The Far Infrared Sauna Guru: Free Advice for First Time Buyers
Carbon Baked Heating Systems
Tips for Far Infrared Sauna Buyers
NOTE: Before I begin, let me state very clearly that this information is for reference only. Many factors can change from the time you read this article, to the time you install a unit so please, always do your homework first before you spend any money on any big ticket item.
Far Infrared Saunas have been gaining popularity over the last 5 years as the public is becoming more aware of their amazing healing benefits but there is so much competition out there now and everyone is saying that theirs is the best so I'm going to share some information with you to help you decide which units are the best for you.
For any of you reading this article and don't quite know what infrared heat is, it's the light given off by the sun that brings life to every living creature on earth, in the form of heat.
Simply put, the Infrared waves in a sauna penetrate the body right down to the molecular level, which vibrates all of the chemicals and toxins out of molecules in your body and allows it to get rid of those toxic poisons through your normal bodily functions ex. sweating, urination, etc.
The reason why I bought a Far Infrared Sauna in the first place was because many years ago, before I installed my first unit, my job put me on the road a lot.
I was eating poorly and not resting properly plus the fact that we were completely renovating our home at the time, didn't help my stress level any. I'm a stage 2 diabetic which means my blood sugar level is dictated by my diet.
When I went to my doctor, my blood sugar was dangerously high from my poor eating habits, my overweight which lead to my blood pressure was through the roof. My doctor said if I didn't change my lifestyle, I'd be in a box in a year.
That was all I had to hear to wake me up. I bought the sauna and within 6 weeks I lost 28 pounds, my blood sugar was normal as well as my blood pressure. My doctor was blown away and asked me what i did. I told him I stopped eating junk food and took a sauna for 1/2 hour a day, 5 days a week.
I've been a great fan of them ever since. I can't really see me living without one. It's a part of our lifestyle now.
Enough about me, let's get back to business.
It is not a light that provides the heat in the sauna but either panels in the wall or ceramic coils.
There are many great sauna manufacturers in North America and Europe but some of the best Far Infrared Saunas are made in China, just like 90% of everything else we buy these days.
Another big factor in buying Chinese saunas is the price tag. North American manufacturers just can't compete because of China's low labor wages.
Golden Wave and Josens are two of the best manufacturers in China but they both make high and low end models to suit their North American commercial clients.
On the back of the sauna there should be a square metal plate attached to the wall that shows all the electrical specifications plus the manufactures name. Just make sure they are ETL (Electrical) Certified because if they are not and your house burns down, worst-case scenario, home insurance will not cover it. You shouldn't have that issue at the big box stores but if you are buying one from buddy down the street, keep it in mind.
Unfortunately, for most consumers, you have to buy either a 20 or 40 ft. container load of saunas to deal with China and not too many people need 15 to 30 extra saunas sitting around their house, not to mention getting into Global logistics and International money transactions but if that type of business opportunity interests you, I suggest reading another one of my Hubs called.
Buying from China: Tips for Small Business Owners.
That's how Walmart and just about every other big box store out there makes their fortunes, why not you. Anyway, back to the main subject.
Let's explore the difference in the features and heating systems.
Ceramic Heaters: are an average of 8 to18 inches long ceramic tubes that are heated up through an electrical source, wall outlet, and omit Near (not Far) infrared waves.
There are several reasons why ceramic heaters are not as effective as carbon heaters. The waves do not penetrate the body as deeply or as wide an area on your body as carbon heaters. They can heat up to a very hot temperature which can burn the skin and they are not a constant heat. They warm up, cool down and warm up again which equates to a higher electrical bill because the heaters are working harder.
Carbon Paper Heaters: Better than the ceramic but are manufactured with two carbon panels and carbon paper baked in between them which omits a carbon dust when heating up. Not a very healthy breathing environment while trying to get healthy in a sauna.
Carbon Baked Heating Panels. By far the best you can get. It's Japanese technology that has been around for over 50 years and is the same technology used in hospitals for baby incubators. The Far Infrared waves penetrate the body deeper than the other heating systems which creates a far more effective detoxification. An extremely good sweat.
The heating panels are embedded right into the walls and floors, around 10 to 16 inches in width and 16 to 18 + inches long, to create a total surround heating effect on every part of the body. These systems are more costly than ceramic or carbon paper heaters but if you are buying an Infrared sauna to get healthy, it is by far the best way to go so be prepared to pay $2,000.00 to $4,000.00 minimal for these types of saunas, depending on the size and how many seats
You will not be able to buy these systems for $1000.00 at any big box stores because they are more expensive to manufacture and that's just one reason.
If you are buying a cheap sauna just to save money than I suggest to not even waste your money. I would go into the woods, cut down some wooden poles, get some rocks with some old blankets, search the Internet and build a native sweat lodge in your back yard. It will be a lot cheaper and a lot healthier than wasting $1000.00 at a big box store on one of those so called infrared saunas they offer. Pure garbage
Home Depot, Costco or any other store buy very cheap ceramic or carbon paper saunas that are extremely poorly made and are more of a health issue than an alternative health therapy.
Some of the reasons being is that the cabinetry is not 100% Cedar, Hemlock or Basswood but has plywood fillers in between the walls and everyone knows that plywood is filled with formaldehyde, a cancer causing substance. Imagine breathing that in while sitting in a sauna. No thanks.
You also have to make sure all the electrical running inside the walls of the sauna is coated and ETL certified, electrical standards, so your body is not bombarded with electrical discharges while in the sauna. Also Not Good
Another thing to watch out for is that none of the woodwork is using a petroleum based glue. Again, not a good scene inhaling petroleum fumes while sweating in a sauna.
