Thatcher Pools & Spas Inc. only serves customers in and around the Rochester, MN area. While it is our hope that these blogs will help educate our readers, the accuracy of their content is relative to your geographic region, brand of product and season.

6 Outdoor Sauna Mistakes to Avoid for Homeowners in Rochester, MN

If you’re visiting a friend and they tell you to “go jump in the lake,” you’re probably somewhere in Minnesota. Minnesota is, after all, the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

But what if the lake is covered in ice and your friend tells you to jump through a small hole? Then your friend has an outdoor sauna, and they’re helping you refresh yourself after hanging out with them in 158-and 212 °F heat.

Now, you’re hooked and want to enjoy the health benefits of saunas at home!

Before you install, learn about outdoor sauna mistakes you don’t want to make. If you’ll take a minute and read today’s post, you’ll take steps to ensure the sauna is ready when you want to relax and rejuvenate.

1. Failure to Plan for Size

You know what they say about failing to plan—it’s a plan to fail. Before installing a sauna, you’ll want to sketch out a plan. Give plenty of thought to planning for space.

First, think about how many people will use the sauna at the same time. Most saunas can accommodate one to five people. If you have a larger family or circle of friends, you do have options for a larger sauna.

You need enough space for people to sit and recline. The general rule for bench space is 2 feet per person. To ensure comfortable reclining, make sure the bench is at least 6 feet.

As far as height, basic saunas are usually at least 7 feet tall. The ideal set-up is to have multiple benches at varying heights. This allows each person to sauna at the temperature most comfortable for them.

Tip: When determining what size sauna to install, size describes both the number of people it can accommodate and how many people the unit can heat.

2. Choosing the Wrong Location

If you’ve lived here long enough, you know Minnesota winters aren’t for the faint of heart. Neither is the incredibly short summer season. With the longer, colder winters than most of the country, an outdoor sauna is ideal for the Minnesota climate.

That said, it’s easy to make the mistake of placing your new sauna in a less than ideal location.

Choose a location where you know you can protect the sauna from the weather. It’s essential to keep snow from accumulating on top of the sauna. You also want to avoid rain pouring down on it.

Water outside or inside of your saunas can cause damage to the wood and the electrical components. Consider a cover for your sauna. You can also install a roof over the top.

Another aspect of location is the view. If you live in a wooded area, imagine soaking up the heat while enjoying a view of snow-covered evergreens. Locate the sauna where you aren’t looking at the kid’s trampoline or the neighbor’s doghouse.

3. Leaving No Option but to Jump in the Lake

Did you know if you want to maximize the health benefits of saunas, it’s best to shower before and after?

Indoor saunas are often installed near a lower level bathroom, making it easy to shower. For an outdoor sauna, consider installing an outdoor shower. Of course, if you live on a lake, or have a swimming pool, it’s not a huge issue.

Finnleo, one of the premier manufacturers of saunas, offers a package, which includes the option of a shower in the changing room.

Speaking of changing rooms, since people will need to change from street clothes into sauna attire, make sure you create a changing area nearby. Different styles of saunas may come with an attached changing room.

4. DIY Wiring

Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of outdoor sauna mistakes. With several electrical components required to operate a sauna, you’ll need to address things like wiring, voltage, outlets, and breakers.

Before you install, ensure you have a solid understanding of the electrical requirements, including whether you need an electrical permit.

You’ll likely need 220/240v power. Installation usually requires a hardwire connection to the electrical panel in your home. Keep in mind, you will also need a separate 30 or 40 amp breaker.

In some cases, if you’re installing a small traditional-style outdoor sauna, you may be able to wire it to a 110/120v circuit.

One of the benefits of buying your sauna from a certified dealer is that they usually offer installation. Unless you’re an electrician, or you’re an experienced DIYer, why not go ahead and enjoy a professional installation?

Proper electrical installation ensures you can provide a safe and enjoyable sauna experience for your family and friends!

5. A Sauna Without a View

While many outdoor saunas have a window installed in the exterior door, they don’t all come that way. Making sure your sauna has a window in the door, not only gives you a better view of the landscape outside, it prevents you from banging into someone who might be standing outside the door.

As far as windows, insulated, tempered glass is the way to go. The tempered glass helps reduce moisture build-up on the windows. It also helps balance temperature extreme between the sauna and the outdoors, especially on those frigid winter nights in Minnesota.

If your sauna has a changing room, consider an optional crank-out window. You’ll enjoy improved airflow, which guests will undoubtedly appreciate.

6. Taking a Sauna at the Wrong Temperature

Even though you might associate saunas with an escape from the cold, you might not realize that the temperature in your sauna will be between 150°F and 195°F. Unless you educate them, your guests may not know it either.

Choosing a sauna temperature that’s too hot or cold can ruin the experience.

If you have friends over for a sauna session, make sure you don’t adjust the thermostat or pour water on the rocks without a consensus.

For less heat, advise guests to sit on a lower-level bench. You can always adjust the temperature to your personal preference by merely changing your seating level.

Need More Advice to Avoid Outdoor Sauna Mistakes?

We’ve shared a few common mistakes people make when planning for and installing their new home sauna. We hope you’re inspired to go ahead and prepare for an unbeatable restorative experience enjoyed year-round by many Minnesotans.

If you have other questions about potential outdoor sauna mistakes, or you’re ready to order your sauna, contact our team today. We’re always available to help ensure you purchase the best outdoor sauna for your needs.