Some Things You Might be Wondering…
We want to make sure all our customers get the perfect sauna for their space and intent of use. Below are some common questions we get about our saunas.
All About Nootka Saunas
Why the barrel shape?
The cylindrical shape of a barrel sauna makes for a great convection flow where the air naturally recirculates and there are no corners for air to get ’trapped’. In addition, barrel saunas look great and are structurally sound, even in harsh climates.
What are Nootka Saunas made out of?
All of our saunas are made with locally milled Western Red Cedar. The cedar is select tight knot and kiln dried to minimize and cracking or warping that green lumber can experience. It also ensures our wood is dimensionally stable.
Where are Nootka Saunas built?
All Nootka Saunas are fabricated in the Sea to Sky (near Vancouver, British Columbia). We believe in supporting the local economy and make every effort to support other local businesses when purchasing our cedar, glass, heaters, etc. This ensures better product support for customers, helps strengthen the local economy and speeds up manufacturing lead times.
What type of heaters do Nootka Saunas come with?
Our electric Heaters are Made in Canada by Homecraft. They’re exceptionally made, CSA-certified heaters that carry a 1 year warranty through Homecraft.
Homecraft heaters are digitally controlled, so they have a controller on the front of the sauna rather than a switch/dial built into the stove. It also means that they are silent (beware of other sauna heaters that have an audible tick every few seconds as the safety shut off timer counts down).
For wood-fired builds, we use Harvia stoves, which, in our opinion are the best made sauna stoves in the World. A multi-generational Finnish company, Harvia understands how to make very efficient sauna stoves.
How hot do Nootka Saunas get?
In Canada, CSA governs the maximum temperature for electric sauna heaters to 90°C (194°F). Wood fired saunas can get slightly higher depending on the type of wood being burned and size of the fire.
Do Nootka Saunas work well in cold climates?
Yes! We’re based in the Coastal Mountain Range, so we’re used to cold winters with over 10m (33ft) of snow each Winter. Our saunas are built to withstand harsh Canadian climates.
Does Nootka Saunas make infrared saunas?
No, we don’t currently make infrared saunas. The jury is still out on the health benefits associated with infrared saunas and we’ve been disappointed by the build quality and lifespan of most infrared panels on the market. As such, we only fabricate electric and wood-fired saunas.
Placing Your Order
Do I need a permit for a sauna?
Most jurisdictions allow for outbuildings under ~100 sq ft without a building permit. It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that they are in alignment with all laws and codes in their area.
Should I get an electric of wood-fired sauna?
Electric heaters have the advantage of warming up very quickly, being simple to operate and are a great option if you’re looking to use your sauna on a frequent basis. With the added benefit that you can pour water on our electric heaters, there’s no wonder over 80% of our customers opt for electric heaters.
A wood fired sauna is fantastic for cottages, rural properties, where electrical is not feasible or if you’re looking for the ’traditional’ sauna experience.
What size sauna should I get?
The electric heater we use is wall-mounted and only extends 18″ off the rear wall. The 10ft option is fantastic if you plan to host any of your friends or family in the sauna. If you plan to only use the sauna by yourself or with one or two others, then the 8ft is the perfect option. Both sizes heat up very quickly and the power consumption difference is negligible between the two sizes.
8Ft Barrel Sauna: Perfect for For 1 – 4 People
10Ft Barrel Sauna: Perfect for For 1 – 8 People
The wood-burning Harvia M3 Heater is floor-mounted, so it sticks out about 30″ from the rear wall of the sauna. this ends up accounting for some of the useable bench space, as such the capacity of the wood-burning saunas we produce are a bit lower than their electric counterparts.
We encourage customers who are going for a wood-burning unit to consider the 10ft sauna.
8Ft Barrel Sauna: Perfect for For 1 – 4 People
10Ft Barrel Sauna: Perfect for For 1 – 6 People
Are their payment plans available for Nootka Saunas?
On initial placement of the order, the only payment that is required is the 15% deposit. Our team will then contact you to arrange a date that works with your schedule for the final delivery and assembly. The final payment for the Saunas is due just before delivery for the remaining amount. At this time, we do not offer payment plans for saunas.
