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Barrel sauna: how it works and which stove to choose

An ordinary bathhouse is a separate building on a site with its foundation, roof, chimney, and sewerage system. Its construction requires time, effort, and money, as well as space on the site. If the site is small or there are no resources to build a regular bathhouse, there is an alternative – a barrel bathhouse. This is a small building with a wood-burning stove, which does not take up much space and attracts attention with its unusual appearance. A barrel sauna does not require a foundation and does not require construction time. The structure can be purchased ready-made, just like the stove. Our article will help you choose a barrel sauna. 

How does a barrel sauna work?

The bathhouse looks like a real barrel. And it is made according to the same principle. The bathhouse is assembled from wooden boards, which are tied together from the outside with a metal hoop. 

Since there will be high humidity in the bathhouse, it is important to make the walls airtight and protect them from moisture. To do this, the boards are connected using a groove joint and treated with moisture-proof impregnation. 

Barrel saunas vary in length and diameter. The amount of free space inside and the filling of the bathhouse depends on these indicators. The ceiling height in such a bathhouse will be two to two and a half meters, which is quite convenient, given its compact size. The length can be a minimum of two meters, or reach six meters. 

All surfaces inside the bathhouse are used: a stove is placed in the far corner, and water tanks can be hung on the walls. 

What types of barrel saunas are there? 

This bathhouse always has a non-standard shape and compact size. But there may be differences between them. For example, a bathhouse can be round or oval. Such a room without corners heats up faster. 

Baths vary in size, which means that different numbers of people can wash in such a barrel at the same time. In the smallest one, there are one or two, in the larger baths 4-5-6 people can fit. But, of course, there won’t be much space in the steam room. If the bathhouse is several meters long, there may be several zones inside. For example, a steam room and a relaxation area or a locker room. 

There are bathhouses with wheels that can be transported from place to place like a trailer. But it is worth keeping in mind that models no longer than eight meters are suitable for transportation. 

For the bathhouse to function, you will need to connect it to communications. Sewerage will be needed to drain dirty water. The problem with clean water can be solved by connecting to a water supply or filling water tanks yourself. 

The inside of the bathhouse must be supplemented with water tanks, a stove, lined with wood, a drain for dirty water must be connected, and ventilation must be arranged. 

Which chimney and stove to choose for a barrel sauna

In addition to choosing the right size of the bathhouse, it is important to buy a good chimney and stove. It is worth choosing them together, since the equipment cannot work one without the other, and the furnace pipe must be of a suitable diameter for the pipe. 

A stove for a barrel sauna should be compact and light in weight; a brick stove is not suitable. Choose steel or cast iron models. Such stoves can be compact and still heat large areas. They can handle heating the air in a barrel sauna. 

The efficiency of the stove is directly affected by the chimney. The level of traction, fuel consumption, and cleanliness of the air in the bathhouse depend on it. 

Since the roof of the barrel sauna is small in area and the building does not have a foundation, a sandwich chimney made of stainless steel is suitable for it. This lightweight design is suitable for a small roof. The sandwich chimney consists of three layers. A layer of non-flammable insulation solves the problem of the formation of excess condensation, icicles on the pipe, and rapid contamination of the pipe in the cold season. The steel inner layer does not retain soot on its surface; in addition, the steel cannot crack, which means that the level of draft will be sufficient and a fire will not occur. 

Cost of a barrel sauna

The price for a bathhouse starts from 2000 USD and reaches 10,000 USD. It depends on the size, filling, finishing, and wood for the walls. 

The choice of models is huge. To decide, consider several parameters. 

  • Wood manufacturing and interior finishing.
  • Dimensions of the bath and the premises in it.
  • Roofing material.
  • Stove and chimney. 

Manufacturers most often offer a turnkey option, that is, a bathhouse already equipped with finishing, a stove, a chimney, and water tanks. Pay attention to the power of the stove and the quality of the chimney when choosing a fully finished bath. The furnace power is measured in kilowatts: 1 kW. per 1 cubic meter of room. But the furnace should not be running at full power 100% of the time. Therefore, choose a model that is 30% more powerful than the required minimum power. 

A steel chimney can be single-layer. This is a suitable option for a barrel sauna. But a sandwich chimney is preferable. With it, you will not have problems with traction, frequent pollution, or high consumption of firewood. 

Read more: Four mistakes when building a sauna and bathhouse

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