Author Topic: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?  (Read 12921 times)

cnash1303

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
I have a pretty small bathroom, I'd say 5' wide and maybe 10-15' long. I used to get in the sauna all the time at my old gym, but I moved and no longer have that luxury. I was wondering if I put a space heater in the small room if I could safely get it up to say 100 degrees f? It's tile btw so I don't so much worry about things melting as I do the general safety of it all.

GrowingTheGreen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 356
    • Growing The Green
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 07:29:58 PM »
You'd need a pretty heavy duty space heater, to begin with. A good sauna would be at 180 degrees not 100 :) 100 won't get you sweating the way a real sauna would.

Safety is a completely different road which I will not even start down.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 09:37:13 PM »
That sounds like a terrible idea. The tile won't be hurt by the heat (assuming you can get a heater to heat it up enough), but what about the other stuff. Toiletries? Cabinets? Fixtures? electrical wiring (I'm assuming you have a light in your bathroom)?

Anything made of wood is going to be fubar'd by the heat/humidity/temp change combo.

BlueHeelerMommy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Life Of An AmeriCorps VISTA
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 06:51:57 AM »
Gonna echo these guys and say that this idea, whilst creative, is a no go.  Use your space heater as it was intended to be used.  Not only should you think about what it will do to your electronic wiring, cabinets, etc. but you should also worry about safety!  I would imagine that it is incredibly unsafe for squishy human animals! 

Best of luck!

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13119
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 06:56:31 AM »
High humidity is likely to be a problem.  Saunas are designed to deal with water dripping off the walls an on to everything, your bathroom is not.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 06:58:16 AM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

Make sure that you plug it into a GFCI outlet (if it's a newer house, that's all you'll have in a bathroom, anyway). Don't plug multiple space heaters into the same outlet, or even the same room/area, because they probably run off the same line. You'll draw too much current.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 06:58:44 AM »
High humidity is likely to be a problem.  Saunas are designed to deal with water dripping off the walls an on to everything, your bathroom is not.

Why would there be high humidity?

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13119
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 07:29:44 AM »
High humidity is likely to be a problem.  Saunas are designed to deal with water dripping off the walls an on to everything, your bathroom is not.

Why would there be high humidity?

Typically people douse the hot rocks in a sauna with water regularly because the hot air has a greater capacity to absorb water and is very dry.  This dousing saturates the air with water, making it more comfortable.  In the case of a bathroom, the hot and water saturated air would be contacting the four colder walls and cold ceiling . . . which would cause condensation and humidity problems.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 07:35:42 AM »
High humidity is likely to be a problem.  Saunas are designed to deal with water dripping off the walls an on to everything, your bathroom is not.

Why would there be high humidity?

Typically people douse the hot rocks in a sauna with water regularly because the hot air has a greater capacity to absorb water and is very dry.  This dousing saturates the air with water, making it more comfortable.  In the case of a bathroom, the hot and water saturated air would be contacting the four colder walls and cold ceiling . . . which would cause condensation and humidity problems.

I would hope that OP is smart enough not to douse a space heater with water.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13119
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 07:43:19 AM »
High humidity is likely to be a problem.  Saunas are designed to deal with water dripping off the walls an on to everything, your bathroom is not.

Why would there be high humidity?

Typically people douse the hot rocks in a sauna with water regularly because the hot air has a greater capacity to absorb water and is very dry.  This dousing saturates the air with water, making it more comfortable.  In the case of a bathroom, the hot and water saturated air would be contacting the four colder walls and cold ceiling . . . which would cause condensation and humidity problems.

I would hope that OP is smart enough not to douse a space heater with water.

No, I'm not suggesting that the OP would do that.  But you wouldn't get anything like the sauna experience just by heating up a room.  It would be dry and uncomfortable.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1814
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 07:43:39 AM »
Sounds like you are trying to do a poor mans steam shower

http://www.homedepot.com/p/SteamSpa-Royal-10-5kW-Steam-Bath-Generator-Package-in-Oil-Rubbed-Bronze-RY1050OB/204659671

Second the concerns about steam in a bathroom not interned to have steam, mold is no fun. 

If you wanted to do a dry heat that might be better but I would still really look into the safety.  Also yes your toiletries are probably intended to be stored in normal room temperatures not 180f.

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 07:46:24 AM »
1. Live in Texas or Oklahoma

2. Turn off the air conditioner

3. Only works 5 months of the year, best in the afternoon

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 08:01:48 AM »
Sounds like you are trying to do a poor mans steam shower

http://www.homedepot.com/p/SteamSpa-Royal-10-5kW-Steam-Bath-Generator-Package-in-Oil-Rubbed-Bronze-RY1050OB/204659671

Second the concerns about steam in a bathroom not interned to have steam, mold is no fun. 

