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Goldilocks, the three bears, and sizing our electric sauna heaters

light steam graphic

Those in the sauna selling business may do well to brush up on the story of Goldilocks & The Three Bears, while helping folks size their electric sauna heaters.

There is a human tendency to be thinking that “bigger is better.” We live in a time of big homes, big cars, big cheeseburgers… but we don’t have to build big saunas. As important, sizing hour sauna heater to fit our hot room is a matter of getting the porridge just right.

  • Too big of a heater: the air in the hot room heats up faster than the rocks, then shuts down. This leads to wimpy steam, and the wet noodle effect.
  • Too small of a heater: The heater chugs along with elements glowing red too much. This leads to scochy steam, and the “ouch” effect.

There are some rules of thumbs to size our electric sauna heaters, but there is no easy graph to capture it all.

Heater Kw variables include:

  • Indoor or outdoor.
  • Climate: what is your growing zone?
  • Changing room: more than just a good idea.
  • Windows: if large, you are best using insulated glass.
  • Insulation, ceiling height, what kind of beer you like, etc. etc.

Those veteran readers to this website became educated to this many years ago. Here, guest post electrical engineer Jeff shared with us about how electric sauna heaters are best sized to cycle on and off approximately 30% of the time.

  • Too big of a heater: the heater cycles on and off fast, and the rocks never get hot enough for good steam.
  • Too small of a heater: the heater cycles on and stays on, and the rocks are overshadowed by glowing elements whereupon you could roast a marshmallow.

Goldilocks was onto something. Soup is best not too hot, or not too cold. Our electric heated sauna heaters can follow similar logic.

More here.

Goldilocks, the three bears, and sizing our electric sauna heaters
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1 thought on “Goldilocks, the three bears, and sizing our electric sauna heaters”

  1. Hey Glenn – Glad to see you are still at it here and that those old electric heater posts are still relevant. I’ve been off the grid (so to speak) for a long while after going through a series of health issues. Am finally on the mend now and reintroducing myself to sauna has been a nice part of the recovery.

    Electric heaters are a great option for those who don’t want a wood-burning stove for whatever reason. As you mention though, the key is sizing it to the room and the right rock quantity. Without that the “toaster oven” effect or painfully slow warm-ups are all too common. My Harvia Virta (7 kW, 95 pounds of rocks, 300 cubic feet room) is still going strong and doing a great job.

    Take care – Jeff

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