The biggest bonus when using Carbon Baked Heating Systems is that you can set the temperature you are comfortable with by using the buttons on the control panels and it will stay exactly at that temperature for as long as you like.
If 1/2 hour is your limit at 120 degrees, for example, then you punch in 120 degrees for 30 minutes and you are set. The system will automatically shut off after the 1/2 hour. Your body will naturally climatize as you get use to it which enables you to stay in longer at higher temperatures for an even greater sweat if you prefer. It's all in your control.
They use roughly the same amount of power as a blow dryer and you can also lay your skin right on the heaters without being burned.
One thing I've been hearing a lot about lately is the big misconception regarding Cedar being toxic to humans.
This bunch of crap is being generated by sauna dealers selling the cheaper saunas.There are obviously people out there who are allergic to Cedar just like there are people out there allergic to cats and dogs but that doesn't mean dogs and cats are toxic to every human being. If you are honestly allergic to Cedar, than don't buy a Cedar Sauna but if you are not, then they are the way to go no matter what some sales rep is trying to tell you.
Hemlock, although is perfectly fine for sauna usage, is a cheaper wood and will crack and split under heat which equates to major heat lose over time and if you look closely at the warranty, it says that cracking and splitting in Hemlock Saunas is normal and is not covered under the warranty. A little tidbit the dealers always seem to leave out when selling those saunas. Although they look nice on the showroom floor and a cheaper price, don't be fooled.
Cedar is with out a doubt, the safest and most effective wood product used in Saunas of any type which is why the Europeans and Native Americans have been using Cedar for centuries. Do you think they know something we don't?
Cedar does have toxins but they are for natural protection against nature's viruses and not man made. It is a fact that no bacteria can survive in a Far infrared/Cedar environment and if some sauna dealer is telling you different, then I guarantee they are trying to sell you a cheaper system. Don't fall for it. How would any of us be able to walk around outside if so many people are allergic to Cedar.
I would get such a kick out of so many misinformed people writing me and the first thing out of there mouth is, I'm allergic to Cedar and in the second breath say, we were thinking about buying a Hemlock system. Guess who they were just talking too? I would suggest buying a Hemlock sauna if they wanted one bad enough but only after they should receive all the facts and get them to try out a cedar sauna first.
The majority of our clients have some kind health issues and i know from experience, would only be helped with a Cedar Far Infrared Sauna.
Basswood is slowly gaining popularity because it basically gives off no scent at all but is a more expensive wood than Cedar or Hemlock but they are worth checking out.
Another misconception is the type of heat a Far infrared Sauna omits. A lot of people are familiar with the traditional Finnish Saunas with the heater sitting on the floor or mounted on the wall in the sauna with rocks and a heating elements inside the unit. The most popular complaint with these types of saunas is that the heat is suffocating but nothing could be further from the fact when it comes to infrared heat.
I've heard them describe the infrared heat as wrapping yourself in an electric blanket on a cold day or the sun warming your body on a hot summers day at the beach. It is a very clean heat and not suffocating at all. It is not a heat that effects your outer layer of skin. It's medicinal waves penetrate the body and you sweat from the inside out
Just a few more quick tips when looking for a good Far Infrared Sauna.
Make sure the outside wooden panels are least 7 to 8 MM thick. The thicker the panels, the greater the heat retention, the lower your heating bill
You want a respected brand name AM/FM/CD Stereo in the sauna to listen to some nice music while in their. JVC are used in many. It makes for a great ambiance.
Chroma therapy or therapeutic colored lighting is always a nice touch.
Keep them out of the weather. Never leave an Infrared Sauna exposed to the elements unless it is designed and manufactured just for that purpose.
Warranty: 5 year minimum on all cabinetry, electrical and heaters. You'll be hard pressed to find a supplier that offers over a 1 year warranty on any stereo no matter what the brand name is.
Make sure all glass windows and doors are minimal 1/2 inch thick, tempered and tinted glass.
If the electrical cord on the sauna has a T Plug on the end, you will have to hire an electrician to run a direct, dedicated line from your electrical panel right to your wall outlet where you were planning on plugging in the sauna. Actually, I highly recommend doing that for any sauna just to be safe. It may cost $100.00 or more but well worth the price.
Installation tip: Infrared Saunas come in 5 or 6 maybe 7 sections depending on the size. To begin you have to make sure that the area you are installing the unit has a level floor.
If your floor is not level when you lay your base down, you will have trouble getting the roof on so make sure your floor is perfectly level. It's like building a house, if your foundation is crooked, your walls and roof are going to be a nightmare to install.
I use cedar shingles as shims on cedar saunas to help level the base out before I install the walls. Once that part is done the rest of the sauna snaps together like a small puzzle and then plugs in to your wall outlet. Voila, you are good to go
Your first attempt at assembling your sauna should take you a few hours and you'll need someone to give you a hand, especially when it comes to putting on the top section (roof). A few small step ladders will come in handy here. Just follow the directions step by step and you'll easily work your way through it.
They are also portable if you ever want to move it so assembling it yourself will make it a lot easier to disassemble it for the move.
Well that should be enough info to get you started.
All I can say now is take your time and get informed before you spend your hard earned money. Also shop around for pricing. If you can find a supplier who buys container loads directly from China, their prices will be much lower or more negotiable than buying from a business that is supplied by the importer. Get rid of the middle men right!
Lower prices doesn't mean better quality so don't waste your money on some expensive, heated box