For Canadian customers, we accept payments by E-transfer, EFT, cheque, or credit card.
If you would like to know more about this process please give us a call or email [email protected].
Preparing For & Recieving Your Sauna
How quickly will I receive my sauna?
We are typically able to fulfill your order within 6 weeks! However, lead time varies depending on time of year and where you are located.
If you are in the Sea to Sky Corridor or Lower Mainland of BC, we are typically able to produce, deliver, and assembly your sauna within 4-6 weeks of the date you place your order.
If you are elsewhere in North America, typically:
your sauna is produced within 2-3 weeks of your order date;
shipping takes 2-3 weeks from our shop to your residence;
if you select our on-site Assembly services, we will schedule your Assembly Appointment as close as possible to the delivery date, but scheduling is dependant on our builders’ availability.
TOTAL LEAD TIME: 4-8 weeks
Once you place your order, we will reach out with specific timeline details for your sauna.
If you wish to discuss timeline specifics before placing your order, please call or reach us at [email protected].
What site preparation is required for my sauna?
The great thing about barrel saunas is that they don’t require a concrete foundation. This means they can be installed on nearly any level surface (e.g.: crushed stone, river rock, gravel, wood decking, flagstones, or even grass. When installing on grass or organic surfaces, we recommend putting down pavers or flagstones under the corners of the sauna feet to prevent it from settling into the ground over time. Our saunas have 3 cradles/feet, which are 4ft wide and are made of pressure-treated wood.
You can find more information about site preparation here.
How is my sauna delivered?
If you are in the Sea to Sky region or Lower Mainland of BC, your sauna will be hand-delivered to you by one of our Nootka Sauna Builders. On the day of assembly, our builder will arrive in a full-sized pickup truck or will be pulling a trailer, transporting the sauna in a flat-packed state. Each component will be manually carried to the designated build location.
If you are elsewhere in North America, your sauna will be delivered by a third party shipping partner, in a flat-packed crate. 8ft saunas arrive in a single crate, and 10ft saunas arrive in two separate crates. Once your sauna reaches your local area, the shipping provider will contact you to make a delivery appointment (you must be home at time of delivery). We work with shippers that offer customer-set delivery appointments, so you get to set an appointment time that works for you.
Can you deliver and assemble all year round?
We often get asked if our saunas can be delivered in the Winter. It depends on where you’re located but the answer is usually yes. All we need is the area you intend to place the Sauna to be cleared of snow and for a walkable path to the sauna’s location.
For electric saunas, there also should be some discussion with your electrician about how they’ll run the electrical to the sauna. If trenching the cable in your yard is required it can often be laid on the surface then trenched in the spring (consult your electrician to confirm).
As our Saunas come unassembled, they can easily be split out and carried over any terrain without the need of a crane to bring it in
Assembly & Installation
How easy is the assembly process?
If you are in an area where we offer on-site assembly, we recommend using our in-house Nootka Sauna Builders! Sauna assembly by our qualified builders typically takes 5-6 hours.
For customers assembling their own saunas, the time varies from customer to customer. While our saunas are designed to be straight-forward to assemble, we recommend setting aside a weekend to put your sauna together at a leisurely pace. Having two people assemble the sauna makes it faster and more enjoyable than doing it on your own.
The assembly process is laid out here: Assembly Videos. We will also send a digital assembly instruction booklet at time of shipping. If you have any questions during the assembly, don’t hesitate to reach out to our order support team at [email protected].
What is required for the electrical heater connection?
All of our electric heaters are 240V and must be hardwired to your electrical panel.
Both our 8ft and our 10ft saunas come standard with a 9kW heater, which uses a 50A breaker (non GFI). We also offer the option of a 7.5kW heater, which uses a 40A breaker (non-GFI). The 7.5kW heater is more than sufficient for the 8ft sauna – it just takes a few extra minutes for the unit to reach temperature.
The heater wiring and the connection of the sauna to your panel must be done by a certified electrician. Customers are recommended to have an electrician do a preliminary inspection (often free) of their electrical panel to ensure they have capacity on their service panel for the sauna, and help determine whether the 9kW or 7.5kW heater is best. If you’re located in BC or Washington State, we have a number of electricians we have worked with and can recommend. Just get in touch at [email protected].
