Frequenty Asked Questions

"Have you visited the old saunas in Finland, and what are they like?"
Yes, and hard to describe in a small space: Log buildings, often w/ log or turf roofs- absolutely beautifully carved, and heated with a stone fireplace without a chimney ( no chimney?!) They are called 'smoke sauna' , and represent the earliest stage of design of the modern sauna of today.

"Can we have a Sauna the old fashioned way, a freestanding version?"
Certainly. Actually, Solhem Sauna is really two separate product lines; I represent HELO, and sell their line of rooms, equipment, kits and steam producs ( parent company Saunatec, based in Hanko , Finland ). I also have my own product line of freestanding traditional Saunas, heated typically with wood or electricity... This is the primary focus of the business.

"Can we put a Sauna in our cellar?"
Yes, of course; often this is the only place in the home where space is available for a retrofit project. I've done dozens of really nice ones over the years; we would look for opportunities to maximize the success of this location by considering proximity to a shower/bath area, windows to the outdoors, and perhaps a door leading to the outdoors ...

"What about the Sauna Kits?"
HELO has the traditional heater-with-stones Sauna Kits, as well as the new Infra-red rooms.Some of the most popular features of the new Infra-red rooms is their smaller size, and matching smaller cost! These rooms can often be set up in the second floor stair hall or master-bath, and simply plug into a common household outlet (no extra wiring required-)

"Can we have a 'dry' Sauna, as well as 'wet'?"
Yes, in fact, any conventional sauna heater, regardless of fuel type, will have stones that we can pour water on to make steam...This allows for a wide range of heat and humidity- so everyone is comfortable...

"Do we need electricity to run our new Sauna?"
Depends, the common heat choices are wood and electric, and here in the US people will sometimes choose Propane... My preferrence tends toward wood; it is the old fashioned way after all, and gives you the most broad range of heat output. Electricity offers a standard of convenience and safety that a woodburner can't match, and is the most common choice here in the states for those reasons.

"What is the ideal temperature for our 'sweat bath'?"
Well, that's a trick question, how do you take your coffee? All of us will have a different preferrence for heat; when I go to Sauna w/ my 7 year old , we tend to have the heat lower, say in the 145 F. range... and very gentle steam. When it is a Sauna with grownups acclimated to the Sauna experience, the final range will be between 185 - 210 F- with steam too! The final word on this question is provided by the Finnish Sauna Society, based near Helsinki: anything less than 80C.( around 176F. ) doesn't count... In my Sauna, family and guests are treated to the heat level they are most comfortable with, after all, we are there to relax and rejuvinate, not to participate in an endurance test!

"Why is the Finnish word for 'Sauna' used in our language - instead of 'Bastu' or 'Badstuga' (Swedish), or 'Banya' (Russian)?"
Probably two reasons: The sweat-baths in Europe were shut down one after the next as society changed, and as real 'modern' plumbing came into use...The Finns were geographically and culturally remote, and the traditions were maintained mostly intact through to modern time. The second reason has to do with Finnish people settling here in the US and maintaining the use of the bath, and beginning in the in the 1950's, importing equipment and accesssories from the homeland...

"What if we want to build our own Sauna?"
Resources for research tend to be scarce, try the local library for sauna books - I also have a few available for sale that are in English, and have assisted many home-builders with their Sauna projects. You can look into websites for ideas too : The North American Sauna Society and the Finnish Sauna Society both have some nice material available on-line . When I consult with people farther away than I can help directly, I underline the importance of understanding the physics, as well as the art, of Sauna, and encourage them to seek help from friends who have their own Sauna, or builders who have their own sauna at home.