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Dear Jim: I want to install a small sauna in my home so I don't have to drive to a health club after work to use one. Are there small (one-or two-person) kits available that don't use a huge amount of electricity - Sam M.
A: A quick sauna bath after a hard day's work can be relaxing and therapeutic. Operating a small, efficient home-size sauna will not increase your utility bills by much. During the winter, the heat it produces reduces the load on your furnace. Firewood-powered heaters are also available.
Many of the smaller sauna kits use only about five dollars of electricity per week and are plugged into a standard electrical outlet. Since you feel warmer for quite a while after a sauna bath, you may end up setting your furnace thermostat a little lower and reduce your utility bills overall.
You have several options for home-size sauna kits depending on your specific needs. For just one or two people, a small modular kit may be your best choice. These are delivered to your home in two halves which you screw or lock together with cams. It takes about 15 minutes to assemble one.
Two-piece modular models are mounted on castors to easily move from room to room. For the most relaxation, choose one that has built-in stereo speakers and is totally prewired. Since the sauna is small, it heats up quickly.
The next step up is a multisectional modular kit, often called preassembled. The floor, walls, ceiling, benches, etc. are delivered in completed sections. It usually takes about four hours to attach the sections together.
Some small models have contemporary styles with curved walls, a built-in tall mirror, shelves, towel racks on the exterior, and soft interior lighting. The door is full glass so you don't get a closed-in sensation. One-person kits measure about three by four feet up to two-person kits at four by six feet.
For a larger family, select a rectangular multisectional kit which resemble ones at a health club, only smaller. If you choose one of these, look for ones with adjustable seating and backrests, adjustable vents and a prehung door. Optional heaters are available that convert to steam generators too.
Selecting the proper temperature controls impacts your sauna experience. A remote control (connected by a wire to the heater) allows you to vary the temperature without getting up. Since the home-size models are small, the interior temperature can fluctuate if you don't have a good control unit.
If you are handy with tools and want to save some money, select a precut kit. All of the component pieces are delivered cut to size and you have to assemble it from scratch. Plan on spending a full weekend to complete one.
Instant Download Update Bulletin No. 800 - buyer's guide of 11 sauna kits, styles (modular, outdoor, portable, precut) size range and height, materials, designs, heaters, controls, standard accessories, features, sauna use and helpful tips, installation instructions for a portable sauna, illustrations for a complete modular and precut package.
Dear Jim: I had sealer put on my hilly driveway last year and it became slippery, even just in the rain. I want to treat it now with something else, but the treatments may not stick. What can I do? - Steve N.
A: Sealing a driveway can help to increase its life, but can get slippery as you have noticed. Sealing is ideal for flat or moderately-sloped driveways, but it sounds like yours is pretty steep.
A tar and chip coating, professionally installed, is a possible option. This is used commercially. With the limited travel on a typical residential driveway, the chips should stay on top and create a high-friction surface.