Electric heater is a very moderate energy consumer

The cost of heating a sauna is less than you think – a typical family sauna heats up for less than 2 dollars

The recent spike in energy prices has probably aroused some concerns for sauna enthusiasts and those considering if a sauna is right for them. And for a good reason, as the sauna is a place to recover, relax and feel good. In light of this, we decided to answer today’s burning questions: how much energy does the typical electric sauna heater consume, and how can you affect the energy consumption of your sauna?

Harvia Cilindro electric heater with safety railing

Energy efficient heating

Harvia electric sauna heaters are designed to be moderate in power consumption and optimal in heat generation. The thermostat of the heater regulates the heating elements so that the heater remains at the desired temperature for the whole duration of the sauna session, while being energy efficient at the same time.

When the heater is heating up, it stays on full power for the initial 30-40 minutes. After this, the power output is about 50% of the maximum so that the sauna stays warm. If the sauna is an indoor or bathroom sauna, it can even function as a heat source for your building.

Harvia Spirit Electric Heater with safety rail

How much energy does the heater consume?

Let's use a regular family sauna with a 6-8 kW heater as an example. A 6 kW heater is suitable for 3-4 people, whereas an 8 kW heater is capable of heating larger saunas.

Typically, a sauna is heated for about an hour, after which the sauna bathing takes place for another hour. In this case, the 6 kW heater consumes about 4–5 kWh during the first hour and 3–4 kWh in the following hour, resulting in a total of 7–9 kWh over the two hours.

As for the more powerful heater, it consumes about 5–7 kWh within the first hour and 4–6 kWh over the second hour. This gives us a total of 9–13 kWh. This is based on a well-insulated sauna with a heater suitable for the sauna’s size.

Harvia Cilindro Pillar heater and MyHarvia application

How much does a sauna session cost me?

The consumption and price of electricity varies a lot depending on the geographic location, living arrangement, and heating method. That being said, consider the following examples to understand the price of a sauna session.

In Germany, the average price of electricity in July 2022 stood at 0,37€/kWh. This puts the price of a sauna session between €2,6 and €3,3 for the 6 kW heater and €3,3 and €4,8 for the larger heater.

As for the United States, in 2022 the average across the country per kilowatt-hour was $0.16, which equates to a little over one dollar per sauna session for the smaller heater and between $1.3 and $2.1 for the 8 kW heater.

Even small things can make a big impact for sauna efficiency!

Consider these tips for energy efficient sauna sessions:

  • Minimize the time that the heater is on. To do so, you should head into the relaxing heat of the sauna as soon as it is hot enough, or even slightly before it and remember to turn it off after your sauna session. You can use the help of the MyHarvia application and the Xenio WiFi kit, which enable you to not only remotely switch the heater on from anywhere, but also track the current temperature in your sauna. MyHarvia also notifies you when the sauna is ready for use

  • Another easy way to reduce energy cost is to lower the sauna’s temperature a little bit. Usually good steam is produced already at 70 °C / 158°F.

  • If the heater has a large quantity of stones, a good tip is that you can turn the heater off before you’re done with the sauna. The stones will retain the heat and release it for a good while after you turn the heater off. This is the case especially with pillar heaters.

  • Make sure the sauna stones are in good shape. Sauna stones erode over time, thus they retain and release less heat. They also shift and settle inside the heater, restricting the air flow that the heater needs to function properly. Check your sauna stones once a year, replace the eroded ones and restack them to let air flow.

Sauna bathing supports a healthy lifestyle and for many it is a safe haven that helps them calm down and relax.  With the help of these tips you can enjoy your sauna with peace of mind! These small choices can make a big impact in your energy consumption, and control the cost of your sauna session.

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