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Keep Your Hotspot In Top Shape: Sauna Maintenance

May 17, 2008
Saunas need relatively little maintenance. Although people are sweating heavily, which can cause discoloration over time, the high heat pretty well guarantees that any moisture buildup will have evaporated by the time the room cools down.

Regular sauna maintenance is similar to maintaining any other room in your house. Sweeping or vacuuming every few days will keep it free of dust and hair, and gentle washing with soap and water will keep the seats and walls clean. Avoid the use of harsh chemical cleaners to prevent the release of harmful residues when the unit is heated. Use of such products can result in unpleasant smells or even breathing difficulties.

Caring for the Wood

Providing towels for people to sit on will help limit the amount of perspiration that builds up on the benches. The wood will still need to be cleaned every couple of months. Use a mild detergent to wash the wood and rinse it with water afterwards. Never use ammonia based cleaners as they can cause the wood to turn gray.

If the wood does become discolored, it can be lightly sanded to remove the stains. Another way to remove stains is to wash the wood with a mixture of oxalic acid and trisodium phosphate. These are poisonous chemicals and must be handled with care. They must be mixed with water in a non-metallic container. Wear rubber gloves and goggles and wash the entire area of each wall and bench. Rinse them thoroughly with clear water.

Wood doors may swell with increased humidity. If this happens try adjusting the hinges to stop the rubbing, but if this does not work, the door may need to be sanded or planed. With a pencil, mark the location where the door is sticking and remove the whole door from the frame. Grind down the door with a sander or planer.

Caring for the Heater

An electric sauna heater needs almost no maintenance. Wiping the stainless steel surfaces. heaters is the only care needed. Use a soft cloth and mild detergent to wash the heater. Avoid using steel wool which can scratch the finish and cause rusting. If the heater stops working, call an electrician. It is unsafe to do electrical repairs yourself.

A wood burning heater requires a bit more maintenance than an electric one. The ashes must be removed on a regular basis, and the exhaust pipe must be kept free of obstructions. Be careful of creosote build up in the exhaust pipe. It can be a dangerous fire hazard, so regular inspection is necessary to ensure safety. You can hire a professional chimney cleaner to remove excess creosote if it becomes a problem.

Stone Replacement

Sauna stones should be inspected from time to time to make sure they are free of cracks. Because of the stress of continual heating and cooling, the stones should be replaced occasionally. Used stones should also be replaced if they are giving off a foul odor. Although just about any type of stone can be used for the sauna, stones with a rough surface are preferable because they release the steam faster. The most popular types are peridotite and olivine, available from sauna supply stores.

Easy Maintenance

Saunas are easier to maintain than most bathrooms. If you are thinking of having one installed but are worried about the maintenace involved, stop worrying! It will be one of the most care-free rooms in your home.
About the Author
Mike Hirn is a longtime steam enthusiast. His website supplies a wealth of information about the construction, use and health benefits of home saunas and steam showers.
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