If you wanted to do a dry heat that might be better but I would still really look into the safety.  Also yes your toiletries are probably intended to be stored in normal room temperatures not 180f.

A proper steam shower is the right answer here. You need insulation, a 100% tiled surface (including the ceiling), and a really good ventilation system that can get the area back down to normal temperature/humidity levels soon after you finish using it. Building it only into the shower stall is also a good idea, unless you designed the whole bathroom to be a "wet room."

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 12:03:56 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2016, 12:24:55 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Making a blanket statement like "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a little like claiming that cold weather causes tires to grow snow chains.

Heating a closed bathroom with a  space heater will not make it more humid.   

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13119
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2016, 12:31:40 PM »
No, heating will make it much less humid.

As temperature rises, the relative humidity drops.  This means that anything containing wood in the bathroom will quickly lose moisture to the air and be prone to contracting/cracking.

Of course, if the objective is to have something like a sauna environment (as stated in the OP), then you will be adding steam/moisture to the very dry air.  This is where the excess humidity comes into play.

I'm also curious, what is your field of engineering?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 12:38:49 PM by GuitarStv »

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2016, 12:33:42 PM »
No, heating will make it much less humid.

As temperatures rises, the relative humidity drops.  This means that anything containing wood in the bathroom will quickly lose moisture to the air and be prone to contracting/cracking.

Of course, if the objective is to have something like a sauna environment (as stated in the OP), then you will be adding steam/moisture to the very dry air.  This is where the excess humidity comes into play.

I'm also curious, what is your field of engineering?

Mechanical.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2016, 12:43:29 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Making a blanket statement like "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a little like claiming that cold weather causes tires to grow snow chains.

Heating a closed bathroom with a  space heater will not make it more humid.

1. That was rude.

2. "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a factual statement.

3. you are correct, heating a closed bathroom will not made it more humid, it will make it LESS (relatively) humid.

4. Given that the OP is interested in a sauna experience, I (and the rest of the people in this thread) are assuming that the OP will ADD some humidity in order to have a sauna-like environment. This will raise the humidity EXTENSIVELY.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2016, 12:52:43 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Making a blanket statement like "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a little like claiming that cold weather causes tires to grow snow chains.

Heating a closed bathroom with a  space heater will not make it more humid.

1. That was rude.

2. "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a factual statement.

3. you are correct, heating a closed bathroom will not made it more humid, it will make it LESS (relatively) humid.

4. Given that the OP is interested in a sauna experience, I (and the rest of the people in this thread) are assuming that the OP will ADD some humidity in order to have a sauna-like environment. This will raise the humidity EXTENSIVELY.

I'm not sure that she's planning to do that. She didn't mention running the shower or anything.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2016, 12:59:20 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Making a blanket statement like "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a little like claiming that cold weather causes tires to grow snow chains.

Heating a closed bathroom with a  space heater will not make it more humid.

1. That was rude.

2. "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a factual statement.

3. you are correct, heating a closed bathroom will not made it more humid, it will make it LESS (relatively) humid.

4. Given that the OP is interested in a sauna experience, I (and the rest of the people in this thread) are assuming that the OP will ADD some humidity in order to have a sauna-like environment. This will raise the humidity EXTENSIVELY.

I'm not sure that she's planning to do that. She didn't mention running the shower or anything.

I can't decide if you are getting off on being contrary, or have just never been in a sauna.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2016, 01:03:22 PM »
As an engineer by degree, I'll disagree with the previous commenters. Yes, you can do it, although it likely won't get as warm as a traditional sauna unless you insulate the interior walls. The cabinets will be fine. I'm not sure what people think is going to happen to wood that gets a little warm.

I'm not sure what kind of an engineer you are, but it sounds like you don't have any experience with wood as a building or furniture material. Changes in temp change relative humidity, which causes the wood to expand and contract. Each piece of wood will do this at a different rate. Add in steam which is traditional in a sauna, and anything made out of wood that is not meant for saunas will start to warp. It will get worse the longer this happens and the more 'cycles' it goes through. My parents took a wardrobe from the humid midwest to the high desert and back, and the doors have yet to be able close properly lo these 30 years later. Bathroom cabinets are probably a little more forgiving, depending on their construction, but if it's made out of wood, it's going to be a problem.

Making a blanket statement like "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a little like claiming that cold weather causes tires to grow snow chains.

