Owning a Sauna Costs $150-500 Per Year (Exact Breakdown)

how much a sauna costs to run

Installing a sauna in your home can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 on average, but how much does a sauna cost to run after you’ve built one in your home?

The main cost for running a sauna is the cost of electricity, which typically ranges from $1.4 and $2.6 for a typical sauna session. Other costs for running a sauna come from taking a shower, and cleaning and maintaining the sauna. The total yearly cost of running a sauna typically ranges from $150 to $500 depending on the heat source, how often and for how you use the sauna, and what maintenance is needed.

Below, I will break down in detail how much does it cost to run a sauna at home.

How Much Do Home Saunas Cost to Operate?

The main costs of owning a sauna are:

  1. Electricity consumption in an electric sauna
  2. Firewood in a wood-fired sauna
  3. Maintenance and cleaning
  4. Water consumption (mainly from taking a hot shower)

Let’s talk about each of these categories next in detail!

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Sauna?

Electricity is the main cost for running a sauna at home.

The average electricity cost is between $1.4 and $2.6 for a typical 1-2 hour sauna session.

Example of an electric sauna heater

How Much Energy Does the Sauna Heater Consume?

Take, for example, the traditional Finnish sauna. The heat output of the sauna heater is approximately 6-8 kW.

A 6 kW heater is often found in saunas for 3-4 people, and an 8 kW heater heats even a large sauna.

Typically, the sauna is heated for about 15 min to an hour, then the sauna is used for another hour. During this time, a 6 kW heater consumes approximately 4-5 kWh during the preheating and 3-4 kWh during the next hour. The sauna uses less energy to stay hot than during the preheating period.

The total consumption of the heater is about 7-9 kilowatt-hours in one sauna session.

The larger 8 kW heater consumes approximately 5-7 kWh in the first hour and 4-6 kWh in the second hour, so the electricity consumption is approximately 9-13 kilowatt hours. The consumption figures described above are based on an insulated sauna of a suitable size and are proportional to the heat output of the heater.

The average price of electricity is about $0.2 per kilowatt hour, which means that depending on the size of the heater, the temperature, and the length of your sauna session, you will pay between $1.4 and $2.6 for a typical sauna session.

New Sauna Heaters Are Energy Efficient

New sauna heaters are optimized for being as energy efficient as possible.

There are several types of heaters available depending on the size of your sauna, and how often you are planning on heating up your sauna.

? How often should you go to a sauna?

For someone using the sauna almost on a daily basis, the most energy-efficient option is an instant-ready sauna.

New heaters are usually much more efficient in terms of preheating time and energy consumption. However, it rarely makes sense to swap an older working heater for a newer model just for energy savings. The cost of the new heater is much higher, so you would likely not earn back the investment in at least 3 or 4 years.

I will soon write a review of the best sauna heaters, so stay tuned for that!

5 Tips for Saving Energy in an Electric Sauna

These are my best tips for saving electricity if you have an electric sauna in your home:

  1. Do not leave the heater on for no reason. Enter the sauna as soon as it is warm and turn off the heater as soon as you leave the sauna.
  2. Do not heat the sauna too often. Have the whole family go to the sauna on the same evening, so that you don’t have to keep the heater on for many hours or warm it up for different people every day.
  3. Choose the heater according to the need for use and the size of the sauna. An instant-ready heater can be the best option if the sauna is heated several times a week.
  4. Adjust the sauna temperature accordingly. A too hot sauna can be an uncomfortable experience and it will waste energy.
  5. If your sauna is located inside your house, you can leave the sauna door open after switching the heater off to let the residual heat warm up the rest of your house. This can save some money on your heating bill.

Do you have more tips for saving electricity? Let me know in the comments!

Cost of Wood in a Wood-Fired Sauna

The cost of firewood for a wood-fired sauna can range from $150 – $250 per year.

wood fired sauna stove
Example of a wood fired sauna stove

The amount of firewood you need for your wood-fired sauna depends entirely on how often and for how long you use your sauna.

On average, a normal wood-fired home or barrel sauna uses about 15-20 lbs (7-9 kg) of firewood for a 1-2 hour sauna session.

If you heat up your sauna once per week, in one year you will burn about half a cord (1.5 m3) of wood.

The cost per year for half a cord of wood can range from $150 – $250 depending on where you live.

How Much Water Saunas Use?

Saunas don’t use much water. You only need a little bit of water for throwing water on the sauna stones and some more water for cleaning your sauna.

The primary water consumption comes from taking a shower.

According to a blog post on Rent.comOpens in a new tab., the cost of daily hot showers can range from $195 to $270 per year!

Cost of Keeping Your Sauna Clean

The cost of cleaning supplies ranges from $10 – $50 per year.

Cleaning Supplies

You don’t need fancy cleaning supplies for cleaning a sauna.

There are many sauna wood cleaners available, but you can use almost any cleaning agent suitable for wooden surfaces. The cost varies from just a few dollars to maybe 10-30 dollars for the premium products.

Laundry Supplies

If you are using sauna towels, fabric seat covers, and other fabrics in the sauna, you can wash those with your normal laundry.

The average cost of doing one load of laundry at home is $1.27Opens in a new tab..

Cost of Maintenance

Saunas don’t require a lot of maintenance, but you might need to do minor repairs in your sauna throughout the year.

Changing a lightbulb, replacing small wooden parts, or other small fixes can cost from $1 to a couple of hundred bucks.

Water damage, replacing your sauna heater, or other major fixes can wring up the sauna maintenance bill to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Estimating the cost is impossible and depends entirely on what work needs to be done.

Sauna Cost Calculator – How Much Does it Cost To Run a Sauna at Home?

Here’s a simple sauna cost calculator formula you can use to estimate the total yearly costs of running a sauna.

Total cost = Number of sessions * Cost per session + Cleaning cost + Maintenance

The typical cost per session is between $1.4 and $2.6 depending on the length of the session and the size of your sauna.

Key Takeaway

In most cases, the yearly cost of running a sauna is between $150 – $500, but the exact cost depends heavily on how many times per week you are using the sauna, the size of the sauna, the type of heater you are using, and what kind of cleaning and maintenance the sauna needs.

If you have thoughts or questions about this article, let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading. 

Jussi Yli-Korhonen

Jussi is an online marketing expert, an entrepreneur, and the founder of SaunaGenius.com. Jussi is a sauna-loving guy from Finland, the birthplace of saunas. The traditional wood-fired saunas are his favorite but he's visited dozens of different types of saunas in over 20 countries.

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