Site Preparation for Barrel saunas
When deciding the ideal location for the position of your barrel sauna there are a few things you might want to consider distance from the electrical panel. Heavy gauge electrical wire and outdoor rated outdoor wire cost more money so to keep the budget down you might want to consider this.
- Privacy from neighbors. A sauna is typical enjoyed in privacy so consider this when finding an ideal location.
- Distance from the house. After a good sauna session, you will eventually have to return to the house. In the winter this might be important to consider. The longer the walk the quicker you will cool off.
- Distance or access to water. If you are true diehard sauna enthusiast, you might want to have a pool or lake nearby to jump into to cool off. Also, you will want to frequently fill the sauna bucket that is used to create steam and cool off the body during a sauna session. So, access to a water faucet or garden hose is important.
- Window view- it is always a good idea to position the door and so that you have an optimal view. This may be scenic such as facing a lake or practical such as facing the house.
Preparing the Foundation
Once you have selected a good location, the next step is preparing the foundation. The base has been designed such that pressure exerted on the foundation will not be high. Nevertheless, you need a firm foundation that drains. Dig out any soft loose soil until you have reached firm ground. Then fill the area in with small aggregate gravel & sand, and compact and level this foundation properly. A slight slope to drain water is desirable. If you wish you can also lay down either 18 or 24 inch (45 cm or 60 cm square) concrete patio blocks, or pour cement, or use a combination such as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Gravel Foundation with Concrete Blocks in Front for 8’ sauna
The concrete patio blocks are useful since they avoid tracking in sand or dirt. We recommend that the dimension of the foundation area be somewhat larger than the dimensions of the sauna base, such as 92 X 72 inches (approximately 2.4 x 2 m) for an 8’ sauna and 80” x 72 inches for a 7’ sauna.
For North American installations, the electrical service needs to be 2-pole 40 Amp, to accommodate a 7.5 kW or 6.0 Kw sauna heater. If a light is used, then this service will require a 3-conductor + ground wire # 8 AWG cable. If you have ordered a 6 kW heater with the optional infrared panels (hybrid sauna heater), then the service needs to be increased to be either 30 or 40 Amp depending whether 2 or 4 IR heaters are used.
For International customers, on 50 Hz electrical grids, the service requirements are 40A 1 Pole service with 2-conductor +ground 10 mm2 cable. Or, if a 6 kW heater with optional IR panels is used, the service will need to be either 32 Amp (6mm2) or 40 Amp (10 mm2) service depending on whether 2 or 4 IR heaters are used. For 7.5kW heaters only, 3 phase wiring is available as a special option.
A wood heater is available instead of an electric heater for those customers that may want a more traditional heating approach. With a wood fired sauna heater no electric is needed unless you want to run a light. In most cases candles and the fire light will suffice for lighting in a wood fired sauna room.