If you’re planning to buy an infrared sauna, you should also consider the running costs. How much will it cost to heat up the infrared sauna? How long will it stay warm? Will it use more electricity than a traditional sauna?
Most people see it as a luxury that only rich people can afford. This might come as a surprise, but owning and operating a sauna doesn’t require massive wealth. The trick is to find the perfect sauna type for you and learn how to control your energy consumption.
In this blog post, we will discuss the different things that affect saunas’ cost of energy so that you can be better informed when making your purchase. We will also provide some tips on how to save money on infrared sauna electricity costs.
How Infrared Heating Works?
An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses dry heat or infrared radiation to heat the body. This differs from a traditional sauna, which uses steam to heat the surrounding air.
Infrared radiation isn’t the ionizing radiation capable of altering the structure of atoms and molecules that are found in x-rays and gamma rays.
But it is a type of non-ionizing radiation that allows us to see (visible light waves), hear the radio (radio waves), and warm items by excitation.
The infrared radiation penetrates deep into the skin, providing a number of wellness benefits including:
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved circulation
- Strengthened immune system
- Pain relief
Because infrared heat therapies provide so many health benefits, they have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, according to the North American Sauna Association (NASA), sales of infrared saunas have grown by over 700% since 2010!
How Long Does It Take To Heat Up An Infrared Sauna?
It takes about 30 minutes to one hour for infrared heating to reach its desired temperature. Once it is heated, IR saunas will stay warm for approximately 45 minutes.
How Much Electricity Does An Infrared Sauna Use?
Generally, an infrared sauna consumes 1600 to 3000 watts of electricity. Note, however, that there are variables that affect the wattage, which will be discussed in the next section.
The average cost to operate a 20 amp sauna using a regular infrared sauna based on 12 cents per kilowatt-hour is 20 cents an hour. You can refer to the wattage with your local electricity costs to determine your expected expenses.
But as a general guideline, you may consult the energy requirements of your infrared sauna and determine how much electricity it will consume.
Factors That Affect The Amount Of Electricity Used By Infrared Saunas
The cost of running an infrared sauna can be affected by a variety of reasons, including:
Size Of Infrared Saunas
Infrared saunas come in a variety of sizes and prices. You can find an infrared sauna for as little as $200 or as much as $4000.
The larger the infrared sauna, the more energy use it’ll require. A small infrared sauna would consume around 1500 watts, which would result in electricity costs of around $0.15 per hour.
This means that if you use your sauna for an hour daily, you could spend less than $5 on energy consumption each week.
For a 2-person sauna, the common energy requirement would be 1600W, which is equivalent to 19.2 cents ($0.19) per hour. A 4-person infrared sauna would approximately cost 26.4 cents ($0.26) per hour, requiring 2200W of usage.
Meanwhile, larger saunas (good for six people) would have an energy consumption of around 3000 watts, which would result in electricity costs of around $0.36 per hour.
Type Of Infrared Sauna
Traditional infrared saunas use more electricity than ceramic infrared home saunas. The heating element in a traditional sauna (IR) is made of quartz, while the heating element in a ceramic infrared sauna is made of clay.
Ceramic infrared home saunas use about 1000 watts, which would result in electricity costs of around $0.12 per hour. Traditional infrared saunas use between 1500 and 3000 watts, resulting in electricity costs of between $0.18 and $0.36 per hour.
Frequency Of Sauna Use
The amount of electricity an infrared sauna uses also depends on how long it is used. If an infrared sauna is only used occasionally, it will use less electricity than if it is used every day.
Duration Of Sauna Operation
Naturally, the longer you spend time inside a sauna the more watts are used. The rough estimates of 1,600W to 3,000W discussed in prior sections equate to hourly usage. Only half of that will be used if you plan to spend half the time in a sauna.
Number Of Users
If there are multiple people using an infrared sauna, the amount of electricity it uses will increase. This is because more infrared energy is needed to heat up the person’s body.
As mentioned, a 2-person sauna would require 1600 watts, a 4-person normally uses 2200 watts, and a 6-person sauna needs 3000-watt usage in order for it to operate.
The Yearly Average Cost To Run An Infrared Sauna
When it comes to identifying the price of running an infrared sauna, it generally depends on the factors stated above.
Assuming you have a regular-sized infrared sauna and spend half an hour per day, that would cost around $43 worth of electricity. However, if an infrared sauna session lasts for 60 minutes a day, the energy costs will be around $86 a year.
If we also factor in the cost of infrared saunas, which range from $200 to $4000, the initial year’s average cost to run an infrared sauna would be around $429.
Example Costs Calculations
Here is an example to estimate the electrical cost of sauna usage in a month. Let’s say a sauna unit is 600-watt rated. Since kilowatts (kW) are often used for electricity usage, divide the 6000-watt by 1000 and that would be 6kW.
