see the ambient temperature increase due to their body heat.

How Long is an Infrared Session

Due to the lower air temperatures and the ability to feel the effects of infrared heat faster than a traditional sauna, it is not uncommon for a person to spend a total of 45-60 minutes in an infrared sauna. There are many medical practitioners, especially in Canada, who prescribe 45 minute infrared sauna sessions for their patients. Regardless of which heat system is used, the bather must closely monitor how he feels while using the room, and he must be sure to drink plenty of water during the break between sessions The goal of any sauna is perspiration and detoxification, the reason IR sauna rooms carry more health benefits than other saunas is because users can comfortably stay in for longer periods of time due to the lower air temperature. It typically takes the human body 10+ minutes to begin perspiring, however once they do they that perspiration will be roughly 20% toxin release compared to the 3% toxin release you will get in a traditional sauna.

Energy Consumption & Cost

A two person far-infrared room is often about 4’ x 4’ or smaller. The IR heating system is roughly 1.7 kW using a 120 volt 15 amp plug-in service. Since the room can be used sooner than a traditional sauna room, we will assume the room is used for an hour in total. BC Hydro Rate (2021) = $0.065 / kWH

1.7kW (Sauna Usage) x $0.065 = $0.11 Per Hour approx.

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