Heating a closed bathroom with a  space heater will not make it more humid.

1. That was rude.

2. "changes in temp change relative humidity" is a factual statement.

3. you are correct, heating a closed bathroom will not made it more humid, it will make it LESS (relatively) humid.

4. Given that the OP is interested in a sauna experience, I (and the rest of the people in this thread) are assuming that the OP will ADD some humidity in order to have a sauna-like environment. This will raise the humidity EXTENSIVELY.

I'm not sure that she's planning to do that. She didn't mention running the shower or anything.

I can't decide if you are getting off on being contrary, or have just never been in a sauna.

I've been in plenty of saunas. It's rare that one of the fellow sauna-goers will dump any water on the rocks. I wonder if women do this more often than men.

Alex321

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2016, 01:04:27 PM »
I'm also thinking that if she wanted to add water to keep a constant relative humidity, then she could simply turn the exhaust fan on when finished while it's cooling down.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2003
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2016, 01:30:24 PM »
I'll give you credit for being an engineer, but your field of expertise obviously doesn't include saunas.   They are all hot and very steamy / humid / damp.

Cranking the heat up past 150F and adding steam will totally trash out your bathroom walls, floors, wiring, fixtures, cabinets, etc., etc.
That's why they make saunas out of masonry, tile, teak, redwood, etc.

Even if the steam wasn't added, heat that high will dry out cabinet wood, etc. badly and cause it to fall apart much faster than at normal temps / humidity.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13119
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2016, 01:36:17 PM »
I'm also thinking that if she wanted to add water to keep a constant relative humidity, then she could simply turn the exhaust fan on when finished while it's cooling down.

The air temperature in the room would be heated by the space heater.  Air heats pretty quickly.  The walls, which all conduct heat away from the room would be a much cooler temperature.  The scenario you describe would certainly cause condensation on the walls.

BlueHeelerMommy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Life Of An AmeriCorps VISTA
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2016, 02:14:00 PM »
1. Live in Texas or Oklahoma

2. Turn off the air conditioner

3. Only works 5 months of the year, best in the afternoon

Also Arkansas!

cnash1303

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2016, 09:58:36 AM »
Wow..this got a little out of hand.

1. I was not planning on adding humidity, because of the reasons stated, a dry sauna is a thing too...actually the one i referred to in my original post was a dry sauana

2. I am not a she, and I can't help but wonder if this is a question "Only a woman would ask"

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2016, 02:54:40 AM »
Wow..this got a little out of hand.

1. I was not planning on adding humidity, because of the reasons stated, a dry sauna is a thing too...actually the one i referred to in my original post was a dry sauana

2. I am not a she, and I can't help but wonder if this is a question "Only a woman would ask"

Psh - you said sauna. That can only mean water. The other posters said so. Repeatedly. No matter what you said; or what you meant; there must be water and that will kill baby puppies with mold.

For my two cents (I also did a semester of engineering in college; so therefore I'm an expert as well)  if you're only looking to get up to 100 degrees f. you should be fine, assuming the heater isn't blowing directly upon the flooring or cabinets. If you're raising the temperature significantly higher than that, I would worry about differential expansion causing issues with the walls/cabinets/tub-to-wall-contact etc.  But it's your dream! Hope it works out for you!

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1814
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2016, 06:25:38 AM »
Wow..this got a little out of hand.

1. I was not planning on adding humidity, because of the reasons stated, a dry sauna is a thing too...actually the one i referred to in my original post was a dry sauana

2. I am not a she, and I can't help but wonder if this is a question "Only a woman would ask"

Psh - you said sauna. That can only mean water. The other posters said so. Repeatedly. No matter what you said; or what you meant; there must be water and that will kill baby puppies with mold.

For my two cents (I also did a semester of engineering in college; so therefore I'm an expert as well)  if you're only looking to get up to 100 degrees f. you should be fine, assuming the heater isn't blowing directly upon the flooring or cabinets. If you're raising the temperature significantly higher than that, I would worry about differential expansion causing issues with the walls/cabinets/tub-to-wall-contact etc.  But it's your dream! Hope it works out for you!

But you did not say you stayed in an Holiday Inn Express last night so I question your qualifications /sarcasm.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2016, 01:19:48 PM »
Shit... good point. There will always be someone who knows more...

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3357
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Can I put a space heater in my bathroom and turn it into a sauna?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2016, 01:02:08 PM »
OP, do you own or rent? If you rent, I wouldn't. Not your house, and the owner would be pretty pissed if you messed up the house. Not nice at all.