1 FAQs - Nootka Saunas

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.

Ordering & Installation Enquiries

1. What is the Lead Time on an Order?

On our Order Now page, we have all the current lead-times listed. We refer to “dispatch” as the date the sauna leaves our facility (ie: ready for pickup, delivery & install, or for freight collection). For more info on lead times and Canada-wide shipping timelines, please contact us at hello@nootkasaunas.com

2. Should I Go with an Electric or 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.

3. What Surface Can I Install a Barrel Sauna On?

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.

4. What Size Sauna Should I Get?

Electric Models

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


Wood-burning Models

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 typically 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

5. 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.

6. Does Nootka Saunas Only Make Barrel Saunas?

For the most part, yes. That being said, if we have the capacity, we sometimes manufacture one-off saunas in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. If you have a custom sauna build request, feel free to contact us by email at hello@nootkasaunas.com

7. How Hot Do The 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.

8. What is Required For the Electric Heater Connection?

All of our electric heaters are 240V.

Our 8ft saunas use a 7.5kW heater, which needs a 40A breaker (non-GFI) and 8-2 Teck cable run to the back wall of the sauna. This wiring and the final connection of the sauna to your panel must be done by a certified electrician.

Our 10ft saunas use a 9kW heater, which uses a 50A breaker and (non GFI) and 8-2 Teck cable (or similar, based on your electricians recommendation).

Usually electrical hookup, is easier that customers think. Teck cable costs around $14/meter and is usually be buried in an 18” trench (local bylaws may vary). To save money on setup costs, several of our customers dig their own trenches and then have their electricians lay the electrical cable into the trench.

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. If you’re located in BC’s Lower Mainland, we have a number of electricians we have worked with and can recommend. Just get in touch at hello@nootkasaunas.com

9. What type of Heaters do the saunas come with?

Our electric Heaters are Made in Canada by Homecraft. They’re exceptionally made, CSA 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.

10. What are the 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.

11. Where are Nootka Sauna 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.

12. Do the 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.

13. Is there 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.

14. 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.

For saunas with electric heaters, they MUST be installed by a licensed electrician.

15. How easy is the Assembly Process?

It typically takes our customers 6-8 hours to assemble the sauna at a leisurely pace. While it’s possible to assemble a sauna as one person, we recommend having two people assemble the sauna, as it makes it faster and more enjoyable.

The assembly process is laid out here: Assembly Videos

16. 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.

Operation and Maintenance Enquiries

16. Can I Pour Water on the Heater?

Yes, you can pour water on both our electric and wood-fire heaters. Ensure that you closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions before pouring anything onto the heater though.

17. 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.

18. 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.

Interior sauna sealant (safe for use at high temperature) can  be purchased here: https://www.saunas4less.com/Sauna-Room-Wood-Sealant

For the Exterior Sealant, we recommend a no VOC or low VOC stain/sealant from your local hardware supply store. We personally love the OSMO 420 product. It’s pricier than big box store alternatives but lasts for years and looks very natural. www.ardec.ca

19. 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. In addition, we use a special temperature safe and inert caulking material between staves, which minimizes any water ingress. 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%.

20. 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. Do not sauna if your physician or health care provider advises against it. 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.

Essential oils should NEVER be applied directly to the heater or rocks. Most essential oils are flammable and if used, should be mixed with water before ladling them on to the rocks. Every customer should familiarize themselves with the heater manufacturer’s recommended usage procedures.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly
Ph: +1 (778) 652-3569
Email: hello@nootkasaunas.com

Ready To Order?

If you’re ready to get your order in, use our interactive sauna designer tool to build and order your custom sauna today.

Order Now