For instance, if you would like to relax in a sauna for half an hour daily, the infrared sauna should run for about 40 minutes per day (additional ten minutes for the time it takes to heat up the sauna).
Applying that to a 30-day or one-month duration, you get a total of 1200 minutes or 20 hours worth of sauna use.
Let’s multiply that by 6kW and we get 120Wh for 30 days. This means you have to pay 0.12 dollars/kWh multiplied by 120kWh is equivalent to $14.40 – the total monthly addition to your electric bill for a daily 30-minute sauna relaxing session.
Now compare that with traditional saunas that require 45 minutes of heating and apply the same case of half an hour of usage every day, you get a total of 75 minutes daily. Multiply that by 30 days and we get 2250 minutes.
Converting that to hours will yield 37.5 hours, which will then be multiplied by 6kW. Expect to pay $27.00 (0.12 dollars/kWh x 225 kWh) per month to spend half an hour a day in the sauna.
If your location has a higher watt rate, let’s say $0.30 per kWh, your monthly spending would be $36 for using infrared therapy while expect to pay $67.50 for using a traditional sauna. Infrared heaters with lower wattages and are compatible with standard 110-volt outlets would use up less than a third of the prices mentioned.
Traditional Sauna Vs. Infrared Sauna: Which Is More Costly?
Traditional saunas use a lot of electricity because they need to heat up the air in the sauna room. Infrared saunas don’t use as much electricity because they heat the person instead of the air.
While it’s true that infrared saunas use more electricity in the beginning as they heat up, once they are warmed up, they use less than traditional saunas.
In a traditional sauna, people typically leave the sauna on for 30 minutes to an hour before using it in order to raise the air temperature from ambient temperature to sauna temperature (typically 160 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly 70 to 100 degrees Celsius). The traditional sauna heater runs continuously.
So, which is more costly? In general, infrared saunas are more cost-effective and energy-efficient in the long run because they use less energy.
Other Costs To Consider: Initial Purchase And Installation
For first-time buyers or users, you need to take into account the primary costs, which are the initial purchase and installation.
The cost of infrared saunas varies depending on the size and type of IR sauna. As mentioned in prior sections, they can range in price from $200 to $4000.
Add to that the installation fee, which would cost around $200 to $1500, depending on the size and demands. But this is optional as some portable models do not require professional installation.
The price will also be higher if you opt to build your own customized sauna room at home.
Power Tips For Reducing The Amount Of Electricity Used By Your Infrared Sauna
You might be wondering: how can I save money on my infrared sauna energy costs?
There are several things you can do to reduce your infrared sauna’s energy consumption and save money on your overall bill. Here are a few tips:
Use A Timer To Turn The Sauna Off After Use
This will help conserve energy costs and prevent the infrared heater from staying on longer than necessary.
Moreover, it will help control the heat as overheating can bring about side effects that may disrupt your sauna experience.
Make Sure Your Infrared Sauna Is Properly Insulated
Loose insulation can allow heat to escape, resulting in increased electricity usage. You need to prioritize having a good insulation for better heat retention.
Otherwise, you’ll end up paying for extended spaces that aren’t even meant to be heated. Plus, it would take a much longer time for your infrared unit to heat up. It might be costly to put up an ideal insulation system at first, but you’ll be able to save in the long run.
Install A Thermostat Control System
Installing a thermostat control system is the best way to save money on your electric sauna consumption. This will allow you to regulate the sauna temperature and save money on your electric bill.
Place Your Sauna Unit Inside
Rather than exposing your unit outside where there are destructive elements like snow, rain, or lightning, position it in a safe space inside your home. These weather-based factors can damage the electrical system of your sauna.
Never put it on a flat roof as it will lead to poor insulation and will most likely destroy your sauna’s structure.
Let Your Sauna Receive Plenty Of Sunlight Every Once In A While
This might be a contradicting claim with the tip stated above. However, taking advantage of solar energy is never a bad idea. The sun’s natural radiation will help heat up the sauna without using as much electricity.
Always Read The Manual
Each infrared sauna has its own unique energy requirements and settings. Make sure you are aware of these before using the sauna, to avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
You should use your heating unit according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This way, you can also spot some malfunctions in case the electricity bill doesn’t reflect the watt usage indicated in the manual.
An infrared sauna is a great way to enjoy all the health benefits of heat therapy, but it’s essential to be aware of the infrared sauna electricity cost before making your purchase.
Contrary to popular beliefs, owning and running a sauna doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! It only consumes around 1600 to 3000 watts, depending on the size and model.
By understanding how infrared saunas work and what affects their electricity usage, you can make an informed decision about which infrared sauna is right for you.
And remember, there are a number of ways to save money on infrared sauna electricity costs, so you can enjoy all the benefits of this wonderful technology without breaking the bank!
Want to cut costs on your electricity consumption? Buy your own portable infrared sauna designed with energy-saving features!