Can I Pour Water on An Electric Sauna Heater?

Growing up, I didn’t think twice about pouring water on my sauna heater. We had an outdoor wood fired sauna stove and an electric sauna heater in our indoor sauna. And yes, having two or sometimes even three saunas is quite common for many sauna users. While our indoor sauna was electric, many of our friends had wood fired saunas inside. That all depends on your setup.

The first time I realized that many people are not actually aware of the fact that, yes, you can pour water on an electric sauna heater, was at a Lifetime Fitness Center. As I sat in the sauna, wondering if it was normal to barely break a sweat, I noticed a sign on the wall that read: “Absolutely NO water on sauna stove“.

In Finland, finding a public sauna that will not allow water to be poured over the rocks is next to impossible. It would be a death sentence for the sauna as no local Finn would frequent the place. In North America, it’s quite common that gyms and public saunas discourage the use of water over the sauna heater.

The fact is, it’s a myth that you cannot pour water on an electric sauna stove. At Sauna Supply Company, we offer a full lineup of traditional indoor sauna heaters, from the world’s #1 Sauna manufacturer, Finnleo. These sauna heaters are designed to allow the user of water over the heater rocks, which creates a soothing steam effect.

So, can I pour water on the rocks of an electric sauna heater?

Yes. You can pour water on an electric sauna heater. Electric Sauna Heaters are designed to have water poured on them to increase the effectiveness of the Sauna room. It’s critical that you have your sauna stove professionally installed by a licensed electrician who follows manufacturer guidelines, however. Traditional Finnish Saunas are designed to produce high heat and humidity and you’d be hard pressed to find a Finlander who enjoys taking a sauna without any steam. Ourselves included.

Here’s how you know when your sauna heater is ready for steam

When pouring water over the rocks of a sauna heater you should always wait for the heater to properly warm up first. A simple way to check if the rocks are hot enough is to pour a ladle of water over them and observe how quickly the rocks dry. If your rocks take any more than a few seconds to dry, you should give your sauna more time to warm.

Of course, you should always make sure that your sauna heater is built to create steam. In the traditional Finnish sauna, a heater, either electric or wood fired, heats a collection of rocks. The steam process is created when water is poured over the rocks, instantly vaporizing it.

In the video above, we’re pouring water over the rocks of a custom sauna we built in our own home.

If you have never added water to your traditional sauna heater, you’re missing out! These heaters, when properly installed and with the correct electrical power supply, are built for steam.

Yet, for some reason, folks in the United States and other areas of the world not native to saunas, think that you cannot pour water on a sauna stove. You absolutely can, do not let anyone tell you differently. If you’ve owned a traditional Sauna for some time and have not yet experienced the effects of pouring water on your stove, try it! It’ll increase the heat and significantly add to the overall experience. For best results when adding water to the rocks of your sauna stove, the sauna room should have enough time to heat up first.

With that being said, that’s not legal advice. The next time you go to your local gym, where you’re not allowed to put water on the stove to increase the heat and humidity, don’t reference this article when you get caught sneaking it on. There are some saunas, like infrared saunas, that are not designed to have water poured on them. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new Sauna and would like the best of both worlds, consider one of our hybrid sauna units.

Be careful, know what you’re talking about, do your research and you’ll be just fine! You can 100% put water on most sauna heaters / stoves, but they must be built for it and properly installed. And, yes, most electric sauna heaters are built to take water. If you are unsure of whether or not your sauna is a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna is by the presence of a heater.

Infrared Sauna Example: no steam effect

An example of a custom infrared sauna we recently built is pictured below. As you’ll notice, there is no traditional sauna heater with rocks present, but rather infrared sauna panels lining the walls. More photos of this build, here.

Traditional Finnish Steam Sauna Example: pour water over the rocks for steam


An example of one of the traditional Finnish saunas we custom built indoors is pictured below. You can view more photos of this project here. A traditional sauna is identified by the heater inside the room. Note, this sauna was a custom sauna kit. All of our custom saunas come pre-cut to the exact dimensions of your room. Get a quote online or call us at (612)505-9700 with any questions you may have!


What Does Pouring Water On An Electric Sauna Heater Do?

Adding water to a hot Sauna heater creates an immediate steam effect that increases the Sauna heat. When you add water, steam is created immediately which increases the heat and the amount a person sweats. Adding water to the rocks of your sauna stove, when they are heated appropriately, is one of the best parts of utilizing any sauna. In Finland, the term most used to describe this heat effect is löyly. Löyly, while it’s exact translation is not precise, is used to describe the steam from the sauna heater rocks.

Used in context, you might say that your new sauna has excellent löyly.

The next time you’re in a debate about whether or not you can pour water on an electric sauna heater, reference this article. Or, have the opposing party give us a call, maybe we’ll be able to introduce somebody new to the exhilarating world of Sauna.

Are you considering building a traditional sauna in your home? Whether it’s a fully custom Sauna, or a Panel Built Portable Sauna, Give us a call or contact us online with details about your project, we’d love the chance to help you get it properly done from start to finish.

How To Pour Water on a Sauna Heater

It’s quite simple, really, you just use a bucket of water and a ladle to add water over the heated rocks to create steam. Enhance the overall löyly of the sauna room! You can add water as desired, but it’s best to let the rocks dry between steam events. The hotter your sauna heater and rocks are, the less time you will have to wait between adding water over the rocks.

The key piece of equipment here is your ladle. When water is added to the sauna heater, the heated rocks instantly vaporize the water, creating an immediate steam effect. This process happens instantly, which is why you should always use a ladle or a scoop to add the water. Positioning your hand directly above the rocks in any way signifigantly increases your risk of a painful burn. Depending on how hot your sauna heater rocks are, this can increase in severity.

If you’re pouring water over your sauna heater, which we do highly recommend for the best sauna experience, you should always use a ladle to avoid risk of injury.

Enhancing The Effects Of Water On Your Electric Sauna Stove

There are a number of things you can do to enhance the overall effectiveness of creating steam with your sauna stove.

These are the best things you can do to create more steam from your electric sauna stove:

  1. Choose the right rocks for your stove
  2. Give the sauna heater time to heat the rocks appropriately
  3. Utilizing a BioWater device for additional steam
  4. Add essential oils to your water bucket for enhanced aromas in your sauna

Let The Sauna Experts Help You Build Your Dream Sauna.

While our customer experience cannot possibly match the feeling of relaxation you get from taking Sauna (nothing can), it’s on par with it. We’d love to share our passion and experience of Sauna with you.

We offer financing on any project.

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