Setting up a sauna in your own house or in your yard can be a great way for you to easily access some rejuvenation without needing to spend time and money on traveling to one.
Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds, considering that you will need to account for how much money you will need to set aside not just for the installation but also for running the sauna well and keeping it operable and functional.
So, what are the monthly and yearly costs that you can expect when it comes to operating a sauna? In general, if you are planning to use a 2 kWh sauna that can serve two people, you can expect it to cost around $0.18 if you use it for up to 30 minutes each time. This amounts to around $25 on an annual basis.
You will also need to take other costs such as cleaning, maintenance and additional equipment into account, which can take your annual costs to around $5,400 for the initial year since this also includes the cost of installation. With each year, the cost will reduce since you no longer need to worry about installation.
Let’s take a more detailed look into this below.
Since you will be relying on electricity to operate and run your sauna, you will need to consider how much power your sauna consumes. There are several factors that affect this, including the time for which you run the sauna, the kind of sauna that you own as well as how you are obtaining the heat.
To put this into perspective, you should note that if you use a traditional heater for your sauna, you can expect it to take roughly 15 minutes to heat up, which will then require 1000 W for 50 cubic feet. This is, therefore, 1 kWh.
Saunas for a couple of people need 2.2 kWh, with the power consumption increasing with the size of the sauna and the number of people using it.
The cost of electricity in your region can also make a huge difference to electricity consumption. For the United States, the average cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour is $0.12.
Based on these numbers, you can then calculate your own costs. Let’s look at how this works below.
What you need to do here is take the average electricity consumption per hour and multiply it by the average hourly cost of electricity.
Since this takes an hour as the basic time unit, you might also need to multiply this cost by the time period for which you actually use the sauna in an hour. This includes not only the actual usage time but also the time taken to heat the sauna up. This should give you a fraction to use in the equation.
What does this equation look like? You can look at this below.
kWh x $0.12 x number of minutes per hour
There are several steps involved in making the final calculations that you can go through below.
- Determine the power usage based on the space or size of the sauna. Since a sauna of 50 cubic feet uses 1 kWh, a sauna of 100 cubic feet will use 2 kWh (divide 100 cubic feet by 50).
- Figure out how long the sauna runs in a given hour. This should be around 15 minutes of heating time and another 30 minutes or so of actual usage, giving you 45 minutes per 60 minutes of usage. Divide 45/60 to obtain the fraction of ¾ or 0.75.
- Now, we have the kWh and the time period. Multiply the two figures for figuring out the power usage for 45 minutes. This can be done as we have below:
2 kWh x 0.75 = 1.5 kWh
- You can then calculate how much each usage period in the sauna will cost you.
1.5 kWh x $0.12 = $0.18
Now that you know how much it costs to use the sauna each time, you can calculate how much you can expect it to amount to for the full hour. For this, you only require the electricity required per hour and the cost of electricity for that hour. This will give you the following equation:
2 kWh x $0.12 = $0.24
Per hour, therefore, you can expect a 2 kWh sauna to cost you $0.24 or 24 cents.
Now that you know how to calculate the hourly cost, you can now move on to calculating the monthly and yearly costs. Let’s take a look.
To calculate the monthly costs, you should first figure out the number of days each month for which you use the sauna. On average, people tend to use the sauna for around three days of the week. This amounts to around 12 days each month.
To calculate the cost based on the 12-day estimation, therefore, you can use the following method:
Cost per session x number of days per month = cost per month
In figures, this can look like this:
$0.18 x 12 = $2.16
Of course, the more power your sauna uses based on its size, the more will be the monthly cost. If you use the sauna for more than 12 days a month, this can also increase the cost.
Now that you know the monthly cost, you can also calculate the yearly cost. If you take 12 days per month and multiply it by the number of months in a year (12), you can get 12 x 12 = 144 days, although you can simply use the total number of months in your calculation.
Cost per month x number of months per year = cost per year
$2.16 x 12 = $25.92
Again, the cost will increase with the size of the sauna and how often you use it. You can get a rough estimate of this through the following table.
This uses the 75% of an hour, 12 days per month and 144 days per year assumptions, so make sure you vary these based on your own usage.
Cost Per Session ($)
Cost Per Month ($)
Cost Per Year ($)
The average monthly and annual costs involved in running a sauna based on its electricity consumption are now clear. However, these are not the only costs you will need to consider since costs like cleaning, maintenance and managing the equipment and accessories can also end up increasing the total cost.
Let’s look into some of these below.
The heat and steam might not be enough to automatically clean the sauna. You will need to undertake regular cleaning so that you can get rid of the mold and bacteria in order to prevent health issues among the users of the sauna. For this kind of cleaning, you can simply make use of gentle and easily accessible cleaning materials.
These can include baking soda, vinegar, commercial cleaning solutions, wood cleaners and, on occasion, descalers. You will also need a piece of cloth or a mop that you can use for applying these cleaning solutions.
These should not add too much to your costs since you might have most of these at home. Even if you need to buy them, they can last you for months on end.
Apart from regular cleaning, you will also need to maintain the sauna and its structure. For the first year, the purchase and installation will cost you around $4,500-$5,000. Add another $400 to this for tightening up the screws, repairing cracks, keeping the heater working efficiently and other such jobs.
These $400 or so will then go on repeating every year, depending on the kind of maintenance you need to carry out. It can also be more or less.
You will also need to account for other equipment and accessories that you want to add to your sauna to ensure that you can have a more comfortable and enhanced experience. These can include towels, cushions, aromatic oils, scented soaps and flowers and lots more, depending on your preferences.
You will need to keep some of these clean by washing them while also replacing the other accessories when they run out.
Costs can certainly vary based on the heat source. For instance, infrared saunas might be more efficient compared to traditional steam saunas in terms of cost and energy when you look at the annual costs after installation.
You can also consider using gas saunas and wood-burning saunas. Gas saunas can be a lot more expensive if you consider the purchasing and installation costs, but they can certainly save you money in the long run since they are easier to maintain and because the cost of gas is lower than the cost of electricity.
Wood-burning saunas can provide an authentic experience, but you will need to spend hundreds of dollars every year in sourcing and buying the wood, making the running of these saunas more expensive than any of the other options.
You can reduce the costs of running a sauna by keeping the following tips in mind.
- If there are a number of you using the sauna, try using it at the same time.
- Opt for insulation of high quality to prevent too much heat loss.
- Set a cleaning routine for your sauna to prevent major repairs later on.
- Use minimal accessories and clean them with the rest of your household belongings.
- Turn the power off as soon as you are done using the sauna.
- Set timers and control the temperature, if possible.
Using a 2 kWh sauna can cost you around $25 a year for power usage in addition to several other costs involved in cleaning, maintenance and equipment. These costs can vary based on how big your sauna is, how often you use it and which heat source you use, although there are ways in which you can reduce the overall costs.