Whether you’ve purchased your electric sauna as a flat-packed sauna kit or we’re doing the assembly for you, a licensed electrician is required to connect the barrel sauna to your electrical service.
This overview is directed to electricians who will do the wiring and also offers some insight for customers in terms of what to expect during the process. Most of the time, it’s a very straight forward process.
Ensuring There is Capacity on Your Panel
Our barrel saunas with either 6’5′ or 7’6″ interior rooms require a 240v, 40A service to power the 7.5kW sauna heater. Our larger saunas (ie: 8’5″ rooms and 9’6″ rooms) require 240v, 50A to power the 9kW heater. Most houses have ample capacity on their main breaker to handle this power and for context, it’s around the same service that a hot tub would require.
How Much Does an Electric Sauna Cost to Run?
Electric barrel saunas are very efficient when it comes to power consumption. The majority of our units use a 7.5kW heater.
Electricity is commonly priced in kWh or kilowatt-hours, which is kilowatts x hours. This in turn means that for a 1 hour sauna session, the maximum electricity consumed used would be 7.5kW x 1 hour = 7.5kWh.
As of writing this, BC Hydro rates are 9 cents per kWh.
Now, combining all of this, gives us: 9 cents / kWh x 7.5kWh = $0.67. Now, the one thing to note, is that when the sauna reaches desired temperature the heater switches off until the temperature drops slightly at which point the temperature turns back on for a short period to stay at the desired temperature. This means the heater won’t be on for the whole duration of the sauna, so you’re probably looking at closer to 50 cents per sauna session.
TLDR: You’re looking at less than 67 cents for an hour long sauna session, based on Hydro BC electricity prices.
Sauna Wiring Instructions
When we do the sauna assembly, All of the wiring between the heater and the display/controller is pre-wired by us. If you’re doing the assembly yourself, there are 6 colour-coded wires that need to be connected to allow the display panel and thermostat to communicate with the sauna heater.
The instructions manual for the 7.5kW and 9kW heaters can be found here
- The electrician will need to install a suitable breaker in your panel (40A or 50A). As per the heater’s manual, this should NOT be a GFI breaker.
- A suitable gauge cable will need to be run to the back wall of where the sauna will go. Typically, electricians will run 8-3 or 6-3 TECK cable, as this is armoured and rated for outdoor environments. It can also be trenched if necessary. For installations under covered areas, provided it’s up to code for the area, electricians will sometimes run cable inside of PVC or metal conduit.
- The cable needs to terminate at the back wall of the barrel sauna, where the electrician will connect a disconnect unit (supplied by the electrician). Something like the SIEMENS Circuit protector which is $26 from RONA or Home Depot is suitable for the application.
- Finally, the electrician will wire the L1 and L2 (red and black) wires from the disconnect box into the contactor for the sauna, which is located in the PVC junction box (mounted on the back wall of the sauna). The exposed ground wire in the PVC junction box will also need to be connected to the exposed ground wire coming from the disconnect box.
- That’s it!
A note on burying/trenching TECK cables: Most jurisdictions require the top of a trenched cable to be 18″ below ground level. Several customers elect to dig their own trench or have a landscaper dig the trench to where the back wall of the sauna will go. In this case, it’s highly recommended that you consult your electrician first to ensure that your trench is up to code and that a sensible path for the trench is chosen.
ALWAYS CALL BEFORE YOU DIG! Never start digging without first calling your local authorities to ensure there are no gas lines, electrical cables, data lines or other such hazards on your property. This can be a very costly and even dangerous mistake to make. Here are some useful resources for who to call before you start digging in Canada:
- BC: https://www.bc1c.ca/
- Alberta: http://albertaonecall.com/
- Manitoba: http://clickbeforeyoudigmb.com/
- Ontario: https://www.ontarioonecall.ca/
- Quebec: https://www.info-ex.com/en/
- Yukon: https://yukonenergy.ca/health-safety/electrical-safety/call-before-you-dig
Have some more questions? Feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at (604) 825-1443. Also, check out our FAQs page for other questions about getting a barrel sauna or sauna kit for your place.