Do I need to stain or seal my sauna?
This comes down to customer preference. Cedar has a natural resin in it that protects it from rotting so it’s not essential to seal the sauna. That being said, UV and weather will fade the colouring of the wood. If you want to preserve the original colouring of your western red cedar then we recommend sealing the interior and exterior of the sauna.
At check-out, you have the option to purchase a Cedar Sealant Kit, which includes the ideal type and quantity of sealants for our units.
You can also choose to purchase sealant yourself. If you apply your own sealant to the interior, ensure it is non-toxic and safe for use at a high temperature. We recommend a no VOC or low VOC sealant for the exterior as well.
Operation and Maintenance Enquiries
Do this before using your sauna for the first time.
Before having your first sauna session, we recommend following Homecraft Heater’s “sauna break-in procedure“.
How long does the sauna take to warm up?
Depending on the ambient temperature, it typically takes 10-20 minutes for our saunas to warm up.
How do I re-set my sauna if the electric heater stopped working?
When your Sauna Heater is overworked the high-limit switch will automatically shut the heater down as a safety measure.
This can be caused for a number of reasons from bad air flow within the heater (too many rocks) or wrong placement of the Thermistor sensor (placed 2 inches below the ceiling above the sauna heater). When the high limit switch has tripped it will be impossible to start your heater without re-engaging the switch.
On the bottom of every Homecraft Sauna heater you will find the CSA approved sticker with our heater information. In the very middle of the aluminum sticker is a hole where the high limit switch is located.
1 – insert a safe (wooden) object in the hole and push to re-engage the high limit switch
2 – you should hear the sounds of the switch re-engaging
3 – go to your control and turn the sauna heater on once again
If the high limit switch continues to trip in your sauna then there is most likely an issue with your installation.
Can I pour water on the heater?
Yes, you can pour water on both our electric and wood-fire heaters.
We recommend using a ladle to scoop water onto the sauna rocks in moderate amounts. If water pools on the floor you’re pouring the water too fast. The water should steam without any reaching the floor.
Bringing the humidity level from a low 5 to 8% to a more comfortable 15% will allow your skin to remain completely wet with perspiration. You should develop a heat and humidity combination that will bring you the most enjoyment. Some bathers will like it super-dry and some will like it quite humid.
What safety precautions should I take?
Part of the health benefit associated with saunas is that the temperature change increases your heart rate. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before using our saunas to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by using a sauna. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while using the sauna you should stop immediately. Do not use the sauna under the influence or drugs or alcohol.
In addition, customers should keep a fire extinguisher near the sauna and ensure that all combustible or flammable materials (towels, papers, etc.) are kept away from the heater or stove.
Do barrel saunas require maintenance?
Nootka Saunas are built to last in Canadian and coastal rain forest conditions. Minimal maintenance is required.
1. Perform a seasonal check of the sauna banding (which may require annual or seasonal tightening in the first year or two).
2. If there is any discoloration to the cedar wood over time over time (will be minimal if stained), the high-quality product can be sanded (and re-stained, if stained) every few years. Re-sanding the interior benches will also refresh the smell of cedar!
3. Wood burning stoves benefit from regular ash removal and stove glass cleaning (a mix of water and ash is the perfect cleaning solution). If you are burning wood with high moisture or resin content, you may want to monitor the chimney for creosote build up.
Do barrel saunas leak?
The staves of the sauna (boards that run from the back to front walls) are joined with a speciality joint that mimics a ball and socket connection. We use kiln-dried wood which swells after a couple rainstorms to create a very snug fit between boards. Over time, we recommend tightening the bands around the sauna to ensure a snug, water-resistant fit between boards.
If you want a completely rain proof barrel sauna, be sure to select the metal roofing. The metal roofing not only protects the sauna from rain and snow but also speeds up the heating time by about 20%.
Do Nootka Saunas have a warranty?
The electric heaters come with a 1-year warranty from Homecraft. We don’t accept returns on our saunas, but we’re here to help with any questions you have or any support you need with your sauna.